We got some hands-on time with Asus' latest premium ultrabooks, the ZenBook S13 and ZenBook 14. These laptops impressed us not only with their extremely compact designs, but also because such few compromises were made to achieve that small form factor.
The ZenBook S13 UX392 will be available "in the coming months" while the ZenBook 14 UX431 will launch in Q1. Pricing has not yet been announced for either model.
|Asus ZenBook S13 UX392||Asus ZenBook 14 UX431|
|CPU||Up to Intel Core i7-8565U||Up to Intel Core i7-8565U|
|RAM||Up to 16 GB||Up to 16 GB|
|Storage||Up to 1 TB||Up to 1 TB|
|Ports||2x USB Type-C, USB 3.1, microSD, headphone jack||USB Type-C, USB 3.1, USB 2.0, HDMI, SD card, headphone jack|
|Size||12.4 x 7.7 x 0.5 inches||12.7 x 8.3 x 0.6 inches|
|Weight||2.4 pounds||3.1 pounds|
Asus ZenBook S13 UX392
Although smaller than the ZenBook 14, the ZenBook S13 is the more premium device. That becomes evident when you compare them side-by-side. The 13.9-inch ZenBook S13 has an unbelievable 97 percent screen-to-body ratio, which is achieved by what Asus claims are the world's slimmest display bezels, at 2.5mm.
While I'm a big fan of narrow bezels, they typically lead to compromises, namely to the location of a laptop's webcam. That isn't the case with the ZenBook S13, thanks to the notch at the top of its screen. The word "notch" might not evoke the best image in your head, but the lip on the ZenBook S3 is actually a perk in this case because it makes it easier to open the lid.
The ZenBook S13 doesn't compromise on performance. Not only does it come with the latest 8th-Gen Intel Core U-series CPU (up to a Core i7), but there is also the option to upgrade to an Nvidia GeForce MX150 GPU, making the ZenBook S13 one of the thinnest laptops with discrete graphics out there. Memory maxes out at 16GB and storage can be upgraded to 1TB.
The ZenBook 13's aluminum chassis has a beautiful silver/blue color variant that makes those signature concentric circles on the lid shimmer under the right lighting. At 0.5 inches thin and 2.4 pounds, the ZenBook S13 is one of the most compact laptops on I've seen.
The 1.4mm of key travel on the ZenBook S13's keyboard provided a pleasant amount of feedback, and a convenient Windows Hello fingerprint sensor is built into the touchpad.
Asus rates the ZenBook S13's battery life at 15 hours, but we'll get a better idea of real-world endurance when we put a review unit through its paces.
ZenBook 14 UX431
The ZenBook 14 may not be as striking as its smaller, more premium sibling, but it's an elegant-looking machine, nonetheless. At 86 percent, the screen-to-body ratio isn't quite as impressive as the S13's or the ZenBook 14 we reviewed late last year, but the new ZenBook 14 still looks like a modern premium laptop by today's standards.
At 3.1 pounds, the ZenBook 14 is a bit beefier than the 13.9-inch model, and battery life, rated at 11 hours, isn't quite as long either.
That said, there are more similarities between the ZenBook 14 and S13 than meets the eye. The 14-inch model has a 1080p display, the same Utopia Blue finish as the S13 and an identical keyboard that is angled by the laptop's Ergolyft hinge. Even though the ZenBook is positioned as a lower-end model, it can be configured with the same specs, including an Intel Core i7 CPU, up to 16GB of RAM, a max of 1TB of storage and an Nvidia GeForce MX150 GPU.
There are even a few advantages the ZenBook 14 has over the ZenBook S13. The ZenBook 14 has two additional top-firing speakers, which should provide significantly better audio quality. The ZenBook 14 also includes a HDMI input and SD card slot along with a USB Type-C port, a USB 2.0 port and a USB Type-A 3.1 port. But perhaps the biggest perk is that the ZenBook 14 can be configured with an optional touchpad that features a built-in illuminated numpad.
This model seems like a great option for students who want a premium laptop without breaking the bank, though we'll need to wait for release to render a final judgment.
This article originally appeared on Laptop Mag.