Asus ZenBook 14 (UX434F) Review

Verdict

Beautiful looking and offering fluid performance in everyday life, the Asus ZenBook 14 is a dream. The value you will get from the ScreenPad greatly depends on your work habits.

Advantages

  • New and improved ScreenPad is easier to use
  • ScreenPad is big and ultra responsive
  • The blue and gold design stands out from the crowd

The inconvenients

  • ScreenPad always eat in the battery
  • The low color ranges will put off the creative professionals

Key specifications

  • Intel Core i7-8565U CPU
  • GPU Nvidia MX250
  • 15-inch Full HD display
  • 1 TB Samsung SSD
  • Weight: 1.3 kg

What is Asus ZenBook 14?

The Asus ZenBook 14 (UX434F) is one of the latest ZenBook notebooks to feature the new Asus ScreenPad, a touchscreen trackpad.

The first version of the ScreenPad was impressive and captivating, but it lacked support for applications and hit hard on the battery life of notebooks such as the Asus ZenBook Pro 14 and ZenBook Pro 15.

Asus said that the new ScreenPad 2.0 solved these two problems, as you would be able to play casual games without the battery running out like a stone.

The new ZenBook 14 is the first model in the 2019 ZenBook lineup Trusted opinion has for consideration. I was a fan of 2018 ZenBook 15 So I’m looking forward to seeing how it compares to the 14th and the rest of ZenBook Pro’s lineup last year, especially since the ZenBook Pro PowerBook has become the huge dual-display ZenBook Duo Pros.

Asus ZenBook 14 reviews

Two screens are better than one: Zenbooks 2019 now includes the ScreenPad, the revolutionary feature of ZenBook Pro’s lineup last year.

Asus ZenBook 14 design – the blue and gold edges and the return of the ErgoLift hinge

The design of the new Asus ZenBook 14 follows that of the previous generation – and that’s a good thing. Instead of the standard black and gray standard laptop chassis designs that invade the market, you get a sumptuous combo of royal blue and rose gold colors. For those who love their more traditional device, the ZenBook 14 is also available in pink gold and silver variants.

Regardless of the color chosen, the top of the ZenBook 14 features the spun metal finish of the Asus brand, a concentric engraved effect with the Asus logo in the center. This really gives the ZenBook 14 a lot of dazzle and charm in a sea of ​​notebooks.

The Asus “ErgoLift” design, introduced in the 2018 range, is backtracking. As the name suggests, the shape of the ZenBook 14 case sees the back of the keyboard rising from the surface of your desk when you open it. This aims to achieve two goals: a more comfortable typing and a better airflow.

Since the keys are tilted towards your hands and the deck of cards is not parallel to the desk, I admit that the result is increased comfort. Perhaps most importantly, the ErgoLift form means that the thermal ventilation on the bottom of the ZenBook is out of the office surface, allowing warm air to escape more easily from the system.

Asus ZenBook 14 reviews

The 14 ZenBook ports on the left, L-R: AC power, HDMI, USB-A, USB-C.

Weighing only 1.3 kg and measuring 7.83 mm deep when closed, the ZenBook 14 is both lightweight and slim. Impressively, Asus has managed to insert many ports: a USB 3.1 type C port, a USB 3.1 type A and another type A USB port, as well as an HDMI port and a microSD card reader . The standard 3.5mm headphone jack and main port are also included.

While Intel’s Whiskey Lake chips allow the addition of Thunderbolt 3 technology to a laptop, Asus has chosen not to include it on the USB-C port here. Thunderbolt 3 allows data transfer at speeds of up to 40 Gbps, while the USB 3.1 is limited to 5 Gbps.

Most likely, you are not transferring hundreds or even thousands of high-resolution images or large video files to and from the ZenBook 14. Thunderbolt Technology 3 is awesome, but the implementation remains expensive for manufacturers. Its inclusion in a system usually results in a pass-on of that cost to the consumer – so its omission here may not be this A big deal.

Asus ZenBook 14 reviews

ZenBook 14 ports on the right side, L-R: 3.5mm audio jack, USB-A, microSD player.

You will not find a full-size SD card reader here, but you have a microSD reader. Thus, whatever the shooting, you should be able to easily transfer photos on ZenBook 14 to edit them. Asus did not include a fingerprint scanner – which at this price is a disappointing omission.

Harmon Kardon brand speakers are mixed. The dialogue seems clear and visible, so if you’re running on iPlayer, youI will probably appreciate their addition. To listen to music, they have the same disadvantages as the speakers of ZenBook Pro 14. Some music, including acoustic guitars or anything that has a significant resonance, are muted if you increase the volume beyond 40% . If you like listening to playlists while you work, take out the headphones.

Asus ZenBook 14

ZenBook 14’s back-lit backlit keys and smart layout ensure a satisfying typing experience.

Asus ZenBook 14 Keyboard – How to tap on the ZenBook 14?

The ZenBook 14 keyboard is a kid’s game to grab. Just like the ZenBooks 2018, the keys are well rendered and, thanks to a travel of about 2 mm, the touch depth is here. It did not take me a long time to get used to the layout and spent most of my time typing. I liked the fact that both Shift keys were wide, as it meant that I could easily capture keyboard shortcuts or keyboard shortcuts.

The keyboard layout here is in the North American style, so there is a “#” symbol above the “3” key. For “#” to appear with British English on, just type the “” key; to display a “”, hold down the Alt key and press the “” key). Nevertheless, I finally managed to understand everything, despite the initial confusion.

Although the function and the arrow keys are small and grouped, overall I was satisfied with the size and layout of the keys. The navigation keys – Home, End, Previous Page, Next Page – are actually mapped to the arrow keys and enabled when you hold down the Function key. Personally, I prefer dedicated navigation keys, but this arrangement works well too. I am happy that none of the navigation keys have been set above the arrow keys; I’m sure other laptop users will find it boring too.

Finally, although keyboard shortcuts are not transparent, the dashboard is backlit. So you can easily work on tests and reports late at night.Asus ZenBook 14 reviews

Spotify for ScreenPad not settling, so I had to use the Spotify desktop – which, as you can see, is a little cramped.

Asus ZenBook 14 ScreenPad 2.0 – What’s new and what can I do with it?

The remodeled ScreenPad 2.0 is arguably the main discussion topic of ZenBook 14. How many laptops have trackpads that are also screens?

Before starting my in-depth exploration of ScreenPad 2.0, I must say that as a trackpad, the ScreenPad ZenBook 14 is excellent. It’s super responsive to the controls – so much so that I had to lower the sensitivity.

ScreenPad 2.0 is a very cool and captivating feature that is a bit difficult to master at first. Nevertheless, he is much more tolerant than his predecessor. IIf you are an Android phone user, it will probably be easier to get used to the new ScreenPad user interface. As with the latest version, you can toggle the activation and deactivation of the ScreenPad by simply pressing the F6 button.

It’s important to note that the first set of ScreenPad displays consisted of 5.5-inch (1920 x 1080) full-size 16: 9 displays. The 5.6-inch ScreenPad 2.0 gives you a resolution of 2160 x 1080 pixels and a wider format in the 18: 9 format. Although this means that the video content may be cluttered with black bars on the sides, the room for maneuver is greater; Applications such as Handwriting and docXpert certainly take advantage of the additional side breathing space.

One of the major problems of ScreenPad 1.0 is that, even if the second screen of your laptop is neat, it is not always fun and convenient not to use the trackpad as a trackpad. Previously, if you wanted to switch between modes, you had to press F6, wait a few seconds for the ScreenPad to turn off the screen, and then press F6 again and again for the laptop to turn it back on.

Now, when the second screen is activated, you will see that a quick shortcut has been associated with the lower left corner of the screen. When you press the small trackpad icon, the ScreenPad dimmed to gray, allowing you to use it normally. trackpad. A click on the “X” in the upper right corner allows you to immediately go back.

This is still far from the ideal solution, however, as I accidentally closed and opened the ScreenPad a few times. Personally, I think that a dedicated control to this function should be placed somewhere on the deck, outside the ScreenPad. That said, you would lose at least a few seconds with the old method “Press F6 and wait”.

Productivity features are downloaded when the ScreenPad is first turned on. After a short demo video, which usefully demonstrates how to insert and extract items between the ScreenPad and the main screen, mobile app style icons welcome you to items such as docXpert and QuickKey.

Asus ZenBook 14 reviews

DocXpert, run on the ScreenPad, allows you to access many keyboard shortcuts and formatting commands.

The docXpert application is interesting, allowing you to quickly and easily apply formatting to text. However, in many cases, you’d better stick with your proven keyboard shortcuts for formatting, such as, bold, italicsetc. To change the color of specific pieces of text, it’s more convenient. QuickKey does the same thing, in that it presents you with a number of commands, such as Cut and Paste, instead of having to press Ctrl + X and Ctrl + C.

Many of the tools offered here save time and those who do not hear keyboard shortcuts will appreciate them. Similarly, if you are used to keyboard shortcuts, the prospect of relearning to do something you already know will probably not appeal. This is another way of doing something – Asus lets you determine the path of least resistance.

I am a fan of the handwriting tool. It works very well, recognizing the long and complicated words – including “recognize” and “complicated” – and there is even a shortcut to download more languages.

To my great joy, trying to scribble “Здравствуйте” (the polite way of saying “Hello” in Russian), the handwriting tool not only recognized, but also scrolled automatically everything to the right because the software m had correctly detected. trying to write a long word, and was running out of space.

Asus ZenBook 14 reviews

The handwriting application works very well and could be an application that kills for language students.

If you learn to read and write in another language, ZenBook can help you in your progress with Duolingo, although the lack of pen support means you can only write with your fingers. The responsiveness of the ScreenPad and sophisticated software means that even letters such as “д” and “й” (“d” and “short i / y” in Russian) have been noted.

No matter what I wrote – Word, Google Docs, Sticky Notes, a web browser – the handwriting tool would continue to work.

I could not run Spotify for ScreenPad however. Despite the download and installation of the application from the Microsoft Store, I do not have any love. The Spotify standard desktop works pretty much on the ScreenPad, even if the user interface is so small that it becomes unusable. The same goes for Slack – which is a shame, as it would have been convenient to open a separate chat window away from your main screen.

Candy Crush Saga worked well. By sliding the game down the main screen, it was quickly adapted to the dimensions of the ScreenPad. In a few seconds, I swept the rows and columns of colored candies.

Asus ZenBook 14 reviews

Appearance of the ScreenPad on the Asus ZenBook 14 at power on. Note the trackpad icon in the lower left corner. A tap of that …

Asus ZenBook 14 reviews

… and the ScreenPad disengages, fades and allows you to use it as a normal trackpad. Pressing the X button will cause the ScreenPad to reactivate.

Whatever you read, watch or listen to, managing the ScreenPad content is easy. By sliding up the bottom of the ScreenPad, you will see a number of controls placed at your fingertips. There is Home, which allows you to close the open windows and return to the main menu screen, and next to that, an application browser allowing you to switch from one process to another.

On the top right, there is a Settings gable that allows you to adjust the brightness and resolution of the ScreenPad (your options are: 1000 x 500 and 2160 x 1080), its refresh rate (50Hz, 60Hz), and more. activate the battery save mode, change the ScreenPad screen mode. If you look at the background image, or even look at the demonstration video you have at the beginning, you will discover how it works.

Depending on your approach to the job, the ScreenPad will save you time or be a fun gadget that you will not use most of the time.

I’m still not sold because it’s an indispensable feature; Adding a stylus and scanning fingerprints on the screen would greatly increase the appeal of ScreenPads. Asus technology on the second screen is however far superior to the latest version, so hopefully the company will persevere and applications support will improve.

One last point on the ScreenPad, which brings me well into the battery section. When it was turned on, the original ScreenPad was nibbling the batteries of the ZenBook laptops of last year. Take the Asus ZenBook Pro 14 (UX480), for example. With the ScreenPad enabled, the battery life was between five and six hours. with this option you will get something in the vicinity of nine to ten o’clock.

Asus senior director, Y. C. Chen, told Computex that this was partly because the first-generation ScreenPads were getting their energy from a laptop’s dedicated drive GPU. The new ScreenPads 2.0 now rely on the processor’s integrated graphics – in this case, Intel UHD Graphics 620 – which promises to be much less battery-intensive.

Asus ZenBook 14 Battery – Will the ZenBook 14 last all day?

It really depends on how you use it. Running the PCMark 8 “Work” test until the battery reached critical levels, I recorded 7 h 48 min with the ScreenPad turned off and 3 h 33 min with the ScreenPad enabled.

In both cases, the brightness of the main screen was set to 150 nits. I could not get the hardware used to record the brightness of the display to work with the ScreenPad, but for consistency, I set the ScreenPad’s brightness to 50% for the second test.

The battery performance was about the same as the previous ZenBook Pro 14, which uses the same processor but a different graphics unit (Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 vs Nvidia MX250) and a smaller ScreenPad (5.5 inches vs. 5, 6 inches). with a lower resolution.

I could not test the ZenBook 14 2018, so I can not give you a direct comparison. The end result is that a second screen will turn on your battery – there is nothing to fix it. I would advise you to lower the brightness of the ScreenPad or disengage it completely if you do not use it a lot. It is easy enough to reignite if you need it.

Asus ZenBook 14 reviews

The design of the ZenBook 14 allows warm air to easily exit the machine, which is just as good, with an average battery life.

Asus ZenBook 14 Performance – What is the power of ZenBook 14?

ScreenPad aside, what does the ZenBook 14 look like to work? Well, it will burn in office work and will do brief light photo editing work. The SSD drive (a 1TB Samsung MZVLB1T0HALR-00000) featured impressive read and write speeds of 3339.0 MB / s and 2393.1 MB / s with CrystalDiskMark. I was able to quickly load and save multiple images and edit them in GIMP was also a kid’s game.

In the Geekbench 4 processor stress test, scores of 5275 and 15 849 were obtained for the one- and multi-core tests, respectively. I found similar results on other laptops with the same processor (Intel Core i7-8565U). It was not a shock.

These numbers, combined with the PCMark 10 score of 4185, indicate that the ZenBook 14 is powerful enough to handle simple tasks on a computer with confidence, as confirmed by my daily observations. I could easily power my work with over 20 open tabs in Chrome and not experience any noticeable slowdowns.

For games, just play players like Apex Legends and Fortnite in Full HD – with FRAPS, most of the time, I saw about 30 to 40 frames per second, sometimes at about 20 frames per second when the action was warming up. The ZenBook 14 is however not a gaming laptop. If you are after any of these, check out our best gaming laptop roundup.

Asus ZenBook 14 reviews

The shiny coating of the ZenBook 14 review sample I picked up is fantastic, but as expected, glare is a problem.

Asus ZenBook 14 display – Is it good enough for photo work?

I’ve recorded a satisfying color space coverage and maximum brightness scores on ZenBook 14, and for most people who want to view or edit vacation photos, this machine will be fine. Professionals, however, will want to get a device with a more detailed display.

With the help of an i1 Display Pro colorimeter and DisplayCAL software, I recorded a maximum brightness of 312.16 nits, which is just above the 300 nits you can expect from laptops nowadays. It will be bright enough for you to work outside, unless it’s an exceptionally sunny day.

The maximum brightness combined with a black level of 0.26 nits gives an excellent contrast ratio of 1172: 1. This makes sense, because the video content I broadcast on the ZenBook 14 was superb – the bright areas more The dark areas do not look like dark, indistinct black spots on the screen.

The white areas seemed a little colder and I was not surprised to see that the color temperature displayed was 7075K – a little colder / blue than 6500K, the color temperature that most resembles natural light.

Although all of this is going well, he is missing the best of his class. The display also can not match the 2018 ZenBook Pro 15 (UX580GE-XB74T), which gave me outstanding color space coverage, higher maximum brightness, and higher contrast ratio. high:

Asus ZenBook 14 UX434FHP EnvyDell XPS 13Asus ZenBook Pro 15 UX580GE-XB74T
sRGB78.2%98.2%98%99.8%
Adobe RGB57.2%69.2%69%98.7%
DCI-P363.7%71.7%71%88.1%

In terms of coverage of the color gamut, it does not reach the HP Envy 13 class or Dell XPS 13, which currently occupy a prominent place in the list of best laptops.

In addition, although a 1920×1080 resolution screen fits in 2019, it does not compare well with devices like Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 (2256 x 1504) or the MacBook Air 2018 (2560 x 1600). As I said, that’s fine – but for a detailed photo job, there are more suitable laptops.

Asus ZenBook 14 reviews

The ZenBook 14 2019 is a fantastic Ultrabook. That you use the ScreenPad a lot is another thing.

Should I buy Asus ZenBook 14?

The Asus ZenBook 14 will call if you want to do the basics after a Windows laptop, but you want something that absolutely blitz the basic PC tasks and that looks stylish to boot. The ZenBook 14 certainly does that.

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The hybrid trackpad / secondary display of the ScreenPad is interesting, but will serve as a divider of opinion. Some users will undoubtedly find the shortcuts offered by applications such as docXpert and QuickKey useful, and the handwritten application works perfectly. Again, if you are familiar with Microsoft Word and have a list of favorite shortcut commands, you may not find it very useful. It’s a lot of fun, though, and Asus has made ScreenPad 2.0 a pleasure to use.

The fact that the display shows fairly average results may encourage users to use the Dell XPS 13 or HP Envy 13, so mounting lightweight photos is a priority. Nevertheless, the Asus ZenBook 14 is by no means terrible in this respect.

Prices quoted online by US retailers indicate that the new Asus ZenBook 14 (UX434F) will cost around $1,199.99 , but the UK price has not yet been revealed. Note that we will change the score of the final verdict if the prices differ significantly from what we expect.

Verdict

A compact and stylish Windows 10 laptop with an interesting selling point in the form of the ScreenPad, ideal for students and regular users. Its display is not precise enough to be considered as an option for professional creatives.

Asus ZenBook 14 (UX434F) Review
Asus ZenBook 14 (UX434F) Review 1

Verdict Beautiful looking and offering fluid performance in everyday life, the Asus ZenBook 14 is a dream. The value you will get from the ScreenPad greatl

Editor's Rating:
4
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