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Thin, light and powerful

Updated on: 31 May,2021 08:37 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Jaison Lewis |

The Zenbook 14 pushes the boundaries of what is possible with a tiny laptop. Is it worth the asking price? Read on to find out

Thin, light and powerful

Representation pic

Laptops are right now the lifeblood of many offices that have had to adopt a work from home culture over the last 14 months. The problem is most of these laptops are underpowered, have terrible battery life and are just too bulky to carry around.

A standard laptop weighs anywhere between 2 and 3 kg with some going all the way up to 4 kg. These usually sacrifice weight for additional battery life and a power-hungry processor under the hood. The new Asus Zenbook 14 serves up a laptop that weighs in at just 1.3 kg. That’s not the only place it has shed numbers, at 15.8 mm, it is also one of the thinner laptops around.

In the box, you get the machine, a very tiny power brick, a USB-C to audio port convertor, a USB 3.0 ethernet adapter and a laptop sleeve.

The Zenbook 14 has fewer ports than your standard laptop. There are two USB 3.2 type-C ports present on the left side, you can use either to charge the machine. On the same side, there is a full-size HDMI 2.0b port as well, in case you need to connect the laptop to an external projector or a monitor. On the right, the Zenbook has a MicroSD slot and a USB 3.2 type-A.

The outside material is made of metal, which makes its overall weight seem even more impressive. Open it up and there is a full-sized edge-to-edge keyboard that’s missing the number pad. The numpad has been integrated with the touchpad. This is not the first time ASUS has done this, it works but isn’t as convenient as having an actual number pad. When I wanted to use the calculator, I often found myself using the numbers integrated with the keys rather than the numpad built-in to the touchpad.

The screen on the Zenbook 14 is interesting as well. The display  is a Full-HD IPS LED panel with a 100 per cent sRGB colour gamut. It is not a touchscreen, and while this isn’t a deal-breaker for me, I am sure many users may want a touch-capable machine. The bezels around the screen are really thin, the display has an impressive 90 per cent screen to body ratio. Also located in this bezel is an HD web camera with an integrated IR sensor. The two combined can be used to log in to the machine without having to type a password or enter a pin.

Considering this is a 14-inch laptop, the size of the keyboard is pretty impressive. I found it easy to use and it felt pretty durable. I wasn’t a big fan of the silver colour keys because it didn’t work well with the white backlit keys. The backlighting made it a little harder to use in a bright room. In a slightly darker room, this problem went away. 

I can’t believe ASUS managed to fit a Ryzen 7 5700U in such a small form factor. The CPU is very powerful and it has an integrated graphic card as well. The machine was very comfortable running GTA V and Forza Horizon. That said, I don’t think most modern games will work smoothly. The laptop I tested had 16GB of RAM, which is not user upgradable.

While performing super intensive tasks and gaming the computer does heat up, but not as much as you would expect it to. At the back of the laptop, there is a small bump that lifts the rear anytime the screen is open to provide for better airflow and a better typing position. 

Powering all of this is a 67Wh 4-cell lithium-polymer battery. The battery gave me between 12 and 14 hours of run time. With heavier applications, this battery life can reduce significantly. Overall, the UM425 has possibly one of the best battery performance I have seen on a laptop.

The Zenbook 14 starts at Rs 96,990, which is high. However, you have to remember that it is packed with features in a very tiny frame, which makes it a worthy investment. So, if you are looking to buy a lightweight and powerful laptop with insane battery life go in for this one, you will not regret it. 

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