ASUS Zenbook UX430UA-DH74 Laptop Review

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Today, ultrabooks are one of the biggest laptop market. They offer unbeaten portability for the busy modern person, while also the performance department is full of components ensuring smooth operations across the board. Indeed, ultrabooks seem to be excellent choices for most people, but they are pricey at the same time. This review concentrates on the new ASUS Zenbook UX430UA-DH74 and discusses whether the new laptop will be money well spent or not.

No Bottlenecks

In the mid 2017, Intel released its 8th generation processor chips, promising more performance than before. One member of the family, the Intel Core i7-8550U is included in this Zenbook. Its highlights are surprisingly low clock speed of 1.8GHz, but remarkably high 4.0GHz turbo boost. It’s also a quad-core unit, yet thermal design power stands at a low 15W – hence the letter U, ultra low voltage, in the end of the model name. Furthermore, the chip seems to do well in benchmark tests, so I can only recommend the i7-8550U if strong performance is important.

A 512GB SATA 3 M.2 solid-state drive takes care of your storage needs. It’s rather big, after Windows installation the free storage space will be around 480 gigabytes. This equals to around half a million large JPEG files to give you an idea how much data can be stored on this drive. And it being SSD, fast boot up times (~10 seconds from cold to desktop) are present. By opening up the laptop, the drive can be replaced by a skilled user.

The memory department shines as well. 16GB DDR4 2133MHz RAM is installed; more precisely soldered on the system board. This is also the maximum amount, so upgrading to more RAM is not possibly. That, however, won’t be a problem at slightest; most people will never have a situation where 16GB of RAM use would actually be exceeded.

Zenbooks Have Nice Displays

The display of ultrabook is often under close scrutiny, as power users want their laptops to be pleasant to look at. Well, me owning the previous Zenbook from a couple of years back, I can say the display quality is very good on these models. Me, as a tech writer and blogger, don’t have complaints. On this new Zenbook, the display is probably even better: a 14-inches Full HD screen with IPS panel, which means 178 degrees of viewing angles. The sRGB color gamut stands at 100% so colors will be very accurately displayed. It’s not a touch display, so use with touchpad and keyboard only.

If there is one thing the new Zenbook UX430UA-DH74 is not good at, that would be gaming. While some ultrabooks sport dedicated graphics cards most don’t, including this ASUS with integrated Intel HD 620 GPU. Now, there’s no need to be discouraged as the chip is still far from a disaster. Many games, even the likes of GTA 5 and Battlefield 4, and especially the ones such as League of Legends, run on the Intel HD 620. You just need to be careful with the settings.

Video Review

All Good on the Ports Front

ZenBook UX430UA-DH74, like practically all laptops in 2017, have jumped on the USB-C bandwagon. Yes, there is one USB 3.1 Type-C taking care of your “modern” connection needs. It supports an external display if you want to connect one, although also a dedicated microHDMI port is available for that use. In addition, one regular USB 3.1 and USB 2.0 are available on the system.

You may slip in memory cards as the laptop is equipped with SD card reader. Yes, it’s the full-sized one, which is better than micro card reader in my opinion. Optical drive is nowhere to be found, something that is also very prevalent in this era of web streaming and downloading.

Speaking about Internet, the laptop comes with “all-inclusive” wireless adapter: 802.11ac standard for long range and sturdy signal, with also Bluetooth 4.1 supported. There’s no jack for RJ-45, but there exists cheap USB to RJ-45 adapters.

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This rig is shipped with a 3-cell 50Wh lithium-polymer battery. Almost all the time the battery on these ultrabooks is integrated, so it can not be removed with a push on the clip at the bottom. Anyway, the battery unit should last long: according to the manufacturer, 9 hours, so in the real world you would get 7-8 hours under productive use. If you put on a strain on the system, the battery life will naturally drop. To get most out of it, reduce the screen brightness to a level you can still read the text or do whatever you are doing comfortably.

The keyboard is illuminated, but unlike gaming laptops, you can not change the color of the individual keys. The key travel is 1.4mm which makes the pressing depth just right.

To my knowledge, there is no operating system disc included – after all, there’s no optical drive in this laptop! Windows 10 Home 64-bit will be pre-loaded on the storage drive.

Eye rests on the display - Zenbooks have previously been known for good image quality. The older version I have sports a sweet Full HD display, this newer version should be at least as good if not even better.

Software performance through the roof - It's not easy to get this laptop crawling on its knees. There's so much of processor power, plus solid-state drive also makes the system boot and programs start fast.

Lightweight - It's just 2.75 pounds this thing weighs, partly because the laptop shell is made of professional-looking aluminum.

Trackpad not the best - I own a similar Zenbook, and based on the product images, it looks like these both have a similar trackpad. It's not bad, but it feels a bit flimsy and the two buttons at the bottom are not separated from the actual trackpad in any way, it's all one big area.

The Zenbook from ASUS has been the go-to ultrabook for many people for years. This line of ultrabook provides excellent quality and sturdy build, but it’s not only the shell that shines. Also the insides are full of sweet things, as new Core i7 processor, solid-state drive and DDR4 memory are taking care of the needs of power users. Weighing a shy of 3 pounds with all-day battery, this Zenbook UX430UA should also be your essential traveling laptop. It is a bit expensive, yes, but considering what the laptop offers it is worth the price.

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