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Asus ZenBook 14 (UX3402) Assessment: Ultrabook Achieves Zen State



The Asus ZenBook 14 (UX3402) is the new-look model of Asus’s flagship Ultrabook sequence for 2022. 

Refining the idea slightly than reinventing the wheel, the ZenBook 14 (UX3402) is slimmer than its 2021 counterpart, but it surely’s obtainable in the identical trademark Asus darkish blue, and as soon as once more the trackpad doubles as a numeric keypad, a characteristic we’ve seen on ZenBooks for fairly some time now. 

To see the place the brand new ZenBook 14 goes one higher than final yr’s UX425 fashions, you might want to look beneath the hood – they characteristic extra up-to-date Intel processors, 12th-gen Alder Lake-P vs 11th gen Tiger Lake. The most recent chips characteristic extra cores, permitting you to run extra issues directly, in addition to promising an general enhance in efficiency.

The presence of Alder Lake-P additionally signifies that the brand new ZenBook 14 can include newer LPDDR5-type RAM, and a Wi-Fi 6E module. In easy phrases, which means that stuff ought to run a bit extra shortly than earlier than, and likewise your Wi-Fi will likely be a bit sooner (supplied you’re linked to a elaborate new router). 

Design & Construct

Alluring design, obtainable in darkish blue or silver
Nearly gentle sufficient to carry in a single hand
Sufficient ports for many working conditions while not having a dock

Asus ZenBook laptops have lengthy been trendy and snazzy, and the 2022 mannequin is not any exception. It’s a really slim-looking machine that you simply’ll be capable to simply stow away in a messenger bag or rucksack. 

It follows design cues set by earlier ZenBooks, however as an alternative of the standard concentric spun-metal jackets, Asus has etched strains from its Star Trek-esque ‘A’ brand right into a flat end. The standard curved corners are additionally out, with Asus now choosing a extra angular look. The deck is trapezoidal, with the widest half going through up. Aesthetically, it’s nonetheless miles away from one thing just like the Asus TUF Gaming A15 (2022), but it surely’s a step change. 

The basic Asus ErgoLift aspect is current right here – the form of the laptop computer’s 180-degree hinge sees the deck barely raised up off of the floor of your desk when opened. 

This supposedly serves two functions. It signifies that the keyboard is tilted barely in the direction of your palms, permitting for extra comfy typing, and it additionally, signifies that heat air from the air vents on the underside can escape the system with better ease – though Asus has added a second air vent on the left-hand edge too. The impact right here is much less pronounced than on older fashions, however nonetheless noticeable. 

Whereas the second air vent takes up quite a lot of area which might have in any other case been given as much as ports, there’s a single Kind-A USB port 3.2 (Gen 2) right here. The entire different bodily connections – microSD slot, two USB-C ports, a 3.5mm audio jack, and an HDMI 2.0b port – sit on the appropriate hand facet. 

That’s good contemplating the size of the ZenBook 14. Each of the USB-C ports right here assist Thunderbolt 4, so you may simply hook up with 4K displays, transportable SSDs, docks, or no matter you need. Nonetheless, as there’s no devoted charging port, for essentially the most half, you’ll be conserving a kind of ports free for the 65W mains adapter. 

The ZenBook 14 weighs a mere 1.35kg, which is gentle by 14in laptop computer requirements. The HP Pavilion 14 (2021) isn’t far more at 1.46kg, and it’s lighter than the Microsoft Floor Laptop computer Studio 3-in-1s, which weigh between 1.74kg and 1.82kg.

It’s virtually as gentle because the 1.29kg Apple MacBook Air M1, however the ZenBook 14 is extra beneficiant port-wise. That further 6g is value it. 

Keyboard & Trackpad

Properly-spaced keyboard that’s straightforward to get comfy with 
Very responsive and properly sized trackpad
NumberPad 2.Zero trackpad calculator will divide opinion

The Asus ZenBook 14’s keyboard is very nice to sort on, and the trackpad is decently-sized, and responsive, although I’m not completely bought on the utility of the NumberPad 2.Zero characteristic. 

The keyboard format is basically smart, and the keys snap again properly. The keycaps really feel slightly skinny, however there aren’t any telltale indicators of wobble or something that provides me trigger for concern. Every part feels reassuringly sturdy. I might see myself utilizing this as a day by day driver for the following few years. 

There are nevertheless a few particular grumbles. The Enter and the hash keys are too carefully positioned, and the Enter key itself is simply too small for my liking. Numerous Asus laptops have the same keyboard format, so should you’ve used a ZenBook earlier than, you’re in all probability conversant in this set-up, however there wasn’t a day throughout testing once I didn’t by chance sort ‘#’ once I meant to create a line break.  

Talking of which, it’s straightforward to by chance toggle the NumberPad, the trackpad’s hidden characteristic. An extended press on the highest proper nook of the trackpad sees a numeric pad and calculator keys blossoming into life, launching a calculator app on the show.  

In idea, this can be a nifty, time-saving characteristic. In follow, it’s a faff. It’s very awkward to make use of, as a result of generally if you’re making an attempt to sort in, say, Four divided by 2, the trackpad will generally accurately interpret your finger stabs, and see a quantity seem on the calculator, after which the outcome when you hit the equals signal. Different instances, it gained’t, and also you’ll simply transfer the mouse cursor a bit. Or, as an alternative of typing ‘2’, you’ll discover that it’s truly interpreted that as ‘2,222,222,222’.

Not damaged, the NumberPad 2.Zero is tough to {photograph}.

Then you definitely attempt to delete every thing by urgent the again button. Which generally doesn’t work. NumberPad 2.Zero very a lot seems like an answer searching for an issue. There’s no technique to completely flip it off within the settings both. A minimum of you may simply flip it off once more must you by chance interact it. 

It’s a disgrace to moan, as a result of the trackpad, measuring a beneficiant 5.8in, is in any other case nice. It’s well-positioned, straightforward to make use of, and tremendous responsive, requiring no sensitivity adjustment within the settings. The touchscreen, likewise, responds nicely to swishes and inputs, and although you may’t fold the ZenBook 14 up and use it like a pill, with the ability to thumb via paperwork and recreation menus is fairly useful.

Display & Audio system 

14in 2560 x 1600 touchscreen with 16:10 side ratio
100% sRGB color area protection
Accessible in LED or OLED variations
Twin Harmon/Kardon-tuned audio system 

The brand new Asus ZenBook 14 vary is out there with two show choices, one with a typical IPS-type LED, and the opposite, an OLED – I used to be despatched the latter for testing.

The LED fashions promise peak brightness of 400 nits, whereas Asus says that an OLED ZenBook 14 will kick out a most of 550 nits. 

Asus additionally claims that each fashions will cowl 100% of the usual RGB color area – which suggests in actual phrases that the ZenBook 14 will show web sites, digital artwork, and pictures with a excessive diploma of accuracy. Whereas I can’t verify if the LED model achieves this, I can verify that the OLED mannequin completely does.

Utilizing a SpyderX Professional colorimeter, I recorded full sRGB gamut protection, and noticed 96% of the Adobe RGB area lined too, together with 95% and 99% of the NTSC and DCI-P3 color areas, respectively. 

Which means whether or not you’re processing your pictures in sRGB or Adobe RGB, the Asus ZenBook 14 will provide you with have a look at what you’re working with. 

In much less constructive information, most brightness I recorded was 375 nits. Personally, I believe that is advantageous for indoor use, however you’ll wrestle to work exterior. It’s also fairly removed from the marketed most. 

Color temperature at 25%, 50%, and 75% brightness was 6400Ok, and at full brightness I recorded 6500Ok, the impartial candy spot you’ll need for pure colors. Because it’s an OLED sort show, the place any ‘black’ areas are literally unlit pixels, the distinction ratio is 0:1, which is about nearly as good because it will get. 

Even should you’re not performing exact edits of RAW photograph information, usually talking, the OLED show is a marvel to behold. Excessive color constancy and excessive distinction signifies that web sites and video games look positively radiant, and streamed video content material – even upscaled content material like this – appears sensational. The colors listed here are so wealthy, they’ll in all probability seem on a listing within the Sunday Occasions.

On the audio facet of issues, you get a pair of audio system which sit on the underside, in the direction of the entrance of the deck. These fireplace sound down, however as they’re set into the sides of the deck, not every thing is muffled and absorbed by your desktop, or your lap, or regardless of the laptop computer is on. 

Audio from streamed content material with a Dolby Atmos soundtrack will sound extra immersive, on account of objects being positioned precisely within the soundstage. Whereas audio from TV and films is spectacular, music usually sounds much less good. Bass and mid tones sound good and full, however trebly noises sound weak and tinny.

Something with quite a lot of cymbal hits and excessive pitched guitars, i.e. 90% of what I take heed to, goes to sound messy. Whereas that is advantageous for Netflix and video calls, for music, you’re higher off reaching for some headphones or a Bluetooth speaker.

Specs & Efficiency

Blazes via workplace duties with minimal fuss
Followers can get noisy if you’re working a number of apps
Battery will final about 11 hours for a traditional working day 

The Asus ZenBook 14 dealt with fundamental workplace duties and light-weight photograph enhancing with aplomb, however as there isn’t a devoted graphics processor on board, video games typically moved at a crawl. 

The unit I used to be despatched featured an Intel Core i5-1240P processor, which options 12 cores, a fundamental clock velocity of 1.7GHz, boosting as much as 4.4GHz, and Iris Xe built-in graphics. This sits alongside 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM, and a 512GB SSD, 475GB of which is user-available out of the field. 

Each day duties like phrase processing and internet shopping suffered from no seen slowdown, even with upwards of twelve Firefox tabs open and a YouTube playlist going. Photograph enhancing is fairly speedy, if all you wish to do is shortly resize, crop, and modify gentle ranges. It took just below Three minutes (2:43) to open 84 JPEGs (equal to 500MB) in GIMP. For patrons who need a versatile laptop computer to do the fundamentals, the Asus ZenBook 14 will greater than fulfill. 

Under you may see the way it compares to a choice of rivals together with the  Huawei MateBook 14s, HP Envy 13 and Microsoft Floor Laptop computer 4. With 12 cores, it simply outpaces them in Geekbench 5 – even towards i7 chips – however PCMark 10 returns a decrease rating, seemingly as eight of these cores are decrease energy effectivity cores to maintain battery life so long as attainable.

For gaming, it’s not so good. Civ 6 was solely actually playable on the bottom settings, and even then, the followers would immediately kick into gear. This was advantageous for brief classes of an hour or so, however any longer than that and turns would actually drag. The sport even crashed on a few events. 

To offer gaming and video enhancing a lift you possibly can spend money on an exterior GPU (eGPU). That stated, should you’re seeking to spend tons on a kind of, take into account simply selecting up a gaming laptop computer as an alternative, or one thing like Microsoft Floor Laptop computer Studio, which is particularly geared in the direction of content material creation.

The Asus ZenBook 14 is neither a gaming laptop computer nor a artistic workstation, so it’s slightly unfair to check it to these, however given the calibre of the show, chances are you’ll be tempted to make use of it for video enhancing. 

Battery Life & Charging

All-day battery life
65W charging

Battery life can be respectable, relying on what you’re doing. An hour of Civ 6 noticed a full battery drop to 60%, for instance.

I used to be in a position to end an eight-hour working day with about the identical left within the tank. Looping a 720p video with the brightness locked at 120 nits noticed the battery final 11 hours and 14 minutes. Different laptops will final for longer, however contemplating that OLED shows are fuel guzzlers, that is good going.

From empty, anticipate to get round 25% of juice after half an hour, and 45% after an hour. Charging again as much as full from flat takes round two and a half hours utilizing the provided 65W charger.

Value & Availability

Full pricing for the Asus ZenBook 14 (UX3402) vary was not obtainable on the time of writing, however Asus has stated that the vary will begin at £1,099.

It was presupposed to go on sale in Might however we won’t see it anyplace within the UK but. Nonetheless, within the US you should buy the laptop computer from BestBuy at simply US$749.99.

This will get you an identical Core i5 examined right here together with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. One thing of a discount if you nonetheless get the OLED display screen slightly than a decrease grade LED mannequin.

Verify our chart of the most effective laptops to see what different choices you have got.

Verdict

The Asus ZenBook 14 (UX3402) is a fantastic-looking laptop computer with a blinding show, providing good efficiency for on a regular basis computing duties. Anybody after a high-quality Home windows 11 workhorse will likely be greater than happy with a ZenBook 14 from the 2022 vary. 

The excessive diploma of color accuracy signifies that this is a superb selection for pictures college students, or anybody who desires to edit pictures, though the dearth of a devoted graphics processor means it’s not as well-suited to video enhancing as different laptops. 

Likewise, should you deal with the Asus ZenBook 14 as a gaming machine, you may be disenchanted – however that’s not what it’s designed for.

Stable connectivity, light-weight design, the newest Intel chips, a principally dependable keyboard and a big trackpad make it a good selection. Simply do not buy it for the calculator hidden within the trackpad.

Specs
Asus ZenBook 14 (UX3402): Specs

Home windows 11 Residence / Home windows 10 Professional
14-inch Full HD (1920×1080) touchscreen
12.65-in (1920 x 515) ScreenPad Plus, Intel Core i5-1240P (12 cores 4P+8E, 1.7 GHz, as much as 4.Four GHz) / Intel Core i7-1260P (12 cores 4P+8E, 2.1 GHz, as much as 4.7 GHz)
Intel Iris Xe Graphics
8GB, 16GB or 32GB LPDDR5 RAM, 512GB or 1TB PCIe 4.Zero SSD, or 1TB PCIe 3.Zero SSD
2x USB Kind-C (Thunderbolt 4), 1x Kind-A USB 3.2 (Gen 2), 1x HDMI 2.0b, 1x 3.5mm headphone jack, micro SD card reader
2 x Harman Kardon-tuned audio system
720p HD digital camera with IR sensors and Home windows Howdy
802.11ax Wi-Fi 6E
Bluetooth 5.2
313.6 x 220.6 x 16.9 mm
1.35kg

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