Dealing with ultrabooks these days you are looking to get the lightest and thinnest possible but that tends to come with some caveats. Either it’s almost portless, display isn’t the greatest or something in between. ASUS manage to hit on most of the marks in a ultrabook and right under the $1,000 price range. I been using it on and off for the past few months and I can let you know some features I enjoyed and and some gripes I had in the ZenBook 13.
Gazing upon the ZenBook 13 first you will notice is it’s not the usual laptop color. ASUS logo is in silver while the rest of the device is decked out in Royal Blue. Outer shell shimmers when the light hits it at the rest time which you notice in the photos. ASUS classifies it as a crystal nano like gloss finish. The ZenBook 13 has been in and out of my bags and even spent a ton of time on my desk and it hasn’t presented a signal scratch. It just garners some fingerprints here and there but it can easily be wiped off.
Flip open the ZenBook and you are welcomed by a backlit QWERTY chiclet keyboard. It can be illuminated in up to four different settings of brightness which is good if you need just a bit of light or those late nights in the bed and you need all the assistance you can get. Going back to the keyboard typing on it has been pleasant and I did this whole article on the ZenBook. Only issue I really have with the keyboard is the placement of the power button. Its right above the backspace button so I have a tendency to almost press it as I’m thinking its the DEL button.
ASUS calls their trackpad “Precision TouchPad” which is covered with glass to make your experience using it comfortable and reliable. Using it for a good period of time I haven’t been quite the fan of it. The touchpad is baked with gestures and work when done right but it’s not even that, the issue the touchpad sometimes just freezes. It is a painful experience that has made me revert to using a mouse with it. To the far right of the TouchPad is a fingerprint sensor which I have found worked great most of the time. Far easier than typing in passwords.
Stay connected to your favorite external devices on the ZenBook 13. Its equipped with two USB-A 3.1 Ports, USB-C 3.1 Port, microSD card reader and a HDMI port. ASUS has managed to keep your options open which works wonder if you require to do various tasks on your laptop. I only wish you could charge the device with the USB-C port but relies on the usual oldschool AC adapters. There are two speakers on the bottom tuned by Harman Kardon which sound great and have thump… when they aren’t covered. Problem is they are on the bottom front of the ZenBook so if you have it on a flat surface like a desk sound spreads out fine. If it have it on say our lap you might experience a bit of a muffled sound. You can still hear everything but can definitely tell the difference.
ZenBook 13 manages to be 2.5lbs and ½ inch thick and still have some nice hardware underneath and also right in your face with the display. Its rocking a 8th Gen Core i5 Processor, 8GB RAM, 256 SSD, NVIDIA GeForce MX150 , with 2GB GDDR5 VRAM, and
Integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620 . Battery is 50W and on normal usage got about 6-7 hours. I did feel the “Sleep” mode on here isn’t great and power would still be sipped. By the time I go back to the ZenBook it’s either dead or on the brink. I would end up powering it off completely when I knew I would be traveling or didn’t have it connected to a power source.
Viewing content on the ZenBook looks natural and provides a nice visual thanks to the size. Its utilizing ASUS’ NanoEdge display which has 100% sRGB color gamut. I enjoyed watching YouTube and Netflix on here as content didn’t look oversaturated but accurate. The NanoEdge display is 13.3ins, 60hz and has a FHD resolution(1920×1080). Best of all its touchscreen so you can click on items or scroll up and down when you don’t want to use the TouchPad. There is a VGA webcam hiding at the top but can only recall using it 1x and don’t see going back to it.
For the past months I have been using the ZenBook 13 on and off. It’s been great for typing up and researching info. Carrying it on the go has been pleasant as its so light I don’t notice it in my bag. I just mostly have issues with the trackpad and “Sleep” mode when not connected. Thanks to all the ports I did end up hooking it up to a 4K monitor via HDMI, also connecting speakers, mouse, keyboard to it mimicking a full-fledged desktop. In that aspect it worked terrific and never experienced any issues.
The ZenBook 13 has been around for quite a bit now but has everything you want in a ultrabook under $1K. Nice accurate display, great processing power for normal tasks and numerous ports to extend your productivity. TouchPad isn’t the best for me but connecting a mouse might some folks. This ASUS ZenBook 13 model I been using is the UX331UN. It can be purchased on various e-tailers HERE.