Asus ZenBook 13: Portability in a Premium Packaging

Laptops have come a long way since its early days. Today, laptops cater to almost every specific need in the market. Whether you’re a video editor, a game streamer, or a business professional, there’s bound to be a laptop for you. Ultrabooks in particular, are among the most popular of any type of laptop. As such, Asus has a new model catered specifically for this segment. Introducing the all-new Asus ZenBook 13.

On the outside

Following up on the latest additions on the ZenBook line-up, the ZenBook 13 is a productivity focused laptop in a slim offering. The laptop weighs just 1.07kg and is only 1.39cm thick. Right off the bat, durable metal finish feels extremely smooth, comfortable, and sturdy. It is MIL-STD-810G certified. This means that dropping the laptop on the floor should not give you a heart attack. In all honesty, this is one of the best built laptops we have used in recent times. We’re willing to fight anyone who says otherwise.

The display is a 13-inch (13.3) Full HD screen. But the display panel has an 88% screen-to-body ratio, which is tricky to pull off while ensuring a sturdy build. The ZenBook 13 also adopts the hinge or as Asus calls it, ErgoLift. This gives the laptop keyboard that slant you would usually expect from a desktop keyboard.

The smaller build is also reflected on the edge-to-edge keyboard as well. Those of you used to the bigger laptops may find the keyboard slightly on the smaller side. But you get adjusted to it soon enough. You will also notice that the touchpad is generously spacious. The glass finish gives a smooth feel to the pad. The fact that it doubles as numberpad is a plus.

Asus ZenBook 13 with two Thunderbolt 3 ports and an HDMI port

The port situation isn’t too bad either. It comes with two Thunderbolt™ 3 USB-C ports, one USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A port, one HDMI, and one microSD slot. In case you’re wondering, yes, the Thunderbolt ports support fast charging, 4K UHD external displays and up to 40Gbps data transfers. There is no audio jack. So, you will need to use a USB-C to audio jack dongle to plug in your headphones.

On the inside

The internals boast a 10th generation i5 processor, 512GB SSD+ Intel Optane 32GB, Intel® UHD Graphics, and 67Wh 4-cell lithium-polymer battery. It also has 8GB RAM, which can be upgraded up to 32GB. It isn’t your high-end gaming laptop. But it’s one that is optimized for productivity tasks packaged in a slim, sturdy build.

The screen is equipped with a 450 nits brightness display that consumes only 1-watt up to 150 nits. This brings up the battery life of the ZenBook 13. The 1-watt display at 150 nits meant that the screen would sap less power from the battery than usual. Topped off with the rest of the internal specs, puts overall battery consumption at a very good spot. We were easily able to pull 7+ hours of daily usage with the odd YouTube video and music stream.  The 65W Type C power adapter means that fast charging is also a feature on the new ZenBook 13. Asus claims 60% charge in 49 minutes when powered off. In actual usage it was slightly at a slower rate.

The display’s four-sided frameless NanoEdge design also hosts a webcam on the top. Though you won’t be taking any world-class shots with this lens. However, its good enough for all your video conferencing needs. Plus, the 3D IR sensors mean Windows Hello should work well in dim lighting too.

The laptop also includes a “sound by harmon/kardon” label. What you need to know is that you won’t have any problems playing your CD quality music. The speakers don’t distort audio at maximum volume level either. Although, I would have preferred a higher volume output.

Typing on the Asus ZenBook 13

The edge-to-edge design on the keyboard works well and comes across as a sturdy build. The key travel (1.4mm as per Asus) has the mechanical “click” feel as you would expect in any decent keyboard. This is always a welcome addition. Particularly those of us who spend a lot of time typing. Even this very article was written on the ZenBook 13.

The spacious touchpad on the Asus ZenBook 13

It isn’t just the keyboard. The touchpad follows through a similar experience as well. The generously wide panel means navigating through typing and touchpad controls is smooth. It doubles as a numberpad. But users can toggle it on/off depending on the need. Although technically, the touchpad should be able to detect whether an input is meant for the numberpad or touch controls. Unfortunately, this didn’t work as smoothly as we liked it to. There were a few times where the panel misidentified a swipe gesture for a number input. We found it better to just switch off the numberpad. 

A touch screen display would have been perfect for a laptop in this range. I found myself several times touching the screen out of habit. But that’s just me. This will unlikely be a deal breaker for many out there.

Should you get the Asus ZenBook 13?

As mentioned before, this laptop is focuses heavily on portability, performance and productivity. In other words, you should be able to run all your daily chores with the ZenBook 13 smoothly. Sure, you could get away with the odd Photoshop or Lightroom work. But this is machine is designed best for you to write your documents, comb through your emails while the odd Netflix show in between.

If you’re someone who is regularly on the move and mobility is of prime importance to you, this is an ideal choice. Particularly if you don’t want to sacrifice quality and performance for the sake of mobility. The added MIL-STD-810G certification in a 1.07 kg packaging is the cherry on top.

The sleek envelope for the Asus ZenBook 13

So how much does the ZenBook 13 cost? The specified MSRP is at LKR 187,000 and the model is available in two colours, Pine Grey or Lilac Mist. You can grab one at any of the authorised dealers listed here.

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