With its ZenBook lineup, the Taiwanese company has firmly established itself in the Ultrabook segment. The laptops of this family are interesting with productive stuffing, compact dimensions, and good battery life. The tradition of the Zenbook 13 series continues. The Asus ZenBook 13 (UX325JA) is not only aimed at those who value mobility but also relies on office employees running resource-intensive applications. Asus ZenBook UX325JA review in action.
The ZenBook 13 turned out to be compact: its dimensions are a modest 30 x 20 cm, and the thickness is 1.39 cm. The laptop weighs only 1.11 kg. It packaged in an elegant metal case with a circular piece on the lid, already traditional to the brand. Thanks to this texture, Ultrabook is reluctant to collect fingerprints. The brushed metal bottom cover is almost monolithic, with an impressive cooling grill and a speaker outlet on the sides.
ASUS’s engineers not only created an aesthetic design but also took care of effective cooling by placing the second block of ventilation holes at the end. The proprietary ErgoLift mechanism contributes to this. When the lid folds back, the keyboard unit lifts slightly for comfortable typing. Besides, the lower grille opens for air intake.
The 13.3-inch full HD display has an 88% top cover. The screen is made on three sides by thin bezels that rise slightly above its surface. It gives the screen additional protection against damage. The brightness of the matte IPS panel is standard 300 nits, and the contrast level is sufficient to work in the sun.
By the way, the manufacturer offers a more exciting display with maximum brightness and lower power consumption of 450 nits if you want to get the most from your Ultrabook. The default color profile set with a minimal shift towards cool colors. A picture is balanced and pleases the eye with a richness of colors. There is no PWM backlighting, so you don’t have to worry about your vision.
There is an infrared webcam in the upper frame above the screen. It is necessary not only for transmitting the image but also for biometric identification of the owner in Windows Hello as there is no fingerprint scanner.
Keyboard and touchpad
The Asus ultrabook has got a bigger keyboard. This design made it possible to fit both units, suitable for touch typing and an additional set of buttons in the right row. Build quality is high: the bend the frame on force is minimal, the keys please with a large stroke and tactile-sound response. The Backspace key moved to the previous row (due to the placement of the cursor control button), and the arrow blocks shrunk to half of the format.
The power key is located in the corner, when you see the keyboard layout altering, then you get confused for a short time. But a normal-sized and convenient Enter key is at its spots. The keyboard backlight is three-tier, with a pleasing minimum brightness level. We also note the hardware modifiers interacting with FN-block: you can switch to key values in one click.
The Numpad is also provided – it is hidden under the surface of the touchpad and is activated by a long press on one of its corners. This solution helps in the scenarios you want and does not interfere with core functionality. The touchpad is spacious, clearly enjoyable, without false positives, and with varying clicks.
To the left of the Asus ZenBook UX325JA is a full-format HDMI 2.0 port that allows you to connect a modern monitor without an adapter. There are two Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports nearby, for which the user gets the maximum data transfer rate for today (40 Gb/s), support for connecting various accessories, as well as charging via the power delivery protocol goes.
There is no separate socket for the power supply – the set includes a charger of this standard with a Type-C connection. In the spirit of the time, Asus removed the old minijack but took care of an adapter for audio devices for the Type-C. ASUS mainly focuses on wireless gadgets at the same time – the laptop has an excellent Intel AX201 card installed, which works under the WiFi 6 protocol and supports Bluetooth 5.0. For those familiar with classic network technologies, a Type-C to Ethernet adapter is provided.
When purchasing a new product, you should clearly understand how many accessories you need for the laptop. After all, there are only a few pairs of Type-C connectors. One of them will be busy with the charger from time to time. Therefore, if you want to connect wired headphones and Ethernet at the same time, you cannot do without an additional USB hub.
The ZenBook 13 features an Intel Core i7-1065G7 processor based on the Ice Lake U architecture. The chip has an 8 MB cache, the standard 15 W Ultrabook thermal package, and operates at a base frequency of 1.3 GHz (Turbo Boost Mode – 3.9 GHz).
The cooling system is of high quality, noise levels are significantly lower even without fan quiet operation presets. However, for lovers of silence, the Whisper option is provided, which slows down the cooler at the expense of a slight drop in processor frequencies. In particular, the performance of baseline scenarios is sufficient even in economy mode.
The Asus ZenBook UX325JA is equipped with 16 GB DDR4 RAM, operating in dual channel mode at a frequency of 3200 MHz. The amount of RAM is more than enough for typical Ultrabook functions.
When more resources are required, the swap speed will not disappoint: NVMe Terabyte Samsung PM981 performs excellently. Therefore, during the Asus ZenBook 13 review testing, SSD confidently exceeded their specifications, showing 3.5 Gb/s for reading and 2.4 Gb/s for writing. The operating system is loading, and coming out of sleep mode is almost instantaneous.
The graphics system is powered by Intel’s Iris Plus GPU. It operates at frequencies up to 1.1 GHz and theoretically can compete not only with similar solutions from AMD Ryzen but also with a discrete GeForce MX250.
In practice, everything rests on a compact cooling system, due to which the GPU typically produces a modest 600 MHz. Nevertheless, it is sufficient to “hack into tanks” at medium picture settings (1080p, 35-40fps), as well as run Witcher 3 at minimum settings (720p, 50 fps). If you can play on such a system then, of course, you are not chasing anything cheap.
The built-in Harman/Kardon certified audio system provides clear, deep sound. Laptop speakers are located at a slight angle from the surface, and the table acts as a resonator. Headphones often just don’t feel like wearing: coping well with laptops, TV shows, and music of various genres, from electronics to industrial. Of course, the bass is not the deepest, but the detail is amazing. Except for parties, the volume reserve is sufficient for all occasions.
The Asus ZenBook UX325JA has a 67 Wh battery not available on every Ultrabook. Battery life is appropriate: the laptop lasts up to 3 hours under heavy load – as we ran it in full production mode, with active Wi-Fi and maximum display brightness. In the case of a standard everyday scenario (web surfing, YouTube, and similar functions), the result is also decent: the device worked for 11 hours and 40 minutes, with a preset for optimal performance and average brightness.
So it is quite possible to spend the entire office day without juice. Asus claims that the laptop can last up to 22 hours without charging. Indeed, if the user’s activity is minimal, the laptop can easily handle one day without an outlet.
The laptop with a 65 W charger, the unit is charged in 1 hour 40 minutes, and the battery replenishes 40% of energy in the first half-hour and 75% after an hour. When the outlet is not at hand, a power bank with power delivery support will help. Smartphones can also be charged with the Ultrabook Adapter – it’s quite convenient and reduces the number of devices in your backpack.
MyASUS is one of the most interesting hardware tweeting utilities available on the market today. Among other things, the software also provides control on charge mode, cooler profile, and display color. Not to mention the update, branded App Store, and smartphone integration. The latter feature works with any Android model and allows you to make calls through laptop speakers, interact with messages and programs, and use your mobile device as an extra screen.
No revelation: ASUS has once again released a balanced ultrabook that delights with trendy technologies, interesting engineering solutions, and a verified design. At the same time, the laptop is not without its drawbacks: the cooling system is not designed for mixing in games, but for more utilitarian functions, there are questions for the keyboard, and the audio jack won’t be in the way.
But the Asus ZenBook 13 plus points are more weighty: configuration is balanced, performance is a benchmark for its class, appearance is brief, and the screen is colorful and eye-catching.
The Asus ZenBook UX325JA will compete with HP 340S G7, and the Dell Vostro 5490, and Huawei MateBook D15 as well as the Dell Vostro 3590. The variant we tested officially costs around $900 on Amazon.com and Bhphotovideo.com websites, which is a lot to pay. Still, a laptop like this would have cost much more not too long ago.