ASUS Zenbook 3 Deluxe (UX490UA-XS74-BL) Review: superb, powerful, this ultrabook has only one shortcoming

The ZenBook 3 Deluxe is one of the three new ultralaptops that Asus has added to its product line in this second half of the year. This very good looking and (very) high-end computer offers some serious advantages, but does not satisfy the trifecta of “aesthetics, performance and autonomy”.

Asus ZenBook 3 Deluxe:

First announced during CES 2017 – later confirmed during Computex 2017 – we have finally got a hold of Asus’s ZenBook 3 Deluxe. Incarnating “the most prestigious ultrabook in the wold” according to its creator, this PC is indeed one of the most luxurious that we have seen in a long time (putting aside MacBooks). While its measurements correspond to a 13.3 inch device, its display is even bigger than that of other comparable computers! In fact it measures 14 inches, diagonally, and has relatively thin and discrete borders around the edges of its display panel. This PC appears to be superlative in all regards, all that remains now is for us to test it to make sure that it is worthy of its accolades and that its 1700 dollars price tag is fully justified.

Asus ZenBook 3 Deluxe:

With its new ZenBook 3 Deluxe, Asus hopes to satisfy users looking for a PC that brings together good performance, compactness as well as a luxurious finish. Of course, it is a matter of taste, but it must be said that this computer’s regal blue and gold color scheme is quite appealing. However, if you do not find it to your taste, you should be aware that it is also available in a quartz gray and gold color scheme.This computer’s aluminum alloy unibody case is quite impressive; you will immediately get a sense of its solidity the first time that you hold it. Its thin profile (1.47 cm) and light weight (1.2 kg) are also very impressive. Still not convinced? Let’s put these dimensions in perspective: these dimensions place the ZenBook 3 Deluxe somewhere between Apple’s latest MacBook and Dell’s XPS 13. A position which grants it a good score for mobility (4/5) – a score which would have been even better had its charger (mains power) not exceeded 200 grams (226 g in actuality).

Asus ZenBook 3 Deluxe:

USB Type-C connectors predominate

This beautiful Asus machine also suffers from the same handicap as all of its ultrathin competitors: its connectivity is not very extensive or varied. As a result, it only has one headphone jack and three USB Type-C connectors (two of which are Thunderbolt 3 compatible) distributed across its right and left sides.

Asus ZenBook 3 Deluxe:

Fortunately, among the accessories supplied with this computer is a USB Type-C to HDMI/USB 3.0/Type-C adapter, very practical for connecting a conventional USB key or using an external display in addition to the computer’s built-in display.

Asus ZenBook 3 Deluxe:

It is regrettable however that Asus did not see fit to equip its computer with an ethernet port to ensure an optimal internet connection if its internal n/ac WiFi adapter proves inadequate.

Very good keyboard and touchpad

Like any self-respecting mobile PC, the ZenBook 3 Deluxe is equipped with a keyboard that has spread out and backlit keys (three intensities of backlighting), which is comfortable to use for hours at a time – the user’s hands can rest comfortably on the large palm rests. The color of the keys and of the letters’ stenciling matches the computer’s overall color scheme – an aesthetically pleasing effect.

Asus ZenBook 3 Deluxe:

The computer’s other indispensable element, its touchpad, is also of very good quality as well as being comfortable to use. It is even equipped with a fingerprint reader, which, in conjunction with Windows Hello, ensures that you will be the only one that is able to unlock your computer and gain access to your potentially sensitive data.

A very large display surface with good contrast

We touched upon this in the introduction, the ZenBook 3 Deluxe is equipped with a 14 inch display – housed within a 13.3 inch frame. As a result, the borders surrounding this IPS Full HD (1920 X 1080 pixel) display panel are reduced in thickness, necessarily resulting in a larger display area. Do not be fooled by the shiny display surface, this is not a touchscreen…it it simply susceptible to capturing ambient light reflections.

Asus ZenBook 3 Deluxe:

Before discussing this display’s technical specifications, it is worth mentioning that Asus has implemented on this computer its Asus Splendid utility which allows users to vary the temperature color of the display according to four modes: Normal, Eye Care Mode (anti blue light), Vivid Mode (saturated color) and Manual Mode. Therefore, it is possible to adapt the color rendition to your taste depending on what you are viewing on the display.

All of our measurements were conducted in Normal mode. On average, the luminosity of the display panel reached a little bit more than 300 cd/m2, a fairly average score for an ultrabook. However, the contrast ratio that we measured was truly excellent (1407:1) which saved this display from being awarded a mediocre score.

A powerful ultrabook…

The Zenbook 3 Deluxe that we tested is the most high-end model that Asus offers. Housed beneath the keyboard are an Intel Core i7-7500U processor (with two hyperthreading cores of 2.7 GHz each), 16 GB of RAM (LPDDR3) and a 512GB SSD. These first two elements are dedicated to running all of the computer’s applications, from office programs to photo or video editing software. The third element is responsible for storing a large amount of data at a very fast speed.

Asus ZenBook 3 Deluxe:

The computer’s graphics are managed by the onboard Intel HD Graphics 620 controller – integrated into the processor. This controller is unable to perform miracles where 3D is concerned, but the Zenbook 3 Deluxe is still able to run fairly uncomplicated games so long as its HD (1280 X 720 pixel) definition is not exceeded.

Lastly, we would like to touch upon the ZenBook 3 Deluxe’s ventilation which is really put to the test whenever it must evacuate all of the heat generated by the computer under stressful conditions. It is able to do so relatively silently – we measured a noise level of 36.3 dB. However, when this computer is really pushed hard, its ventilation system emits a rather high-pitch noise that its four built-in Harman Kardon speakers would have a hard time covering (without being pushed to the point of distortion).

Asus ZenBook 3 Deluxe:

…but, not enough endurance

There is one element that Asus did not speak very much about during the launch of its ZenBook 3 Deluxe: its battery autonomy. There is a good reason for this: it would seem that the manufacturer was forced to compromise in this regard and that they had great difficulty in incorporating a large battery into such a small case – which had already been stuffed full of other powerful components.

As a result, we recorded a battery autonomy of 5 hours and 35 minutes when watching videos and under 6 hours for general usage, decent values for such a thin-profiled and powerful computer. However, according to our test criteria, this battery life only allows us to give this computer an average score in terms of its autonomy, and given its high price tag, it is difficult not to hold this factor against the ZenBook 3 Deluxe.

Pros

  • – Superb design
  • – 1 TB of storage
  • – The USB Type-C adapter is included

Cons

  • -Battery autonomy is mediocre
  • – The quality to price ratio is a little bit on the high side

The final verdict

Asus’s ZenBook 3 Deluxe deserves to be ranked as one of the best currently available, high-end ultraportable computers, however, if falls just short of reaching this goal due to its autonomy and quality to price ratio which are both inadequate for highly mobile users. However, the ZenBook should please users looking for a powerful workstation that they will leave on their desk most of the time or occasionally take with them on a trip.

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