ASUS ZenBook 3 Review: A Thinner, Light, and More Powerful MacBook Competitor

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In the world of mobile technology, ultraportable laptops have been getting quite a lot of attention recently. A little over a year ago, Apple blew our minds with the design of the ridiculously thin MacBook. The laptop wasn’t necessarily all that powerful with a 1.1GHz Intel Core M processor, but the star of the show here was its design. Measuring in at just 13.1mm at its thickest point (3.5mm at its thinnest), and weighing in at a mere 2.03lbs, the MacBook’s design was unlike any we’d seen come before it. Apple released an updated model earlier this year, but it simply included a slightly larger battery and the addition of a Rose Gold color option. Those that were disappointed with the performance of 2015’s debut MacBook were left out in the dark. That is, up until ASUS recently their new Asus ZenBook 3. It’s a clear competitor to Apple’s MacBook, but the ZenBook 3 is lighter, thinner, more powerful, and even cheaper than the MacBook. If you’re in the market for a ridiculously portable laptop that doesn’t feel the need to sacrifice power, you’re in the right place.

 

Design

asus_zenbook_design.pngASUS ZenBook 3 is insanely thin and light. Measuring in at just 2 pounds and weighing in at 11.9mm, we’re still scratching our heads trying to figure out how ASUS was able to craft a laptop this ridiculously petite. The company is claiming that the new design was achieved by the use of a new “aerospace-grade aluminum alloy”. We don’t blame you for chalking that up as standard marketing gibberish, but there’s one thing that’s clear here. Whatever ASUS did to make the ZenBook 3 as thin and light as it is, they did it right.

 

As for the actual aesthetics of the ZenBook 3, ASUS is back at it again with their “spun metal” design for the casing of the laptop. Additionally, the ZenBook 3 is available in Royal Blue, Quartz Grey, and (of course) Rose Gold color options. It’s a rather attractive laptop, and it certainly does give off the ambiance that this is a truly premium gadget.

 

Performance

As if the design of the Asus ZenBook 3 wasn’t enough, here’s where things truly get special. While Apple decided to stick with a lower-end Intel Core M processor for the MacBook, ASUS decided to go all out with the internals accompanying the ZenBook 3. Despite its crazily thin design, ASUS’s latest laptop crams in an Intel Core i7 processor, 1TB PCIe Gen 3 SSD, and 16GB of 2133MHz RAM. If you aren’t a huge spec-head, we’ll break things down into easier terms: With the specs that are inside this laptop, you’re pretty much capable of doing whatever you want. Games, video editing, and any other applications that are resource intensive should run just fine on the ZenBook 3’s hardware. It absolutely blows the MacBook’s specs out of the water, and we’re still trying to determine just how ASUS was able to fit so much power into such a small body. How they did it is a mystery to us, but we’re certainly not complaining.

 

Additional Specs

In regards to the display, the Asus ZenBook 3 is rocking a 12.5” screen with a resolution coming in at 1920 x 1080p Full HD. ASUS was able to trim down the bezel significantly from past models, and the result is a class-leading 82% screen-to-body ratio. To power you through your days of use with the ZenBook 3, we’re look at a 40Wh lithium-polymer battery that ASUS claims will deliver up to 9 hours of use on a single charge. That’s certainly nice, but what’s even more impressive is that you’ll be able to get a 60% charge after just 49 minutes of charge time.

 

Price and Availability

The Asus ZenBook 3 will have a starting price tag of $999 (quite a bit lower compared to the MacBook’s starting price of $1299). With the base model you’ll get an Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB RAM, and a 256GB SSD. If you know you’ll be needing a bit more storage, you can double down to get a 512GB SDD for $1499. And, if you want to go all the way, you can get the highest tier model for $1999 with a Core i7 processor, 1TB SSD, and 16GB RAM. ASUS has yet to announce any information as to when the ZenBook 3 will be available for purchase, but when the time does come, you can count us 100% interested.

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