ASUS ZenBook 14 (UX434F) Review – Small and Mighty
This is the ASUS ZenBook 14 (UX434F). I’ve had it for a while and I can say this is one compact, Swiss knife of a laptop. Let me explain
You see mini laptops used to be slow, bulky and non-impressive but that isn’t the case here. The ASUS ZenBook 14 is an elegant laptop that spares no chance to impress. It has a no compromise performance and all round gorgeous yet functional and durable form factor.
BUILD AND DESIGN
This laptop looks amazing. Immediately I took it out of the box, I had a smile on my face and it took a while to get rid of that smile. I was just straight up impressed. I have the royal blue variant and it looks cool. This is the sort of laptop you pull out of your handbag or mini backpack with confidence and I dare say this would match the Apple MacBook Air in every way.
The lightweight design screams class and comes in at just 1.2kg, the sturdiness of the build material was also impressive and for those of you who would like to know, yes, it’s made from an aluminium, finish. You could say it is about four Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultras put together.
So, I immediately wanted to turn on the ZenBook 14 and decided to try the one hand lift to open and (play dramatic music), it had one of the smoothest one hand lifts ever. Thanks to the ErgoLift Hinge that is designed to tilt the keyboard to the most comfortable typing position. The Ergo lift hinge raises the bottom of the ASUS ZenBook 14 to allow for better airflow for cooling and better audio performance of the device.
Before I proceed, allow me to run through the spec sheet of the ASUS ZenBook 14.
For ports, we have one USB 3.1 Type A Gen 2 Port, One USB 3.1 Type-C Gen 2 Port, A USB 2.0 Type-A port, a HDMI Port, a Micro SD card reader (I would have preferred a regular SD card slot here), we have a DC charging port and a 3.5mm headphone/microphone combo port.
For the internals, the ASUS ZenBook 14 packs a 10th Gen Intel Core i7 CPU clocked at 1.8ghz and these can go up to 2.3GHz during intense use when doing things like playing games or exporting some heavy media files. We also have 16Gigs of RAM and 500Gigs of PCIe Solid-state storage (you can always expand this to something much larger if you like)
The power button can be found at the top-right corner of the keyboard, which is in a weird position, I’ll get to why later.
DISPLAY AND SCREEN PAD
Turning the ASUS ZenBook 14 on, the first thing you notice is that screen-pad. It’s kind of futuristic and is testament to the fact that we live in the best of times tech-wise. The screen-pad 2.0 is a 5.6inch full HD screen/touch pad and gives you the option to work with two screens and is also designed towards a more efficient workflow, especially in multitasking.
So, for example, you could have a calculator opened in the small screen while you take notes in the larger screen. That screen also serves as a space for a virtual number keypad, since there is no number keypad in the physical keyboard. The touchpad also displays a collection of handy ASUS utilities to boost productivity and Precision touchpad (PTP) tech that supports up to 4 finger gestures. For instance, if you want to return to touchpad mode simply hit the touch-pad display with three fingers at any point.
You can also use it to control your power-point presentations, as a mini screen to watch videos if you’re bored at work, but most importantly, it remains your track/touch pad for navigating the operating system.
The main display on the ASUS ZenBook 14 (UX434F) is a 14-inch 1080p almost bezel-less display in a 13-inch form-factor with a 92% screen-to-body ratio. It’s a vibrant LCD display and ASUS calls this the NanoEdge display and It is designed to give a near border-less experience that is great for work or watching videos.
Despite the new thin bezels, the display still features an optimally positioned webcam that now has 3D Infrared capability for fast face-login even in poorly lit environments. The camera also features a new four-element lens for sharper images.
You should also know that the touchpad display is recognized as a secondary display in windows display settings. So, don’t go thinking this is a gimmick. It’s something I actually found myself using. A lot.
KEYBOARD AND TYPING
Now for the keyboard on the ASUS ZenBook 14, I must say this is one of the quietest, and oddly satisfying keyboards to type on. Why, it’s so silent I almost can’t hear myself type, the key travel is great, I mean just enough travel to make you feel like some professional hacker.
This article was written on the ASUS ZenBook 14 and i was pretty much an expert in a short while.
Power button Placement Challenge
Now to the power button issue. Every time I move to hit the delete key, I mistakenly hit the power button and it puts the PC to sleep. I found however that this was limited to my first few days of use.
On like the third day, I had gotten used to the button placement and accidentally hitting that button was down to only a few times. I also had errors with the shift and forward slash keys.
While typing, i instinctively hit the forward slash key instead of the shift key. Bad placement. However after a couple of days, muscle memory kicked and i was fine.
Apart from those minor personal challenges, I can say with all confidence, the keys on the ASUS ZenBook 14 (UX434F) are awesome to type on.
CHARGER AND CHARGING
The ZenBook 14 comes with a 65w Power adapter. It’s a small lightweight charger and you’d notice that the left palm rest gets quite warm while charging. I occasionally must raise my palm from the rest to avoid the heat. This can be attributed to the fact that the charging port is on the left side of the laptop.
In terms of heat dissipation, the raised bottom does help to cool the system, thanks to the ErgoLift hinge. Charging with the lid closed and no lift saw higher temperatures.
BATTERY, PERFORMANCE AND OS
The 65w charger fills up the ASUS ZenBook 14’s 50watt/hour 3-Cell lithium polymer battery in about 2.5 hours. On battery power the laptop lasts anywhere between 4.5 to 7 hours depending on use.
ASUS claims up to 12hours battery life. But in my day-to-day use, I averaged 5 to 7 hours light use and 4.5 to 6 hours intense use.
We have Windows 10 Home edition bundled here and it’s the usual windows we know.
Performance on the ASUS ZenBook 14 was top notch. This system packs some of the best specs in the market so you should be absolutely fine with its performance. I loaded some video and photo editing apps and they performed smoothly without any hiccups.
Priced at N495,000, which is a little over $1000, the ASUS ZenBook 14 (UX434F) is for creatives, executives or corporate highflyers. The ASUS ZenBook 14 is one laptop you may want to take a look at.
It’s got a slick beautiful design, great build, lightweight, has most of the ports you need and packs top of the shelf specs all in a very thin and small frame.
But there are things/features I would have loved to see on the ASUS ZenBook 14. They include:
- USB-C charging,
- A full SD Card reader slot
- An in-display fingerprint reader in the Screen-Pad and finally
- I’d love to see the power button removed and put in a recessed bucket just beside the current power key