Reviews

Asus ZenBook UX430UN Ultrabook – Review

Sleek and Powerful

Asus ZenBook series is a premium range of laptops that offers a balance between price and performance. THe UX430UN is the latest ultrabook in the ZenBook range. It is an ultra-compact laptop weighing just 1 KG and yet powerful. It is the latest 8th generation Intel Kaby Lake processor at its heart. I have been looking for a laptop which is ultra-portable and packs a powerful set of specifications. My needs are simple. I need a travel companion and I would want the laptop with a good battery and very lightweight. It must be powerful enough to help me edit videos and process photos. The UX430UN landed in our office unexpectedly. I was looking to buy the HP Spectre, Lenovo IdeaPad 720S or Dell XPS 13. So let us review this Asus ZenBook and see if this laptop suits my needs and yours.

UX430UN REVIEW

Design

The Asus ZenBook UX430UN that I am reviewing is a Royal Blue colored variant. It has a nanoimprint lithography technology to give it a shiny look. It is also available in pink, grey, and gold color variants. The glossy material attracts fingerprint smudges. The metal body gives it a premium feel. It weighs less than 1.5 kg and very thin. In spite of this ultra-thin form factor, it has a lot of ports. On the right, there is a USB 3.0 port and full-sized SD card reader. On the left is another USB 3.0 port, micro HDMI port, 3.5 mm audio jack and a USB-C port. It does not charge via the USB-C port, but there is an AC adapter socket for charging on the left. For an ultrabook, the UX430 covers almost all the important ports.The hinges are made of metal and are quite strong. It is not a convertible and cannot be bent or used like a Yoga book, which I don’t mind.

It has two speakers and they are bottom firing. The speakers are calibrated by Harman Kardon. The output quality is surprisingly good. The bundled Audio Wizard software does a good job of configuring the audio as per requirement. The audio does not distort even at high volumes. Speaker quality is better than my MacBook Pro.

The laptop has a 720p camera for your video calls. The camera quality is as good as any other laptop with a 720p webcam.

Display

Asus UX430UN has a 14 inch full HD display. The display is bright with vivid colors. Text and image clarity is commendable. It has good visibility under most ambient light conditions. Asus has also installed the Splendid app for a few preset color calibration. I liked the matte finished display as it avoids glare and gives the laptop good viewing angles. UX430UN is not a cheap laptop and at this price, it would have been good if Asus has given touchscreen display.

Keyboard and Touchpad

I don’t type fast, but when I type, I hate hitting the wrong keys. I typed this review on the Asus UX430 laptop and found the keyboard to be comfortable with my usage. The keys have good travel, but they are not very smooth. The keys have back-light and the brightness is adjustable. The key spacing is comfortable, but I found the size of the arrow keys to be too small and cramped. Overall, the keyboard was good with a few hiccups which you would get used to, over the period of time.

The touchpad is very smooth. Its size is optimal and comfortable to use. I generally hate touchpad and use a mouse, especially on Windows machines. But on the UX430, I found the touchpad experience to be as good and smooth as in a MacBook. It supports a bunch of useful gestures which are easy to remember and natural to use. It supports clicks, though it does not have buttons. It also has a fingerprint sensor to sign in with a valid fingerprint. The sensor is fast and accurate.

Performance

The UX430UN is powered by the latest Kabylake 8th generation Intel I7 8550 CPU with 8 GB RAM and 512 GB PCIe SSD. The graphics card is Intel UHD 620 integrated with the motherboard. RAM, CPU, and GPU are all on-board but you can upgrade the SSD if needed. Unfortunately, it is just a regular PCIe M2 slot and not an NVMe M2 slot, which would have been great for gaming. Even with what we have out of the box, the laptop gives you good performance. I don’t believe in synthetic benchmarks. It ships with Windows 10 Operating system pre-installed. During my review period, I used the laptop for video and image editing. I connected my external 4 TB drive and imported raw photos and video on the Photoshop and Premier. The performance was smooth and fast. Video rendering was really fast, thanks to the number of cores on this processor. It can handle your office apps and other productivity suites without any hassle. I played a few games and realized that this is not a gaming machine, but it can definitely be a good companion for casual gamers.

Battery

During my review period, I set the screen brightness to 100% always. I still got about 10-11 hours of battery life. All this while using my Adobe Creative suite for media edits, office productivity software, browsing the web and streaming music occasionally. The WiFi was always connected and the UX430 gave me over 10 hours of usage on a single charge. The adapter is lightweight and portable. Overall, the battery life on this ultra beast is very satisfactory.

 

Verdict

Asus UX430UN ultra-book is priced at the best price of about Rs 80,000. For this price tag, you get a stylish and powerful machine. It has a highly practical design and looks appealing to flaunt. The display is brilliant, it has good performance and a very good battery life making it the ideal travel partner.  Frankly, before reviewing this product, I was considering the Lenovo Ideapad 720s which is also priced similarly, but UX430 trumps it in all the specifications. The Dell XPS 13 and HP Spectre are much more expensive than this laptop. So if you are looking for a laptop with the best mix of performance and portability, you must consider the Asus ZenBook UX430UN.

Available on Amazon and at all Asus Retailers.

Giridhar

A Technology evangelist, Giridhar reviews gadgets and mobile applications. He is also a passionate photographer and a user experience designer by profession.

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