There has been a recent surge in the ultra portable lineup of notebooks in India. Gone are the days when people lugged heavy laptops around. Today's millennial business executives and even the on-the-go corporate slaves are in the hunt for something ultra portable and uber stylish.
This is where an Apple fan would jump in and proclaim the Macbook Air to the best there is in the market. Rest assured, Windows OS users have their own say in this.
The Asus Zenbook 13 UX331U, is one of the latest ultra light notebooks to hit the market and has garnered a lot of interest based on its portable size and impressive specs. Intrigued by all the hype and buzz, I decided to have a go at the new Zenbook 13 for a few weeks.
This is a super light laptop at just 985 grams. I liked the overall ergonomics and the way it carries a minimalistic design. Those who see high portability as one of the top reasons to buy a laptop, will love the Zenbook 13.
The brushed metal finish adds a lot of elegance to the whole package, but I would have liked it if the same finish would have continued inside. On the flip side, the smooth finish is prone to a lot of smudges and fingerprints.
The Zenbook 13 is not the most generous in terms of connectivity ports, but it's still got the basics covered with 2 USBs coupled with a type-C port and one HDMI output. All of this fits well in a laptop that’s 13.9 mm thick (that's equal to two iPhone 8s stacked on top of each other).
As a bonus, Asus has also given a fingerprint reader to login. Always better than typing. Right?
The company has done its homework in the display department and the same can be seen on the Zenbook 13. The 13.3-inch display produces good colours and everything appears crisp.
This laptop can manage heavy production applications like video and image editing tools without breaking a sweat. Though, I would have preferred a better display ratio rather just a full HD display. Still, it gets the work done.
Asus has stuck with an integrated Intel graphics card, which is no bunny by any means, but don’t expect it to take on hardcore 4K stuff or heavy graphic gaming. That’ll be pushing the envelope!
The back-lit keyboard setup on the Zenbook is one the best I have experienced on a laptop. It offers generous travel and great response and even someone like me who can’t type that fast could churn out almost 65 words per minute.
Battery life impressed me. With average use I got about 6-7 hours of battery backup, which for a notebook this small is very good. Running heavy applications will get the backup down to about 2 hours.
Here’s what was bit of a surprise for me. The Zenbook 13 review unit with us packs an an 8th generation Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB DDR4 RAM and 512GB SSD storage. Now, if you are paying almost Rs 1 lakh for a laptop, wouldn’t you expect at least 16GB of RAM and 1TB of hard-disk space?
This could well play spoil sport for Asus as certain buying decisions are based on numbers on offers.
Though, the Zenbook 13 is a stellar performer and handles the basic applications with ease, I feel in the longer run, the lack of storage and RAM might come back to bite the customer.
To my surprise, the viewing angles on the the laptop aren’t great considering it comes with an anti-glare coating on it.
Being backed by Harman Kardon hardware, the audio wasn’t that overwhelming. I felt the placement of the speaker grill wasn’t the best considering it is at the bottom of the laptop, which muffles some of the more intricate sounds.
Considering the small form factor of the gizmo, I will give it some bonus points for its at par audio performance, but I’ll still recommend headphones with it.
The Asus Zenbook 13 has some serious competition to fend off. At Rs 98,990, this lightweight gizmo is in direct competition with the likes of the Acer Swift 7 and the Apple Macbook Air, which are both very good laptops under a Rs 1 lakh.
I am really disappointed with some aspects in the hardware department like the 512GB storage (which could easily have been 1TB) and also just 8GB of RAM. Specs could have been better.
Seemingly, the Zenbook 13 is a good lightweight, portable and powerful laptop, which can serve all your professional purposes without having to carry all that bulk. It’s a perfect gizmo for people on the go. So, if you have a lakh to spend and are not a big fan of Apple products, then the Zenbook 13 is a notebook worth considering.
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