ASUS ZenBook UX430 14-inch Laptop Review: ultraportable with a modest price tag

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Give your back a break with a slimline and fast ultra portable from ASUS. The ZenBook UX430 is not only light and compact, the good people at ASUS was able to squeeze a 14-inch display into a small chassis typically designed for a 13-inch device. All that for a price that won’t break the bank.

The big 14-inch display, that compact 13-inch body, the slim 15.9mm body and the lightweight 1.25kg design isn’t all that the ZenBook UX430 brings to the table. Under the hood, it comes with a powerful Intel Core i5 processor with quad-core, ultrafast SSD for quick boot-ups and spacious memory. But the biggest bonus you will find with the ZenBook UX430 is its modest price tag.

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Let’s take a closer look at the mid-range laptop that has so much to offer.


Dazzling Colours: The first thing you will notice is its unique design. The laptop spots ASUS’s iconic concentric circle motif carved onto the aluminium alloy lid. This time however, it is coated with a clear crystal like material. The end result, a super glossy finish over ASUS’s spun metal design that catches and reflects light to enhance one of the four colour options available.

Premium look matched by powerful components makes this ultra portable laptop suitable for editing and manipulating complex spreadsheets, put up your best presentation, edit photos and produce your own home made videos.

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These colours are Royal Blue, Rose Gold, Quartz Gray and Shimmer Gold. The lid on our Royal Blue unit looked like it is covered with glass akin to those found on a tablet screen. The ultra thin lid looks really good but it is also a fingerprint magnet and I find myself constantly wiping the lid to get rid of smudges. But, I do that to my smartphone screen everyday. While it doesn’t scratch easily, my worry is what happens when it does. I would thoroughly recommend a soft protective sleep to go with it.

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Good Build Quality: Build quality is high as you would expect from ASUS. The hinge is strong, has a firm feel and stays in place. The lines on the chassis are clean and fitting is tight. The slim body has a tapered look with the bottom edge nearest the palm rest and track pad looking a bit thinner but the thickness is roughly the same at 15.9mm. In making the lid super slim, you can feel some flex when opening and closing the laptop the corner. We recommend opening and closing the lid from the middle.


Bezel-less Design: One of the ASUS UX430’s strong suit is the display. The 14-inch display is wrapped in super small bezel. The size bezels are the smallest measuring only 7.81mm. The top bezel is just tall enough to house the webcam and sensors while the biggest bottom bezel carries the ASUS symbol. This meant that the ASUS ZenBook UX430 is able to achieve a high 80% screen to body ratio.

ASUS-ZenBook-UX430 NanoEdge Display

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Professional Quality Display: The display itself pushes Full HD resolution and has a matte anti-glare coating so no problem working outdoor under the glaring sun or indoor where there are several light sources which might bounce off an otherwise shiny display. Photographers and designers will appreciate the ultra-wide 100% sRGB colour gamut. This meant that the display is capable of displaying to more-accurate and vibrant colours and supports a wide 178° degrees viewing angle.

You can also customise your viewing preference by choosing one of four display modes; Normal, Manual, Vivid or Eye Care. The latter reduces blue light from the screen by up to 30% to help reduce eye fatigue from pro-longed use or when using the screen in low lighting conditions.

Powerful Processor: The ASUS UX430 uses the 8th generation Intel Core i5-8250U processor. The quad-core processor has a base speed of 1.6GHz and can boost up to 3.4GHz when pushed. If you want an even faster machine, opt for the Intel Core i7-8550U model. The quad-core processor has a base speed of 1.8GHz and a Turbo frequency of up to a whooping 4.0Ghz.

The ASUS ZenBook UX430 uses the same processors found on premium ultraportables such as the Dell XPS 13 and 15, HP Spectre, Lenovo IdeaPad 720s and HP Envy laptops for equally powerful and high-end performance.

Intel Core i7-8550U vs Intel Core i5-8250U
Intel Core i7-8550U vs Intel Core i5-8250U

No matter which processor you go with, both Kaby Lake R processors are competent mobile processors that will chew and spit out anything you throw at it without a moments hesitation. See chart above for performance comparison between the two processors based on Geekbench’s data. We have noticed that when pushed, active cooling kicks so you will hear some noise from the fan.

Memory and Storage: This together with a generous 8GB 1866MHz LPDDR3 memory and 256GB SATA3 M.2 SSD storage makes the ultraportable a desirable unit to have. If you are looking for even more memory and storage, there is a 16GB memory and 512GB SSD storage option.

Various Interfaces: While most ultraportable tends to scale back on the number of ports, this is not the case with the ASUS ZenBook UX430. Even with the ultra slim body, it is able to offer a plethora of ports even the very rare Micro HDMI. We haven’t seen one of those or a mini DV in an ultraportable for a while now. However, that is not the online video output. A Type-C USB3.1 Gen 1 port also supports external display should you have the urge to extend your displays but will need an adapter cable.

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The round 4mm diameter power socket (yes, there is no power pass through via USB-C), a Type-A USB3.1, Micro HDMI, combo audio jack and the USB-C port can be found on the left side of the unit. While, on the right, you will find a full size USB2.0 port and a full size SD card reader.

UX430 ports

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Keyboard and Touchpad: The full size keyboard has chiclet keys with back light. These keys are mounted on a strong single plate base for better typing experience with 1.4mm key travel. Our only slight niggle, is the placement of the power button on the top right corner of the keyboard. This is right next to the delete key and just above the backspace button. We have seen this arrangement before on a MacBook Air where one can accidentally hit the power key instead of the backspace or delete key.

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The trackpad on the other hand is big and spacious and is set in the middle between two equally spacious palm rest. It’s worth noting that the glass covered trackpad comes with palm rejection should you accidentally swiped it while typing. On the top right corner of the trackpad is a finger print sensor for use with Windows Hello to login or unlock the laptop. What may come as a surprise is that not only does the track pad supports multi-finger gestures but it works with handwriting too.

Battery Life: What is all that power without sufficient juice to let you carry out through the day. While the laptop may be slim, there is a high capacity 50Wh 3-cell lithium-polymer battery in there. ASUS claims that at a full charge, you can get up to 9 hours of battery life. This really depends on what you do on the laptop of course but with that much power under the hood, we can’t complain. Rest assured, the laptop is both powerful and energy efficient.

ASUS-ZenBook-UX430 Keyboard and Touchpad

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Sound Quality: With help from Harman Kardon, the renowed audio specialist, comes ASUS SonicMaster sound system. The speakers pumps and amplifier is capable of pumping out sound at high volume with little to no distortion. The dual 1.5W speakers are cleverly concealed too, there are no visible speaker grilles or gaps on the sides yet the sound is able to surround you with the help of clever software technology. To add to that, ASUS employs long-travel voice coils for improved low-frequency response so you don’t miss any part of the conversation on your favourite TV show. Lastly, a microphone array is used to capture voice commands, for use with Windows’s Cortana voice-activated assistant.

ASUS ZenBook UX430 Laptop

8.6

Performance

9.0/10

Display

8.0/10

Memory & Storage

9.0/10

Battery Life

8.0/10

Connectivity

9.0/10

Pros

  • Premium Design, Small Bezel
  • Powerful and fast components
  • Superb display with vibrant colours
  • Plenty of ports including USB-C and micro HDMI
  • Great value

Cons

  • Glass like lid is a fingerprint magnet
  • Placement of power button on the keyboard
  • Noise from fan when it comes on
  • Average battery
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