In recent years, Taiwan-based Asus has been bringing some innovative computing devices and mobile phones targeted at different market segments. It recently launched its premium laptop called Zenbook 3 EX390 in India. The laptop which we received for evaluation is priced at a stratospheric R1,47,990, and it comes with a high-end spec sheet. As such, ZenBook 3 is available in two incarnations, both in the same 12.5-inch chassis. The cheaper model offers stripped-down specs, while the upscale version gets you all the high-end features.
So, what is so special about this ultrabook? Perhaps, several things. Out of the box, the device feels very premium. The full metal body, double anodised edges with a gold trim and ultra-thin bezel makes ZenBook 3 stylish and elegant. It is also one of the thinnest laptops on the market with a weight of 910g and thickness of 11.9 mm. Like Microsoft Surface, Razer Blade Stealth and Apple MacBook, the ultrabook is designed to be a portable machine.
The ZenBook 3 comes with a 12.5-inch screen which boasts a 1920 x 1080 resolution. The full HD display is sharp, vivid and accurate but the screen is very glossy and reflective. Despite some shortcomings, the colourful display, viewing angles and the quality on the ultrabook are excellent.
The ZenBook 3 is powered by the 7th generation Kaby Lake processor (i7 7500) clocked at 2.7GHz paired with 16 GB of DDR3 RAM. During the review period, the laptop handled all the work without any lag. From the daily task of browsing the web and accessing word files, we could use Photoshop and play some graphic intensive games without any hiccup.
The ultrabook comes with a high-capacity 40Wh lithium-polymer battery. The standard battery life of the ultrabook is about five hours with continuous web browsing. Asus has added USB-C type fast charging technology that allows it to charge up to 60% capacity in just 49 minutes. As far as the keyboard is concerned, the ultrabook has a thin keyboard that offers decent layout and clicks but it is mushy and flat. The clickable area provides plenty of room to navigate and perform your tasks easily.
On the connectivity front, the Zenbook 3 has very less to offer. Asus has removed all ports and outfitted it with a singular USB-C port for charging, connecting USB, etc. The dongle in the pack expands the single USB-C port by turning it into one HDMI, one standard USB port, and one USB-C port.
It is true that USB-C is the future, and it will be used for everything from charging to external display connections to peripherals, but the supplied dongle feels grossly inadequate. The only way to address this challenge is buying a third-party adapter having multiple USB ports if you want to connect more than one USB device at a time.
Overall, the Asus Zenbook 3 UX390 packs a marginally bigger screen, powerful processor, sleek and elegant body that is thinner and lighter. It outclasses nearly everything else in the market in this size but the price point of R1,47,990 is something which a consumer will think about twice before going for it.
*Estimated street price: Rs 1,47,990