The new Asus ZenBook 13 reimagines the laptop, taking cues from the past and present, and applies them to create the modern notebook
By Anuj Bhatia
There was a time when for a slim and light laptop you had to sacrifice on performance. However, times have changed. The Asus ZenBook 13, for instance, is a laptop that strikes a balance between performance and portability. The new ZenBook 13 reimagines the laptop, taking cues from the past and present, and applies them to create the modern notebook. It’s slimmer and lighter, has a near border-free screen, a precision keyboard, expansive trackpad, and impressive specifications. Here is our review of the Asus ZenBook 13.
Design & display
The ZenBook 13 is a sleek and compact laptop perfect for writers. Sitting in a coffee shop, I noticed many people staring at the ZenBook 13. Constructed from metal, the notebook feels solid and luxurious. Asus’ trademark “concentric circle” etching across the lid enhances the design.
It stands out from the crowd with its blue-and-gold colour scheme, and the machine is ridiculously slim and light at 16.9mm and 1.09 kg respectively. This means the ZenBook 13 is small and light enough to fit into regular bag and backpacks. In fact, Asus claims the new 13-inch ZenBook is smaller than A4 paper.
The ZenBook 13 has a forward-looking design, and there is no second thought about it. The display has ultra bezels, something most major mainstream laptops lack now with the exception of a few including the Dell XPS 13, which has been one of our favourite laptops.
Since there is virtually no frame around the top and sides of the screen, images just seem to pop up more. Like any modern laptop, the ZenBook 13 has a 1080p display. It offers impressive colour quality and sharpness.
Asus has also managed to tick all the right boxes when it comes to connectivity. You will get two USB-A ports, one 2.0 and one 3.1, along with one USB-C 3.1, plus an HDMI input and a common headphone/microphone jack. Wireless support includes 802.11ac and Bluetooth 5.0. Thunderbolt 3 is the only connectivity option which is missing.
The Harman Kardon-certified speakers deliver audio that’s loud and clear. When I played Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance, the music was loud enough to fill my room. The sound separation is excellent and the highs are clear and full. However, the bass has no depth. At higher levels, the highs started to suffer a little, too.
Keyboard & touchpad
The good thing about the ZenBook 13’s keyboard is that it offers a solid typing experience, even though the keys are a bit cramped. Strangely, the right-side Shift and Control keys are smaller than usual. That’s partly because of the laptop’s thin profile. The touchpad works fine, though. But it has a nifty feature which you won’t find on other laptops. Touching the upper right corner lights up the virtual Numpad (sort of).
Asus ZenBook 13 review: Performance, battery
The new Asus ZenBook 13 starts at Rs71,990, which includes an Intel Core i5-8265U processor, 8GB RAM, and a 256GB storage. Step up to the Rs89,990 model, which comes with an Intel Core i7-8565U processor, 8GB RAM, and a 512GB storage.
I tested the model with an Intel Core i5-8265U processor, 8GB RAM, and a 512GB storage and I have to say I was impressed. From surfing the web to streaming movies on Netflix and writing and editing copies, the ZenBook 13 handled everything, without any issues.
The machine’s performance, in general, is strong. Plus, you are also getting Nvidia GeForce MX150, 2GB GDDR5 VRAM GPU and the integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620. The ZenBook 13 ships with a 50 watt-hour battery. Given that the laptop does not come with a touchscreen display, it lasts several hours longer. On an average, I got about 10 hours of battery on a single charge.
Should you buy it?
Absolutely. The ZenBook 13 is an incredible laptop with superior design, a solid chassis, a great display, and the latest Intel processor. At Rs88,990, Asus ZenBook 13 is a great laptop, and this is a fact. Sure, Dell XPS 13 is a great laptop too, but it is slightly expensive. The question is, which one to choose? I leave this answer to you.
– Estimated street price: Rs88,990