There are not many laptops out there that can stand up against the sheer class and supremacy of the MacBook. And Zenbook stands tall against that opponent. Now to know whether this 12 incher, Asus ZenBook 3 UX390UA-XS74-BL, proved to be a capable opposition or not read on.
- CPU – Intel Core i7 Dual-Core (7th Gen), 2.7 GHz
- GPU – Intel HD Graphics
- Memory – 16 GB DDR3
- Screen – 12.5-inch Full HD IPS (1,920 x 1,080)
- Storage – 512 GB SSD
- OS – Windows 10 Pro edition
- Performance – Now let’s take a closer look at the hardware configuration then. It comes with an Intel Core i7 processor, 16 gigs of low power DDR3 RAM and 512 gigs of superfast SSD. In completing tasks like net surfing, mail checking and office works, for which it mostly is gonna be used anyway, it showed great efficiency. There was hardly any noticeable lag or delay while doing all of them together with 10s of tabs open in the browser. The transfer speed of the PCIe Solid state drive is fantastic and with an average transfer rate of more than 1 GBps, it really helps in improving the overall performance. On the negative side, the processor tends to throttle quite easily though as the fan in the Zenbook is pretty finicky about it and turns on at relatively low temperatures. This can be a pretty nasty thing limiting the performance; more on it later in the cooling section.
- Battery – Zenbook 3 comes with a 40 Wh battery. The battery backup is pretty good with nearly 8 hours of runtime while watching movies offline and roughly 4 hours of runtime while surfing the internet heavily. It would make you stay alive for sufficiently long.
- Display – The Zenbook includes a 12.5-inch FHD display which, in comparison with its competitors, fell a bit short in both resolution and size. In spite of that, the screen is pretty good, to be honest. The sRGB coverage of the panel lies around 90% and the delta E value measuring the colour accuracy is found near 1 (after calibration); both of them are quite good. Although the maximum brightness level (roughly 260 nits) could have been much better at this price range as both the MacBook and the XPS shows a better result (around 350 nits). It simply implies that it might not be the best laptop for working in a sunlit environment. But the screen is great for everyday chores nonetheless.
- Ports – Okay, if you are anything like me then you’re not going to be remotely happy after hearing that it comes with only a handful of ports including a USB type-C port (which by the way doesn’t support Thunderbolt 3 for your kind information) and a headphone port. Asus does provide an adapter which can be connected to the USB C port which consists of an HDMI port along with a full-size USB port and a USB 3.1 port. If you are relieved by any chance after hearing that news, then you’re gonna be sorry again after hearing that the USB type-C port is also used for charging purposes. So you can’t plug both the dock and the charger at the same time. Pretty stupid and irritating design issue for sure.
- Cooling – One thing for sure, it surely would get hot. Not as hot as hell though, like some of the laptops that really is hard to use without getting a bit toasty. When using lightly for everyday chores the temperature stays under control as it hardly ever crosses the 35°C (95°F) threshold. But under slight pressure (such as a bit of casual gaming or using a photo editing tool) the top right part of the laptop got considerably hot, topping even 45°C (113°F). Now it might not be as bad as some other laptop but it still is quite hot nonetheless. A premium laptop should not be having this kinda issue. Also, the processor seems to throttle a bit too early.
There are not many laptops that can replace the almighty MacBook. But if you want a budget substitute for an expensive MacBook, Asus ZenBook 3 UX390UA-XS74-BL can be a good choice. It’s not to say that it’s flawless in every aspect. But it provides enough to be a great choice.