ASUS ZenBook 3 UX390UA Ultraportable Laptop Review

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Looking for a high quality ultraportable laptop? ASUS ZenBook 3 UX390UA might have caught your eye. It’s aluminum-made notebook of 12.5 inches display and Core i5 level performance, made for power users and travelers alike. Some excellent reviews about it have been posted on Internet; here is yet another take on the subject. Read on and decide if this ASUS is a notebook you would like to have.

So Lightweight Laptop

They really made a compact package here. The new ZenBook 3 weighs a mere 2 pounds, fewer than ever. Comparing to your average 15-inch notebook of 5 pounds, the difference is huge. Furthermore, don’t forget the maximum thickness stands at 0.46 inches, ensuring you would always find space for the laptop in your backpack and whatnot.

Much of this compact size is because of the display size. Indeed, the screen diagonal is 12.5 inches, a true ultrabook size. Even though it’s small the display should still be of very decent quality: it sports Full HD resolution and 72% NTSC color gamut, so the image itself should be super clear (thanks to 1080p) and colors should look realistic (due to decent color gamut). The refresh rate stands at a standard 60hz and according to specs, the display has anti-glare coating. Touch support does not exist here.

Great Performance for Small Notebook

Just as one might expect, a small laptop like ASUS ZenBook 3 UX390UA features a quick solid-state drive. The 256GB M.2 SATA3 drive is a good choice for this kind of tolerably-priced ultrabook, letting you to store more or less 230 gigabytes worth of data on it. Probably, it would be possible to upgrade this drive, although it might also take some effort because there’s no service door as far as I know and the insides are cramped due to small laptop size.

Just sometimes, these ultrabooks have a low-end processor to keep them cool and energy efficient. Well, this ASUS has a proper mainstream CPU, the Intel Core i5-7200U, which despite of its relatively good performance manages to have a low TDP of 15W, so it’s not power hungry either. Two cores, 2.5GHz clock speed and 3.1GHz turbo boost are the key specs of this unit – a nice set-up for someone after performance for advanced programs.

This model comes with 8GB DDR3 2133MHz memory. I believe it is soldered on the mainboard, so more can not be added. Integrated memory is a common solution in these smaller models where free space is limited.


Just A Couple of Ports

The ZenBook, despite of its many advantages, has one drawback – the ports selection. It is so thin and small, there is simply no space for many ports on the sides. Indeed, there are only two connections all in all for you to use: USB-C and microphone/headphones jack. The USB-C supports charging; in fact, that’s the only port you will use to charge this laptop with. In another words, when you are charging this computer, you can not plug in any USB devices – unless you buy an USB hub. Wireless is provided by an excellent 802.11ac + Bluetooth 4.0 adapter.

Some people want to connect an external monitor to their laptop. How do you succeed with that task, given there is no video output on this ASUS? Well, you can use a simple USB-C to HDMI/DisplayPort adapter and the problem is solved. The same goes for RJ-45 port, DVD burner or memory card reader. The exclusion of LAN port and optical drive is understandable, but they also left out the SD card slot which almost never happens. So yes, not many ports in this laptop.

Runs for Long on Battery

Even though the notebook is small itself, the manufacturer definitely put effort to maximize the battery life. There is a long-lasting 6-cell 40Whr battery inside, and considering the energy-saving components, this equation looks good. The manufacturer’s promises of 9 hours battery life are not far from truth, people who’ve been using this unit are getting 8 hours out of it. Many competitors are in the same range; indeed it’s safe to say you’re getting an all-day battery life with this ASUS!

The ZenBook 3 UX390UA contains a full-size (= no numpad) keyboard with backlight feature.

The lightest - At 2 pounds, there is hardly a laptop that is lighter than this Zenbook 3. For traveling, such a featherweight unit is a spot-on choice. In addition, do not forget the 0.46 inches thickness.

Quick for a small laptop - It has a proper Intel Core i5 processor attending to your needs; likewise, the solid-state drive will bring a boost to the performance.

Not many ports - You can not fit too many ports on a laptop this small, right? Indeed, there is only one USB-C port taking care of your peripherals. That might or might not be enough, depending on what you want to connect here.

Talking about notebooks of 2017 and perhaps 2018, ASUS ZenBook 3 UX390UA seems to be one of the better choices. Performance-wise, it makes sure programs you throw at it will be handled quickly. Display, according to people who bought it, seems to be clear and sharp. One of the best things is the compactness – it weighs a mere 2 pounds! If you were to find something negative, it would be the lack of connectivity, as only one USB-C port is available. Despite this, especially knowing the not-so-high price of this ASUS, I can recommend it for ultrabook seekers.

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