Bezels, who wants ‘em? Throughout its many laptops, Asus has gone all-in on leveraging tiny bezels to provide a few of the market’s smallest laptops. Thus far, they’ve been a few of our favorites, together with the diminutive ZenBook S and the budget-leading ZenBook 13 UX333.
Now, Asus has outdone itself with the ZenBook S13 UX392, a laptop computer that takes what was finest about the same ZenBook 14 UX433 and makes it higher. We reviewed a well-equipped configuration of the ZenBook S13 that outfitted a quad-core Eighth-gen Whiskey Lake Intel Core i7-8565U, 8GB of RAM, a 512GB PCIe solid-state drive (SSD), an Nvidia GeForce MX150, and a 14-inch Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) IPS show. That’s plenty of pc for a premium value of $1,400.
Asus has match a strong laptop computer into a really small chassis. Typically, that requires some compromises, significantly in efficiency and battery life. Does the ZenBook S13 handle to keep away from disappointment?
Slightly slice of contemporary design
Asus already had a line of ZenBooks using tiny bezels to suit 13.Three-inch, 14-inch, and 15.6-inch shows into chassis a full step smaller. The ZenBook S13 is the most recent, this time squeezing a 13.9-inch panel right into a chassis that’s as small as most 13.Three-inch laptops of a yr in the past. However the newest ZenBook isn’t a mere duplicate.
Sure, the ZenBook S13 has minimal bezels, coming in at what Asus claims is a 97 % screen-to-body ratio that beats the 92 % managed by the ZenBook 14. That ratio is significantly assisted by a reverse notch housing the webcam, comparable in design and objective to the Lenovo IdeaPad S940 however protruding much more prominently. As with the Lenovo, the notch not solely permits for nearly non-existent bezels nevertheless it offers one thing to seize to make opening the lid somewhat simpler – which may be finished with one hand because of the sleek hinge. Watch out for fingerprints on the webcam, nonetheless.
Mark Coppock/Digital Developments
And just like the IdeaPad S940, the ZenBook S13 is a really small laptop computer. The Asus is even smaller, at 12.44 inches large by 7.67 inches deep by zero.50 inches thick in comparison with the Lenovo at 12.57 by 7.77 by zero.55 inches. The ZenBook 14 is shut at 12.56 by 7.83 by zero.63 inches. The ZenBook S13 is the lightest, at 2.42 kilos versus the IdeaPad at 2.65 kilos and the ZenBook 14 at 2.62 kilos. The Dell XPS 13 began the tiny bezel motion, and with its 13-inch show is available in at 11.9 by 7.eight by zero.46 inches.
Nonetheless, the ZenBook S13 differs from its sibling in its total aesthetic. It sports activities the identical iconic Asus concentric circle swirl on the lid, however its traces are extra angular and trendy in comparison with the extra rounded ZenBook 14. It shares the ErgoLift hinge that lifts the keyboard and backside chassis at an angle to make typing simpler and supply for higher airflow. The ZenBook S13’s “Utopia Blue” seems to be silver in most lighting and from most angles, and it’s fairly totally different from the Royal Blue of the sooner ZenBooks. It’s a hanging look that holds up properly in opposition to different standard laptops just like the Dell XPS 13 and HP Spectre x360 13.
As regular, the ZenBook S13 enjoys the lineup’s rock-solid construct high quality.
As with all ZenBooks, Asus has examined the ZenBook S13 in opposition to MIL-STD-180G army requirements for robustness. And as regular, the ZenBook S13 has a rock-solid construct high quality. It ranks up there with our commonplace, the Lenovo Yoga C930, and it’s even a bit extra inflexible than nice choices just like the IdeaPad S940 and the XPS 13.
One factor that Asus has gotten fallacious with the most recent ZenBooks is connectivity. Two USB-C Three.1 Gen2 ports assist charging and shows, after which there’s a single USB-A Three.1 Gen 2 port and a microSD card reader. So, what’s fallacious with that? There’s no Thunderbolt Three assist, which means that exterior show assist shall be extra restricted, and there’s no possibility to hook up with an exterior GPU enclosure. At these costs, Thunderbolt Three assist must be a given.
Wi-fi connectivity is sweet with gigabit 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.zero. And, Asus features a USB-C hub within the field that gives further USB-C and USB-A ports and a full-sized HDMI connection.
The keyboard’s a light-weight contact, and the touchpad is exact
The ZenBook 13’s keyboard is an island model with silver keys and amber yellow lettering. There’s an excellent quantity of journey, and the texture is extraordinarily gentle and clicky – you’ll doubtless benefit from the keyboard until you like the keys to require somewhat extra actuation stress. The yellow lettering is difficult to see with the two-level backlight turned off, nevertheless it’s very seen with the backlight turned on. We predict the XPS 13 and Spectre x360 13 have higher keyboards, however this one isn’t offensive.
Mark Coppock/Digital Developments
The touchpad is about as large because it could possibly be given the restricted measurement of the keyboard deck – one draw back of the tiny bezel motion – and it offers exact and dependable assist for Home windows 10’s multitouch gestures because of Microsoft Precision touchpad drivers. The quick and dependable fingerprint reader supporting Home windows 10 Whats up is embedded within the upper-right nook of the touchpad, which isn’t our favourite location. It didn’t get in our means an excessive amount of, however we wished Asus would place this another person on the keyboard deck.
Lastly, the show doesn’t assist contact, which is one other tendency with latest ZenBooks. Currently, we predict it’s a mistake to equip non-touch shows – so many laptops assist contact, and never simply 2-in-1s, that switching to a laptop computer with out contact assist is jarring. It’s very handy to swipe lengthy net pages with a thumb and shortly faucet on-screen buttons, and we miss contact when it’s not there. There’s additionally no Home windows 10 Whats up assist through an infrared digital camera, one thing we’re coming to anticipate from premium laptops.
A vivid Full HD show with common colours
Our evaluation unit is constructed round a 13.9-inch Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) IPS show, which is the baseline for premium laptops at this time. It’s additionally the one possibility that Asus is providing for the ZenBook S13.
Fortuitously, the show is fairly good for the laptop computer’s goal productiveness customers. To start with, it’s very vivid at 403 nits, properly over our 300 nit commonplace and far brighter than most different laptops with Full HD shows. The Dell Latitude 7400 2-in-1, for instance, maxes out at 268 nits and the Acer Swift Three 14-inch at 260 nits. The ZenBook S13’s distinction is available in at 950:1, just below the 1000:1 ratio that we think about wonderful.
That is simply a median show, although, in terms of colours. It helps 70 % of the AdobeSRB colour house and 95 % of sRGB. That’s on the low finish of the vary we often see for Full HD shows in premium laptops. The Acer Swift Three 14 was somewhat larger at 73 % of AdobeRGB, and the IdeaPad S940’s 4K show was a lot better at 83 %. The ZenBook S13’s colour accuracy was 2.02 (1.zero or much less is taken into account wonderful), which once more is common.
Productiveness customers will benefit from the show for its wonderful brightness and distinction.
What all this implies is that productiveness customers will benefit from the show for its wonderful brightness and distinction, whereas inventive professionals might wish to select a laptop computer with a extra colourful show. Because of the right gamma of two.2, Netflix and different video is neither too gentle nor too darkish and is a pleasing expertise.
Asus touts Harmon Kardon-tuned audio, which is meant to be augmented by the ErgoLife hinge that permits sound emitted by the downward-firing audio system to bounce out the perimeters. We discovered the quantity to be simply on the sting of loud sufficient however with no distortion. Bass was missing, as regular. Mids and highs, although, have been gratifying. The sound high quality is sweet sufficient for watching a TV present or film by your self, however music shall be enhanced by an excellent set of headphones.
Asus squeezed out plenty of efficiency
The ZenBook S13 is provided with a quad-core Whiskey Lake Intel Core i7-8565U, an Eighth-generation CPU that’s each quick and environment friendly. In our expertise, it often offers wonderful productiveness efficiency and may even sort out some gentle video enhancing work.
Asus has finished an excellent job of optimizing efficiency with the ZenBook S13. First, in line with the Geekbench four artificial benchmark, the ZenBook ranks towards the highest tier of laptops we’ve examined, a minimum of within the multi-core check the place it scored a powerful 16,740. Its single-core rating was somewhat low, at 5,148, in comparison with our comparability group however nonetheless a powerful rating.
The ZenBook S13 excelled, although, at churning by our Handbrake check that encodes a 420MB video to H.265. Right here, the laptop computer completed the method in a really quick 212 seconds, one of many quickest we’ve seen with quad-core 15-watt CPUs. The ZenBook 14 was shut at 237 seconds, and the Lenovo Yoga C930 with the earlier technology Core i7 was additionally very quick at 227 seconds.
Mark Coppock/Digital Developments
The Western Digital SN520 512GB PCIs SSD that Asus selected for the ZenBook S13 was an excellent however not nice performer. It managed 1,zero02 megabytes per second (MB/s) within the CrystalDiskMark 5 learn check and 1,zero65 MB/s within the write check. That’s decrease than the SSD within the IdeaPad S940 however sooner than the SSD within the Acer Swift Three 14-inch. In apply, you gained’t discover any delays in booting, opening apps, and accessing your knowledge, particularly in comparison with SATA drives or HDDs.
The wonderful Handbrake end result tells one other story in regards to the ZenBook S13, significantly in comparison with the IdeaPad S940. Lenovo’s thermal administration wasn’t enough to keep away from the CPU throttling throughout our Handbrake check, whereas the even thinner ZenBook S13 carried out admirably. Maybe that’s aided by the ErgoLift hinge that permits for extra airflow, and the followers did spin up and have been pretty loud. The chassis by no means obtained too heat, although, hitting 105 levels on the underside of the chassis throughout stress testing – which might stay lifted away from the pores and skin anyway.
Some first rate entry-level gaming
Whereas there’s a hard-to-get model of the ZenBook 14 – a minimum of in North America – with discrete graphics, the ZenBook S13 comes with the Nvidia GeForce MX150 GPU by default. That’s a plus, as this chip offers a lot better entry-level gaming expertise than the built-in Intel graphics on most diminutive laptops.
In response to the 3DMark Fireplace Strike check, the ZenBook S13 was very fast even in comparison with different laptops with the identical GPU. It scored 2,650, which compares to the ZenBook 14 MX150 model at 2,553. The ZenBook S13 is greater than twice as quick on this check as laptops with Intel UHD 620 graphics.
Subsequent, we ran by just a few runs of Fortnite, and the ZenBook S13 simply barely obtained by. It matched the Acer Swift Three 14 with the MX150 at 32 frames per second (FPS) in 1080p and excessive graphical element and was barely sooner at 29 FPS at Epic graphical element. It’s on par with the ZenBook 14’sMX150, which scored 33 FPS and 27 FPS, respectively.
You gained’t be enjoying trendy titles with graphics turned up, however the ZenBook S13 is okay for older titles, trendy titles with graphics turned down, and esports video games. That’s fairly an accomplishment for one of many smallest laptops round.
The chassis is skinny; the battery life is common
The ZenBook S13 is proscribed to 50 watt-hours of battery because of its small and skinny chassis. That falls behind another laptops with 14-inch shows (or roughly, within the ZenBook S13’s case). Nonetheless, we have been hoping the Full HD show and environment friendly CPU would give us a helpful battery life.
In response to our battery benchmarks, the ZenBook S13 has common longevity. First, we checked out our most demanding check, operating the Basemarkweb benchmark till the battery ran out. Right here, the ZenBook 13 lasted for just below 4 hours, or about half an hour greater than the IdeaPad S940 (with its power-hungry 4K show) and the Acer Swift Three 14 and half an hour lower than the ZenBook 14.
Then, in our net shopping check that loops by a collection of standard websites, the ZenBook S13 lasted for simply over eight hours. Once more, that’s for much longer than the IdeaPad S940’s six hours and fewer than the Acer Swift Three 14’s 9 hours. The ZenBook 14 was inside a couple of minutes of its newer sibling.
Asus has finished an excellent job of optimizing efficiency with the ZenBook S13.
Lastly, we performed a neighborhood 1080p Avengers trailer till the ZenBook S13 shut down, and it lasted for 12.75 hours. That’s nearly three hours longer than the IdeaPad S940 and couldn’t come near the Acer Swift Three 14’s 15.four hours. The ZenBook S13 did handle to final about 90 minutes longer than the ZenBook 14 on this check.
In brief, the ZenBook S13 might present simply sufficient juice to make it by a working day, relying on how onerous you push the CPU. There’s a value to pay for being so skinny, and though battery life isn’t precisely disappointing, we want to have extra confidence that we are able to get a full day’s work finished with out worrying about plugging in.
The ZenBook S13 is Asus’s finest try but a cramming a complete bunch of pc right into a tiny laptop computer. The bezels are as small as we’ve seen, and but this can be a very usable laptop computer with an amazing keyboard and touchpad and excellent construct high quality. Maybe most vital, there’s no efficiency compromise, though battery life isn’t the very best we’ve seen.
Is there a greater various?
Essentially the most direct comparability is the Lenovo IdeaPad S940. It’s nearly equivalent in measurement, thickness, and weight to the ZenBook 13, and it’s out there with a stunning 4K show that’s nice for watching Netflix and YouTube HDR content material. The IdeaPad S940 can be dearer, at $1,500 for a similar configuration of a Core i7, 8GB of RAM, 512GB SSD, and Full HD show.
Then, you could possibly think about the Acer Swift Three 14, which doesn’t have the identical trendy aesthetic or tiny bezels because the ZenBook S13 and which makes use of the earlier model of Intel’s Eighth-gen Core i7. Nonetheless, the Swift Three considerably cheaper at $900 for a Core i7, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD, and it will get equally good efficiency and higher battery life.
Lastly, the Dell XPS 13is an possibility in the event you don’t thoughts stepping right down to a barely smaller 13.Three-inch show. You’ll get equally good construct high quality and efficiency, and you’ll spend much less cash for a similar configuration. With the identical elements, the XPS 13 is $1,350 and is usually discounted (at present on sale for $1,176).
How lengthy will it final?
The ZenBook S3 is a well-built laptop computer that appears like it would final so long as you’ll wish to maintain onto it. It makes use of up-to-date elements, with the one disappointment that no Thunderbolt Three assist means extra restricted future-proofing and expandability. You’ll get the same old 1-year guarantee, together with the additional benefit of the same old Asus 1-year accident safety protection.
Do you have to purchase it?
Sure. The ZenBook S13 packs plenty of energy right into a tiny chassis, and although it has compromises right here and there, you gained’t be dissatisfied by what you pay for.