Taiwanese computer and peripherals manufacturer Asus has primarily been known for its gaming hardware. But it also have a significant hold on the consumer PC business. As part of the consumer PC segment; Asus has invested heavily in business-focused laptops lineup. The company launched its latest Asus ZenBook 13 alongside the ZenBook 14 along with VivoBook S14 and VivoBook Ultra K14 laptops. The Asus ZenBook 13 UX325 has a starting price of Rs 79,990 and the unit we received costs Rs 99,990. Here’s our review of the Asus ZenBook 13 2020 edition. Also Read - Asus ROG Phone 3 Review: Best in its class with space for improvement
Design of the Asus ZenBook 13
The Asus ZenBook 13 is one of the most attractive lightweight and power-packed laptops in India yet. The laptop is made out of a lightweight, diamond-cut aluminum alloy and the exterior has a matte finish. At 1.11kg it is one of the lightest laptops out there, and this is something that users will notice right out of the box. This is just as large as a big notebook and fits easily in almost any bag and has 13.9mm thickness. The back panel of the device features the concentric circular texture that is typical of Asus laptops. The design element is different compared to the previous generation of ZenBook 13. Also Read - Asus ROG Strix gaming laptops with 10th gen Intel processors launched in India
With the laptop turned on and the display on, users will notice that the bezels are definitely on the thinner end. The top end is slightly larger than the sides to fit in the camera. The laptop has a 13-inch form factor but has not compromised when it comes to the size of the keys on the keyboard. The touchpad combines with NumberPad 2.0 and is much longer than the traditional one. And this is where we faced an issue.
As for the ports it comes with two Thunderbolt 3 USB-C (up to 40Gbps) ports, one of which doubles as the power. Besides this, there is a USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A (up to 5Gbps), a standard HDMI, and a MicroSD card reader. It could become a little difficult if you want to plug in a flash drive along with a mouse. The build of the laptop is sturdy and usually does not flex under normal use, even if it has a thin form factor.
The Numpad on the touchpad is activated by holding down on the Numpad sensor on the top right. The button on the top left adjusts the brightness by default. While the Numpad worked just fine and even doubled as a touchpad at the same time, we faced some other issue. While Asus claims that the ZenBook 13’s glass-covered touchpad has intelligent palm rejection, my experience was marred with problems. I follow the classics when typing and keep my index fingers on the F and J keys respectively. My palms are rather big, and the underside of my right palm kept coming in contact of the touchpad. This registered mouse movement as well as clicks which pushed me to turn the touchpad off after a while and use a mouse.
Another issue I faced was that though the keyboard is a backlight, whenever the display is above 80 percent brightness it renders the keyboard backlight useless. The display is so bright, and the weak backlight of the keyboard just can’t keep up.
Now, this is where the Asus ZenBook 13 really shines. The 13.3-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080), anti-glare screen, 1W, 450nits brightness is one of the best displays I have seen in this segment. The display is bright, crisp, and has impeccable details. It has excellent color reproduction which makes watching media and photos on it a pleasure. The viewing angles on the display are excellent and users can view the screen even from the sides, though with some diminished brightness.
Specs and performance of the Asus ZenBook 13
The Asus ZenBook 13 we received features an Intel Core i7 – 1065G7 1.30GHz Ice Lake generation CPU. This is part of the newest chips from Intel which are made using a 10nm manufacturing process. This comes with a 16GB 3200MHz LPDDR4X RAM, but there is no dedicated GPU on the device. The device uses Intel Iris Plus Graphics, which is surprisingly capable. It has a 1TB PCIe NVMe 3.0 x2 M.2 SSD for storage which makes things zippy quick.
Now, the specs on the device make it a top-notch business laptop and it does not let down in performance. The laptop measures up and can handle documents and PDF apps along with Photoshop and Lightroom. It can even handle the Unity and Android SDK apps with heavy projects as well which were frankly surprising.
We did some light gaming on the device as well and it easily ran low spec games like Valorant and Counter-Strike Global Offensive at 60FPS in low settings. While there were some choppy frames, the games were easily playable even on a competitive scene.
The heat dissipation of the laptop is well mapped though. The air intake is on the underside while it exits under the ErgoLift hinge. The designers were efficient enough to ensure even under huge loads the keyboard region is not heated up.
We ran the PCMark 10 benchmark on the Asus ZenBook 13 and it came up with a score of 4,094. While this is less than the highest rated work centric laptop benchmarked there, it still is a decent score.
Another surprisingly great feature of the laptop was its audio capabilities. While the text on the laptop mentions ‘Sound by Harman/Kardon’ the website mentions that the ASUS SonicMaster stereo audio system with surround-sound and smart amplifiers is actually certified by the audio company. Nonetheless, the audio is crisp and clear and even though it does not have punchy lows, the clarity along with volume is excellent. Overall, the experience is decent for your needs.
Moving on to the battery performance of the Asus ZenBook 13, the laptop lasted around 4-5 hours after a full charge with the brightness at 80 percent and some web browsing, watching media, and playing some Valorant. The device comes with a 67Wh 4-cell lithium-polymer battery and charges to full in about 50 minutes with the 65W power adaptor.
Should you buy the Asus ZenBook 13?
The Asus ZenBook 13 is frankly one of the better business laptops I have used. This despite the fact that the keyboard backlight and touchpad kind of became an inconvenience. The laptop becomes a clear winner with its’ brilliant display and audio capabilities pulling it through. And for a business laptop without a dedicated GPU, the laptop can handle a variety of tasks and even some gaming which makes it quite versatile. This laptop should be at the top of the list for media lovers as it offers an excellent viewing experience.