The ASUS ZenBook 14 is presented as a laptop that boasts a very careful design and a totally premium finish, and that also enhances the balance between mobility, performance and autonomy, three pillars that are essential to build a good ultraportable.
Ultraportables have experienced an important evolution over the years. Gone are those configurations that offered very modest performance and were barely able to deliver an acceptable user experience with undemanding applications.
Thanks to the bet of the greats of the sector for refine energy-efficient components, Yet the democratization of high performance SSDs, today we can find ultraportables that offer a performance close to what we could expect from a mid-range PC, but without giving up good autonomy and high autonomy.
In this sense, the ASUS ZenBook 14 that we have had the opportunity to analyze in recent days is, without a doubt, one of the best exponents of this evolution of the ultraportable sector, since it is a team that can perfectly cover the needs of almost any type of user, since it mounts the latest hardware in a very contained chassis and weighing just 1.15 kilograms.
The work ASUS has done with the ZenBook 14 is surprising. On this we are going to delve into the next lines, where you will discover what this team offers and what feelings it has transmitted to us during the almost two weeks that we have had the opportunity to test it. Before starting I take the opportunity to thank ASUS for your trust by lending us a unit. Without further ado, we begin.
ASUS ZenBook 14: first look
The ZenBook brand is synonymous with design and build quality, two values that the ASUS ZenBook 14 has perfectly endorsed, since it presents a very elegant and discreet line, it is built in aluminum and has successfully passed all the tests to obtain the certification of MIL-STD 810G military resistance, what includes:
Drop resistance tests.
Shock and vibration resistance.
Altitude resistance test.
Tests of resistance to extreme temperatures.
The model I’ve had a chance to test comes in a discreet shade of blue that ASUS calls “Royal Blue”, and features rose gold details that give it a touch of class. On the outside we have the classic concentric finish so characteristic of the ASUS ZenBook series, and on the inside we find a well-distributed keyboard and a touch pad that includes the system ScreenPad 2.0.
Our most advanced readers will already know what it is, it is an integrated touch screen in the pad area it maintains the traditional functions of mouse clicks, and it has a very interesting set of functions. With it we can enjoy an improved and different user experience, although we will delve into it later.
It is clear that the ASUS ZenBook 14 stands out for having a first-class design and high build quality, but I want to make a very important mention to the weight and its dimensions, two fundamental keys when we talk about ultraportables.
The ASUS ZenBook 14 mounts a 14-inch screen, but its size is smaller than that of other laptops that use this format. It is so small that at first gave me the impression of being in front of a 13-inch ultraportable and not against a 14-inch team. The weight is also really good, as we anticipate this team reaches 1.15 kilograms, which means that we can easily move it with one hand and that carrying it for hours will not become an ordeal.
The quality that the keyboard transmits during the first minutes of use is very good, and the same thing happens with the screen and the touch pad. In this sense it is important to remember that ASUS has also taken great care ergonomics. The ASUS ZenBook 14 comes with a Ergolift hinge that slightly elevates the equipment to facilitate a more natural writing, enhance cooling and improve sound quality.
In the box we also find a high quality cover that we can use to carry the ASUS ZenBook 14 with style and anywhere.
After this brief presentation we are ready to see the Specifications from the ASUS ZenBook 14:
Measurements: 319 x 199 x 16.9 mm.
Weight: 1.15 kilograms.
Display: 14-inch Nano Edge anti-glare with IPS panel, 1,920 x 1,080-pixel resolution, 60Hz refresh rate, and 178-degree viewing angles. Reproduces the Adobe color spectrum 100%, and the NTSC spectrum 72%.
The 5.65-inch ScreenPad 2.0 secondary display built into the touchpad with a 2,160 x 1,080-pixel resolution, uses a Super IPS panel, offers 178-degree viewing angles, and supports up to four simultaneous fingers.
Processor: Intel Core i7 10510U (Comet Lake U architecture at 14nm ++) with four cores and eight threads at 1.8 GHz-4.9 GHz, normal mode and turbo (with an active core).
GPU: Intel UHD with 24 units of execution at 300 MHz-1.1 GHz, normal mode and turbo.
Memory: 16 GB of 2,133 MHz LPDDR3 RAM (soldered to the board).
Storage: 512GB PCIE Gen3 x2 SSD.
Wireless connectivity: Wi-Fi 6 (Gig +) (802.11ax) 2 × 2, Bluetooth 5.0.
Connectors and ports: one USB Type-C, one USB Type-A 3.1, one USB 2.0, HDMI output, 3.5mm headphone jack and microphone jack, microSD card reader.
Operating system: Windows 10 64-bit.
Sound: 1W Harman Kardon stereo speakers and integrated Cortana-compatible microphone, Smart Amp, integrated subwoofer.
Battery: 50 Wh with almost 14 hours of maximum autonomy.
Front camera: HD (720p) resolution with infrared (compatible with Windows Hello for biometric authentication).
Backlit chiclet-type keyboard with 1.4mm travel.
MIL-STD-810G military endurance certification.
Advanced security with user password as BIOS Boot Protection and TPM firmware.
ASUS ZenBook 14: our experience
We already have a clear vision of what the ASUS ZenBook 14 offers in terms of design and quality of finishes. We have also seen its full specifications, so we have everything we need to go in to review our experience of use.
We are facing a laptop that manages to attract attention even with the naked eye, thanks to its line and the touch of rose gold that it presents on the inside. The sensations it transmits to the touch they are very good, and I have not noticed at any time fragile areas or of doubtful quality. The hinge area offers great solidity, and remains perfectly stabilized at all times, even when we move the laptop open.
Ergonomics is very careful. Thanks to the Ergolift hinge the ASUS ZenBook 14 rises slightly, which leaves us a position from which we can write with total comfort. The keyboard response is really good, with a soft touch and a perfectly adjusted tour that allows us mark each press with total precision. The touch pad is balanced in size and offers excellent response. I have not had any problems, nor have I identified missed touches or false keystrokes.
ASUS has done a good job. The ZenBook 14 in a team that will allow us work continuously for hours in comfort, thanks to its ergonomics and the quality offered by both the keyboard and the touch pad. In this sense it is important to remember that the main screen has a size of 14 inches, a level that fits within the ideal range if we are going to spend several hours in front of the laptop. You already know that less screen size, more mobility and less weight, but we sacrifice work space and viewing surface, with all that this entails.
As you can see in the images, the main screen offers great sharpnessThis confirms that the screen size and resolution ratio is well balanced, and the IPS panel not only offers good color reproduction, but also achieves near-perfect viewing angles at 178 degrees. The images speak for themselves.
The secondary display, known as ScreenPad 2.0, is built into the touch pad, and the truth is, it is very easy and comfortable to use. With a single press of the F6 key we can activate its function as a classic trackpad, and in the different options it integrates we find a wide variety of integrated functions that allow us to adjust its settings, use it as a calculator, write and draw freehand and access to various integrated tools and applications, such as focused on Microsoft’s Office suite, and the one dedicated to Spotify.
Overall I found this an interesting addition that has reminded me, in fact, of the ASUS ZenBook Duo, and yes, it has real utility, but it requires a time of adaptation, that is, you have to get used to it and you have to be encouraged to use it. It is totally normal, since with this secondary screen ASUS introduces an experience of use that the traditional user is not used to. Once you get used to it you realize of its potential and how useful it can be.
We now turn to performance. The ASUS ZenBook 14 mounts a balanced setup that certainly doesn’t give up almost anything. I qualify with “almost” because lacking a dedicated graphics card its potential when it comes to reconciling work and leisure is minimal, since the integrated GPU is based on Gen9.5 architecture Intel and has only 24 execution units. It is enough to play multimedia content in high resolution, but not to move current games in 1080p.
It is not a major problem, after all the ASUS ZenBook 14 is an ultra portable thought to work and not to play, so this will not significantly affect the final score, but it is a fact that we wanted to make clear because we know that for some users it is essential to have a dedicated graphic, even if it is low-end.
The processor that ASUS has chosen to power the ZenBook 14 that we have had the opportunity to test is a Core i7-10510U, a chip that is manufactured in the 14 nm ++ process and that has four cores and eight threads at 1.9 GHz-4.9 GHz, normal mode and turbo. Its IPC is very high, and its working frequencies are automatically adjusted to offer good performance while maintaining a balanced consumption.
The configuration of 16 GB RAM memory is a success, since we have more than enough to handle virtually any workloadEven in multitasking, and the 512GB PCIE Gen3 2x SSD makes system fluidity complete. The team “flies”, and startup and shutdown times are minimal.
The cooling system is pretty quiet and it is capable of keeping the Core i7-10510U’s working temperatures at bay under ‘typical’ use, although when we use it at full capacity the temperature moves somewhat higher. Obvious to say that the frequency is adjusted accordingly to avoid problems, but in any case having the processor at 100% load for several hours is not normalso we have nothing to worry about.
Regarding autonomy, the results I have obtained are good, but they can vary greatly depending on the use we make of the equipment and the configuration we use. With normal brightness values and moderate use we can complete a full working day (between 8 and 10 hours) without having to charge the equipment, but when we make intensive use of it and increase the brightness of the screen, autonomy can drop to 6 hours.
Endnotes: an interesting proposal
I think the value that best defines the ASUS ZenBook 14 is undoubtedly the balance you put on the table. We find a light team, with a premium finish, high resistance and very contained dimensions that also offers good performance and autonomy that meets what we can expect from an ultraportable.
You don’t need to shine in everything to create a good ultraportable, a reality that the ASUS ZenBook 14 reinterprets in its own way and that the Taiwanese company masterfully executes. The experience I have had writing for hours has been very comfortable, performance has always met my needs and the ScreenPad 2.0 has shown me that it is possible create new experiences of natural form. It requires an adaptation process, as I said, but it really works and makes a clear difference.
Taking stock of what it offers and what it costs, 1,299 euros on the official ASUS website, we can conclude that its price-performance value is above average. The configuration that ASUS has integrated in the ZenBook 14 is not limited to the processor and the GPU, it is also necessary to assess its ergonomics, the quality of the screen and the weight that its 16 GB of RAM memory and its 512 GB SSD have at time to ensure long life.
If you are looking for a powerful but lightweight ultraportable with a good screen and a touch of innovation at a reasonable price, the ASUS ZenBook 14 is a good option.
The ASUS ZenBook 14 is a balanced ultraportable with a good level of performance and premium build quality that seeks to innovate thanks to its secondary ScreenPad 2.0 display. A striking proposal that offers interesting value for what it costs.
Design and build quality9