The trend toward thin and light notebooks has been welcomed by anyone who’s had to carry around a heavy notebook, and this new ZenBook has taken the idea as far as it’s ever been.
The UX390UA is the company’s thinnest and lightest notebook yet, weighing just 910 grams and measuring 12mm thick. Despite those tiny dimensions, the notebook still packs in a dual-core Core i7 processor, up to 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD – just what Windows needs to run at peak efficiency. Core i5 models are available if buyers want to save a buck or two.
It’s a looker, too: ASUS’s trademark concentric circle brushed aluminium design is on strong display here, complemented by a beautiful gold trim and golden keyboard backlighting that add a touch of class.
The bezel that surrounds the 1080p display is also incredibly thin, giving the 12.5-inch screen that sought-after edge-to-edge look that fans of modern laptop design prizes so highly.
While 1080p is an older standard, it’s perfect for the UX390UA’s physical dimensions. A higher-res panel would be a waste, and add unnecessary cost, as would touch sensitivity which is also absent here.
As it’s so thin, there’s just one port: a USB Type-C that must be used for everything from connecting peripherals via a dock to charging. This single port design is understandable, but it’s a little less convenient than buyers might expect as ASUS doesn’t include a dock that would expand peripheral and charging options in the box.
And that thinness means the keyboard keys don’t feature a lot of travel, as there simply isn’t space for it. As such, there isn’t a lot of travel and the keys don’t click much. But this is forgivable, as the keys themselves are nicely shaped and stretch from edge to edge, giving you a lot of room to type.
In the right corner of the touchpad is a fingerprint reader that works seamlessly with Windows Hello to give you access to the OS with the swipe of a finger. This is a welcome addition to what is, ostensibly, a non-business laptop.
ASUS says that nine hours of battery life is technically possible, but that’s only under ideal conditions. With light to medium use and the screen brightness turned way down, getting between 5 and 6 hours is a more realistic target. So this isn’t an all-day laptop – you’ll need to charge it during a standard work day.
While you won’t be providing parties with music, the UX390UA’s speakers are very good considering the size of the ultrabook. They’re loud enough for light use (and great for Skype conversations), and there’s sufficient bass that drum beats don’t get lost in the music.
The webcam is a little weak, though, as its image quality leaves a bit to be desired, but it’s nonetheless still sufficient for the odd video chat.
Should you be looking for a gorgeous, incredibly thin and lightweight ultrabook, the ZenBook UX390UA has a lot to offer. It’s not perfect, and it isn’t cheap, but the pros far outweigh the cons.
- Almost unbelievably thin and light
- Brilliant performance for an Ultrabook
- Stunningly beautiful overall design
- Fast fingerprint reader
- Not an all-day battery
- Keyboard and trackpad clicks are both a bit shallow
- Single USB-C port restricts versatility