The Asus ZenBook 13 is aloof the admission for productivity-minded alley warriors on a budget. It weighs beneath than three pounds, measures a little added than a half-inch thick, and boasts a quad-core processor and all-day array life.
This accurate archetypal of the ZenBook 13 has downsides: It lacks detached cartoon for gaming, it chugs during diffuse CPU-intensive tasks, and it’s saddled with a dim, non-touch-sensitive display. Still, it shines back it comes to accustomed accretion chores, and its array keeps action and going.
We advised the adaptation of the ZenBook 13 (UX331UA-AS51) that’s currently about $799 on Amazon. It comes with an 8th-generation quad-core Bulk i5-8250U processor, 8GB of low-power DDR3 RAM, a 256GB solid-state drive, a 13.3-inch full-HD affectation and chip Intel 620 UHD graphics. On paper, that makes for a solid productivity-minded laptop for administration accustomed tasks like web browsing, chat processing, spreadsheets, ablaze photo management, and maybe alike some adventitious gaming.
For about $100 added on AmazonRemove non-product link, you can footfall up to a adaptation of the ZenBook 13 (UX331UA-DS71) with a beefier Bulk i7-8550U processor. A higher-end adaptation (the UX331UN-WS51T), which we advised beforehand this year (available on Amazon), adds detached Nvidia GeForce MX150 graphics, acceptable for those who appetite to dive into Adobe Premiere or allow in a little Fortnite (playable at a bland 60 fps if you achieve for the “Medium” cartoon preset).
Measuring 12.2 x 8.5 x 0.55 inches and belief about 2.7 pounds (or three pounds if you accommodate the bunched 45-watt AC adapter), the Acer ZenBook 13 UX331UA feels affably abbreviate and light.
The Asus ZenBook 13’s “icicle white” lid doesn’t attact fingerprints the way the pricier “royal blue” archetypal does.
While its carapace isn’t awfully distinctive, a from Asus’ signature concentric circles categorical into the lid, the ZenBook manages to attending glassy and professional. The “icicle gold” (think silver) acidity of our ZenBook 13 analysis assemblage lacks the attractive glossy “royal blue” accomplishment of the pricier discrete-graphics version; afresh again, it additionally attracts far beneath fingerprints.
Open the lid and you’ll acquisition a abbreviate 6.86mm bezel about the 13.3-inch display, while the chunk gold accomplishment covers the absolute access rest.
The Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UA’s 13.3-inch, 1920×1080 screens looks as aciculate and ablaze as added full-HD displays we’ve apparent in this bulk range. Examination angles on the ZenBook’s “WideView” AHVA affectation console (AHVA is Asus’s proprietary booty on IPS, by the way) are additionally solid, with the awning concealment hardly a the 45-degree mark—again, accepted stuff.
The Asus ZenBook 13’s affectation is on the dim ancillary (no abruptness accustomed its account bulk tag), but at atomic the awning boasts solid examination angles.
Given the ZenBook 13’s almost low price, though, corners had to be cut somewhere. In this case we’re talking awning brightness—just 226 nits (or candelas), somewhat abbreviate of our 250-nit accepted for adequate calm reading. While the ZenBook’s affectation was almost accessible to appearance in my office, I begin myself squinting a bit back application the laptop a a ablaze window.
It’s additionally account acquainted that the ZenBook 13 UX331UA lacks a key affection present in its sibling, the hardly pricier (and detached graphics-equipped) UX331UN: a touch-sensitive affectation with alive pen and Windows Ink support.
Back on the additional side, the ZenBook 13 comes with a comfy, abrupt keyboard, complete with three-step backlighting, hardly biconcave key caps, about 1.4mm of key biking and a nice, concrete actuation bump. Best of the accepted function-enabled hotkeys are available, including aeroplane mode, sleep, brightness, volume, and affectation preferences, although media playback and settings hotkeys are missing.
The Asus ZenBook 13’s comfy, concrete keyboard comes with three-step backlighting, while a fingerprint clairvoyant sits aloof beneath on the right.
The ZenBook 13’s glass-coated trackpad did its assignment with a fair bulk of precision, although I noticed a bit of herky-jerkiness on the cursor’s part, as able-bodied as a few adventitious inputs from my award while I was typing.
Sitting aloof beneath the bottom-right bend of the keyboard is the ZenBook 13’s fingerprint sensor, acceptable for unlocking your Windows contour and bound logging in to Windows Hello-compliant apps. While I’ve had agitation with choosy fingerprint sensors in the past, this one about let me in on the aboriginal or additional attempt.
The Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UA’s down-firing Harman Kardon speakers are absolutely appealing appropriate for a account laptop, with crisp, abundant sounds and a tiny bit of bass (better than nothing, which is what you usually get). The ZenBook 13’s speakers are additionally impressively loud, as I apparent back I cranked “Live and Let Die” by Paul McCartney and Wings. The ZenBook’s speakers are no acting for a set of committed speakers, of course, and you’ll about get bigger complete by active in a brace of headphones. That said, I’ve absolutely heard worse.
Meanwhile, the Asus ZenBook 13’s 480p webcam (which sits in the bezel aloft the display) capures blotchy, albino images that will abort all but the best aimless Skype users.
The Asus ZenBook 13’s accumulating of ports should amuse best budget-minded users, starting on the larboard ancillary with a abounding HDMI port, the aboriginal of two USB 3.0 ports, and a USB 3.0 Type C Gen 1 anchorage (up to 5Gbps). Additionally on the left: a barrel-shaped charging port, additional a brace of indicator lights for charging and standby.
Left-side ports on the Asus ZenBook 13 accommodate abounding HDMI, USB 3.0, and USB-C Gen 1.
On the appropriate ancillary of the ZenBook 13, you’ll acquisition a additional USB 3.0 port, a admixture audio jack and a micro SD agenda reader. No Thundert 3, unfortunately, but that’s not hasty accustomed the ZenBook’s account bulk tag.
The Asus ZenBook 13 comes with a additional USB 3.0 anchorage on its appropriate side, additional a admixture audio jack and a micro SD agenda reader.
As with any budget-priced ultraportable laptop, and absolutely one with an chip cartoon core, you’ll charge to accumulate your expectations in analysis back evaluating the Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UA’s performance. No, the ZenBook 13 isn’t a gaming machine, nor will it bang any basic with it comes to processor-intensive tasks like video encoding. That said, the ZenBook has solid abundance chops, and its absorbing array action alone aperitive the deal.
First, we capital to affirm that the Asus ZenBook 13 can accomplish accustomed tasks with a bounce in its step. To do this, we accursed up PCMark 8, a criterion that simulates such circadian accretion affairs as browsing the web, basic chat documents, tinkering with spreadsheets and video chatting. Typically, we’re attractive for a minimum PCMark 8 account of 2,000, while the peppiest laptops about account 3,000 or better.
You can apprehend bland Appointment achievement from the Asus ZenBook 13 accustomed its absorbing PCMark 8 score.
Good news: the ZenBook 13 and its quad-core, eighth-generation CPU clears the 3,000 mark with ease, forth with its analogously able competition. Don’t get too afraid up on who got aboriginal abode and who came in last. For our purposes, any account over 2,000 claim a accidental grade, and ambiguity over a few hundred credibility in the 3,000 ambit is aloof agreeable hairs.
Here’s area things get interesting. In our aing benchmark, we use the chargeless HandBrake apparatus to catechumen a 40GB video book into an Android tablet-compatible format. This diffuse (often an hour or more) and CPU-intensive assignment tells us a lot about how a accustomed laptop manages calefaction buildup. Back it comes to quad-core laptops, a Handbrake account beneath 4,000 abnormal is appealing good; 4,000 to 5,000 abnormal is average, while added than 5,000 abnormal is absolutely meh. Once you’re in the 6,000 range, you’re about in the acreage of cheaper dual-core laptops.
With its bourgeois access to thermals, the Asus ZenBook 13 lags its competitors back it comes to diffuse CPU-intensive tasks.
With a account of 5,136 abnormal (nearly an hour and a half), the ZenBook 13 UX331UA’s Handbrake time acreage it in aftermost place, aloof a few account advanced of its pricier UX331UN sibling. It’s not an abominable score, but it’s not abundant either.
Looking beneath the hood, we acquisition that the ZenBook 13 (the UA version) puts the pedal to the metal during the aperture moments of the Handbrake benchmark, with its CPU amalgamation temperature aerial to 90 degrees Celsius (approaching the Bulk i5-8250U’s operational limits) and its processor alarm acceleration cranking to about 2.8GHz. Within a few minutes, a aggregate of thermal throttling (which cuts CPU acceleration to accord with the heat) and power-limit throttling (which puts a lid on processor wattage output) bliss in, slamming on the brakes until CPU temperatures abatement to a abundant acknowledgment 60 degrees Celsius and alarm speeds apathetic to about 1.85GHz, area they achieve in for the of the test.
To put the ZenBook 13’s last-place Handbrake achievement in perspective, accede that the first-place accomplishment for the Dell XPS 13 comes with a ample $1,200 bulk tag, while the added laptops in our allegory blueprint are thicker and heavier, and appropriately easier to cool. Indeed, the cheaper Acer Aspire E15 is about alert as blubbery and abundant as the ZenBook.
Bottom line: if you were apprehensive how a laptop like the Asus ZenBook 13 could be so attenuate and ablaze for aloof $799, its capricious HandBrake account tells you why.
While our Handbrake criterion measures a laptop’s achievement over an hour or so, our aing analysis is about over in a bulk of minutes. Cinebench tasks a arrangement with apprehension a 3D angel in real-time, a CPU-stressing assignment that spins up cooling admirers aloof like HandBrake does, but alone for a abrupt aeon of time.
Short busts of acute action are no botheration for the Asus ZenBook 13, as its third-place Cinebench account attests.
The Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UA fares abundant bigger with Cinebench, advancing in third abaft the abundant pricier Dell XPS 13 and the discrete-graphics adaptation of the ZenBook (the UX331UN).
As it turns out, Cinebench’s abbreviate run time works to the ZenBook 13’s advantage. As in the Handbrake test, the ZenBook bursts out of the gate, attic it back it comes to CPU achievement while cranking out calefaction in the process. By the time thermal throttling bliss in, the Cinebench analysis is about over.
A laptop with an chip cartoon bulk like the Asus ZenBook 13 UX331A can’t be accepted to crank out ery anatomy ante back it comes to games, and our 3DMark Sky Diver criterion confirms our expectations.
Saddled with an chip cartoon core, the $799 archetypal of the Asus ZenBook 13 can’t attempt with laptops that accept detached cartoon cards.
Bunched up in the average with added integrated-graphics laptops, the $799 ZenBook 13 will absolutely do the ambush back it comes to ablaze photo editing, Minecraft, or adventitious amateur in general. But it can’t accumulate up with laptops that avowal detached cartoon cards, such as the Acer Aspire E15 (E5-576G-5762) and the ZenBook 13 archetypal with Nvidia GeForce MX150 graphics.
We analysis array action by looping a 4K video application the banal Windows 10 video player, with awning accuracy set at about 250 nits (which meant cranking the accuracy all the way up on the ZenBook 13) and axis the aggregate up to 50 percent, headphones on.
The Asus ZenBook 13 squeezes an absorbing bulk of abstract out of its 50 watt-hour battery.
The Asus ZenBook 13’s aftereffect of 650 account (nearly 11 hours) is absorbing because its 50 watt-hour battery, outdistancing its discrete-graphics affinity and besting the Acer Aspire E15 and its beyond 62 watt-hour battery. Basically, we’re attractive at all-day array life, a abundant accessibility if you’re alive from the road.
The Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UA is a thin, light, budget-minded laptop with a bounce in its footfall back it comes to accustomed accretion tasks, and it’s got all-day array action to boot. Its chip cartoon can’t attempt with laptops that accept detached cartoon cards, and it won’t be breaking any annal back it comes to video encoding or added CPU-intensive tasks. That said. the ZenBook 13 will amuse abundance mavens who adopt abrogation AC adapters at home.
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