Compact and portable laptops are the name of the game for Taiwanese tech giant ASUS, with its new range of laptops, which includes the incredibly light ExpertBook B9450 that weighs less than 1kg, as well as their newest ASUS ZenBook 14 UX425.
The ZenBook 14 UX425 is both thin and light, weighing only 1.17kg, with a side profile of only 14mm. With its lightweight and slim profile, it fits easily into most backpacks and can be carried around without you feeling too much strain on your shoulders or back.
The laptop is fashioned out of lightweight, diamond-cut aluminium with ASUS’ iconic spun metal finish on the lid which, when coupled with the matte interior and beveled edges around the laptop, lends a premium look and feel to the laptop. The laptop also features a 14-inch Full HD display with 400nits of brightness, surrounded by incredibly slim 1.5mm NanoEdge bezels which helps to increase the laptop’s screen to body ratio to 90%. The display on the laptop is given a matte coating to help give the screen an anti-reflective surface.
As with other recent ASUS laptops, the ZenBook 14 UX425 also features an ErgoLift hinge design which lifts the laptop at an angle to allow for both extra airflow beneath the laptop to help keep it cool as well as a better angle for users to type in. However, the ErgoLift design on the UX425 is such that the grills of the laptop end up blowing hot air to the chin of the laptop’s display. Fortunately, the plastic chin on the laptop helps to take in most of the heat and the chin does not feel hot to the touch after long hours of use. This is important as prolonged exposure to heat might negatively affect your laptop’s productivity and reliability in the long run.
The ZenBook 14 UX425 also comes with MIL-STD-810G certification meaning it has passed a series of military standard tests and the laptop can be used in certain temperatures and humidity without the environment negatively affecting the quality of the laptop. It is also able to withstand minor drops though we did notice the keyboard of the laptop flexing a little when pressed down hard.
Speaking of the keyboard, the ones on the UX425 come with white backlight in three different levels of brightness. The keyboard is also noticeably wider, and is paired with a larger glass touchpad. Thanks to the wider keyboard layout, your hands don’t feel cramped at all when typing on the keyboard though we did notice some accidental misclicks on the larger touchpad.
This is made even more apparent with the keyboard shifted more to the left to make space for the Home, Page Up, Page Down, and End button being placed to the right of the keyboard, meaning your right hand is more likely to end up resting on the touchpad when typing. This new layout will also take some getting used to for those more accustomed to having all the arrow keys directly below the Shift key, however these changes are nothing base breaking and we got used to them fairly quickly.
Also, aside from the Space key, the rest of the keys on the UX425 are quick and quiet with generous key travel. The overall typing experience on the ZenBook 14 UX425, once you get used to the different keyboard layout is a largely positive one, with the keys feeling nice to the touch.
ASUS has also brought on the NumberPad functionality to the UX425, which makes the touchpad function also as a number pad for users to quickly and easily key in numbers into a calculator or the like.
The ASUS ZenBook 14 UX425 is powered by Intel’s latest 10th generation Ice Lake processors and comes with 8GB of memory and 1TB of PCIe 3.0 NVMe SSD, with graphics on the laptop being handled by the Intel Iris Pro iGPU. This means your laptop will be able to run perfectly fine for daily use. We had multiple tabs on our Google Chrome open with Adobe Photoshop running in the background and the UX425 barely broke a sweat, though we did notice the fans running hard in the background to keep the laptop from overheating. Aside from that, if you won’t be using the laptop for heavy content creation purposes, and will just be using it to do up spreadsheets and word documents, the laptop will do more than just fine.
With regards to connectivity, ASUS has decided to remove the 3.5mm earphone jack from the UX425 due to limited space on the laptop. A bold move in our opinion as though some users have moved to wireless headphones or ones with USB-C, there are still a sizable number of users who will appreciate having a 3.5mm earphone jack on their laptop, us included. That said, ASUS has included a 3.5mm to USB-C adapter in the UX425’s box which is great, till you lose the adapter.
Though, aside from the missing 3.5mm earphone jack, ASUS does still have a great range of ports for users, with two Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports, a HDMI port that supports FHD displays at 60Hz, a USB Type-A port that’s unfortunately a Gen 1 variant that has speeds of only up to 5Gbps, and a MicroSD card reader. Right beside the card reader is an LED power indicator that lets you know when the laptop is powered up.
Being a laptop best suited for those who are frequently on the go, the ZenBook 14 UX425 comes with 67Whr of battery life which is larger than batteries found on most other laptops. With its generous battery life, the UX425 can easily last us the whole work day from 9am till a little after 7pm before needing to be charged, we used it to browse the net and run applications such as Adobe Photoshop. When you do need to charge the laptop, the ZenBook 14 UX425 also comes with fast charging capabilities that charges the laptop from less than 5% to around 40% in just 30 minutes, while a full charge on the laptop takes roughly around 2 hours.
For its price, at S$1,398 for the variant with the i5 Intel Core processor, the ZenBook 14 UX425 is a perfect mid-range option for those looking for a lightweight and aesthetically pleasing laptop to carry while on the move. And if you are on the lookout for a more premium option for a business laptop, you can also consider the ASUS ExpertBook B9450.
GEEK REVIEW SCORE
The perfect mid-range laptop for those who are looking for a lightweight, portable, and affordable laptop for daily use.
Aesthetics - 8/10
Build Quality - 8/10
Performance - 8.5/10
Value - 9/10
Geek Satisfaction - 8/10