Before the intro of the Asus ZenBook series, for a long time, I was very, very close to purchasing a MacBook Air, as I wanted the freedom of a well-built ultrabook. My first machine in college was a 15″, 8-pound gaming laptop (with a 2-pound charger). Definitely, which was cool when it came to playing Battlefield 3. But, not so cool when it came to taking it around to class.
Imagine a brick in your bag all day, and then expecting my laptop battery to survive for more than one or two lectures. Thus, the idea of an ultrabook became more and more attractive to me as college wore on. Not satisfied yet with the specs of the ultrabooks available around 2012, I eventually took a spin with a heavily souped-up HP dm1z.
As a matter of fact, even with 4 GB of RAM, it was kind of a disaster with the AMD Vision processor. Although I realized the HP wasn’t a true ultrabook proper, it was discouraging towards all my efforts to move towards the “light but powerful” paradigm, to say the least.
At last, a couple of machines came into vogue in the last year or so that drew my attention. Especially in being reasonably powerful but still quite light and well built. But, not after the dozen hours, that I spent online while reading reviews and a few hours trying each of them. Like Lenovo Yoga Pro 3, Asus Zenbook, and early 2014 13″ MacBook Air.
MacBook Air is the generation right before the 2015 release. And that’s when I ultimately settled on the Asus Zenbook UX303LN for a number of reasons.
What is the Asus ZenBook?
The Asus ZenBook is a family of ultrabooks – low-bulk laptop computers – produced by the Asus company. The first ZenBooks was released in October 2011. While the original range of products was amended and expanded back in 2012.
The concentric circles on the lid of Zenbooks were intended to look like ripples in water and to reflect;
Philosophical ideas such as the infinite nature of Zen thinking and self-improvement.
Models range from 12-inch laptops featuring power-efficient components but lacking connectivity and having only integrated graphics processors, to 15-inch laptops with discrete graphics processing units and optical disc drives.
Most (though not all) ZenBooks use Intel Core ultra-low-voltage processors and Nvidia GPUs when integrated graphics are not used.
Asus introduced new models with touch screens to take advantage of Windows 8 after its release in late 2012. Most models drew comparisons to the Macbook Air. The Asus ZenBook is mainly known to compete against other topmost computers.
Such competitors include:
- Acer‘s Aspire,
- Dell‘s Inspiron and XPS,
- HP‘s Pavilion and Envy,
- Lenovo‘s IdeaPad,
- Samsung‘s Sens,
- Toshiba‘s Satellite, etc.
The ZenBook name was proposed by Asus chairman Jonney Shih to reflect the “zen philosophy” applied to the design.
The chief designer, Loewy Chen, had wanted to incorporate design elements from luxury watches into his products for a long time. ZenBooks were the first opportunity to put this into practice, the crossover being achieved, he said; by
The unfolding of the laptop from the side recalling the elegance of minute and hour hand movements.
The reference to watches is also reflected in the marketing of ZenBooks; Asus published design sketches overlaying an open ZenBook on a watch face, and video advertisements feature similar imagery.
The Asus ZenBook Design Features
In 2009 Asus released the UX50V, a 15-inch laptop that was focused on energy efficiency and had a thin profile. The laptop was rated poorly by reviewers as it under-performed and had mediocre battery life, despite the installed energy-efficient hardware.
Although not branded as one, it bore the same “UX” product code as many of the later ZenBooks and was an early foray into the ultraportable market.
Asus designed the ZenBooks with brushed aluminum chassis and high rigidity, rather than plastic, the usual laptop construction material. A pattern of concentric circles on the lids is said to represent ripples in water and represent the “zen philosophy.” And that its designers wanted to portray when creating the laptops.
The bodies of the ZenBooks are made of aluminum, chosen for its lightweight, strength, vibration dampening, appearance, and acoustic properties. Both the bodies and lids are CNC milled and brushed for appearance. Reviewers have noted that the resulting superior rigidity complimented the appearance of the ZenBook range.
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To preserve space, some Zenbooks use two PCBs connected by a communications ribbon. So, it can have ports on both sides of the device, with a heatsink and fan centered between them.
Generally, the ZenBook series has been well-received due to their chassis design and appearance. As well as, the high-quality screens used in later models. However, the touchpad software was found to be erratic. Particularly, on the early models and some of the models received criticism for their high prices.
Some models (such as the UX32) suffer from lockdown when the lithium polymer battery cell gets drained or discharged below its recommended threshold. For example, if the device is left on and unattended. The result is that the charger will fail to recharge the battery even when plugged in. Leaving the machine in a near-complete unresponsive off-state.
All in all, the machine can often be revived by pressing the power-on key for 10 seconds, whereupon it will start recharging. That in mind, is the laptop series worth it?
Is the Asus ZenBook Laptop good?
Only the best Ultrabooks can deliver the ultimate combination of style and substance that creative professionals deserve. These thin and light laptops ooze not only in style, touting stunning, svelte chassis, but also in power. All thanks to the best processors and SSDs under their hoods.
Better yet, they have some of the best battery life I’ve seen on laptops. Not forgetting, enough to make it through your whole day on a single charge. While at the same time, they are lightweight, powerful, and long-lasting. In a package luxurious and attractive enough to become a status symbol of sorts.
On the other hand, the best Ultrabooks are perfect for photo and video editing, light 3D design, and writing the next great seller novel. And, they’re worth seriously considering if you’re looking to make your next big PC purchase. Even though they do cost a bit more than regular laptops.
That in mind, to help you find the best Ultrabook for you, that’s why I’ve gathered the best Ultrabooks in 2020 right now. Whereby, every single one of them in this article has been reviewed by a team that knows exactly what your wants are. So, you now know that they all have my stamp of approval.
The best Ultrabooks at a glance:
- Dell XPS 15
- HP Elite Dragonfly
- HP Spectre x360 (2020)
- Dell XPS 13
- Huawei Matebook 13
- Surface Laptop 3
- Lenovo Yoga C930
- Razer Blade Stealth 13 (2019)
- Microsoft Surface Book 3
- Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701
These days, the best gaming laptop manufacturers are scrambling to craft the thinnest gaming laptop packing raw power.
Right now, the one that might be leading the charge is the Asus ROG Zephyrus S17. At just 0.7 inches thick, this is the best Ultrabook for gaming. It’s a beast of a laptop, boasting an Intel Coffee Lake Core i7 chip, Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q graphics, and 16GB of RAM.
That means you can play any PC game under the sun on Ultra, and also take it with you wherever you go – ideal for travelers with a penchant for gaming. Plus, it’s packed with RGB lighting that’ll dazzle just about anyone.
You can read the full review of Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701
And simply, b
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In 2018, Asus debuted ScreenPad with the ZenBook Pro 15 UX580. The ScreenPad replaces the regular trackpad with a color capacitive touchscreen display.
Above all, this technology was then in 2019 included in other series laptops. Like the ZenBook 13 (UX334), ZenBook 14 (UX434), and ZenBook 15 (UX534). Being offered optionally on the lower end lineup of VivoBook S laptops.
In 2019, as a successor, the 2018’s ZenBook Pro, the ZenBook Duo, and ZenBook Pro Duo feature two screens. One at the regular position and the other above the keyboard. This second display resulted in the move of the keyboard nearer to the chin.
It also included the trackpad to where a number pad would be similar to Asus’ gaming ROG Zephyrus laptop.
What do its Reviewers say?
The first official ZenBooks, the ZenBook UX21E, and UX31E drew comparisons to the Macbook Air and it was regarded as an “excellent rival” by CNET reviewer Andrew Hoyle. Other aspects of the laptops that reviewers liked were the Bang and Olufsen speakers.
In particular, for fast boot times due to Asus’ BIOS design, and the speed of general tasks within the operating system resulting from the SSD and Sandy Bridge processors. However, the screens drew criticism for their poor contrast ratio, color accuracy, and less than perfect viewing angle.
Although they were praised for their brightness and the sharpness of the UX31’s screen. Reviewers also noted the shallow key-press of the metal keyboard. And also, lack of backlighting, a feature that Asus did not have time to implement before shipping.
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The new screens on the ZenBook Prime were highly praised by reviewers when considering brightness, contrast ratio, viewing angle, and color accuracy, the improvements over previous models being put down to the switch from TN to IPS displays.
The keyboard also garnered praise for the increased backlighting and improved key travel while the Intel Wi-Fi controller was found to perform better than the Qualcomm used in the first generation of Zenbooks. The Zenbook Primes still received some criticism: the latest version of the trackpad was acknowledged as an improvement over the original Zenbooks.
But still irritating, and the sound quality was found to be worse than that with the first generation. Despite these issues, the overall reaction was positive: the UX31A was called “today’s best ultrabook” and “the best ultrabook out there” at the time of release.
The ZenBook UX32VD was well received for similar reasons to the Zenbook Prime. The screen, chassis, and keyboard again garnered praise although the inclusion of a discrete GPU was noted as a major selling point. The hybrid drive attracted criticism for its slow performance and the same trackpad issues that the Zenbook Prime had been still present.
SLR Lounge criticized the slow hybrid drive and 4 GB of RAM but suggested replacing them as the option is available, noting that it was an option not often offered on ultrabooks.
As a cheaper option, the ZenBook UX32A was praised by Chris Martin of PC Advisor for being “a more affordable luxury”, retaining the “premium feel” of the Zenbook range but at a lower price point. The aluminum chassis, which is identical to the UX32VD to keep costs down, was widely acclaimed for its strength and build quality.
By contrast, the Sandy Bridge chip, a previous-generation part at the time of sale, was outlined as a detraction as was the lower battery life compared to the UX31E. Although the screen used was a TN panel and of a lower resolution than the UX32VD or UX31A, it was considered an acceptable compromise for the price.
The screen has a matte finish and relatively high brightness which Notebook Check’s reviewer, Christian Hepp, found “quite suitable for outdoor use”, noting that it had a good contrast ratio but a narrow range of colors.
The ZenBook UX42VS and UX52VS drew criticism for its high price and lack of touch screen, but the screen quality, keyboard, and system speed were praised. The battery life was considered acceptable taking into account the form-factor and the discrete GPU, despite it being significantly shorter than the UX31A.
AnandTech reviewer Jason Inofuentes found the touch screen to be so superior to the trackpad that he stopped using the trackpad altogether in his trial of a Zenbook Touch at the Asus launch event. Chris Griffith of The Australian found that the screen of the UX31A responded well and that the Windows 8 gestures worked predictably, his only criticism being the high price.
The ZenBook UX430 is commonly reported to suffer from significant coil whine issues. If you think there are more additional information to the above guide, please feel free to share them in the comments section or even Contact Us for more help.
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