Asus is known to have a deep product portfolio and every year there are interesting refreshes. In the laptop space, there are segments which cater to the entry level user right up to the high end gamer. The ZenBook series has been at the premium edge of the Asus laptops product portfolio, concentrating on making slim ultrabooks. This segment is in its fifth generation this year and we have the Asus ZenBook 3 headlining the series. So let us have a look at this slim ultrabook and see if it indeed makes for a MacBook replacement.
Build and Design: 8.5 / 10
Asus ZenBook 3 is quite a looker. At first glance, it is quite evident that the ZenBook 3 has the Apple MacBook in its crosshairs. It sports an aerospace-grade aluminum alloy in its construction, thereby making it sturdy but keeping things light at the same time. It weighs a mere 910 grams and is only about 11.9mm thick at its thicker end since it has a tapering design. Just for comparison’s sake, the MacBook is 920 grams and measures 13.2mm.
I really liked the minimal Asus branding on top with the concentric circles around it and the golden coloured edge running along the laptop. Although I would have preferred the Royal Blue coloured model than the Rose Gold one that I had for review. It comes in a Quartz Gray colour variant as well.
On opening the flap, you are greeted with a metallic keyboard which we will discuss in detail in the next section. Above the keyboard, you have the speaker section with two front firing speakers on either ends. Then there are two more speakers which fire downward and are located under the base of the laptop. There is a 12.5-inch display with thin bezels.
If there was one thing I did not like about the ZenBook 3, then it was the presence of just a single USB Type C port. Unless Asus is planning to bundle a boat load of accessories for free with the Zenbook 3, it still carries forth the same major flaw that has been there in the MacBook as well. Let’s face it, we are still way too dependent on things such as an extra USB port for mouse and an SD card slot for transferring photos from your digital cameras (not all cameras out there are Wi-Fi enabled) and so on.
Considering the Asus ZenBook 3 houses an Intel Core i7 processor in such a thin body, it has made some modifications with regards to cooling as well. Asus uses an extremely thin 3mm thermal fan and also heat pipes which have a thickness of 0.1mm. The blades of the fan are around 0.3mm thin and made of liquid crystal polymer.
Asus has also bundled in a stylish leather case with a magnetic lock to carry around the ZenBook 3 in. Overall, it’s a stunning design, except for that single USB Type C port.
Keyboard and Trackpad: 7.5 / 10
Asus has managed to fit in a 6-row keyboard with the ZenBook 3. The keys are metallic and have just around 0.8mm of travel. This definitely takes some getting used to if you are coming from a desktop PC or a regular keyboard. For the initial couple of days, I ended up missing out on pressing certain keys while typing fast, but after using the keyboard for a longer period of time, I got used to it. And I must say, that the typing experience was quite good. There is thankfully no noticeable flex in the frame of the keyboard when you are typing fast.
The trackpad has a layer of glass atop it and is quite responsive. The clicking mechanism is quite good and it is certainly a better implementation of a single mouse button. On the top right hand corner you have the fingerprint scanner for the Windows Hello login. This does eat up into the available trackpad real-estate. This feature is optional. You can setup the fingerprint only after you have set a login password and PIN.
Publish date: November 23, 2016 1:10 pm| Modified date: November 23, 2016 1:35 pm
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