As you may or may not know, the ZenBook series is one of ASUS’s best laptop series famous for its compact and elegant design. The new ZenBook 13 (UX331) which has been announced last October even comes in a size smaller than a sheet of A4 paper! To prove that its compact size doesn’t scale down performance, we tested the machine so here is our ZenBook 13 review!
ZenBook 13 comes in the traditional ZenBook-styled design with the iconic Zen-inspired spun-metal finish on the lid. The lid looks pretty cool under the lights, but it is quite a fingerprint magnet so you may need to wipe it frequently. It is available in 2 colours options – Royal Blue, Icicle Silver or Burgundy Red, they all feature a Rose Gold trim panel above the keyboard for a more luxurious feel.
The new frameless four-sided Nano-Edge design on ZenBook 13 offers an impressive 95% screen-to-body ratio in a compact size smaller than an A4 paper. It is also 14.3% smaller than the previous generation ZenBook 13 (UX331)! It is super lightweight too at only 1.09kg. The Webcam is gladfully retained on the top-bezel so you can get a more flattering view for video calling.
Other than these, ZenBook 13 features a backlit keyboard that allows you to type even in the dark. Most of the laptops sacrifice NumPad for more compact body size, while ZenBook 13 offers a solution that doesn’t sacrifice anything – it integrates a LED-illuminated NumPad into the touchpad. You can turn on and off NumPad with just a single touch on the top right of the touchpad.
The Ergo-Lift hinge design is also featured on ZenBook 13. When you lift up the lid, the new design automatically tilts the keyboard to a more comfortable typing position, as well as improving cooling and audio performance. For the ports, it features the latest USB-C port, a USB 3.1 Type-A port, a USB 2.0 Type-A port, an HDMI port and a microSD card reader.
Although ZenBook 13 comes in a compact size, it is actually a very tough laptop that meets the ultra-demanding MIL-STD-810G military standard. It passed various challenging tests such as extreme altitudes, temperatures and humidity that proves its reliability and durability!
ZenBook 13 Specifications
ZenBook 13 is available in 2 variation – one with Intel Core i5-8265U processor (which is the model we get) and another one with Intel Core i7-8565U processor. It is powering NVIDIA GeForce MX150, 8GB LPDDR3 2133MHz RAM and 512GB PCIe 3.0 x2 SSD as well. Handling multitasks is seamless on the machine, you can even load some popular PC games at a medium graphics setting.
It also features an exclusive Quiet Fan app – you can choose to get better performance with a slightly higher operating noise, or quieter operation when you are doing normal tasks that don’t require high performance. The cooling performance is decent. The machine still heats up a little bit while running games but fortunately, it won’t affect your gaming experience.
For those who have a high expectation on audio performance, ZenBook 13 won’t disappoint you. Certified by audio specialists Harman Kardon, the ASUS SonicMaster audio technology on it is capable to deliver a pleasant audio performance. You can get up to 14 hours of battery life thanks to its 50Wh battery too.
We run the PC Mark 10 test on ZenBook 13 and here is the result:
3165 is a decent score for a compact laptop. It gets a pretty good result at 6541 on the App Start-up Score, while for Digital Content Creation, it got 3085 on Photo Editing Score and 2655 on Video Editing Score. Although it couldn’t offer top-notch performance, ZenBook 13 is still capable for normal content creating works.
Of course, gaming performance is very important for us so we tested the machine with a few of the popular PC games as well. Taking an example from one of the games we test, Dragon Ball FighterZ runs at a stable 60FPS on medium graphics settings. The game still runs at 60FPS under high graphics settings, but the machine heats up really fast and the game begins to lag after a few moments.
With a size smaller than an A4 paper, ASUS ZenBook 13 offers a powerful performance that is higher than our expectation. However due to its compact size, it heats up quickly and this leads to a scaled-down performance while gaming.
As a conclusion, ZenBook 13 might not be a great choice for those who look for high gaming performance (you may get ZenBook 15 instead). But if you are looking for a laptop that you can easily bring around and enjoy smaller games, ZenBook 13 should be in your consideration list.