Now even quicker, Asus' Zenbook three nonetheless brings the bling

Clad in midnight blue and chased in gold, the unique Asus ZenBook 3 was lauded for its daring, unconventional type. It was a beautiful laptop computer, nevertheless it had a number of flaws. Its successor, the Asus ZenBook 3 Deluxe, goals to set issues proper. During our Asus ZenBook three Deluxe evaluate, we discovered that this little factor was simply stuffed with surprises, and the addition of recent eighth-generation Intel Core processors accounts for less than certainly one of our revelations.

Asus shipped us its latest machine outfitted with an Intel Core i7-8550U processor, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB PCIe stable state drive, and a 14-inch 1080p show panel, all at a retail worth of $1,700. The ZenBook three Deluxe is in any other case an identical to the machine that we reviewed earlier in 2016, with internals that aren’t very totally different from the unique ZenBook, and with an total silhouette that could be very related — simply stretched out to 14 inches.

This laptop computer is filled with nice surprises, so let’s dig into it.

Gilded class

Asus determined to stay with its profitable design for the ZenBook three Deluxe, with a number of small refinements. It’s nonetheless that deep Royal Blue, and the lid nonetheless options that opulent gold end round its edge.

asus zenbook 3 deluxe ux490ua xs74 bl ux490u lid
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

The Deluxe mannequin is a bit bigger than the common ZenBook three, with a 14-inch show to the unique’s 13-inch. It’s virtually as skinny, at zero.51 inches to the unique’s zero.47 inches. It’s additionally somewhat heavier at 2.42 kilos, to the unique’s weight of two kilos flat.

The construct high quality right here is superb, because the ZenBook’s chassis doesn’t flex, creak, or crack the way in which cheaper all-plastic laptops do. The hinge is somewhat looser than different laptops are typically proper out of the field, however its development is nice, and solidly hooked up to the physique with none give on the edges.

When the lid is closed, the entire thing feels stable, prefer it’s only a single plate of aluminum. It doesn’t really feel hole, or flimsy regardless of its extremely light-weight construct. On high of that, the signature concentric ring design distinctive to the ZenBook lineup provides an eye catching sheen to the lid. Like a luxurious watch, it feels substantial, and has an effortlessly premium look to it.

The construct high quality right here is superb. It feels stable, like a single plate of aluminum.

The premium thin-and-light pocket book market is outlined by merchandise with that type of weighted high quality. These notebooks differentiate themselves from enterprise, shopper, and gaming laptops by bringing an additional degree of workmanship to the desk.  Just have a look at Microsoft’s Surface Laptop, or HP’s Spectre x360 13 — each are exceptionally well-crafted machines that characteristic remarkably related inner elements. These notebooks are outlined extra by their design and aesthetics, than .

Even in the event that they do typically borrow design parts from each other. For occasion, the show bezels on the ZenBook are similar to these on the MacBook Pro 13 — inferior to the Dell XPS 13, however nonetheless nice. It’s the 21st century, so it’s about time we shrug off the oppressive yoke of overly thick bezels.

A dongle in each port

The authentic Asus ZenBook three featured a single Thunderbolt three port, which had a sure simplicity to it, however was impractical. The ZenBook three Deluxe goals to treatment that problem by together with not one, however two Thunderbolt three / USB-C ports, and one normal USB-C port.

Asus has adopted Apple’s lead on this space — and that’s simply not numerous port choices. However, Asus went one step additional and set an instance the remainder of the business ought to comply with instantly. The ZenBook three Deluxe ships with a pleasant multi-port Thunderbolt three hub to assist exchange these outdated ports. The hub contains one other USB-C port, a full-size HDMI port, and a USB-A port.

Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

The system remains to be $1,700 and so the hub isn’t free, it’s simply included, nevertheless it’s the type of small gesture that makes you be ok with a purchase order. Pick up a MacBook Pro 13 and also you’ll be out $10 to $20 per dongle, in case you get a budget ones on Amazon — double that in case you go for the Apple-branded choices. That can really feel like a producer reaching again into your pockets after you simply handed them practically two thousand .

There’s no such problem right here. The Asus branded hub is straightforward, prime quality, and does a superb job of bridging the hole between outdated requirements and new ones. Still, if you find yourself needing different ports, like Ethernet, or DisplayPort, there are many dongles for that.

Asus Zenbook three Deluxe UX490UA-XS74-BL  Compared To

The Thunderbolt three ports themselves are conveniently positioned, two on the appropriate facet, one on the left, so you’ll be able to cost the ZenBook three Deluxe from both facet, with sufficient room to plug in a mouse or different accent.

zero.four millimeters makes all of the distinction

One if the foremost points the unique ZenBook three had was its keyboard. Its brief key journey made every keystroke really feel prefer it ended abruptly, as if typing on wooden. Thankfully the brand new ZenBook three Deluxe treatments that problem by providing deeper key journey, 1.2mm to the unique’s zero.8mm, and higher tactile really feel total.

Each keystroke is deep, ending in a satisfying click on — even whether it is softer than you’d get out of a typical mechanical keyboard. The keyboard additionally encompasses a gold backlight which shines by the important thing caps with out a lot mild leakage, even in a totally darkish room.

The touchpad is the right dimension for this kind issue – sufficiently big with out being overwhelming, sufficiently small to preserve house with out feeling limiting. Plus, its Windows Precision Touchpad multi-touch gestures are fast, responsive, and correct.

Unfortunately, the fingerprint sensor takes us the highest proper nook of the touchpad, and its fast space is a useless zone on the touchpad. Despite that, it really works with Windows Hello and works effectively, even in case you faucet it at an odd angle.

A case for 1080p?

At 14 inches, the Asus ZenBook three Deluxe is the appropriate dimension for a 1080p show panel. It’s sufficiently small that all the pieces seems brilliant and crisp with out getting too stretched out. A better decision show would’ve been good to see, and 1080p does put it a bit behind the curve — most of its opponents, just like the HP Spectre x360, supply a 4K panel both as an possibility, or as a normal characteristic.

In our show benchmarks, the ZenBook held its personal in opposition to a number of high-profile opponents within the premium laptop computer house. The Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon topped our checklist with its distinction ratio of 990:1, whereas the HP Spectre x360 managed 770:1, and the Acer Spin 7 hit 860:1. The ZenBook is correct within the center there, simply forward of the Acer Spin.

Moving on to paint gamut, the ZenBook edged out the Acer Spin 7’s decent-if-below-average AdobeRGB share of 69 %, with its personal rating of 72 %. Both fell behind the HP Spectre x360’s rating of 71 %. All 4 achieved very typical outcomes right here, reproducing acceptable percentages of the finicky AdobeRGB coloration house.

For most customers it received’t be a giant deal, nevertheless it’s the type of small element that might find yourself being an issue down the highway

When it comes to paint accuracy, the ZenBook three did fall a bit in need of our expectations. Its common coloration error of two.19 is much like the HP Spectre x360 13, and it’s sufficiently small that the majority customers wouldn’t discover until they fired up Photoshop and located their customized palettes barely askew. But the Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon got here a lot nearer to pitch-perfect accuracy. Again, for many customers it received’t be a giant deal, nevertheless it’s the type of small element that might find yourself being an issue down the highway — in case you plan on utilizing the ZenBook three Deluxe for skilled picture or video enhancing, as an example.

On its personal, the shiny display seems nice in most environments. It’s brilliant sufficient to keep up its coloration constancy even below fluorescent workplace lights. Despite the shiny display, we by no means had any points with glare, until the ZenBook was in direct daylight however most laptops have bother competing with the solar.

The Asus Boombox three Deluxe

The authentic Asus ZenBook three featured a formidable set of audio system which may fill a room with wealthy, lifelike sound. The ZenBook three Deluxe follows go well with, and contains what are very seemingly the identical audio system — as a result of they sound nearly as good as they did on the unique.

With two audio system proper above the keyboard, and two on the underside of the chassis, the ZenBook sounds finest when sitting on a flat floor. Sitting on a desk or desk, its audio system reproduce music remarkably effectively.

asus zenbook 3 deluxe ux490ua xs74 bl ux490u speaker
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

On a lap, it’s rather less spectacular, however nonetheless sounds higher than most laptops. This is the type of element that may set a premium ultrabook aside from the remaining. The Acer Spin 7, and Thinkpad X1 Carbon are transportable and trendy, however their audio system have been lower than spectacular.

At this worth, there’s no excuse to not have respectable audio system in a laptop computer anymore, so it’s all the time good to see an organization like Asus go the additional mile to incorporate a characteristic most producers overlook.

Intel’s Eighth-gen CPU makes certainly one of its first appearances

The refreshed Asus ZenBook three Deluxe options an Intel Core i7-8550U processor, which lowers the bottom clock velocity however provides in two additional cores over the Core i7-7500U that shipped within the older mannequin. It’s a workhorse CPU that goals to be much more environment friendly, whereas in a position to ramp all 4 cores as much as a speedy 4GHz on demand. Was it well worth the effort to launch a ZenBook three Deluxe refreshed with Intel’s latest CPU?

In a phrase, sure. The Core i7-8550U has impressed us up to now in our benchmark assessments, with the Lenovo Yoga 920 and Dell XPS 13 being two different machines we’ve examined with the brand new chip. It’s a quick CPU in short-run assessments resembling Geekbench four the place the ZenBook three Deluxe scored a stable four,324 within the single-core check and a very good 13,086 within the multi-core check. That’s a pleasant enchancment over the older mannequin’s four,180 and seven,985 scores, respectively, and it’s additionally in step with the Yoga 920 and Dell XPS 13 scores.

Those outcomes additionally handily beat out the remainder of the dual-core competitors, and are consistent with the Core i7-7700HQ quad-core processor that attracts 45 watts in comparison with the Core i7-8550U’s 15 watts. That signifies that the ZenBook three Deluxe advantages from some promising efficiency on the excessive finish with out placing an excessive amount of of a pressure on the battery and with out producing an excessive amount of warmth for its extremely skinny chassis.

On the opposite hand, Asus nonetheless needed to account for physics when it got here to operating a extra demanding check that places extra stress on the CPU. That skinny chassis merely can’t dissipate warmth as effectively as a thicker machine — just like the Lenovo Yoga 920 — and that limitation confirmed up in our Handbrake check that encodes a 420MB video to H.265 format.

The ZenBook three Deluxe with the brand new Eighth-gen CPU is an admirable — and improved — performer.

While the Core i7-8550U’s 924 seconds was an enchancment over the 1,020 seconds scored by the in any other case an identical Core i7-7500U mannequin, it fell significantly in need of the Yoga 920’s 613 seconds. The Dell XPS 13 — additionally a skinny machine — managed a really related 913 seconds. Simply put, Asus clearly needed to throttle the CPU a bit to maintain warmth below management, and so the general efficiency enchancment isn’t fairly as important within the thinner machine.

Nevertheless, the ZenBook three Deluxe with the brand new CPU is an admirable performer. It’s not going to gradual you down throughout day-to-day productiveness duties, it has sufficient headroom to run the whole Microsoft Office suite concurrently — with a number of huge spreadsheets and Word paperwork open on the similar time. It does begin to chug when operating a bunch of purposes alongside a traditional load of browser tabs, nonetheless. Yes, all these Reddit tabs are important and work-related.


Hard drive efficiency isn’t precisely a marquee characteristic, nevertheless it’s crucial, particularly for a laptop computer just like the ZenBook three Deluxe. This factor is designed to be carried in all places, which implies it’ll find yourself doing somewhat little bit of all the pieces. The Asus ZenBook three Deluxe ships with a 512GB SSD, and it’s fast on its ft. Hitting a learn velocity of 1,349 megabytes per second, and a write velocity of 1,285 MB/s, the ZenBook’s SSD is greater than able to taking up with virtually about something you throw at it.

The ZenBook’s SSD is second solely to the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon, which hit a learn velocity of 1,879 MB/s and a write velocity of 1,508 MB/s. There’s a good bit of house between them on learn/write velocity, however there’s a good greater gulf between the ZenBook and the Acer Spin 7, with its lowly SATA drive — which is far slower than a PCIe drive, like those within the ZenBook and ThinkPad.

Intel HD vs. Intel Iris

The little Intel UHD Graphics 620 chip that resides on the ZenBook’s processor supplies sufficient horsepower for video games like Hearthstone and League of Legends, however little else. For essentially the most half, it’s highly effective sufficient for on a regular basis purposes, however video games thrash this poor little graphics chip. Note that Intel modified the identify of the GPU within the eighth era from HD Graphics 620 to UHD Graphics 620, however its efficiency stays the identical.

This isn’t a ZenBook particular problem, it’s a reality of life for thin-and-light notebooks with out discrete graphics playing cards. On our benchmarks, not one of the ZenBook’s nearest opponents did notably effectively. In 3DMark’s Fire Strike benchmark, the brand new ZenBook scored 949 to the earlier mannequin’s very related 987, whereas the HP EliteBook x360 G2 scored 914.

The Microsoft Surface Pro is one other machine with Intel built-in graphics, however its processor, the Core i7-7660U, options the extra highly effective Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640. It’s nonetheless not fairly highly effective sufficient for many video games, however the additional horsepower does make the Surface Pro a more sensible choice for low-intensity video games like Civilization VI. On medium settings, the Surface Pro managed 16 FPS in Civilization VI, whereas the ZenBook managed about 10 FPS. That’s not precisely jaw-dropping efficiency, however there’s a noticeable distinction between Intel HD and Intel Iris graphics. Even if it’s a small one.


At half-an-inch thick, and weighing simply 2.42 kilos, the ZenBook three Deluxe is surprisingly skinny and lightweight. It’s even thinner and lighter than the MacBook Pro 13 — which weighs three.02 kilos and is zero.59 inches thick. Neither one goes to weigh you down throughout a each day commute, however you may find yourself feeling that additional half-pound on the MacBook Pro 13 on the finish of a protracted day.

The ZenBook, alternatively, matches into very small messenger baggage with ease. It even matches into an inner messenger bag compartment designed for a 13-inch laptop computer with room to spare. However, there’s extra to portability than dimension alone, so let’s have a look at how lengthy the ZenBook lasts on a single cost.

During on a regular basis use, we may get round seven hours of battery life out of the ZenBook, which inserts properly between the outcomes from our formal benchmarks. Using the Basemark browser benchmark, for instance, which runs by a sequence of intensive CPU and GPU net assessments, the ZenBook managed somewhat over two and a half hours earlier than going utterly flat.

That’s a bit low in comparison with related machines operating seventh-generation CPUs, and it’s round 50 minutes lower than the Yoga 920 and Dell XPS 13 operating the identical CPU. Even so, it’s not a horrible rating by any means.

We additionally ran our now-retired Peacekeeper battery check, which runs by a sequence of HTML5 assessments, to check on to the earlier mannequin. The new ZenBook three Deluxe lasted for simply over 4 hours on this check, in comparison with the earlier mannequin’s three hours and 43 minutes. Along with the Basemark check, that’s shut sufficient to counsel that the Core i7-8550U is nearly as environment friendly as its predecessors when it’s doing extra intensive work.

asus zenbook 3 deluxe ux490ua xs74 bl ux490u screen
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

In our subsequent check, we run machines by a sequence of standard internet sites till the battery runs out, and the brand new ZenBook ran for simply over six hours. The earlier mannequin couldn’t make it to 5 and a half hours, which means that the eighth-generation CPU began to point out off its effectivity. Interestingly, the Dell XPS 13 lasted for round 40 minutes much less on this check whereas the Yoga 920 lasted for nearly an hour and a half longer.

Then, on our video loop check, which is much more forgiving, the brand new ZenBook managed virtually ten hours. That’s considerably longer than the roughly seven hours managed by the older model, suggesting that the brand new CPU is rather more environment friendly when it’s operating less-demanding duties. The Dell XPS lasted for thirty minutes much less whereas the Yoga 920 went for nearly 14 hours.

ZenBook three Deluxe advantages from the Eighth-gen CPU’s effectivity, as long as a process isn’t too taxing.

Simply put, ZenBook three Deluxe benefitted from the brand new Intel CPU’s higher effectivity as long as the duty at hand wasn’t too taxing. It may nonetheless profit, although, from a bigger battery relating to operating duties which can be extra CPU-intensive. Overall, the refreshed ZenBook carefully matched the Acer Spin 7. The Dell XPS 13 wasn’t fairly as power-sipping, whereas the Yoga 920’s bigger 70 watt-hour battery put it solidly within the lead among the many eighth-generation CPU-equipped machines. HP’s redesigned Spectre x360, which we examined after the ZenBook three Deluxe, additionally produces superior outcomes.

In the tip, the ZenBook three Deluxe is mild sufficient to hold round all day with none points, and its battery ought to final a full day so long as you’re not pushing the CPU to its limits. But, most customers would in all probability overlook somewhat additional weight if it meant the ZenBook may final somewhat longer on their most demanding productiveness duties.


Bloatware-lite, the Asus ZenBook three Deluxe ships with a delightfully clear set up of Windows 10. There are a number of producer utilities in there, however none of them bug you for registration info, or in any other case compromise the system. Thankfully, the one unwelcome houseguests come courtesy of Windows 10. The ZenBook does include a number of pre-installed Microsoft Store apps you’ll must pluck out of your begin menu, however that’s it.


The ZenBook three ships with a normal one-year guarantee protecting elements and labor to restore any producer defects. It’s just about the identical guarantee you’d get elsewhere, and the identical one you’d see on related merchandise. Still, for $1,700 it will’ve been good to see an extended guarantee, or an included care program.

Our Take

The Asus ZenBook three Deluxe advantages from its CPU refresh, gaining some additional energy and a bit of additional battery life. It retains all of its strengths, together with a refreshingly elegant aesthetic and a few spectacular construct high quality. It’s undoubtedly the most effective thin-and-light machines available on the market at the moment.

Is there a greater different?

Oddly sufficient, there aren’t many options higher than the Asus ZenBook three Deluxe, relying on what you’re on the lookout for. If you’re out there for a particularly skinny and lightweight premium laptop computer and construct high quality is of paramount significance, the closest competitor is the HP Spectre 13. It’s thinner at simply zero.41 inches and is nearly the identical weight. What’s extra, when configured equally, it is available in at $1,400. That’s considerably cheaper than the ZenBook three Deluxe, with the one important distinction being a barely greater display.

If you’d be prepared to hold somewhat additional weight, then the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon has demonstrated that it’s different. It’s not as trendy or slick because the ZenBook, however with highly effective and killer battery life, it’s a superb business-class pocket book.

Another wonderful possibility is the Dell XPS 13, which has gained its personal eighth-generation refresh. It performs simply in addition to the Asus ZenBook three Deluxe whereas providing proper across the similar battery life. It’s not fairly as skinny or as mild, however that brings some benefits by way of keyboard and connectivity. You’ll pay somewhat extra at $1,830 for a similar Core i7-8550U, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB SSD, however you’ll additionally profit from a higher-resolution QHD+ (three,200 x 1,800) show.

Finally, the Yoga 920 is a thicker machine that provides in the advantages supplied by the 360-degree convertible 2-in-1 kind issue. But it alleviates the battery issues of going with a very skinny machine, with class-leading endurance, and it’s significantly extra speedy. You’ll additionally save somewhat cash, with the Yoga 920 priced at $1,550 for the Core i7-8550U, 16GB of RAM, 512GB SSD, and 13.9-inch Full HD show.

How lengthy will it final?

Well, chances are high the ZenBook three Deluxe will final lengthy sufficient to change into outdated, notably with absolutely the newest and biggest cell CPU — and that’s factor. The aluminum chassis will undoubtedly outlast the inner , although its trendy design may not be as timeless as a easy black or silver laptop computer would. Make certain you actually like that blue-and-gold design, this factor’s going to be round some time. Or choose up the gray model.

Should you purchase it?

Yep. Intuitive design and stellar construct high quality make the Asus ZenBook three Deluxe a killer laptop computer. By constructing on the success of the sooner model, enhancing on its shortcomings, and packing in the very best cell CPU round, Asus has gone above and past with the ZenBook three Deluxe.

At $1,700, it’s not low cost, however you get what you paid for — a high-quality laptop computer that goes the additional mile to ship a superb cell computing expertise.

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