Small-expense laptops are generally not very excellent, and excellent laptops are generally very expensive. In simple fact, the finances current market is overrun with big, cumbersome laptops that have weak technical specs and no fashionable conveniences, and the predicament has really become worse over the previous few many years. As the Indian rupee has fallen in price, the high-quality of laptops at all value concentrations have declined. Practical items these types of as big SSDs, backlit keyboards and USB Kind-C ports should not be luxurious options, but it is really difficult to come across a excellent offer on a laptop for beneath Rs. 60,000 these days.
Moreoever, as people today who commute with laptops each and every day and normally vacation with very significant backpacks total of machines, we’ve really arrive to take pleasure in very low bodyweight. With rare exceptions (these types of as the uncharacteristically very low MacBook Air rates we’ve viewed in the course of new festive period revenue), no laptop that is both equally powerful and reasonably priced weighs considerably less than one.5kg.
Asus gave us just about all the options we had been wanting for in 2015 with its one.2kg ZenBook UX305 priced at just beneath Rs. fifty,000. Adhering to that, nevertheless, the company went high-close with its ZenBook lineup. It really is only now that we have a legitimate successor in the variety of the ZenBook thirteen (UX331). It really is regrettably a small additional expensive, but it bridges the finances and top quality groups with wonderful technical specs, helpful options, and a bodyweight of just .98kg. It all sounds too excellent to be legitimate, so we had to phone this design in for a evaluation. Here’s what we consider after paying out some high-quality time with it.
Asus ZenBook thirteen (UX331) structure
For a laptop with a thirteen.3-inch display, the ZenBook thirteen (UX331) is shockingly compact and light. It really is one factor to know from reading Asus’s official description that this laptop weighs .98kg, but you want to really decide it up to have an understanding of how light that really is for a laptop. For the sake of comparison, the MacBook Air (2010-2017), which is most people’s strategy of an ultraportable, weighs one.35kg and is also about 1cm wider and deeper. Most other laptop styles that arrive wherever near to this type of bodyweight, these types of as the Apple MacBook, use weaker hardware and are much additional expensive. In simple fact, the ZenBook thirteen (UX331) is in about the same bodyweight course as the new 12.nine-inch iPad Pro or Microsoft Surface Pro tablets with their respective keyboard conditions.
You’d actually experience a large bodyweight off your shoulders if you’re utilised to carrying a laptop each and every day. This is one thing that should immediately enchantment to people today who vacation or commute a ton. Nevertheless, if you’re thinking that there have to be a tradeoff, you would be proper. The ZenBook thirteen (UX331) does not experience wherever around as durable as the other products we’ve just in comparison it to. Despite owning a steel body, this laptop bends and flexes to a disconcerting degree. It just isn’t flimsy, but we would not be cozy placing any bodyweight on it or tossing it in a bag with out a ton of padding. The hinge just isn’t very stiff and the lid won’t experience like it could stand up to much rough procedure.
Right after paying out time with this laptop, we have to say that it is really a small considerably less appealing in genuine lifetime than the description manufactured it out to be. Luckily, you get a protective sleeve in the retail box.
The sides of the ZenBook thirteen (UX331) look as nevertheless they are tapered, but that is just intelligent moulding. Asus has not attempted to go razor-slim. The body is just about uniformly 139mm thick, and that leaves a ton of place for total-sized ports. You get a USB 3. Kind-A port on either aspect, one USB 3.one (Gen one, 5Gbps) Kind-C port, an HDMI movie output, a 3.5mm audio socket, and a electric power inlet. There is certainly also a microSD card slot — an SD slot would have been preferable, but looking at that other ultraportables have ditched this element, we are going to get what we can get. Asus also kindly involves a USB Ethernet dongle, which is wonderful to see.
Asus sells this laptop in two colour choices in India — Rose Gold and Deep Dive Blue. The latter is additional neutral and will have wider enchantment, but we didn’t come across our Rose Gold evaluation unit too garish either. The trademark brushed steel pattern of concentric circles that we’ve viewed on other ZenBook styles is lacking below, and there are no bevelled edges or accent colours wherever. It really is an understated and considerably less top quality look than what we’ve arrive to expect from the ZenBook line.
The body colour extends to the insides of the laptop, besides for the black plastic frame bordering the display and the keyboard keys. The display is not glossy, which means that it is not annoyingly reflective beneath indoor lights. This is wonderful for productivity, but colours never pop very much. The keyboard has a normal layout, with absolutely nothing out of position. Keyboard backlighting is usually appreciated, but there are only two brightness concentrations to pick from. The arrow keys are all squashed into one row but are wider than normal, which to some degree makes up for that. The electric power button has been integrated into the top rated-correct corner, and as with other ZenBooks, it is really a little bit stiffer than the other keys, to minimse the likelihood of accidental presses. 1 awesome touch is the fingerprint sensor just beneath the arrow keys.
Asus ZenBook thirteen (UX331) technical specs and software program
Laptops this compact and light generally use Intel’s sub-5W Y-collection CPUs, which never want lovers and are not as powerful as their mainstream counterparts. The ZenBook thirteen (UX331) however in some way manages to healthy in a 15W U-collection processor designed for additional normal slim-and-light laptops, as effectively as the cooling equipment necessary for it. The only other laptop that manages this is the .97kg Acer Swift 5, which is a hair lighter, but fairly a little bit additional expensive.
You have a option concerning the Core i5-8250U and the Core i7-8550U. We’re reviewing the entry-level configuration of this laptop, so we have the former, which has a base speed of one.6GHz and a optimum turbo speed of 3.4GHz in brief bursts. Both of those CPU choices are centered on the Kaby Lake Refresh system and both equally have four cores with Hyper-Threading. Both of those also have the same Intel UHD Graphics 620 integrated GPU.
The thirteen.3-inch display has a resolution of 1920×1080. Home windows ten was set to scale to 150 p.c by default, which we felt was a little bit too wasteful, so we transformed it to 100 p.c and reclaimed a ton of usable desktop place. The panel is supposed to have 178-degree viewing angles, and that seemed about correct in our knowledge. Asus claims that it can reproduce 72 p.c of the NTSC colour gamut, which just isn’t really expressing a ton.
Our evaluation unit had 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SATA SSD which we consider is fairly generous for the value. 1 move up will get you a 512GB PCIe SSD with the same CPU, and the top rated-close variant gives you the Core i7 CPU with the much larger SSD. The RAM is soldered down but at least the SSD is upgradeable. You get dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11ac and Bluetooth four.two. The battery capability is 50WHr, and promised runtime for place of work productivity is an remarkable fifteen several hours.
You get Home windows ten Dwelling with demo versions of McAfee LiveSafe and Microsoft Office environment 365 and a full bunch of Home windows Store apps. Asus also throws in WPS Office environment, a product or service registration application, a battery overall health application, a lover speed regulate application, an e-manual, a company centre locator, and the Giftbox application keep. This application is total of generally out there freeware but also gives Asus laptop buyers some likely helpful bargains and presents these types of as 25GB of free of charge Dropbox place for a yr.
Asus ZenBook thirteen (UX331) general performance
We utilised the ZenBook thirteen (UX331) for about a week and it didn’t give us any problems in any way. It was ready to take care of movie streaming from common solutions with out any stuttering, and we could multitask concerning dozens of browser tabs and fairly a few apps with out a hitch. The Core i5 processor with its integrated GPU has additional than plenty of grunt for day-to-day productivity. The keyboard keys had been a little bit stiff and the trackpad was just a bit too clean for our liking, but we received utilised to both equally after an hour or two of use.
Benchmark general performance was fairly respectable. Cinebench R15’s solitary-main and multi-main scores had been 140 and 510 respectively. POVRay’s ray tracing benchmark ran in 5 minutes, fifty nine seconds. PCMark 10’s normal and prolonged take a look at scenarios gave us two,853 and two,076 points respectively. The SSD place up a first rate exhibit as effectively, with CrystalDiskMark reporting 560.5MBps sequential reads and 268.2MBps sequential writes. As for graphics exams, we received 941 points in the 3DMark Hearth Strike take a look at and fifteen.4fps in Unigine Valley at 1920×1080 employing the Medium preset, which reflects the capabilities of integrated GPUs. You’ll be ready to operate more mature or considerably less rigorous game titles at all around 30fps, using 1280×720 as the resolution and very low to medium high-quality settings.
The display just isn’t of the greatest high-quality, in terms of colour vibrancy, gradients, and motion smoothness, and but it is really excellent plenty of for informal amusement. 4K videos ran good. Despite the Harman/Kardon co-branding, the speakers on the ZenBook thirteen (UX331) had been very disappointing. The seem is loud but harsh, and we could hear distortion even at the fifty p.c volume level.
The still left and middle of the keyboard received a little bit heat when operating long benchmarks. Major jobs these types of as our genuine-earth movie encoding and file compression exams triggered the process lover spin up, making a tender but persistently grating whine. That mentioned, this was never a challenge with everyday day-to-day use. If you never do any significant 3D rendering on this laptop — which would be the circumstance for most people today supplied its target viewers — you could possibly by no means hear the lover at all.
Battery lifetime is very excellent. We quickly manufactured it by way of a total workday, most of which was expended on the web employing browser-centered apps and equipment. We streamed an hour of movie and observed that the battery level dipped by just about ten p.c. The significant Battery Eater Pro take a look at ran for 3 several hours, ten minutes, which is very excellent for these types of a transportable laptop. The 45W charger is rather compact and uncomplicated to have all around, but it does get a although to get this laptop up to 100 p.c, and it didn’t charge by way of its Kind-C port when we attempted it.
We have been waiting around many years for Asus to launch a successor to the ZenBook UX305, and now, below it is. The new ZenBook thirteen (UX331) is additional expensive, but that is in line with how intercontinental currency trade values have transformed since then. It really is also thinner, lighter, and additional powerful, but has not missing any connectivity or overall flexibility. It has rather much almost everything you want for receiving work done, and you can have it wherever with out being weighed down. The only genuine downside is the lack of physical sturdiness, which means you have to take care of this laptop with treatment.
If you have usually needed a Home windows-centered option to the MacBook Air, the entry-level ZenBook thirteen (UX331) has a beefier processor, twice the storage place, and way additional ports of many sorts. It really is considerably lighter, nevertheless unquestionably much considerably less top quality in terms of all round experience. Most importantly, it costs just a small over fifty percent as much as the freshly launched Retina MacBook Air. The Acer Swift 5 and Swift 7 are the only genuine Home windows-centered options in terms of bodyweight, but also expense additional. If value just isn’t a issue at all, you would be superior off with the additional expensive Dell XPS thirteen, Microsoft Surface Notebook, or Lenovo Yoga 730.
We hope other makers get observe and begin developing this specialized niche — we like slim and light laptops, but they never have to be tremendous-expensive and they never have to go so considerably as to ditch tonnes of helpful options.
Price tag (MRP): Rs. sixty six,990 (as reviewed)
- Terribly light
- Good all round general performance
- Big SSD
- Lots of ports
- Wonderful price for revenue
- Feels flimsy and fragile
- Typical exhibit high-quality
Scores (out of 5)
- Design: 3.5
- Display: 3.5
- Effectiveness: four
- Software package: four
- Battery lifetime: four.5
- Value for revenue: four.5
- All round: four