- Revamped Design
- Intriguing Performance
- Longer Battery Life
- Nice Pricetag for an Ultrabook
- Display Brightness could be better
- The Hinge isn't sturdy (with our unit)
The Asus Zenbook series happens to be one of their finest series of Ultrabooks in the Market. It has and it’s still one of the nicest Ultrabooks that offers a best in class experience. One thing to note, is that – Ultrabooks come at a hefty price tag. Like the Zenbook 3 Deluxe which we reviewed earlier. This time, we are taking a look at their other Zenbook. It’s their Asus Zenbook 13 – an ultrabook that’s in the affordable spectrum. I’ve been using this for quite some time now and it’s time for my final verdict – to see if this is worth what you pay for.
This is the Asus Zenbook 13 Review.
Design & Build Quality
The Asus Zenbook 13 has a different look to it this time. They’ve revamped the whole look in a way. On the top, you’ll notice that it now has this glossy finish that adds that shine to it. If you look closely, under that glossy coating – their signature ZenSpiral design is still visible and it’s great. Not to forget, that glossy finish is a huge fingerprint magnet and during my time, I did carry my microfiber cloth with me at all times.
Opening up the lid, you’ll realize that it has been redesigned as well. Instead of having this sink design where they keys sits flush, they’ve curved the area inwards to give it a much more fluidic look to it. It doesn’t end there. The trackpad and the fingerprint sensor is separated and has a silver chamfered finish to it – adding a dash of that premium look to it. The bezels around the display has this plastic finish but it doesn’t look cheap in anyway.
Moving on to the build quality, the Zenbook 13 is constructed in this metal finish that screams premium. The laptop comes in at 13.9 mm and weighs about 1.12 kg. This is pretty light if you ask me. Good thing there’s not much flexing around the keyboard area unlike certain laptops at this price point. There is one weak point with the laptop, that is the hinge that holds the display to the body. With the unit that we received, it had a very flimsy hinge that tend to drop. It did take a bit of adjustment to use the laptop at the right angle that I wanted. Other than that, the other aspect of the laptop is on point.
I/O & Connectivity
As for the I/O, the Zenbook 13 does come with a bit more than just a USB-C. On the left side, you’ll find a DC IN port – followed by a Full Size HDMI port, a USB-A 3.1 and a USB Type C 3.0. On the other side, you’ll find another full size USB A 3.1, a Micro SD Card slot and a 3.5mm Headphone Jack.
It’s good to know that you won’t be requiring any dongles which is definitely a nice touch to it.
In terms of connectivity, the Zenbook 13 has Bluetooth 4.2 with WiFi 802.11 ac to give that really fast connectivity.
Specification & Performance
The Asus Zenbook 13 that we received houses the following under the hood. It’s powered by an 8th Generation Intel Core i7 – 8550U processor. As for the RAM, the laptop comes with 8GB DDR3 on board. For the storage, the Zenbook 13 has a 512GB PCIe Gen 3×4 SSD. As we mentioned in the design section that the Zenbook 13 does have a bit of a thicker body – not only it houses a bunch of full size ports but also has a NVIDIA GeForce MX150 with 2GB VRAM. This is a decent spec-ed Ultrabook if you ask me.
Under normal load, which involves opening up multiple chrome tabs, Word and playing music in the background – there was a memory load for 49% but there wasn’t any glitch to be seen and it worked just fine. The laptop bootup time takes about 4.5 seconds which is fair under today’s standards. The laptop was quiet and the temperature was marginally warm (about 48 degrees) but there wasn’t any throttling of sorts. Since this laptop houses a Nvidia GeForce MX150, you can have a bit of power on the go to edit through Photoshop Lightroom.
We did try playing some game titles on this laptop – so, we installed Need for Speed: Payback. Other than the fan sound getting louder, at medium settings – we are impressed that this laptop handled the game really well. There were some screen tearing at the start but after entering into free roam, the game was smooth and I did not expect the laptop to handle it well. Genuinely surprised right there. You can watch the small clip of the game that was screen captured while playing it on the Asus Zenbook 13.
Other than that, the laptop works the way it should. You can check out some of the specification and the DiskMark for the 512GB Gen 3×4 SSD.
As for the display, the Zenbook 13 has a (you guessed it!), a 13.3” Full HD 60Hz Display. It doesn’t end there. The display has an Anti-Glare – matte finish on top of it. For the colors, the display has a 72% NTSC with 178 degrees of wide-viewing angles.
The whites are a bit off – it has this light gray shade to it but the colors are nice. Under bright light, you can work with the laptop really well, thanks to the anti-glare finish. The 60Hz support is indeed a sweet touch and I personally liked it – as it does help with the Gaming counterpart in a way. The viewing angles on the display is good and there’s nothing to blow your mind. Watching content on iflix and Netflix is enjoyable. During my time binge racing Arrow, I noticed the blacks are decent and it’s great.
There is one downside, the maximum brightness isn’t as bright as I thought. Asus could have fixed that though.
The Asus Zenbook 13 has a 50 WH – 4 cell battery under the hood. During my time using – the laptop was configured with the following: 70% brightness, scaled to Better Performance, Maximum Volume, Backlight enabled and yes, connected to WiFi. The laptop surprisingly broke my 3 hours work time on a laptop. I was using it to get my work and also a bunch of assignments done, followed by watching some series and I got about 5 hours of usage time with 40% battery left.
Asus did claim that this laptop has the capability to last up to 14 hours. What I can say is that the laptop can last way past the 5 hours mark with no doubt. To completely charge, the laptop takes about 1 hour and 40 minutes – thanks to their new built in Fast Charging capability.
Keyboard and Mouse
The keyboard on the Zenbook 13 is a Chiclet style keyboard with 1.4mm key travel. They keyboard also has LED Backlight with it. The 1.4mm key travel is short and it may not be for everyone but it’s definitely way better than Apple’s Butterfly keyswitches which has an even more shorter key travel. For some reason, the keys on the Zenbook 13 feels a lot more sturdier compared to their previous laptops. It’s responsive and there’s no weird layout – so that’s great.
The trackpad on the Zenbook 13 is the same size as the Zenbook 3 Deluxe that we reviewed. It has a huge surface to move around and the left/right click is solid. Thanks to the Windows Precision drivers, it supports all sorts of gestures to make your work experience smoother and faster.
The speakers on the Zenbook 13 is tuned by Harman Kardon. The sound in this thing is great and watching without a headphone is just great. At maximum volume the voice is clear and crisp. The bass response is impressive. But if you were to place the laptop on a flat surface, it does get that muffling feel because the speakers are located at the bottom. Overall, it sounds good.
Overall, the Asus Zenbook 13 feels really great. It checks out all the box and what’s even best is the fact that it isn’t as expensive I thought it would be. So, that’s definitely a solid win for me. For RM 5185, if you want an ultrabook that doesn’t cost a fortune but offers good specification for the price tag – consider the Asus Zenbook 13. Really. It’s really great to see that the whole ultrabook segment is getting a reasonable price tag.
Not just that, they include a protective sleeve, a microfibre cloth, cable ties – just to make sure that your Zenbook 13 gets enough protection. Don’t worry, the Zenbook 13 is also available for RM 3770 which comes with an i5 processor.
Update: The pricing for the Asus Zenbook 13 has been updated – now with 0% GST.