Finally, the new ASUS ZenBook UX330UA-AH54 has landed! The popular series of affordable ultrabooks from ASUS has received a refreshing update, both visually and internally.
As far as ultralight laptops go, the ASUS ZenBook series is at the forefront of innovation, design and build quality. I’d even call the UX330UA-AH54 the best value you can get at the moment. For just under $800, you can basically buy all the perks of a Dell XPS, minus the breathtaking slim bezel design and QHD+ resolution.
So, if performance ratings and portability are above subjective design choices, I’d have to say the ASUS ZenBook UX330UA-AH54 looks like the better deal in terms of value for money.
The ASUS ZenBook UX330UA-AH54 is powered by the latest in processor technology. Specifically, it’s equipped with a 7th generation dual core Intel Core i5-7200U processor. This unit succeeds the 6200U model that came as an option on any respectable mid range laptop in the last year. Performance ratings increased only by a small margin. The dual core i5 has a base frequency of 2.5 GHz that goes all the way to 3.1 GHz, 3 megabytes of cache and a thermal design power of 15 Watts.
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System memory is rated at 8 gigabytes of LPDDR3-1866 RAM, plentiful for heavy tasks, large data sets and serious multitasking. It’s worth noticing that since this is an ultrabook – read extremely thin, lightweight device – the memory is soldered to the motherboard, making RAM extension impossible. Still, the vast majority of users won’t need more than 8 gigs for such a device.
Storage space is handled by a blazing fast SATA3 Solid State Drive. The 256 gigabytes of storage space are a great and small-ish compromise in order to benefit from the perks of having an SSD: booting Windows in seconds, programs opening almost instantly, no lag and no screen freezing.
The computing aspect of the ASUS ZenBook UX330UA-AH54 looks well suited for traveling professionals, home office users and students who need dependable quality and better than average performance.
Graphics and Display
Being an affordable ultrabook means no discrete graphics. The ASUS ZenBook UX330UA-AH54 comes with an integrated graphics card, an Intel HD Graphics unit that will stream HD and 4K content just fine, but will fall short on demanding games and new titles. Still, MMOs, Minecraft, CS:GO are playable.
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As was the case with the Dell XPS 13 I’ve reviewed yesterday, the ASUS UX330UA-AH54 has a splendid display, although not as convincing at first due to its inferior resolution. The 13.3 inch LED-backlit matte panel produces a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels (FHD), has a color gamut of 72% NTSC and a wide viewing angle (up to 178 degrees) thanks to IPS technology.
Extensive connectivity is ensured through a couple of available ports:
- 1 x USB-C Gen 1 ports
- 2 x USB 3.0 ports (one with Charger+)
- 1 x micro HDMI port
- 1 x Combo audio jack
- 1 x SD card reader
Connecting to the Internet is managed by a 802.11ac wireless card. This new protocol allows for superior transfer speeds when compared to the old bgn protocol, increased signal quality and range. It’s especially useful when connecting to a compatible router in crowded areas where many more users are using the same connection. Also, there’s built-in Bluetooth 4.1 to connect to your mobile devices, TVs and other electronics around the house or office.
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ASUS has gifted the UX330UA-AH54 model with a couple of handy features, some really useful and practical:
- Backlit Keyboard – The roomy and comfy keyboard has 1.5mm of travel distance and is discretely backlit to maintain productivity even in dark rooms or dimly lit environments.
- Precision Touchpad – The UX330UA-AH54 features a glass-covered touchpad for maximum precision and has Smart Gestures technology that emulates Windows 10’s touchscreen functions.
- ASUS SonicMaster – Audio technology developed with Harman Kardon to give users improved sound experience.
- ASUS Splendid – Four preset modes for adjusting onscreen colors: Normal, Eyecare, Vivid and Manual.
- ASUS True2Life – Technology that optimizes video content, adjusting the sharpness and contrast settings one frame at a time.
You can’t possibly discredit the ASUS UX330UA-AH54 as being an ugly laptop. Its aluminum-alloy body has been machined from a single piece of metal. The lid features a spun-metal finish, while the rest of the laptop is embellished with a sandblasted metal finish.
The discrete thinness makes the ASUS stand out, as well as the two tasteful color options – Quartz Grey or Rose Gold.
Portability and Battery Life
As I said earlier, the ASUS ZenBook UX330UA-AH54 is a slim ultrabook. It measures just 13.5mm across (0.53 inches) and is incredibly light for its class, weighing in just 1.2kg (2.6 lbs). It’s therefore small and portable enough to be carried along even on long travels, transatlantic flights and such, fitting in backpacks without much hassle.
Battery life is critical when talking about an ultrabook, and the affordable UX330UA-AH54 sure won’t let users down. Its 57 Whrs polymer battery pack will keep the laptop alive for up to 12 hours browsing the internet, listening to music, writing documents or mails and other lightweight tasks.
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As much as I love the XPS series from Dell, I have to say the ASUS ZenBook UX330UA-AH54 is the better choice for users who need an affordable ultrabook. I think it may be THE choice. Plenty of power under the hood, enough battery juice to last for half a day, great features and a beautiful display make this ultrabook a great travel and work companion for both professionals and enthusiasts.