REVIEW | Asus ZenBook 14 (UX435EG) laptop

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The Asus Zenbook 14 UX425 is old news. While the appeal for the predecessor has always been its outstanding mobility over sheer performance, the new Asus ZenBook 14 UX435EG is offering a more capable 11th generation Tiger Lake CPU as opposed to the former’s Ice Lake chip, and of course an additional secondary display on the touchpad.

Asus ZenBook 14 Laptop

The lightweight and compact UX435EG is built for young professionals and fresh graduates. Its main usage is for office-related tasks and creative designing needs. With its thin and light profile at 1.29kg and 17.9mm, the portability on this device is superb. The build quality and heft feel very solid and does not feel awkward or unstable when held unfolded in one hand.

The Pine Grey variant we reviewed has a spun metal finish for the lid that feels premium, especially the way light bounces off its surface. The “military-grade” durability being advertised for this laptop was tested under an altitude test, vibration test, and shock test. In real life, this translates to the metal lid being able to withstand key and coin scratches, as well as 10-cm drops while still powered on. We still wouldn’t recommend taking its durability for a spin since it isn’t built like a tank.

Asus ZenBook 14 Ergolift Hinge

Present on this variant as well is the ErgoLift hinge seen on previous models that lifts the base slightly when unfolded to simulate a more natural angle for typing and provide a space for the vents placed at the bottom. Although the hinge can be a tad bit cumbrous when carrying the laptop, it looks well and secure when laid on a flat surface.

Asus ZenBook 14 Bezels

Even with the presence of a 4-sided Nano Edge display, Asus was still able to fit in a 720p 3D IR webcam which supports face-login with Windows Hello in the 6.1mm top bezel. With a screen-to-body ratio at around 92%, the side bezels around the screen measure a thin 2.6mm, while the bottom one is 3.3mm.

Asus ZenBook 14 Display

The extremely thin bezels on the UX435EG complement a 14-inch Full HD IPS LCD display with LED backlight, a smooth 60Hz refresh rate, and 100% sRGB – making it an ideal partner and workhorse for content creators. The 178° wide viewing angles still produce good colors when viewed from the sides, and the screen goes easy on eye strain and screen flickering when indoors, thanks to the laptop’s TÜV Rheinland Eye Care Certification​.

Asus ZenBook 14 Ports

The ports on the left side of the device include an HDMI and two USB Type-C Thunderbolt 4 connections for power delivery and DisplayPort. When charging, the other port can either be used to connect up to two 4K 60Hz DisplayPort monitors, a docking station, and even an external GPU. Meanwhile, the right side houses a microSD card reader, an audio combo port, and a single USB Type-A port.

Despite the goal of Asus to target young working professionals, adding a 0.9MP webcam with a maximum resolution of 720p is a perplexing and slightly insulting decision. Webcam videos taken in the early 2010s look better than what the UX435EG currently has to offer.

Considering how videoconferencing has taken remote work setups by storm, it is hard to justify paying for a P79,995 laptop with sub-par cameras. This can be a deal-breaker for many users, although face recognition works well. Be sure to pack an external webcam when doing virtual meetings on-the-go.

The laptop lacks a service flap, and requires removing the entire bottom case for maintenance or upgrading needs. Bundled with the notebook is a sleeve and a USB-A to RJ45 gigabit ethernet adapter.

Asus ZenBook 14 Keyboard

The ZenBook 14 features an illuminated large 15x15mm chiclet keys which are 3mm apart and a long 1.4mm key travel. Each key also has a 0.15 keycap dish, and three levels for illumination accessible through the function key.

Asus ZenBook 14 ScreenPad 2.0

The ScreenPad 2.0 equipped on the notebook is the main justification on why this device is the optimal tool of multitaskers and working professionals. Instead of the traditional clickpad, Asus introduced the “clickpad that doubles as a secondary display” which users can turn off at any time through a dedicated key.

Both displays on the laptop are touchscreen, and the ScreenPad can access a set of mini-apps and functionalities that include a number key function, natural handwriting input, and other quick key commands.

The UX435EG houses a capable Core i7-1165G7 quad-core Tiger Lake processor that can handle modern office and Web-based applications, as well as a few prominent gaming titles. The processor has a base 2.8GHz clock speed and 4.1GHz at Turbo paired with the Nvidia GeForce MX450 entry-level graphics card for laptops. It has a 16GB LPDDR4X onboard memory and a 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0 SSD.

Novabench

On a single charge, the ZenBook 14 can easily last the average user around 9-12 hours of battery life. The USB-C Easy Charge support is definitely an advantage since it works with a wide range of 5V-20V USB-C chargers, apart from the 65W fast charge adapter inside the box.

 Verdict

The Asus ZenBook 14 UX435EG is a no-brainer when it comes to performance and portability. Its internals are not only able to meet the demanding resource-hungry work-related offline and online tasks, it can also handle light gaming. However, for the P79,995, buyers must also take into consideration the sub-par webcam that is not built for videoconferencing, memory that is not expandable, a reflective display surface, and a secondary display that is more of a gimmick than a necessity.

Looking past those issues, the ZenBook 14 packs a punch with its processor and discrete graphics combo, lasts longer with its beefy battery, and will surely attract envious stares with its well-designed slim profile and eye-catching ScreenPad.

The notebook is available in two color variants – a calm and professional-looking Pine Grey, and a subtle and sophisticated Lilac Mist. The i5 and i7 versions retail for P64,995 and P79,995 respectively.

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