REVIEW: ZenBook 3 amazing for its size

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By Paisal Chuenprasaeng

Expect to pay a lot for this tough little notebook, but the extras are worth it

Taiwanese manufacturer ASUS has come out with the ZenBook 3 Deluxe UX490, an elegant and powerful notebook computer with a gorgeous 14-inch display and slim and lightweight body.

The UX490 is powered by a fast Intel Core i77500U processor, which combines with other components to ensure good performance to match the luxurious design.

Of course, all this comes at a high price. We’re talking Bt70,000 here.

Sturdy in the hands, the machine’s body is the “6013” aerospacegrade aluminiumalloy that ASUS says is 50 per cent stronger than what’s normally used in laptop computers.

ZenBook 3

The UX490 comes in Royal Blue and Quartz Grey and retains the beautiful design accents of the ZenBook series introduced with the UX21 five years ago. But it has three distinguishing characteristics.

First, the golden metallic edge around the lid looks great, the result of diamond cutting and a twostage anodising process to enhance durability.

Second is the unique gold ASUS logo on the lid, and third is the matching gold backlight in the keyboard, which really adds a lot.

For a 14-inch laptop, this device notebook is an amazingly slim 12.9mm and 1.1 kilograms and thus highly portable. They get it this skinny by using a cooling system that’s only 3mm in width itself, with a fan made from liquid crystal polymer. The fan blades are three-tenths of a millimetre wide.

This size laptop is rarely so powerful. The latest (seventh-generation) Intel Core i77500U processor runs at 2.7GHz. You get a generous 16 gigabytes of fast LPDDR3 RAM (working memory) clocked at 2,133MHz, and a similarly highspeed SSD (solid state drive) of 512GB for storage. The SSD is Generation 3, three times faster than its predecessors.

The UX490 also comes with dualband 2x 802.11ac Wi-Fi, which affords really fast connections. I connected it to Linksys EA8500 router and the laptop was linked into the Internet and rapidly sharing files with other computers in my home network.

The UX490 performs impressively. Business and multimedia applications run fast and smooth. I could play high-definition video and run the Libre Office application with no problem.

I could sense no heating up thanks to that innovative cooling system, which efficiently diverts the hot air through hidden vents in the hinges.

The backlit keyboard is quite comfortable to use. Its “Chicletstyle” design means the keys are 1.2mm apart. The touch pad is also large and smoothly supports gesture controls, recognising gestures in combinations of as many as four fingers used to switch between applications. A two-finger pinch, for example, will zoom you in and out from any screen.

The antiglare display is quite stunning with its LED backlighting and 1,920×1,080pixel resolution, protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 5. ASUS has pulled off quite a stunt putting a 14-inch display in a body the size of most 13-inch laptops.

HD videos and photos look amazing, bolstered by an Intel HD Graphics 620.

I mostly love how the UX490 brings next-generation connectivity – one USB Type-C port supporting USB3.1 Gen 1 on the left and two USB TypeC ports supporting USB3.1 Gen 2 on the right. Any of the three ports can be used to recharge the battery, which is very convenient.

The USB 3.1 Gen 1 has a maximum data throughput of 5Gbps, while Gen 2 gets 10Gbps. The ports on the right will also take Thunderbolt 3, which has 40Gbps of data throughput.

Thunderbolt 3 is the fastest data-transfer format available for computing devices. The two ports ready for it here are also good for video output to two ultra-high-resolution 4K displays – for a total of three simultaneous displays, another impressive feature for such a slim 14-inch notebook.

I connected an LG SJ850T Super UHD TV to one of the Thunderbolt 3 ports using an HDMI1 Decade Series V2.1 8K cable and was able to play 4K HDR YouTube clips with no interruptions.

The UX490 has good battery life to boot – up to nine hours – thanks to a multicell design.

The ASUS ZenBook 3 Deluxe UX490 with guaranteed two years of onsite service has a suggested retail price of Bt69,990.

ASUS ZenBook 3 Key Specs

– Operating system: Windows 10 Pro

– Processor: Intel Core i77500U 2.7GHz dualcore with Turbo Boost (up to 3.5GHz) and 4MB cache

– Graphics: Integrated Intel HD 620

– Display: 14-inch LED-backlit Full HD (1,920 by 1,080 pixeks) with Corning Gorilla Glass 5

– Memory: 16GB 2133MHz LPDDR3 onboard

– Storage: 512GB PCIe 3.0 x 4 SSD

– Interfaces: Two Thunderbolt 3 USBC, one USB 3.1 Gen 1 USBC

– Audio: Quadspeaker ASUS SonicMaster Premium stereo system with surround-sound, Harman Kardon-certified, 3.5mm headphone jack

– Wireless connectivity: 802.11ac WiFi; IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n compatible, Bluetooth 4.1 wireless technology

– Camera: VGA Web camera

– Battery: 46Wh 4cell lithium-polymer battery lasts up to nine hours

– Dimensions: 329x210x12.9mm

– Weight: 1.1kg

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