ASUS ZenBook 14 UX433 laptop review: Tightly-packed and powerful

Despite Dell and HP’s dominance in the laptop market, Asus has managed to build a name with its top-notch aesthetics and top-of-the-line specifications. And with its ZenBook series of laptops, the company might have found its Zen. When we talk about notebooks with small form factors and a dedicated graphics card, the Asus ZenBooks are a class apart.

The company has now introduced a new series of laptops that come with the same promise of delivering smooth performance but in a much smaller form factor. The new ZenBook models are the world’s most compact laptops in their respective size categories. The new lineup comes in three screen sizes: 13, 14, and 15 inches, and we got the 14-inch variant for review. It is priced at Rs 1,00,990 and will be available on both online on Flipkart, Amazon and Paytm and offline from January 30. So let’s find out whether the new ZenBook has what it takes to be the ideal ultrabook.

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 Specifications

  • Intel Core i7-8565U processor
  • 14-inch LED-backlit FHD display
  • 920 x 1080 pixel resolution
  • Four-sided frameless NanoEdge design
  • 92% screen-to-body ratio
  • 8GB LPDDR3 RAM
  • 512GB PCIe 3.0 x2 SSD
  • Full-size backlit keyboard
  • Glass-covered touchpad with integrated NumberPad
  • ASUS SonicMaster stereo audio system
  • 3D IR HD camera
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • 50Wh 3-cell lithium-polymer battery

Design

The biggest selling point of the new ZenBook is undoubtedly its design. It is a 14-inch notebook encased in a 13-inch chassis. The company has surely taken the design a notch higher by offering a tremendous 92 percent screen-to-body ratio. The bezels running along all four sides are minuscule but still manages to keep the webcam on the top, and not on the chin peeking through your nostrils like the one seen on Dell XPS 13. To retain the camera at the top-bezel location, the company used an ultrathin camera module, with a four-element lens to produce sharper images and lower noise.

Display

The new ZenBook comes with a 14-inch LED-backlit FHD display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution and 157 PPI. The bezel on an LCD display normally hides many important components such as the camera module and some of the display circuitry.

Audio

The audio system of the new ZenBook series has been tuned by experts from the ASUS Golden Ear team and certified by audio specialists Harman Kardon. It does generate louder volumes, rich depth and surround-sound effects compared to other laptops that have a similar form factor. The stereo speakers were a treat to listen to, as we were able to hear vocals piercing through the beats smoothly, with an ample amount of bass.

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Keyboard and trackpad

The new ZenBook comes equipped with an ergonomically-designed keyboard that has large chiclet keys and 1.4mm travel. Each key has a 0.2mm keycap curve that aims to increase typing accuracy and comfort. The keys are also backlit for convenient typing in the dark. The keyboard has 3 levels of brightness while the space between the keys doesn’t feel congested. However, it will take a few days to get used to the layout. I found myself typing wrong words initially, but once I got the hang of it, the typing sessions became much more fun.

Performance

Under the hood, the ZenBook 14 has Intel’s latest Whiskey Lake 8th-gen chipset paired with 8GB LPDDR3 RAM. These processors feature four cores and up to eight computing threads with up to a 4.6GHz boost frequency. The new ZenBook series not only upped the style game but also saw an upgrade in the performance department compared to its precursors. The laptop also comes packed with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q discrete graphics.

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