Asus ZenBook 14 (UX433) assessment: Palms-on
The newest model of the Asus ZenBook solely got here out within the UK this summer season, however the firm isn’t losing any time getting an up to date model out, utilizing IFA 2018 to unveil an enormous redesign to the entire ZenBook line.
Together with a complete design revamp for all three new fashions – 13in, 14in, and 15in – the 2 smaller variations additionally embody one very novel new function: a numpad constructed into the contact pad. We went hands-on with the 14in mannequin at IFA, and right here’s what we came upon.
Asus ZenBook 14: Pricing and availability
We’re ready on full affirmation of the discharge date and worth of the brand new ZenBook fashions, however don’t anticipate to see them till later in 2018 – and even maybe early 2019.
This yr’s earlier ZenBook 13 mannequin began from £999/$999, so we’d anticipate to see related pricing within the new line – naturally with costlier beginning factors for the bigger display sizes.
Asus ZenBook 14: Design and construct
The ZenBook line has had an enormous design overhaul because the fashions that had been unveiled at CES earlier in 2018, and the ZenBook 14 now options smaller bezels, a brand new hinge, and a extra premium end than any earlier ZenBook.
Because of the brand new bezels and different design tweaks it is a significantly compact laptop computer, with a 92 p.c screen-to-body ratio and a physique that’s smaller than most 13in laptops, not to mention rival 14in fashions, measuring 31.9×19.9×1.59cm. It’s fairly gentle too, weighing 1.09kg with the elective anti-glare show, and barely extra at 1.19kg with the usual display.
It is somewhat thicker, at 1.59cm, however that is nonetheless pretty slim. That is clearly thicker (and in reality heavier) than ultra-slim fashions like Acer’s revamped Swift 5 and Swift 7, nevertheless it additionally packs extra ports and energy into the house, so that is virtually definitely a wise trade-off for many customers.
The lid has the identical spun steel end as most earlier fashions – one of the best indicator that that is nonetheless a ZenBook – whereas the remainder of the physique has an anodized steel end accessible in both Royal Blue or Icicle Silver (pictured).
Whichever color you go for, there’s additionally a rose gold trim throughout the Harman Kardon audio system, which sit instantly above the keyboard. We suspect some individuals won’t just like the interruption to the design, however we’re followers. It’s a refined contact that breaks up the physique, whereas drawing consideration to the subsequent main design change: the hinge.
All three of the brand new ZenBook fashions now function Asus’s ‘ErgoLift hinge’, which is a flowery identify for a easy hook design that helps elevate the again of the laptop computer up as you open it. That each places the keyboard at a extra snug angle for typing and handily improves each cooling and audio efficiency in accordance with the corporate.
Asus ZenBook 14: Keyboard and trackpad
The keyboard within the ZenBook 14 is nothing particular – it’s a reasonably customary laptop computer keyboard with a reasonably unobjectionable typing really feel and a shallow motion – although Asus has carried out a pleasant job of conserving it low and flat towards the physique of the laptop computer.
Extra fascinating is the contact pad, which pulls double responsibility as a substitute numpad too. More often than not it’s simply a regular contact pad, however press down on the top-right nook and a full numpad – full with primary mathematical capabilities – illuminates throughout the floor.
It’s going to then function a full numpad inside calculator or spreadsheet apps, letting you shortly faucet out sums as obligatory. Activating it takes sufficient strain that you simply’re unlikely to do it by chance, and typing on it’s fast and straightforward – although clearly lacks any form of tactile suggestions.
It’s a function that may both be a whole irrelevance or an absolute lifesaver for you, largely relying on how a lot time you spend in Excel, however fortunately you possibly can merely flip it off and neglect it was ever there if numbers aren’t your factor.
Asus ZenBook 14: Display
The slim-bezelled NanoEdge show appears nice, and it’s welcome to see the slimmed down design lastly attain the ZenBook fashions. On the 13in and 14in fashions it is available in Full HD, although for those who go for the bigger ZenBook 15 you may get a 4K model for those who choose.
It’s at all times difficult judging shows below tradeshow lighting, which is never very like what you’ll expertise at dwelling, nevertheless it appeared vivid and vibrant given the circumstances. We’ll run it by some extra vigorous testing after we get a mannequin in for a full assessment.
Asus ZenBook 14: Core specs and efficiency
By way of core specs, you get your selection of an Intel i5-8265U or i7-8565U processor – each Eighth-gen – backed up by a separate Nvidia GeForce MX150 GPU. It’s hardly probably the most highly effective graphics card round, however we’re happy to see Asus sticking with the discrete GPU in such a conveyable machine.
Aside from that, you get a selection of 8GB or 16GB DDR3 RAM, and 256GB/512GB/1TB SSD storage, which is nothing to smell at. Naturally we couldn’t take a look at efficiency on the present, however this could breeze by day-to-day stuff and comfortably deal with artistic work like picture enhancing or gentle video processing too.
Asus ZenBook 14: Connectivity and audio
The ZenBook laptops have normally been fairly robust right here, and we’re glad to see that the ZenBook 14 doesn’t disappoint.
Asus is continuous its dedication to correct ports even in an ultrabook, with the compulsory USB-C backed up by two USB-A ports, HDMI, a headphone jack, a MicroSD card slot, and the facility socket. That’s loads of connectivity for such a slim laptop computer.
You additionally get a 3D IR digital camera which Asus says ought to assist use your face to login even in low gentle – positioned within the high bezel of the display, you’ll be glad to listen to. Then there’s voice recognition to make use of with Alexa or Cortana, together with Bluetooth 5.zero and dual-band 802.11ac gigabit-class Wi-Fi.
As for audio, the audio system as soon as once more come from Harman Kardon in a setup Asus has known as ‘SonicMaster’, so you possibly can inform they suppose it’s good. We haven’t examined the sound ourselves nevertheless it must be fairly good – by laptop computer requirements a minimum of.
Asus ZenBook 14: Battery life
Battery life is one other factor we will’t actually take a look at at IFA, however Asus is promising as much as 14 hours, which is consistent with current fashions. It’s not fairly up there with battery champs just like the XPS 13, nevertheless it must be greater than sufficient for most individuals.