Asus Zenbook UX534 review: A high-performance ultrabook

The Asus Zenbook series has been one to express its style and compact form factor over all else. This, combined with solid performance, have enabled Asus to market the family to a segment that likes both portability and speed. The UX534 largely continues this tradition.

Tech Specs:




  UX434 UX534
CPU Intel Core i7-8565U or i5-8265U Intel Core i7-8565U
GPU NVIDIA GeForce MX250, and Intel UHD Graphics 620 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Max-Q and Intel UHD Graphics 620
Display 14” Full HD with 72% NTSC 15.6” Full HD with 72% NTSC
RAM 8GB / 16GB 2133MHz LPDDR3 16GB 2400MHz DDR4
Storage 512 GB/1TB PCIe 3.0 SSD 1TB PCIe 3.0 SSD
OS Windows 10 Home Windows 10 Home
Battery 50Wh 3-cell lithium-polymer battery 71Wh 8-cell lithium-polymer battery
Weight With standard display: 1.26kg 1.65kg
Adapter 65W power adapter, 120W power adapter

 

Inside the box:

The laptop comes in a moderate-sized box, which is a stacked affair, containing the laptop, a charger, the instruction manuals, and surprisingly, a USB-LAN adapter and a convenient travel bag.

Design:

The first thing of note is the small build. The UX534 has a thin and light chassis, built with a smooth metallic blue finish. It feels smooth to the touch and is convenient to move around without even needing to close the lid.

Once you open it, the surprises come to light: The laptop houses a 15.6" screen with a really thin bezel. The keyboard is, also surprisingly, a full-size keyboard - a major plus point to people who don't like tenkeyless keyboards, though it does take a bit of getting used to.

The trackpad doubles as the ScreenPad 2.0. It has a very smooth finish and has many uses for people who like to keep instantly accessible shortcuts to their favourite applications.

Display:

The 15.6" display of the UX 534 is a treat to behold, with a crisp Full HD display running at 60 Hz. Movies, text and games look very crisp and colourful, with the good colour coverage the display offers.

Performance:

The real draw of the machine is its unexpectedly solid performance. Unlike most laptops, which pair a high-performance CPU with an Nvidia MaxQ GPU, the UX534 pairs a low-power U-series CPU with the GTX 1650 MaxQ, which offers a modest performance boost over the 1050 Ti MaxQ. My unit shipped with an i7-8565U, which has 4 cores and 8 threads and runs at a base frequency of 1.8 GHz, with 16 GB of RAM and a 1 TB SSD.

Productivity is not necessarily the UX534's strong point, with the low-power i7 CPU. Using 7Zip gave me an average score of 12590 across a dozen test runs using the LZMA benchmark. The CPU here appears to be a bottleneck as none of the tests I ran completely taxed the RAM.

However, gaming performance is excellent here. The i7 and 1650 are able to run most modern titles at 1080p at a full 60 frames per second, though some compromises will be required in terms of visual fidelity in more modern titles.

Battery:

Ultrabooks have been generally known for two things - being thin and light, and a strong battery. The UX534 does not disappoint in both cases. The battery, in particular, is highly impressive, with it giving me about 9-10 hours on mixed-use involving browsing, watching a video, downloading programs and running the 7Zip test - this came at the cost of it causing the system to fall in responsiveness a bit, however, since the CPU gets heavily taxed.

It's a rare sight to find yourself in a struggle to get the battery to exhaust. The low power CPU and GPU are to be credited for this feat owing to their low combined power consumption.

Downsides:

There are a few gripes with the device, however. The RAM is soldered on to the motherboard, making it impossible to upgrade in any way. It's likely a shortcoming from the thin form factor, but if the memory should ever fail, you will be left with only one option - to send the entire device in for RMA.

The other thing is the fact that I could not connect any flash drive I had with the laptop. This is an odd issue and likely more to do with my flash drives than the laptop itself as I was able to connect my mouse, the included USB-LAN adapter and external charging cables easily enough. Additionally, at over Rs 1.4 lakh for my unit and a starting price of over Rs 70,000, it's not particularly cheap, either.

Verdict:

The UX534 is a solid performer, with a combination of the low-power/high-speed CPU and GPU giving a strong performance with excellent battery life. The price is just a shade too high for what it offers, though.

Pros: Good CPU/GPU combination, SSD, excellent screen and battery life

Cons: Memory not user-upgradable, pricey.

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