review | Gadgets

Asus Zenbook 14 UX435 review: How many boxes does this laptop tick?

The Asus Zenbook 14 UX435 in Pine Grey   | Photo Credit: Asus

A battery large enough to last just shy of 12 hours of work-from-home routine, a processor capable of faster — and efficient — multitasking, a set of functional speakers that will not make you reach for the earphones almost immediately, and a graphics card that does not let you regret a light gaming session: the ASUS ZenBook 14 UX435 has all this, and more.

specifications
  • CPU: Intel Core i7-1165G7 processor (or) Core i5-1135G7 processor
  • Display: 14.0” (16:9) LED-backlit Full-HD (1920x1080) 60Hz display; 92% screen-to-body ratio
  • Operating system: Windows 10 Home
  • Graphics: Intel Iris Xe Graphics (or) NVIDIA GeForce MX450
  • Memory: Up to 16 GB 4266 MHz LPDDR4X onboard
  • Storage: Up to 1TB PCIe 3.0 x2 NVMe SSD
  • Connectivity: WiFi 6 + Bluetooth 5.0
  • Camera: HD infrared (IR) webcam
  • I/O ports: 2 x Thunderbolt 4 USB-C with full range of charging, 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, 1 x standard HDMI 2.0b, 1 x 3.5 mm audio jack, 1 x MicroSD Reader
  • Touchpad: ScreenPad 2.0 (FHD+ (2160 x 1080) IPS-level Panel)
  • Audio: Certified by Harman Kardon, Array microphone with Cortana voice-recognition support
  • Battery: 63 Wh lithium-polymer battery
  • Dimensions: 319 x 199 x 16.9 mm
  • Weight: 1.19 kg

One of the first laptops on sale in India that has the 11th gen Intel Core processor, the ZenBook 14’s latest iteration is on the pricier side, retailing at ₹99,990. For that price, however, you also get a touch screen laptop.

Sleek and stylish

Although its design is not an upgrade on the previous iteration, the sleek UX435 is a looker. The laptop, with a lightweight aluminium body, weighs just 1.19 kilograms and has a side profile of less than 17 millimetres.

The unboxing itself is an experience. The product arrives in a neatly-packed suitcase style box which, when you open it gently, pushes the laptop out towards you — very sci-fi. Hidden beneath the component boxes is a laptop pouch, the charging cable and manuals.

The USB-C charger is efficient in juicing up the 63 Watt-hour lithium-polymer battery. The first charge to a 100% did take a while (around two-and-a-half hours) but subsequent chargestook significantly less time. Whilst ASUS claims that the battery only needs 49 minutes to charge from 0% to 60%, we noticed that it took closer to an hour.

Power on

The battery standby time is incredible — and is likely to comfortably last days (we checked for three days — with minimal activities such as checking e-mails for 15 minutes and typing out a couple of documents, using the laptop for around 30 to 45 minutes a day, the drop in charge was less than 30% from 100%).

Notably, the battery’s performance comes to the fore when the UX435 is loaded with tasks. Since it is designed to be used as a business laptop, we opened multiple tabs on Google Chrome, and for good measure opened multiple browsers as well. The UX435 had no lag for up to 18 tabs on Chrome, and had barely noticeable lag whilst switching between different browser applications. We topped it off by opening a media file using an app such as VLC, and tried opening a downloaded PDF attachment right after — the UX435 soldiered on effortlessly. We managed to do all this for over five hours continuously, and the laptop still had enough juice to power through for another couple of hours.

The edge of the Asus Zenbook 14 UX435

The edge of the Asus Zenbook 14 UX435   | Photo Credit: Asus

The UX435 offers a select variant of ports including two Type C Thunderbolt 4 ports — which you can use for charging as well as connecting to other 4K devices. There is a single USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type A port alongside an HDMI port and the standard options — an audio jack and a MicroSD Reader. The speakers serve a functional purpose; you don’t have to struggle for clarity, but at the same time it does not emit deep bass notes.

The laptop comes with two different variants of graphic cards: the one we received had the in-built Intel Iris Xe, and since its purpose is more business than gaming, we did not bother testing it with games that would demand much more out of the processor. Basic games and those that can be downloaded off the Microsoft Store worked like a charm with absolutely no lag noticed even while switching between games.

Gimmicky innovation?

Perhaps the most innovative of the UX435’s featuresis the ScreenPad 2.0; where you expect to find the touchpad, you now find a second screen on this Windows 10 laptop. Perhaps this is Asus’ answer to Apple’s Macbook Pro’s Touch Bar.

Toggling between the touchpad and the ScreenPad is easier — it happens at the touch of a button on the ScreenPad. The versatility of the touchpad notwithstanding, it does come across as a bit gimmicky from Asus.

We are given to believe that the ScreenPad is best served when using the My Asus application which lets you synchronise your mobile phone with the laptop, and monitor apps, make or pick calls, and send texts from the ScreenPad. Its versatility also, unfortunately, makes the ScreenPad a tad less touch-responsive than the touchpads on your average laptop models. More than once, we had to find the left and right click button on the touchpad to close an application because a mere touch gave no response.

The ScreenPad on the Asus Zenbook 14 UX435

The ScreenPad on the Asus Zenbook 14 UX435   | Photo Credit: Asus

Another design element that elevates the UX435 experience are the hinges beneath the screen, which lifts up the body just enough to provide the user with a comfortable typing experience (the chiclet style, backlit keyboard is a major plus although the model we received had one faulty key) as well as give enough breathing space for the laptop when it heats up. On that topic, heating is not an issue to worry about on the UX435 despite the heavy use.

To sum up, the Asus ZenBook 14 UX435 is perhaps one of the best business laptops available in the market at the moment. If not for gimmicks like the ScreenPad, which leaves a lot to be desired, despite its innovative touch, the UX435 could indeed have been ‘the best’ business laptop in its price bracket on the market.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2021 6:23:34 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/gadgets/asus-india-zenbook-14-ux435-laptop-review-innovative-stylish-screenpad/article33659166.ece

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