Now, we reviewed a lot of laptops in the past, particularly ultrabooks, and premium thin & light laptops. For me, this kind of laptop is fantastic as it complements my usual super-powerful desktop.
So, introducing the new ASUS ZenBook 14 UX425. It’s a rather traditional ultrathin and light design from ASUS but with a controversial design decision.
The I/O ports
Let’s start off with the controversial design decision – that I/O ports. ASUS advertises that this is the “world’s thinnest 14-inch laptop to feature a full set of I/O ports”.
So, on the left side, we have:
- Full-sized HDMI port
- 2x Thunderbolt 3 ports with USB-PD charging
- Charging status LED
While on the right side, we have:
- Status indicator LED
- A microSD card reader
- USB 3.0 (5Gb/s)
And that’s all you get. Introducing – or in this case – outroducing, the lack of a headphone jack. Yes, this laptop does not have a headphone jack. I don’t know if it’s the first laptop that doesn’t have a headphone jack – it doesn’t matter. But damn, it’s a bummer.
ASUS included a little USB sound card – and why I said it’s a sound card because Windows already detects it as a new audio output device. Also, it doesn’t work with those USB-C audio passthrough dongles like smartphones do.
Either way, I think it’s a bummer since you need to carry a dongle around, and it robs you off a Thunderbolt 3 port with that dongle. One for charging, one for that dongle, and all your Thunderbolt 3 ports are gone.
And don’t get me started on Bluetooth connectivity with Windows 10 because that is a very messy thing to do if you want to switch your Bluetooth earphones or headphones between your phone and laptop – unless you get the Jabra Elite 75t which we have reviewed here.
Out of curiosity, I opened up the laptop and see if ASUS truly does not have enough space for the 3.5mm audio jack and is forced to neglect it. But no – I see unused space that ASUS could slot in a 3.5mm audio jack.
I also double-checked that the 13-inch version does have that extra space too.
While we are inside here, we can see that ASUS soldered everything onto the motherboard except that M.2 SSD – which I appreciate since the M.2 SSD will degrade over time, depending on your workload.
And ASUS really doesn’t want anyone to get inside the laptop because – let’s be real here – there’s no reason to open it anyway. There are two screws behind the back rubber feet, lots of adhesive at the bottom front side of the laptop, and also a latch at the center of the back panel.
Let’s then talk about the design. This laptop comes with the iconic ZenBook design with a full metal body, iconic concentric circle design on the lid, and overall thin body. It’s a solid laptop and this time around – it weighs in at just slightly over 1kg.
And by looking at this laptop, I thought it was a little too… rectangular. It’s a long boi – but that’s okay.
Opening up the lid, we were presented with a beautiful 14-inch matte screen with 1080p in resolution. It’s using an IPS LCD panel with the usual 16:9 aspect ratio and no touch screen.
While the bezels are very thin, I think that the closest competitor with the ASUS ZenBook 14 UX425 is the new XPS 13 9300 that we reviewed not long ago. That XPS 13 has magnificently thin bezels a 16:10 screen – making the bottom bezel virtually disappear.
And before I forget, the webcam is still at the top of the screen.
The keyboard is a pretty standard ASUS story. The layout is a little weird on the far right side. It has an extra column of keys and the arrow keys are shifted one column to the right. It definitely took me some time to get used to this layout.
Now, the keyboard is actually quite good. I had fun typing on this keyboard as it has a decent travel distance with a not so stiff keyboard. The keycaps are ever so slightly elongated – which means it’s not perfectly square. It’s definitely noticeable while typing – at least for me.
And surprisingly, the power button at the top right corner there is much stiffer compared to any other keys on the keyboard so that it can potentially prevent you from accidentally making the laptop go to sleep. Potentially.
Nothing much to talk about here. It’s elongated for sure and there’s really nothing wrong with it, honestly. It uses Windows Precision Touchpad drivers and everything works well. Palm rejection is good and I don’t see it disco dancing on the screen when I’m doing my work.
There’s also the NumberPad feature here – which it’s there if you want to use it.
I don’t really have anything to say other than to draw comparisons other than the XPS 13. They both have very similar specs other than the screen size:
- 14-inch 1080p IPS LCD
- 16:9 aspect ratio
- Intel Core i7-1065G7
- 8GB DDR4 @ 3200MHz (soldered)
- Intel 660p 512GB SSD
- 67Wh battery
The overall performance is pretty much as expected from a laptop with this list of specs. Again, this is not a chip that is capable of even lightweight games like Overwatch.
Of course, with the big 67Wh battery, this laptop can manage to get about 9 hours of battery life through our usual use of web browsing, some YouTube videos, and Spotify mixed in – no Photoshop this time.
Overall, I’m impressed by the battery life and I’m glad that ASUS continued using a 1080p screen and didn’t go for an insane 4K screen which is detrimental for battery life.
As for the charging speed, it takes about 2 hours to charge from 15% to 100% battery – pretty standard.
Should you buy the ASUS ZenBook 14 UX425?
I’d say yes. ASUS offers this laptop in two different sizes – either in 13-inches of 14-inches, but both of them are at the same price. My biggest complaint is this laptop not having an audio jack – but the importance of that varies depending on how you use your laptop.
For the price of RM4,699, this ZenBook 14 UX425 offers a similar experience to the cheaper XPS 13 9300 variant – particularly the RM6,998.99 variant. The XPS wins because it has a 16:10 aspect ratio screen, but with everything else taken into consideration, this new ZenBook 14 UX425 is really low-priced.
There’s also a cheaper Core i5-1035G1 which is priced at only RM3,999. The specs and price are the same between the 13-inch and 14-inch variants, so pick your choice.
|ASUS ZenBook 13 UX325||ASUS ZenBook 13 UX425|
|Intel Core i5-1035G1||RM3,999||RM3,999|
|Intel Core i7-1065G7||RM4,699||RM4,699|