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Asus ZenBook 3 Review: A great Windows alternative to the MacBook

When Intel first introduced the world to Ultrabooks back in 2011, they were meant to be the Windows equivalent of the Apple Macbook Air. The first few Ultrabooks were good but they weren’t that great.

Now that a few years have passed, Ultrabooks are becoming more popular in the Windows side of portable computers. All the major PC manufacturers are releasing more Ultrabooks that traditional laptops. Asus is no different with their ZenBook 3.

I’ve been using the ZenBook 3 for a few weeks now and I wouldn’t call it my favourite Ultrabook but it’s definitely the closest Windows machine to the Apple MacBook (the one that launched in 2015).

Design & Hardware

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Asus has absolutely nailed the design of the ZenBook 3, the machine looks beautiful especially in the dark blue with gold accents. It has an all-metal premium design.

The screen on the ZenBook 3 is 12.5 inches with a 1920×1080 resolution and a 82% screen-to-body ratio. And the screen looks great from all angles. The whole thing just weighs under 2lbs, which makes it perfect to travel with. Because the whole machine is so thin and light, there isn’t that much travel on the keyboard, it almost feels like you’re not touching anything when typing, which can be good or bad, but personally I didn’t like the shallowness of the keys.

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The trackpad is a decent size and there’s is also an included fingerprint sensor within the trackpad which has support for Windows Hello.

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Inside the ZenBook 3, you’ll find a Intel 7th Gen Core i7 processor (7500U) with Intel HD Graphics 620. Up to 16GB of RAM and upto a 512GB SSD. As for ports, on the left side, you’ll find a 3.5mm headphone jack and on the right, you’ll find a since USB 3.1 Type-C port which can be used for display output and to charge the device.

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I wish that Asus had included two USB Type-C ports on the ZenBook. Having only one port can be frustrating at times but at least Asus included an adapter which plugs into the USB Type-C port and adds an HDMI port, a full-sized USB-A port and a USB Type-C port, so you can still charge the device when connected to an external display.

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The battery on the ZenBook 3 is 40W which Asus says will last all-day (or about 9 hours) which in my testing was somewhat true. It can also charge up to 60% in less than an hour.

The ZenBook 3 starts at $1799 CAD and is available in three colours, Quartz Grey, Royal Blue and Rose Gold.

 

Software

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The ZenBook 3 is running Windows 10, which Microsoft says it the best version of Windows yet. Which I do agree with Microsoft, they have made major improvements to their OS. Windows 10 takes the best of Windows 7 and 8.

Even though the ZenBook 3 is running Windows 10 Pro, it should be noted that you shouldn’t be using it for super heavy tasks, that’s where a more beefier Windows laptop or desktop will come in handy. In my testing, when I was using the device, there was a lot of fan noise when even just running the Microsoft Edge browser or while idle.

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Just like in Windows 8, Windows 10 can be used with devices with and without touchscreens. And unlike Android, there are lots of Windows 10 apps that work well on a tablet. Sure, there might not be as many apps as on Android or iOS but there are alternatives and you can easily install apps that are not on the Windows store.

I was able to easily multi-task on the ZenBook 3 and the laptop easily kept up. Most of the other apps you’ll find pre-installed on the ZenBook 3 are standard with any Windows 10 PC.

 

Final Thoughts

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If you’re looking for a good ultrabook or the actual Windows equivalent of the Apple Macbook, then look no further than the ZenBook 3.

It’s a great overall device that is portable and is somewhat powerful and looks beautiful. No device will ever be perfect but the ZenBook 3 comes so close to being Apple product.

Pros

  • Beautiful design
  • Very portable
  • Great performance
  • Good battery life

Cons

  • Not enough ports
  • Shallow keyboard

8point5_CT_Review

 




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