ASUS ZenBook 3 UX390UA Review and test: stylish and slim ultrabook

ASUS ZenBook 3 UX390UA Review and test: stylish and slim ultrabook

Ever since the first ZenBook was obvious that ASUS is inspired by Apple. Over the past five years Zenbook laptops have gone through several generations, now in our lab we review ASUS Zenbook 3. But do not just copy the MacBook, and tries to get around “apple” competitor. In some ways, this Taiwanese company manages, in some – not. All the details you will find out in our review.

Since the submission of ZenBook notebooks have undergone a lot of changes, but ASUS continues to rely on the high quality of the construction of the body and the smallest dimensions. Although the positioning and dimensions of the diagonal changed many times. Over the years, we have received various diagonals from 11 to 15 inches. From this point of view ASUS ZenBook 3 with a diagonal of 12.5 inches fits into the range, although the size, of course, unusual.

In Europe, the basic model is available UX390UA-GS041T and costs 1,499 euros per processor Intel Core i5-7200U, as well as the top model UX390UA-GS039T 100 euros more expensive than a Core i7-7500U processor. The latter, we just got to the test (an analogue in Russia – UX390UA-GS068T). It is possible that in the future will expand the list of models. Moreover, ASUS offers different options for SSD and RAM.

ASUS ZenBook 3 UX390UA Review and test: stylish and slim ultrabook

If the design of the first ZenBook looked like Apple products, but now it is quite different. In ASUS ZenBook 3, we also get a bit of a wedge shape, but the parallels with the MacBook, MacBook Air or MacBook Pro to carry out difficult. The reason lies in the fact that ASUS has managed to create an almost perfect blend of curves and straight lines. The laptop, like, looks simple, but on the other hand, it can not be called boring

It affects and interesting combination of colors. Aluminum housing with dimensions of 296,0 x 191,2 x 11,9 mm is almost entirely “noble blue”, but the ASUS logo and the outer frame of the display gold. At first glance, it seems like a strange combination, but in practice we found it quite harmonious. Yet this coloring makes a variety of after the usual silvery, gray and black shades. Also, ASUS offers color “pink gold” and “quartz gray.”

We are convinced not only the look but also the quality of workmanship. All body components are tight fitting to each other, we did not find uneven gaps or rough edges. The laptop weighs just 910 grams, so about the strength ASUS ZenBook 3 doubts. But it is in vain! ASUS indicates the aluminum alloy used in the aerospace constructions, which made it to 50% stronger than usual.

As a result, the notebook is very resistant to bending and twisting deformations. To bend the body has to exert great efforts, and this applies even to the display cover. Last thanks to the central loop is securely held in place and sits very tight – even at high impact cover barely oscillates. On the other hand, the cover can be opened with one hand, so that light notebook is not obvious.

ASUS ZenBook 3 UX390UA Review and test: stylish and slim ultrabook

After unscrewing the eight Torx screws, you can remove the bottom cover. But unless you can replace an SSD M.2 format.

But on interfaces ASUS has taken over from Apple too much. The notebook supports the latest 802.11ac wireless interfaces in 2×2 and Bluetooth 4.1 version, but for cable connections are only available jack audio port and one USB Type C. The latter, in contrast to the MacBook , do not support Thunderbolt 3, allowing only USB 3.1 Gen 1 and the ability to bring schedule. Help comes dock Mini Dock, which provides port USB Type C, USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type A and HDMI.

It is necessary, for example, when charging ASUS ZenBook 3, if you need to connect a USB flash drive. The power supply is connected through a single socket Type C.

On the MacBook is very similar, and web-camera. It only supports a resolution VGA, use the camera only in good light. Note the four dynamics that ASUS has set the top and bottom. They provide a pretty decent volume for notebook, there are even some hints of bass. But when the volume is at around 50% of the sound is very metallic, with a further increase in the volume begin to appear distorted. It is no coincidence ASUS touts an optional Bluetooth-column Audio Pod, which can be connected to ASUS ZenBook 3.

ASUS ZenBook 3 UX390UA Review and test: stylish and slim ultrabook

For a fee you can purchase Universal Dock. This docking station offers more ports: two USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type A, audio input and output, SD card slot, a single interface USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type C, Ethernet, HDMI and VGA.

The touchpad is integrated fingerprint sensor, which supports Windows Hello and facilitates the user authentication. In our tests, the sensor works quickly and accurately.

The body ASUS ZenBook 3 as MacBook, ASUS engineers have tried to make as thin as possible, which leads to their compromise. For the motherboard and the battery will still need some space, but it was decided to make the keyboard as thin as possible. That, in turn, deteriorates the comfort set. Apple has tried to solve the problem with new switches Butterfly, for which he received a users’ criticism. Apparently, for this reason, ASUS has remained committed to the scissor switches, but the company has significantly reduced key travel.

The course is only 0.8 mm, which had a negative impact on the comfort of the set.Switching point is probed well, but it does not solve the problem – the keyboard feels “wooden”. Of course, over time you can get used, to type long texts on the keyboard turns out, but, in general, the keyboard is poor.

However, the keyboard has something to please the user. The keys have a decent size 17 x 14 mm, the marking applied clearly light with four brightness levels even. Of course, writing a golden color to someone may seem strange, but the marking fits perfectly into the overall design of the notebook, it contrasts well with blue keys. With the exception of the upper row, the keypad is large enough. Due to the size of the keys to the distance of 2 mm between keys does not degrade the quality of the set. Note that we tested the laptop with the German keyboard layout in the Russian laptop is sold with the usual Russian-language layout.

Touchpad has a standard size of 105 x 62 mm, on the surface of the stands built in fingerprint sensor. The finger slides on the touch-pada well recognized movement is also excellent – even multi-touch gestures. The right and left mouse buttons optically divided, but the speed and the switching point is not pleased. The buttons are pressed with too much force, the course is too small. There also remains a “wooden” feel.

ASUS ZenBook 3 UX390UA Review and test: stylish and slim ultrabook

ASUS ZenBook 3 UX390UA: Performance, cooling

After removing the bottom plate between the body Asus ZenBook 3 and MacBook traced significant differences. If Apple has chosen the second generation of processors Core m, ASUS has set a much more efficient Core i7-7500U.

a new generation of Chip Kaby Lake is based on the two cores that can perform up to four streams with support for Hyper-Threading, the clock frequency up to 3.5 GHz. TDP (TDP) Intel points at 15 Watts, CPU is manufactured on 14-nm process technology. Compared to direct-generation predecessor skylake, namely the Core i7-6500U, nominal and maximum CPU clock speed higher, but the rest of the two processors are almost identical characteristics.

The new graphics core does not have much innovation in addition to the name change. iGPU Intel HD Graphics 620 features in many respects identical to the predecessor, HD Graphics 520. The base rate again is 300 MHz in Turbo mode increases the frequency up to 1.05 GHz. Of course, there are some changes in the hardware support for video playback, this GPU Core i7-7500U running at more effectively several times.

In standard tests CPU performance was relatively high. In Cinebench 11 and 15 laptop score of 3.83 and 336 points, which allowed him to take first place in a multi-threaded performance. In single-threaded performance results are also excellent. In the test of 7-Zip Asus ZenBook 3 scored almost 11,000 points, surpassing other laptops in our tests. The same Medion Akoya S3409, also with a Core i7-7500U processor, lags behind at a decent 8%.

ASUS ZenBook 3 UX390UA Review and test: stylish and slim ultrabook

But thin notebook ASUS still not revealed the highest memory performance and storage.For example, in the test PCMark 7 and 8 gave laptop Asus ZenBook 3 of 5.400 and 2.800 points indicating the two weaknesses configuration. ASUS has installed 8 GB memory LPDDR3 old style, though more modern processor supports standard DDR4. SSD 512 GB capacity gives the order of 528 and 433 MB / s, to drive with PCIe interface is quite low. Especially that the ASUS ZenBook 3 points for bandwidth up to 1,270 MB / s, but this is meant to 1TB SSD.

CPU equipped with an integrated GPU, discrete video card is not present. In 3DMark we got 44.500 points and 700 (Ice Storm / Fire Strike), so Asus ZenBook 3 is clearly not focused on the game. However, a major drawback of this can not be called as Asus ZenBook 3 is designed for office applications and long working hours without access to a power outlet.And the performance is sufficient for such scenarios.

In any case, it is worth a closer look at the results of 3DMark low. They show that Asus ZenBook 3 can not cope with the maintenance of high clock frequencies at a high and even full loads. Under load, the CPU frequency is changed of Prime95 between 2.3 and 2.6 GHz, although the basic frequency of the processor Core i7-7500U 2.7 GHz. The reason lies in an effort to keep the ASUS low temperature. Heat and energy package is not limited capacity, but the processor is in all of our tests are not heated above 55 ° C. And even in the stress load test Prime95 and Furmark. It CPU slowed to 400 MHz, and the GPU – 300 MHz. In slightly less demanding scenarios, for example, in the same 3DMark, the clock frequency was higher, but still below the desired level.

ASUS is proud cooling system Asus ZenBook 3, especially considering one installed fan. Its thickness of only 3 mm and the thickness of the impeller blades – only 0.3 mm. ASUS used a special liquid crystal polymer, but the details of the company does not lead to the impeller. The fan is located in the center of the laptop behind, it dissipates heat from the processor, the motherboard and the battery. Fresh air enters the fan from the keyboard, and the hot air is expelled through the holes in the housing of the display.

ASUS ZenBook 3 UX390UA Review and test: stylish and slim ultrabook

Asus ZenBook 3 idle and low load stops the fan, although it includes the time from a few seconds of time. The noise level in this case reaches 35 dB (A). At higher loads the fan starts operating without stopping the full load we got 37.8 dB point (A). The laptop does not seem to be the noisiest in the tests, but due to the nature of the high-frequency noise feels louder than it really is. Working for such a laptop is possible, but the manufacturer still does not stop to change the fan.

Cooling System Asus ZenBook 3 can handle the job, but this is due not so much with the performance, but with an intelligent temperature control – namely, throttling the CPU. The casing is heated idle, on average, approximately 28 ° C above and below. The maximum was 35 ° C. After continuous current average temperature of the top and bottom 34 and rose to 37 ° C, with a maximum of 41 ° C. So that the body temperature at the Asus ZenBook 3 is not critical.

ASUS ZenBook 3 UX390UA: Battery, display, conclusion

Fears that ASUS has chosen a compact body at the expense of battery capacity, proved groundless. The capacity is 40 Wh. Laptop Charging is done via USB Type C socket, includes power supply up to 45 W power supplied at the output, but the specification of USB Power Delivery does not correspond. Therefore, use blocks USB PD power will not work, even though the same nest.

ASUS promises a battery life of up to nine hours at the office load, referring to its own measurements in the test MobileMark 2014. But Asus ZenBook 3 test PCMark 8 survived only three hours without power supply. At high load, we simulated using BatteryEater in Classic mode, the laptop lasted for two hours, at low load (BatteryEater Reader’s test) – twelve. In the overall ranking laptop Asus ZenBook 3, depending on the load, takes a position between the middle and the bottom quarter.

The reason is the relatively high power consumption at low and medium loads. Even in idle mode the notebook consumed more than 8 watts – without any intensive background processes. Under full load, the situation is different. Here, the power supply of the order of 20 W gave the worst case, the laptop had connected back to the network via two hours.

ASUS ZenBook 3 UX390UA Review and test: stylish and slim ultrabook

At least, it charges faster than usual. The charge level of 60% we got in about an hour (she ASUS promises 49 minutes) on a full charge took just over two hours.

What if the display frame is impossible to make a narrow, but the laptop must fit into compact dimensions? Of course, to reduce diagonal display. That is exactly what came with your ASUS ZenBook 3, inspired by the example of the Apple MacBook. In the case of Apple diagonal of 12 inches, from ASUS -. 12,5 “We met a similar diagonal in some hybrid notebook 2-in-1, for example, in. The Lenovo Yoga 900S , where the display has a nice high resolution QHD ASUS is satisfied Full-. HD.

Typically, the difference between 235 and 176 ppi difficult to notice, but the extra pixels are positively affected when viewing a video or photo processing. The same is true for small fonts and thin parts, as “ladders” less conspicuous, the image appears more sharp.

However, a higher resolution increases the computational costs and energy consumption.Therefore, the “constraints” ASUS 1.920 x 1.080 pixels have their own advantages. Production Display Panel AU Optronics has a number of positive qualities. Brightness 374 cd / m² is sufficient for many scenarios, the sRGB color space is covered at 105%, the viewing angles are typical for IPS.

ASUS ZenBook 3 UX390UA Review and test: stylish and slim ultrabook

But the contrast of 1.127: 1 is only moderate, as the bluish shades can be called – the average color temperature is more than 7,700 K. But more annoying uneven illumination, visible to the naked eye. This is especially true of the lower right corner. So what seems to be a good result of uniformity of illumination of 87%, in practice, there is worse. But, in general, the display can be called a good enough. It is a pity that he did not touch.


For the ASUS Zenbook 3 is an important step. Of course, the Taiwanese manufacturer offers a more compact and Windows, as well as more efficient laptops, but Asus ZenBook 3 has its own unique advantages. It does not avoid comparisons with Apple, but still note a good mix of modern components. Let’s start with the processor Kaby Lake age in a few weeks and will end (presumably) a fast SSD PCIe. All this is packaged in a beautiful and stylish body.

So ASUS has created a virtually standard ultrabook. Of course, the combination of low weight, compact size, good strength and excellent workmanship is hardly unique, but in this case we have a very attractive balance sheet. Even if this estimate is subjective.

But other characteristics Asus ZenBook 3 still does not reach the level of the flagship. Very strange ASUS step was the installation of DDR3 memory of old, even though the processor supports the new DDR4 standard. Also, our sample was installed is not the fastest SSD.ASUS has decided to err on the temperature, so that the system begins to “slow down” quite early. Bright display grieves uneven illumination and color temperature is too cold.Good battery capacity is lubricated too high energy consumption.

With the above-mentioned drawbacks can be tolerated, what can not be said about the selected interface strategy. If you have used wired accessories you’ll need to carry the docking station and adapters. Despite the presence of the interface Type C, ASUS somehow supported USB 3.1 Gen 1 standard and the old abandoned Thunderbolt 3. The fact that Asus ZenBook 3 is equipped with high-speed WLAN module and good input devices, this does not compensate for the lack.

The notebook will be a good choice for users who need every gram of weight, and do not want to pass on MacOS. Everyone else is recommended to look at the HP Spectre Pro 13 G1 and HP Spectre 13 at a price of around 1,500 euros. Either ASUS ZenBook 3 UX330UA from 1,300 euros. Comparable MacBook with a weaker processor will cost 1,799 euros and MacBook Pro – to 2,199 euros.

Bad laptop Asus ZenBook 3 we would not have called. But ASUS too focused on Apple, forgetting some of the key benefits of ultrabooks.

The advantages of ASUS Zenbook 3 UX390UA:

  • High quality workmanship
  • Rugged, resistant to torsion
  • Excellent touchpad
  • The relatively high performance in office applications
  • Bright display

Disadvantages of ASUS Zenbook 3 UX390UA:

  • Doubtful set of interfaces
  • CPU throttling
  • Short battery life under certain workloads

Source: asus

ASUS ZenBook 3 UX390UA Review and test: stylish and slim ultrabook was last modified: December 1st, 2016 by Tomas Shellby