Asus is a familiar name when it comes to stellar ultraportable laptops. Its ZenBook series’ have always managed to put a strong foothold in the compact notebook segment. The latest Asus ZenBook 13 UM325U trying to maintain legacy has brought some elements that easily stand out in the crowd for instance the vibrant OLED panel, the premium design. This time around the Taiwanese tech giant has put in great effort in the audio segment as well (cough! Harman Kardon-tuned speakers). But there are a few flaws which although can be avoided, a potential buyer should take into consideration before making the final decision. Without further ado, let’s delve into the in-depth review of this compact Asus notebook. Also Read - Best gaming laptops under Rs 1,00,000 in India: MSI GP65 Leopard, Dell G5 and more
Asus ZenBook 13 OLED UM325U laptop: Specifications
CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 5700U Also Read - Asus ZenFone 8 series launching very soon, says company executive
GPU: AMD Radeon Graphics Also Read - Best laptops under Rs 50,000 in India in July 2021: Mi Notebook 14, Acer Aspire 3, more
RAM: 16GB DDR4
Storage: 1TB SSD
Display: 13.3-inch OLED, 1080p
Battery: 67 Wh
Size: 12.0 x 8.0 x 0.6 inches
Weight: 2.6 pounds
Asus ZenBook 13 OLED UM325U: The good, the bad
Pros – Compact, premium design
-Stunning display with rich colours and contrast
-Excellent keyboard, fluid multitasking
Cons– No 3.5mm audio jack
Asus ZenBook 13 flaunts a sleek elegant design with concentric circle-like textured finish on the lid and a smooth matte coat on the inside. The body is built out of metal and feels quite solid. Similar to the existing X325 models, the new ZenBook is MIL-STD 810H rated for durability and reliability. The ultraportable laptop is insanely lightweight, and you can easily carry it with one hand. It gets an Ergolift hinge that provides a 3-degree tilt to the keyboard.
On the inside, you will find an edge-to-edge backlit keyboard along with a wide touchpad. The keyboard layout even though is compact it is comfortable to use. The 1.4mm key travel space adds to the delight of typing experience. The keyboard does not have a num-pad, Asus has rather integrated a touch-sensitive one in the touchpad.
Unlike some laptops, the keyboard does not offer a fingerprint scanner, but you get facial recognition functionality (via IR camera) which is accurate even in low lighting. Speaking of the touchpad, the gestures and tracking are so smooth that I often ended up closing tabs on the web browser (mistakenly). While the typing experience on the laptop was fluid, users who have been using 14 or 15-inch laptops (and have large hands) might initially find it difficult to adjust, as the arm-rest space barely spares room for the keyboard and leaves a confined layout.
Asus ZenBook 13 features a 13.3-inch full HD (1920 x 1080-pixel resolution) OLED screen. The compact laptop is claimed to equip a true 10-bit OLED panel with a peak brightness of 400 nits. While OLED screens are susceptible to burn-in, the Samsung panel on the laptop comes with built-in protection and is said to last for more than 4 years provided you don’t amp up the brightness to its max level.
That aside, the display supports a contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1 which offer deeper blacks and rich colours. The colour accuracy is top notch and for the calibration, you can get the best out of this laptop. But while the display is adequately bright and colours pop out nice, I did observe a glaring effect when using the laptop in daylight. The 720p webcam above the display is nothing but a toy that shouldn’t be meddled with. But you get a built-in IR camera for Windows Hello facial recognition which comes in handy. Overall, the display is brilliant to watch content and for editing photos.
At the helm of Asus ZenBook 13’s metal chassis sits an AMD Ryzen 7 5700U processor. The CPU is paired with AMD Radeon integrated graphics, 16GB RAM, and NVMe SSD. The laptop day-to-day tasks with ease and I had no issue while opening 20 Google Chrome tabs and playing YouTube videos, and photo editing tools in between. Multitasking on the laptop no doubt feels snappy, but it is not ideal for running heavy games. An issue that I found was while connecting a dongle the laptop shut off completely once the screensaver triggered (while it was left idle) and I had to hard press the power key to turn it on.
On the Geekbench performance test, the ZenBook earned a single-core score of 533 points and a multi-core score of 3999 points. As for the Novabench score test, CPU core showed 959 while GPU test showed 355 score point. That said, the laptop doesn’t incorporate a discrete graphics card as you would find on a big screen power-packed laptop, but the Asus ZenBook shines when it comes to multimedia and content creation performance.
Battery backup, audio
Speaking of battery life, using the ZenBook as my daily driver, it lasted for more than 13 hours with the brightness level set at 50 percent. With moderate work, the laptop would survive more than half a day without requiring you to plug the adapter into the power socket. In the video loop test, the compact laptop lasted for over 14 hours.
The laptop includes a USB-A port, two USB-C ports, an HDMI port, and a microSD card slot in its connectivity suite. The absence of a 3.5mm audio jack and Thunderbolt support is a tad bit disappointing. Asus has however bundled a USB-C to 3.5mm audio adapter to keep its customers filled.
As for the audio, Asus has put in a good effort with the ZenBook 13 laptop. It comes with DTS Audio Processing software onboard that lets you configure audio for movies, music, and games. The bottom-firing speakers are surprisingly loud, and you can clearly hear the sound from a distance. The speakers don’t produce a thumping sound, but it is good enough for a thin ultraportable and it has noise-cancelling algorithms that cuts ambient noise while on a video call.
The Asus ZenBook 13 UM325U is a fantastic laptop in compact form factor. The premium design, stunning display, stellar performance, and promising battery backup just makes it a brilliant all-in-one package. MacBook lovers might no doubt find some faults here and there, and the small size keyboard might not be comfortable to use if you have big hands. But if you are looking for an ultraportable laptop for snappy multitasking (willing to adjust to a squished keyboard) and want to save that extra bit of cash then the ultraportable Asus ZenBook 13 would be the best value for money pick for you.