Asus ZenBook 14 UX425EA review: a normal step ahead

Asus ZenBook 14 UX425EA review: a normal step ahead

For of us that preserve shut one thing from a Verge hyperlink, Vox Media could perhaps also simply construct a commission. Gawk our ethics commentary.

Asus has so many ZenBook 14 fashions it stresses me out. There’s the UX433, a 2.6-pound slim-bezeled affair. There’s the Flip 14, an neatly-kept convertible. There’s the UX431, a mid-tier $900 option. And there’s the UX425, which Asus quietly rolled out earlier this summer season, that incorporated about a tweaks to the outmoded ZenBook construct. Launched earlier this month were the UX435, with a minute secondary conceal moderately than the touchpad, and the UX425EA.

For the past few days, I’ve been attempting out the ZenBook 14 UX425EA (specifically, the UX425EA-SH74). You also can’t preserve shut it but — Asus is eyeing a mid-October originate. There’s no longer great that differentiates the UX425EA from the horde of ZenBooks above — it’s received the the same shimmering metal lid, the fold-underneath hinge, and the compact develop. Nonetheless eyes are on this particular ZenBook for one reason: the processor. The UX425EA is definitely one of many first production machines to please in Intel’s quad-core Core i7-1165G7 (of the 11th Gen Tiger Lake line).

The Asus logo on the bottom bezel of the Asus Zenbook 14.

You also can rep it in “pine grey” or “lilac mist.” Here’s the pine one.

I received to take a look at out the flagship Core i7-1185G7 in an Intel reference construct earlier this month, and the outcomes I saw from Intel’s unique constructed-in graphics were fabulous. So I had excessive expectations for the very the same 1165G7 as neatly, particularly on the gaming entrance. I went into this review with two main questions: does the 1165G7 beat its Intel predecessor (the 1065G7, which powers the most most contemporary Dell XPS 13) and does it beat AMD’s Ryzen 7 4800U (section of Lenovo’s IdeaPad Slim 7)? The acknowledge to each of these questions is yes — albeit no longer as badly as I expected.

First, a brief ZenBook 14 crash course. The allure of this line (and the UX425 in particular) is in portability over performance. The UX425 is light for a 14-fling pc pc at 2.49 kilos (1.13kg) and skinny at 0.54 inches (13.72mm). Asus has managed to work the conceal correct into a chassis that doesn’t feel too great bigger than that of most 13-fling rigs — there’s a 90 percent conceal conceal-to-body ratio, as a result of thin (2.5mm) bezels on the perimeters of the conceal. (The pinnacle and bottom bezels are extra seen than these of the Dell XPS 13, but they’re no longer shocking — 6.2mm and 10.9mm, respectively.)

Two other aspects relief differentiate the UX425 from the subject. The principle is a 1W conceal conceal option, which must theoretically relief to lengthen battery life — Asus says it consumes 63.6 percent less vitality than most pc pc displays attain.

The ZenBook’s battery outcomes didn’t blow me away, however. Our take a look at eager running the gadget by plot of my day-to-day workload (using around a dozen Chrome tabs, downloading, uploading, copying recordsdata, Google Sheets, Zoom calls, and other function of job stuff) on the Better Battery profile around 200 nits of brightness — it lasted seven hours and 20 minutes. That’s the same to the stop consequence we saw from the Dell XPS 13, but it doesn’t arrive shut to the gargantuan life span of Lenovo’s IdeaPad Slim 7, which made it 13 and a half of hours. Charging flee used to be moreover ravishing, but no longer tips-blowing — it took 58 minutes and 40 seconds to juice as much as 60 percent (within the course of sunshine expend).

The 2d is NumberPad 2.0. For of us that faucet a minute icon within the head correct corner of the touchpad, an LED numpad appears. (This does require an extremely firm press — I customarily had to thunk it a couple times.) Here’s a artful concept (how customarily attain you look a amount pad on a 14-fling pc pc?) and it worked as advertised. One thing I didn’t query is that that you just must still expend the touchpad to navigate and click on on on issues whereas the numpad is up — the ZenBook by no system mistook my swipe for a faucet or vice versa. I could perhaps also even relaxation my palm on the numpad whereas clicking around with out a subject. You also can moreover swipe down from the head left corner of the touchpad to bring up the Calculator app (no subject whether or no longer the numpad is on or off).

The Asus Zenbook 14 half closed from above.

The chassis and lid are constituted of aluminum alloy.

There are about a other tidbits to point to. Form-wise, the UX425 is as ZenBook as they arrive, with Asus’ signature concentric swirl construct on the lid and a acquainted pleasing that I will most efficient assert as “industrial sublime.” Asus says the UX425 meets the MIL-STD-810G attempting out standard, which system it’s passed a barrage of topple tests, temperature tests, vibration tests, and altitude tests. There is a good bit of flex within the lid, and a smidge within the keyboard, so I’m no longer floored by the develop quality. Nonetheless the chassis does feel durable ample that I’m no longer insecure about battering the article around.

The port need is decent, with one queer omission. You rep two Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports (you can thank the 11th Gen chip for these), one USB 3.2 Gen 1 Form-A, one HDMI 2.0, and one microSD card reader. Gape one thing missing? Yep, there’s no audio jack; Asus nixed that for the UX425. For of us that’re absolutely transitioned to wi-fi headphones and microphones, pay this no trace — but that could perhaps also moderately be a deal-breaker for folks who still deserve to make expend of wired equipment. The ZenBook does ship with a dongle, however the belief of getting to absorb a essential USB-C port to toddle headphones correct into a pc pc actual makes me sad.

The Asus Zenbook 14 keyboard and screen from above.

The conceal reached 349 nits in our attempting out.

For authentication, there’s a webcam that supports House windows Howdy but no fingerprint reader. The webcam isn’t enormous for video calls — I wasn’t washed out in wise areas, but there were moreover times when my face used to be exclusively darkish even supposing I wasn’t in a extremely darkish environment.

At final, the keyboard has an additional column of keys on the far correct containing House, PgUp, PgDn, and Finish. There are hundreds hotkeys, including one that turns off the webcam, one that locks the total gadget, one that disables the touchpad, one that permits you to remove a snip screenshot, and one that brings up Asus’ expose center.

This ZenBook configuration will price $1,099. Besides the 1165G7 with Intel’s Xe constructed-in graphics, it has 16GB of RAM and 1TB of storage, a 67Wh battery, and a 1920 x 1080 panel conceal conceal (with the 1W vitality blueprint). There’s moreover an $899 model, which has 512GB of storage and 8GB of RAM. The additional storage could perhaps also simply be price the premium for folks who deserve to play games — 512GB can absorb up lickety-split — and I’ll always imply procuring as great RAM as you can delight in ample money.

The ZenBook performed solidly within the course of my workday, and pages loaded rather sooner than they’ve on Ice Lake systems that I’ve tested no longer too lengthy within the past. The bottom of the pc pc received hot infrequently (focused on the left aspect), however the keyboard, touchpad, and wrist rests remained frosty within the course of my attempting out — and I by no system heard the followers. Real by plot of gaming, the CPU didn’t pass 95 levels Celsius.

It done an export of a five-minute, 33-2d 4K video in 11 minutes and 28 seconds, which is plot sooner than Iris Plus systems indulge in the Surface Pc pc 3, the XPS 13 2-in-1, and the LG Gram 17. There used to be a essential performance distinction between this methodology and the Core i7-1185G7 reference construct, though — that gadget performed the the same process in eight minutes.

Talking of gaming, Intel’s superb wager with Tiger Lake is on its Xe constructed-in graphics, which it claims provide as much as twice the graphics performance of outdated generations. Whereas the ZenBook did beat each the 1065G7-powered XPS 13 and the 4800U-powered IdeaPad Slim 7, it didn’t give them the sound drubbing the reference construct led me to impeach.

The Asus Zenbook 14’s webcam up close.

Asus says the ZenBook has a brand unique “camera algorithm” to correct publicity and coloration balance in selfies.

The gadget did ravishing on straightforward titles, averaging 200fps on League of Legends and 92fps on Rocket League’s maximum settings. (The XPS 13 averaged low 160s on the outmoded and 70fps on the latter.) Overwatch, however, used to be stuttery at maxed settings, averaging 43fps on Narrative and 62fps on Extremely. That’s better than the XPS and the Slim 7 but still closer to those than to the 1185G7 reference construct (which averaged 59fps on Narrative and 89fps on Extremely).

And, obviously, this isn’t a pc pc you’d preserve shut for severe gaming. Shadow of the Tomb Raider used to be no longer playable in 1080p, averaging 29fps on the bottom settings. Here’s, all as soon as more, better than the Ice Lake XPS 13, which averaged 17fps, and worse than the 1185G7 reference platform (I wouldn’t, obviously, imply using any of these to basically creep this title).

Briefly, these outcomes are an growth over Ice Lake and Ryzen 4000. They’re a superb step ahead. Nonetheless they’re moreover a reminder that no longer all Tiger Lake systems (and no longer all chips) are created equal — and this configuration isn’t as far earlier than Lenovo’s 4800U gadget as I’d hoped it could in point of fact in all probability perhaps also be.

At $800, I’d call this ZenBook an absolute pick. At $1,100, I’ll reveal it’s a ravishing recall. It’s portable and realistic, as ZenBooks have a tendency to be. On the out of doors, there’s no category where it’s shocking and no category where it’s the most efficient in its class (moreover the NumberPad, which is legitimately very frosty but won’t be helpful for all people).

And then there’s the processor. Yes, it does carry the most efficient gaming performance we’ve seen from constructed-in graphics out of doors of a take a look at construct. Nonetheless it’s a step ahead, rather than the soar ahead the 1185G7 seemed to be — and given the advantage that AMD has in multicore performance, I’m no longer sure that’s ample to crown Intel the unique ultraportable king. Tiger Lake is definitely a extra ambitious competitor than Ice Lake used to be — however the battle isn’t over.

Photography by Monica Chin / The Verge