Geek Review: ASUS ZenBook 14 Ultralight (UX435EGL)

Whether it’s travelling around the world or around campus, or moving from the kitchen table to the study room, having to lug around a computer, charger and accompanying accessories can be a huge pain. A tablet helps, but it can’t perform what laptops can, hence the increasing reliance on the ever popular variations of the work-on-the-go with devices to choose from. 

Over the years, ASUS has given us countless high-performing yet light laptops, but one that truly lives up to its ultralight name is the newest ASUS ZenBook 14 Ultralight. Super light, extremely slim yet delivering an ultra-performance, this laptop is the ultra-portable dream all encased in a sleek aesthetic Pine Grey chassis. The device weighs a little less than 1kg, allowing for you to lift it effortlessly with one hand and making a barely noticeable weight addition to your bag.

Measuring 31.9cm by 20.1cm and only 1.49cm thin, the ZenBook 14 Ultralight can effortlessly fit into most, including a stylish tote bag. Yet, it doesn’t compromise on performance despite its featherlight weight and thinness. Powered by the newest 11th generation Intel Core i7 processors with Turbo Boost capabilities, and the NVIDIA GeForce MX450 discrete graphics, the laptop is able to power through demanding tasks such as video editing and even gaming.

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That’s right. Playing games like Per Aspera on the laptop doesn’t slow down its performance either and while the game is graphically intensive, it loaded with little to no issues and the gameplay remains smooth even as you zoom in and out of your little Mars colony and dump in new buildings.

Throw in a 63 Wh battery and the ZenBook 14 Ultralight has a whopping 17-hour battery life, adding to its portability as you won’t be needing to lug around an additional charging brick when you work outside. And of course, the final tally is affected by the type of use that the laptop is under, but 17 hours is nothing to scoff at. 

While doing demanding tasks such as gaming, the battery dropped from 70% to 10% without need for charging after 5 hours. When watching a 1.5 hours movie, the battery life went from 100% to 86%. For charging, the charger has a USB Type-C plug, which is becoming increasingly popular among many electronic devices, allowing the plug to conveniently double as a charger for your other devices.

The light-weight laptop boasts a 14-inch LED-backlit Full HD (1920×1080), 100% sRGB colour gamut slim-bezel NanoEdge IPS display, perfect for screening your Netflix favourites such as The Queen’s Gambit and Bungou Stray Dogs in vivid colours. Its IR webcam is small and inconspicuous, nestled nicely within the 2.6mm thin bezel, is great for use especially during zoom calls, yet isn’t an eyesore that affects your overall viewing experience of the screen. 

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The powerful display even allows for working in the outdoors as your viewing experience won’t be overly hindered by the bright sunlight. However, the screen does seem noticeably dimmer when viewed from certain angles on the sides (however most people won’t be looking at their screens from these angles so it’s not a very worrying point). Aside from that, the screen comes with TÜV Rheinland certified eye care, to ensure that your eyes won’t get strained after long hours of holding staring competitions with the screen.

As for the audio, the ZenBook 14 Ultralight is supported by the dual-speaker Harman Kardon-certified audio system and Array microphone with Cortana voice-recognition support. This combination provides a pretty decent, auditory experience when watching shows. Words spoken on screen are delivered clearly enough without too much static when volume is turned up on high. However, you may have to turn up the volume to 40 and above when watching Netflix and certain YouTube videos in order to make out the audio. 

As per most ASUS laptop designs, the ZenBook 14 Ultralight is also fitted with the familiar ErgoLift hinge, which allows for an ergonomic typing experience. The lifting of the rear chassis above the surface of the table it is placed on ensures efficient cooling, and together with the air vents located at the bottom of the laptop, means this machine doesn’t heat up much even after extensive use and can still be comfortably placed over your thighs when working.

Speaking of typing, the white on black keyboard is backlit to allow for navigation in the dark and gives a sleek futuristic touch to the overall design. Each key comes with 1.4mm key travel, allowing for some of that clickiness when typing (though it’s not quite as satisfying as the ones provided by mechanical keyboards of course). Asus has managed to place a full size keyboard here so there is no problem with the finger spacing provided, allowing for an intuitive typing experience.

To help increase productivity, the ZenBook 14 Ultralight comes packed with a series of familiar ASUS features, including the NumberPad, a glass-covered touchpad made with Precision TouchPad (PTP) technology that supports up to four-finger smart gestures and even has a calculator shortcut for quicker and more convenient data entry and interactions. Alas, this model doesn’t support a touchscreen option, which seems to be becoming the norm for many new laptops.

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That said, Asus has added other needed features, and ASUS is generous with its ports in order to provide comprehensive and convenient connectivity. The laptop provides two Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports with up to 40 Gbps transfer speeds, one USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A port, one Standard HDMI 2.0 port, and even one MicroSD card reader and a 3.5mm Audio jack.

Similar to the ZenBook Flip 13, the ZenBook 14 Ultralight also comes with the Clear Voice Mic Feature, which provides AI noise-cancelling audio technology to filter out distracting background noises and amplify the human voice. Check out the feature in our video below:

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The ZenBook 14 Ultralight even comes outfitted with a pre-installed MacSafe protection, so that you can maintain a peace of mind even as you surf the Web or work outside while connecting to public WiFi networks. For increased wireless connectivity the laptop also comes with WiFi 6 capabilities and Bluetooth 5.0.

While most of its features remain more or less the same as previous ASUS ZenBook laptops (such as the ZenBook Flip 13), the ZenBook 14 Ultralight’s ultra-portability truly makes it stand out. The S$2,398.00 may seem a little steep, but can be a potentially worthwhile investment for those seeking to lighten their physical load while avoiding having their productivity compromised by underperforming laptops. Each ZenBook 14 Ultralight will come with a 65-watt power adapter with power cord, an optional USB-A to LAN dongle and an optional protective sleeve.

GEEK REVIEW SCORE

Summary

While it may not seem special at a first glance, the ASUS ZenBook 14 Ultralight (UX435EGL) is an ultralight and ultra slim portable laptop that is able to provide effortless performance, and will be a great travelling companion for those who enjoy working-on-the-go.

Overall
8/10
8/10
  • Aesthetics - 8/10
    8/10
  • Build Quality - 8.5/10
    8.5/10
  • Performance - 8/10
    8/10
  • Value - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Geek Satisfaction - 8/10
    8/10


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