Wednesday, 26 September 2018 22:02

Review – ASUS ZenBook S UX391 UltraBook

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Taiwanese computer manufacturer ASUS has now released the latest model in the popular ZenBook laptop line, the ZenBook S UX391. Its stunning looks and lightness hide its impressive power.

ASUS entered the then-emerging UltraBook market in 2011 with the first ZenBook to much acclaim. It was a stylish and super-thin yet powerful laptop that boasted long battery life and was equally at home in corporates as personal use.

The ZenBook line has continued to evolve, and ASUS announced 2018’s entrant, the ZenBook S UX391, during Computex 2018 in Taipei, in June.

This edition is an elegant and tough 13.3” ultraportable, weighing only 1kg and measuring 0.5” thick. It continues the ZenBook tradition of good looks, lightness and power, but brings a brand new ErgoLift hinge, for which ASUS received Best Choice of the Year, Best Choice Golden, and Computex D&I awards during Computex.

The hinge is solid, protecting your screen when opening the laptop, and acting as a stand to slightly angle the keyboard at 5.5 degrees. This further acts to provide more airflow around the base of the machine, keeping it cool under pressure.

Contrasting against typical silver or black laptops, the S UX391 is available in Burgundy Red and Deep Dive Blue. Both colours are truly impressive to see, with concentric circles on a spun metal backdrop.

ZenBookS

It’s available in specs offering an Intel i5-8250U or i7-8550U processor, up to 16GB of RAM, up to 1TB of PCIe SSD storage, and 4K IPS touchscreen or 1080p displays. It includes one USB-C port, two Thunderbolt 3 ports and a combo audio jack, and ASUS says it can run for 13.5 hours before needing a charge, based on the i5 model at 71% screen brightness.

ASUS ZenBook S Burgundy Red Thin light

In practice, iTWire found this realistic, with our own experiments of video usage, email, video playing, Web browsing, remote desktop, spreadsheet work, database querying and some gaming lasting 12 hours of use. Our review model came with the small surprise of a US power plug but with another Thunderbolt charger on-hand we found the battery reached 60% within 50 minutes and was fully charged within 90 minutes from commencement.

A laptop of this size and weight is easy to carry, whether to the office, on your aeroplane carry-on luggage, or elsewhere. It’s magnificent to look at, with an elegant and outstanding design and crisp screen. Yet, it’s also swift, powerful and performant and this is what makes it an excellent, professional choice for business or home use, for a range of applications from productivity apps, photo- and video-browsing, even software development and systems administration.

The display is powered by onboard Intel UHD graphics 620 with up to 8GB shared memory. This will let you run games or perform a degree of video editing or 3D modelling, but at reduced settings and with reduced frame rates – 24 frames per second in Fallout 4, for example. This graphics device has a 3DMark score of 920. For comparison, a high-end desktop video card, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080-Ti, scores 28,215. Packing such a card also adds weight, heat and power consumption. If you seek more power in a portable device, ASUS has you covered with the ZenBook Pro, albeit weighing in between 1.8kg and 2.27kg depending on the model.

The ZenBook S UX391 includes Windows 10, which responds well to the system specs, greeting the user with great alacrity.

Bundled software includes various ASUS utilities to set your hotkeys, monitor battery health, tune the Realtek Audio which plays through Harmon Kardon speakers, a fan control utility, and the Splendid display and colour tuning utility.

The ZenBook S UX391 really is a pleasure to use and travel with, and it must be a serious contender for anyone seeking a new UltraBook.

It is available in configurations starting at an RRP of $2299.

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David M Williams

David has been computing since 1984 where he instantly gravitated to the family Commodore 64. He completed a Bachelor of Computer Science degree from 1990 to 1992, commencing full-time employment as a systems analyst at the end of that year. David subsequently worked as a UNIX Systems Manager, Asia-Pacific technical specialist for an international software company, Business Analyst, IT Manager, and other roles. David has been the Chief Information Officer for national public companies since 2007, delivering IT knowledge and business acumen, seeking to transform the industries within which he works. David is also involved in the user group community, the Australian Computer Society technical advisory boards, and education.

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