The new range of ZenBook laptops from Asus are the best

Asus announced three new laptops for the Malaysian market – the ZenBook 13, the ZenBook 14 and the ZenBook 15 – and if you’re looking for a new computer at a reasonable price, these are probably the best ones you can get right now.

First, here are the specs and features

Asus say the new ZenBook laptops are the first ZenBook models to use a four-sided frameless Nano Edge display, with slim bezels and up to 95% screen-to-body ratio. The all-new design is also the most compact the company has ever created, giving the ZenBook series the world’s smallest footprint in their respective classes.

The ZenBook 13 for example has a footprint that is smaller than a sheet of A4 paper. I’ll agree with Asus on this one, the new ZenBooks are super small.

The ZenBook 13 and ZenBook 14 comes with something that’s novel too. The trackpad converts into an LED-backlit number pad. It’s an ingenious idea and one that certainly makes the laptop more useful for people that have do work with Excel sheets and numbers on a regular basis. I’m surprised that no other laptop manufacturer thought of the simple yet useful idea.

For security, all models feature a special 3D IR camera that allows for fast, more accurate facial recognition via Windows Hello, even in low-light environments.

You can expect excellent performance from the new ZenBooks as well. You can choose between the 8th-gen Intel Core i5 or i7.

The 13-inch and 14-inch ZenBook comes with 8GB DDR3 RAM with 512GB of storage and dedicated Nvidia GeForce MX150 graphics while the 15-inch model gets 16GB of DDR4 RAM with the option of either 512GB or 1TB SSD of storage and dedicated Nvidia GeForce GTX1050 Max-Q graphics.

In terms of connectivity, the laptops are very well appointed. The 13- and 14-inch range get 1x USB 2.0, 1x USB3.1 Type A (Gen1), 1x USB3.1 Type C (Gen 2) and 1x HDMI ports while the larger 15-inch version comes with 1x USB3.1 Type A (Gen1), 1x USB3.1 Type A (Gen2), 1x USB3.1 Type C (Gen 2), 1x HDMI ports. In case you’re wondering if you can charge the ZenBook via the USB C port, the answer is no.

The whole range supports faster gigabit WiFi connectivity (802.11 AC), Harman Kardon certified audio and is torture-tested to military-grade (MIL-STD-810G) reliability standards for altitude, temperature, humidity as well as drop, shock and vibration testing.

So why are these laptops the best?

Storage, dedicated graphics and price. The ZenBook series are speced really well for its price. I don’t think you can get anything close this for the money Asus is asking, so if you’re looking for a computer with great specs at a great price, you can’t go wrong with the new ZenBook range.

The ZenBook 13 with Intel Core i5, 8GB of RAM and a whopping 512GB of SSD storage is just RM4,499 and if the i5 is not powerful enough for you, just add RM500 to upgrade to an i7 processor.

For the ZenBook 14, there’s only one configuration – Intel Core i5, 8GB DDR3 RAM and 512GB – and the laptop is priced at RM4,399.

The Zenbook 15 with Intel Core i7, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, dedicated Nvidia GeForce GTX1050 Max Q graphics and 512GB of SSD storage is RM6,099. A 1TB SSD option will be available later in the year.

But there are a few things I don’t like

While the new ZenBook series are great, there are some trade-offs. For one you only get full HD (1920×1080 resolution) display across the range, and the screens are not touch displays.

The other problem I have with the ZenBook is the memory card reader, only 15-inch version has a full-sized SD card slot while the 13- and 14-inch come with a MicroSD card reader instead, but this might not be a problem for everyone.

At the end of the day

For the asking price, there’s not much going wrong the new ZenBook laptops from Asus. If you’re looking for great specs at a great price, I’d be hard pressed to recommend anything else.

The 13-inch in i5 configuration would be my pick because of the compact dimension and reasonably light 1.1kg. The best part is the RM4,499 asking price.

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Amin Ashaari