Asus Zenbook 14 review
There’s nothing that breathtaking from a concept perspective about the Asus ZenBook 14 – except maybe the dinky calculator-style trackpad on the front. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
The ZenBook 14 – codenamed UX433 in this case – doubles-down on everything that makes ultrabooks great. You get a slender physics and lots of power. You also get a great screen, with bezels narrower than any before.
But with Apple firmly in the lead when it comes to premium notebooks, does the ZenBook do enough to stand out from the crowd?
Design and Build
The ZenBook 14 is small but solid. Asus has kept the spun finish metal design, and its edges feel neat and flap. This isn’t a laptop that feels flimsy to use at all. Elsewhere, you get much fewer bezels than usual, giving you a screen-to-body ratio of 95 per cent.
So much so, that this 14-inch laptop actually fits into the body size of a 13-inch MacBook Air. Take that, Apple. It’s just smaller, in fact than an A4 piece of paper.
It’s not the slimmest of laptops around, but it's pretty light – about has heavy as carrying a 1-litre bottle of water.
Screen and Sound
Zenbooks have always had a great screen, and this one is no different. The fourteen incher packs a full HD display, with bright colours and good contrast levels. And while the screen is a tad narrower than usual, that makes it perfect for watching tv shows and movies. The laptop also rocks Harmon Kardon audio, so it sounds pretty sweet also.
Performance and Battery
Under the hood, the Zenbook is mighty. With a beefed-up Intel i7 processor, 512 gigabytes of solid-state memory and an Nvidia graphics card, it will please designers, hardcore multitaskers and those willing to play games (albeit, not on their highest settings).
The battery is not bad either; a solid 9-hours of web surfing, sending emails and watching the odd YouTube video. For those looking to get slightly more juice out of it, there’s a clever battery-saver mode which should eke out an extra 30 per cent.
Keyboard and Trackpad
The keyboard is big and spacey, but the biggest aspect of the laptop is certainly that trackpad. A long press of the icon on the top right corner of the trackpad will support an LED Number Pad. When switched on, you can use it as a regular trackpad and number pad.
This ZenBook balances its portability with its power. It packs a stellar design for those who need to get work done on the go, with enough power that most work users won’t ever break a sweat using it. That number pad is a tad niche for us, but all-in-all this is a worthy ultrabook replacement.