Notebookcheck

Asus ZenBook 3 Deluxe UX490UA (i5-7200U, 256 GB SSD) Subnotebook Review

Sven Kloevekorn, 👁 Sebastian Jentsch, Felicitas Krohn (translated by Martin Jungowski), 02/16/2018

14-inch Camouflage. Update 2/22/2018: finalized our additional tests. Asus is pretty ambitious with its latest subnotebook, to say the least. At 14 inches it is large enough for serious work but at the same time highly portable with just 13 mm of thickness and a weight of no more than 1.1 kg. Thanks to NanoEdge, Asus has been able to fit a large screen into a 13-inch case. Big, ugly ports are also a thing of the past: the future belongs to 2x Thunderbolt 3, which is incidentally also used for charging.

Asus’ latest ZenBook 3 Deluxe is a classy particularly compact and thin portable office notebook, and successor to the 2016 ZenBook 3. As such, it is also a direct competitor to Apple’s MacBook Air. The Taiwanese manufacturer flaunts its latest notebook on its website and certainly isn’t shy of praises of the highest degree. Among others, Asus claims a “breathtakingly exquisite design” and refers to the ZenBook 3 Deluxe as “masterpiece of craftsmanship” and “the coolest of cool”. The so-called NanoEdge display is of particular interest - thanks to its amazingly narrow bezels the engineers have been able to fit a 14-inch panel into what seems to be a 13-inch display lid.

Our review unit was equipped with Intel’s Core i5-7200U and 8 GB of RAM. Additional SKUs with faster processors (Core i7-7500U) and up to 16 GB of RAM are available as well. Storage options start with a 256 GB SATA III SSD (which our review unit was equipped with) and go up to 512 GB or even 1 TB large NVMe/PCIe SSDs. The Windows 10 Home edition our test unit came with can be replaced with Windows 10 Professional if so desired. Potential buyers get to choose from two different color options: “Royal Blue” and “Quartz Gray”. Dedicated GPUs are not available in this series. At the time of writing, two SKUs were available for sale in the US: an i7-7500U model for around $1,600 and an i7-8550U model starting at $1,500.

Given its heritage and specifications, the ZenBook 3 Deluxe finds its market niche among ultra-portable 13-inch subnotebooks. Thus, we have selected three different yet roughly comparable competitors from our top 10 list for the sake of this review. It is worth nothing that the ZenBook 13 not only features a ULV quad-core CPU but also a dedicated GPU, and it is mostly included for the sake of better overall market comparability.

Update 2/21/2018: After our first review unit, a shop unit, ended up crashing with blue screens all the time we were able to finalize our review with a new, non-defective unit.

Asus Zenbook 3 Deluxe UX490UA (ZenBook 3 Series)
Graphics adapter
Intel HD Graphics 620 - 8192 MB, Core: 300 - 1000 MHz, shared memory, 21.20.16.4599
Memory
8192 MB 
, LPDDR3, 2133 MHz, dual-channel
Display
14 inch 16:9, 1920 x 1080 pixel 157 PPI, AU Optronics AUO383D / B140HAN03.8, IPS, glossy: yes
Mainboard
Intel Kaby Lake-U Premium PCH
Storage
Micron 1100 MTFDDAV256TBN, 256 GB 
Soundcard
Intel Kaby Lake-U/Y PCH - High Definition Audio
Connections
1 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 2 USB 3.1 Gen2, 2 Thunderbolt, Audio Connections: 3.5-mm audio combo jack, 1 Fingerprint Reader, Brightness Sensor
Networking
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260 (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.2
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 12.9 x 329 x 210 ( = 0.51 x 12.95 x 8.27 in)
Battery
46 Wh Lithium-Polymer, 4-cell
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: VGA
Additional features
Speakers: stereo, top, Keyboard: chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, laptop bag, accessories bag, USB-C to USB-A dongle, USB-S to HDMI dongle, Asus Splendid, Asus Eye Care, Asus Tru2life Video, Asus AudioWizard, 24 Months Warranty
Weight
1.1 kg ( = 38.8 oz / 2.43 pounds), Power Supply: 224 g ( = 7.9 oz / 0.49 pounds)
Price
1399 EUR
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Case

Look, quality, and design of the ZenBook 3 Deluxe’s case are of particular interest to Asus. The tapered unibody design features a removable bottom cover and is made of a particularly strong and rigid aluminum alloy (6063). Despite the notebook’s overall rather plain appearance it does sport some well-made distinctive features, namely its amazingly narrow display bezels, its chamfered edges, the ZenBook-typical concentric circles on the display lid including a golden Asus logo, and last but not least the golden display lid edges that accord very well with the Midnight-Blue-colored case design. Fittingly, the labels on the key caps are neither black nor white but yellow. The display lid is more susceptible to fingerprints and smudges than the matte and comparatively grippy top and bottom of the base.

Twisting and warping the base requires some force, and we did notice a rather pronounced sizzling and cracking noise. The display lid can be opened one-handed and was impossible to twist and warp - impressive! Unfortunately, it is not entirely pressure-resistant and the hinges are not the strongest either. This became evident when we started walking around with the display lid opened. The maximum opening angle is less than the 135 ° that most notebooks manage to achieve. Overall, we find build quality to match the manufacturer’s claims and the notebook’s high price: The few parts that make up the case are assembled very neatly.

On its website, Asus claims to feature a “14-inch display in an elegant and compact chassis that’s no bigger than many 13-inch laptops," but we found this to be only partly true. While it is not as deep as the particularly thin and compact Huawei MateBook X it is a whopping 41 mm wider. In our test group, the ZenBook 3 Deluxe had the largest footprint by far. The Fujitsu LifeBook and the ZenBook 13 are somewhere in-between the MateBook X and the ZenBook 3. That said, the former is a bit thicker than the competition but also significantly lighter since it only weighs 950 g compared to 1.1 kg.

Size Comparison

329 mm / 13 inch 210 mm / 8.27 inch 12.9 mm / 0.508 inch 1.1 kg2.43 lbs309.3 mm / 12.2 inch 213.5 mm / 8.41 inch 15.5 mm / 0.61 inch 950 g2.09 lbs310 mm / 12.2 inch 216 mm / 8.5 inch 13.9 mm / 0.547 inch 1.1 kg2.52 lbs286 mm / 11.3 inch 211 mm / 8.31 inch 12.5 mm / 0.4921 inch 1.1 kg2.31 lbs

Connectivity

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If you don’t mind the dongle life and prefer modern to legacy ports, the ZenBook 3 Deluxe might just be right for you. In addition to a 3.5-mm audio combo port our review unit featured nothing but three USB Type-C ports, two of which support Thunderbolt 3 and carry a DisplayPort signal thereby supporting two external 4K displays at the same time. The third USB-C port only supports USB 3.1 Gen 1 speeds.

All three ports are located towards the back on both sides, which is definitely advantageous from an ergonomic point of view, and all three can be used for charging the device with the included USB-C charger. According to Asus, the ZenBook 3 Deluxe’s battery can be charged from near empty to 60% in 49 minutes. Despite the lack of a card reader and a Kensington lock, connectivity is at the higher end of the spectrum. Ethernet can be retrofitted using a USB dongle.

Communication

For wireless communication purposes Asus has opted for Intel’s well-known Wireless-AC 8260 dual-band MIMI 2x2 module with support for data rates of up to 867 Mbps. As the name suggests, the Wi-Fi chip supports the lesser used 5 GHz bands, Bluetooth 4.2 (with Intel’s latest driver package), and Intel Wireless Display. Assuming an overhead of roughly 200 Mbps transmit rates were close to their theoretical maximum but receiving data wasn’t quite as fast and was roughly on the same level as the Huawei MateBook X. All measurements were taken at a distance of 1 m to our Linksys EA8500 reference router.

Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Fujitsu LifeBook U937
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
678 MBit/s ∼100% +30%
Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
603 MBit/s ∼89% +16%
Asus Zenbook 3 Deluxe UX490UA
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260
521 MBit/s ∼77%
Huawei MateBook X
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
520 MBit/s ∼77% 0%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Asus Zenbook 3 Deluxe UX490UA
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260
647 MBit/s ∼100%
Huawei MateBook X
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
644 MBit/s ∼100% 0%
Fujitsu LifeBook U937
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
515 MBit/s ∼80% -20%
Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
515 MBit/s ∼80% -20%

Safety

Given the ZenBook’s high level of portability and the business target audience, Asus has opted to include a current-generation Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 2.0 as well as a fingerprint reader located in the upper right corner of the ClickPad. The fingerprint reader supports Windows Hello and setup was fast and simple. Once configured, it was quick and very reliable.

Accessories

Unlike many of its expensive competitors, the ZenBook 3 Deluxe comes with a plethora of various accessories in the box - a fact that is certainly highly commendable. In addition to the charger we find a protective bag for the laptop itself, an accessories bag, as well as a USB-C to USB-A and a USB-C to HDMI dongle.

Maintenance

All maintenance, including battery replacements, requires the complete removal of the bottom cover, which is held in place with eight Torx screws and can be taken off quite easily. Unfortunately, this may result in loss of warranty. Given that our test unit was a shop unit we have refrained from doing so.

Warranty

Unlike notebooks sold in Europe, their identical counterparts sold in the United States only come with a 12-month limited warranty. Further details can be found here. Optional warranty extensions are available.

Input Devices

Keyboard

In a fairly uncommon move Asus has made the ZenBook 3 Deluxe’s keyboard even wider than a standard desktop keyboard by a few millimeters. Accordingly, the flat, slightly roughened and easily readable key caps are lavishly dimensioned yet unfortunately very close to each other. The keyboard layout is pretty standard save for two noticeable exceptions: The four half-sized arrow keys are located right underneath the right SHIFT key and the power button is placed in the top right corner right above the BACKSPACE key. Some keys, such as CAPS LOCK, power, or flight mode (F2) feature their own status LEDs.

Accentuation and feedback are very decent even though key-stroke is very hard, which led to symptoms of fatigue in our fingers and joints after a short while. The lack of feedback is most likely caused by the very short key travel, which is not uncommon for thin subnotebooks such as this. That said, it takes an acceptable amount of getting used to, and avid typists will quickly resume typing at their regular speed. The entire top cover flexes somewhat when force is applied to the middle of the keyboard. The level of clatter depends on how much force is applied when pressing a key, although the smaller keys are generally quieter and less susceptible thereto. The three-stage keyboard backlight is consistent and rich in contrast despite the yellow key cap labels.

Touchpad

The ClickPad is fairly large and lacks dedicated buttons, as the name already suggests. Its glass surface is slightly roughened and features a fingerprint reader in the top right corner. Unfortunately, the touchpad was not installed very evenly and clattered noticeably every time we dared to touch it. On the plus side input and movement were detected to its very edges, and it remained smooth and usable even with moist fingertips. Input response and precision were top notch, and drag & drop via double-tap worked very reliably every time.

The two integrated short-stroke buttons at the bottom of the touchpad offer a nicely balanced actuation resistance and a quite typical acoustic and haptic feedback. As is quite common these days, a dedicated touchpad configuration tool for setting up gestures with up to four fingers was not included, and one has to resort to Windows 10’s comprehensive settings dialog to this end.

Display

The entire 14-inch FHD IPS display (157 ppi pixel density) is covered by a glossy protective layer of Corning Gorilla Glass, and our expectations of the display were very high considering the ZenBook’s price. Unfortunately, they were not met to our full satisfaction due to the admittedly high but not extraordinarily so maximum display brightness, which was just shy of 300 nits. Similarly priced competitors, including the ones we chose for this comparison, offer more. While the display was very crisp and clear its brightness distribution of just 81% was below average. On the plus side, screen bleeding was a non-issue and a black image looked very homogenous by and large. Asus does not offer any other displays for the ZenBook 3 Deluxe series.

277
cd/m²
309
cd/m²
275
cd/m²
273
cd/m²
337
cd/m²
277
cd/m²
305
cd/m²
316
cd/m²
287
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 337 cd/m² Average: 295.1 cd/m² Minimum: 18 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 81 %
Center on Battery: 337 cd/m²
Contrast: 1605:1 (Black: 0.21 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 4.89 | 0.4-29.43 Ø6.2
ΔE Greyscale 4.28 | 0.64-98 Ø6.4
87% sRGB (Argyll 3D) 56% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2.25
Asus Zenbook 3 Deluxe UX490UA
AU Optronics AUO383D / B140HAN03.8, , 1920x1080, 14
Fujitsu LifeBook U937
Sharp SHP1483, LQ133M1JW28, , 1920x1080, 13.3
Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN
B133HAN04.9, , 1920x1080, 13.3
Huawei MateBook X
Chi Mei CMN8201 / P130ZDZ-EF1, , 2160x1440, 13.3
Response Times
-17%
-2%
-12%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
24 (12, 12)
39.2 (20.4, 18.8)
-63%
22.4 (10.8, 11.6)
7%
33 (15, 18)
-38%
Response Time Black / White *
28 (18, 10)
20 (9.2, 10.8)
29%
31.2 (17.2, 14)
-11%
24 (12, 12)
14%
PWM Frequency
211.9 (20)
Screen
-1%
-3%
12%
Brightness middle
337
353
5%
338
0%
408
21%
Brightness
295
347
18%
321
9%
395
34%
Brightness Distribution
81
81
0%
90
11%
88
9%
Black Level *
0.21
0.33
-57%
0.35
-67%
0.45
-114%
Contrast
1605
1070
-33%
966
-40%
907
-43%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
4.89
3.5
28%
4.2
14%
1.55
68%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
8.43
6.9
18%
6.5
23%
2.19
74%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
4.28
4.9
-14%
3.9
9%
1.91
55%
Gamma
2.25 98%
2.21 100%
2.43 91%
2.34 94%
CCT
7352 88%
7136 91%
7144 91%
6491 100%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
56
63.5
13%
60.4
8%
61
9%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
87
98.1
13%
93.1
7%
96
10%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
-9% / -4%
-3% / -3%
0% / 8%

* ... smaller is better

Thanks to its very low black level, the ZenBook 3 Deluxe boasted the highest contrast ratio in our comparison group despite its comparatively poor maximum brightness: an impressive 1,605:1. Color accuracy out of the box was more than decent, and average DeltaE deviations of 4 - 5 were very close to the ideal values of less than 3. That said, its competitors were even more accurate, especially the noteworthy Huawei MateBook X. Surprisingly, we were not able to improve upon color accuracy significantly though calibration (the resulting ICC profile can be found for download and installation above). Color temperature, on the other hand, was improved noticeably; out of the box, it was too high resulting in a rather unobtrusive blue tint.

Due to its poor color-space coverage of just 87% sRGB and 56% AdobeRGB, the ZenBook 3 Deluxe is all but useless for serious photo-editing purposes. These were the worst results in our test group by far; however, even the contender that came in first in this test, the ZenBook 13 UX331UN, only managed to cover 93% of the sRGB color space.

CalMAN grayscale (uncalibrated)
CalMAN grayscale (uncalibrated)
CalMAN ColorChecker (uncalibrated)
CalMAN ColorChecker (uncalibrated)
CalMAN saturation (uncalibrated)
CalMAN saturation (uncalibrated)
vs. AdobeRGB
vs. AdobeRGB
CalMAN grayscale (calibrated)
CalMAN grayscale (calibrated)
CalMAN ColorChecker (calibrated)
CalMAN ColorChecker (calibrated)
CalMAN saturation (calibrated)
CalMAN saturation (calibrated)
vs. sRGB
vs. sRGB

The display turned out to be highly reflective even on overcast and dark days, which makes it difficult to work outside. On the left of the two photos the display was aimed directly at the sky, on the right you can see the photographer’s reflection in the display. The photo on the right represents the best-case scenario with the display facing a house wall, but even in this case there were some reflections. Fortunately, they were not too bothersome in this particular case and we expect them to remain largely identical with the sun out. Thus, the ZenBook 3 Deluxe can be usable outdoors but will require some effort. A matte display would have certainly been much preferred.

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
28 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 18 ms rise
↘ 10 ms fall
The screen shows relatively slow response rates in our tests and may be too slow for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 59 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (25.5 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
24 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 12 ms rise
↘ 12 ms fall
The screen shows good response rates in our tests, but may be too slow for competitive gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 11 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (40.7 ms).

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM not detected

In comparison: 52 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 9821 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

Generally speaking, IPS panels offer a very wide leeway in front of the display. Differences between the panels can usually be detected in horizontal and vertical brightness and in contrast distortions. The ZenBook’s AU Optronics panel was particularly unimpressed by horizontal movement, and while not the best, it was certainly one of the better panels we have seen.

Performance

Processor

Given the ZenBook 3 Deluxe’s conception as highly portable office notebook, the Intel Core i5-7200U microprocessor (2x 2.5 - 3.1 GHz, Hyper-Threading, 15 W TDP) is a perfect fit. Despite its low TDP and power consumption the CPU is powerful enough even for more demanding applications such as Adobe Photoshop. However, massive parallelization requirements common for video rendering as well as many modern games do benefit enormously from four or more physical cores, featured among others in the new Core i5-8250U (4x 1.6 - 3.4 GHz, Hyper-Threading, 15 W TDP) ULV quad-core CPU. The integrated DDR4 memory controller is accompanied by the obligatory Intel HD Graphics 620.

0102030405060708090100110120130140150160170180190200210220230240250260270280290300310320330340Tooltip
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64 Bit

With a score of 303 points in our Cinebench R15 multi-thread test the ZenBook’s Core i5-7200U turned out to be a bit slower than the exact same CPU in the LifeBook or the MateBook, and it failed to fully utilize its turbo-boost potential under sustained load. This should, however, remain largely unnoticeable in real-world usage scenarios. As expected, the Core i7-8550U (4x 1.8 - 4 GHz, Hyper-Threading, 15 W TDP) wiped the floor with its dual-core siblings. CPU performance was not restricted on battery.

Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
337 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
125 Points
Help
R15-Schleife: Ersatzgerät (links) / Erstgerät (rechts)
0102030405060708090100110120130140150160170180190200210220230240250260270280290300310320330340Tooltip
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64 Bit

Update 2/21/2018:

R15 loop: temperatures and MHz
R15 loop: temperatures and MHz

Our new review unit scored a much better 337 points in Cinebench R15’s multi-thread test (defective unit: 303 points) and was thus at a level much more suiting for this CPU. The Cinebench loop was completed in a completely different manner, though: the first two iterations were very strong but starting with the third, scores dropped by 13 % at first, and subsequently further and further until they bottomed out around the 30th iteration at no more than 79 % of the unit’s initial high score (- 21 %). For the sake of comparison, the faulty unit can still be found in the graph above behind the massive drop to 150 points. While its initial performance was lower it was also much more consistent.

Using the log viewer (temperature + clock speeds) we were able to determine what exactly was going on while running the test. The CPU started out at 3.5 GHz and dropped to 3.1 GHz at first. Once temperatures got within proximity of 80 °C clock speeds were further reduced to 1.6 GHz, and slowly increased afterwards whenever possible in small steps. It seems like the CPU temperature threshold is below 70 °C as the average temperature of 67 °C at 2.6 GHz suggests.

System Performance

PCMark 8: CPU temperatures (non-defective review unit)
PCMark 8: CPU temperatures (non-defective review unit)

We are unable to present you with PCMark 8 results due to the fact that our review unit kept crashing repeatedly while attempting to run the benchmark suite. We are currently in the process of organizing another review unit and will update this review as soon as the results are in.

Subjectively speaking, everything seemed to be pretty snappy. The ZenBook 3 Deluxe was as smooth and responsive as expected. Boot times and application launch times were quick but not as speedy as on gaming powerhouses equipped with blazingly fast NVMe SSDs. The ZenBook powered through our multitasking tests (a huge variety of open Chrome tabs) with ease.

Update 2/21/2018: the graph on the right shows exactly what was happening when running the PCMark 8 benchmark suite. Once temperatures rose up to 80 °C (graph at the bottom) core frequency was reduced to around 1,000 MHz until the CPU cooled down again. After a short while, clock speeds were raised again and the cycle started anew - over and over again.

PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2
Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN
GeForce MX150, 8550U, SanDisk SD8SN8U512G1002
5037 Points ∼100% +7%
Asus Zenbook 3 Deluxe UX490UA
HD Graphics 620, 7200U, Micron 1100 MTFDDAV256TBN
4695 Points ∼93%
Fujitsu LifeBook U937
HD Graphics 620, 7200U, Samsung CM871a MZNTY256HDHP
4538 Points ∼90% -3%
Huawei MateBook X
HD Graphics 620, 7200U, LITEON CB1-SD256
4276 Points ∼85% -9%
Home Score Accelerated v2
Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN
GeForce MX150, 8550U, SanDisk SD8SN8U512G1002
3899 Points ∼100% +7%
Asus Zenbook 3 Deluxe UX490UA
HD Graphics 620, 7200U, Micron 1100 MTFDDAV256TBN
3632 Points ∼93%
Fujitsu LifeBook U937
HD Graphics 620, 7200U, Samsung CM871a MZNTY256HDHP
3601 Points ∼92% -1%
Huawei MateBook X
HD Graphics 620, 7200U, LITEON CB1-SD256
3507 Points ∼90% -3%
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
3632 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
4695 points
Help

Storage Devices

The 256 GB large SSD by Micron performed as fast as expected of a SATA III SSD, and it came close to its theoretical limit of 500 MB/s in AS SSD’s sequential read and write tests. Write performance was very good overall for its class, but 4K read performance could have been better - we would have expected at least 30 MB/s.

Asus Zenbook 3 Deluxe UX490UA
Micron 1100 MTFDDAV256TBN
Fujitsu LifeBook U937
Samsung CM871a MZNTY256HDHP
Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN
SanDisk SD8SN8U512G1002
Huawei MateBook X
LITEON CB1-SD256
CrystalDiskMark 3.0
15%
-2%
29%
Write 4k QD32
224.4
253.6
13%
211.9
-6%
257.5
15%
Read 4k QD32
246.7
392.8
59%
322.9
31%
498.9
102%
Write 4k
85.59
90.48
6%
53.47
-38%
68.14
-20%
Read 4k
26.28
34.85
33%
28.04
7%
29.48
12%
Write 512
357
228.5
-36%
369.8
4%
310.3
-13%
Read 512
325.9
385.1
18%
275
-16%
504.2
55%
Write Seq
413.3
462.3
12%
424.1
3%
461.2
12%
Read Seq
435.3
508.9
17%
430.6
-1%
740.6
70%
Micron 1100 MTFDDAV256TBN
Sequential Read: 435.3 MB/s
Sequential Write: 413.3 MB/s
512K Read: 325.9 MB/s
512K Write: 357 MB/s
4K Read: 26.28 MB/s
4K Write: 85.59 MB/s
4K QD32 Read: 246.7 MB/s
4K QD32 Write: 224.4 MB/s

Graphics Card

Intel’s HD Graphics 620 is an energy-efficient GPU, running at clock speeds of between 300 and 1,000 MHz, and it is part of various ULV processors in Intel’s current Kaby Lake line-up. Despite massive performance gains of 20 - 30% compared to its HD 520 Skylake predecessor, the GPU is still not yet powerful enough for demanding 3D applications and games and is more of a 2D accelerator instead. H.265 and VP9 video-decoding in hardware have been improved with this latest generation of integrated GPUs, though.

Given that 3DMark 11 blue-screened reliably every time we tried to launch it we had to resort to the newer 3DMark (2013). Thanks to its dual-channel DDR4 memory access, the ZenBook 3 Deluxe’s HD Graphics 620 performed above average and was just 16% slower than the fastest HD 620 in our database. Neither the LifeBook nor the MateBook were able to keep up with the ZenBook 3 yet all three competitors were outclassed by the ZenBook 13’s dedicated Nvidia GeForce MX150 mid-range GPU. GPU performance was not restricted on battery.

Update 2/21/2018 - new review unit: the second, non-defective review unit only managed to score 94 % of our first review unit’s result in the Cloud Gate benchmark.

3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU
Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN
NVIDIA GeForce MX150, Intel Core i7-8550U
3581 Points ∼100% +118%
Asus Zenbook 3 Deluxe UX490UA
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-7200U
1644 Points ∼46%
Huawei MateBook X
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-7200U
1528 Points ∼43% -7%
Fujitsu LifeBook U937
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-7200U
1481 Points ∼41% -10%
3DMark
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics
Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN
NVIDIA GeForce MX150, Intel Core i7-8550U
2903 Points ∼100% +185%
Asus Zenbook 3 Deluxe UX490UA
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-7200U
1018 Points ∼35%
Fujitsu LifeBook U937
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-7200U
935 Points ∼32% -8%
Huawei MateBook X
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-7200U
875 Points ∼30% -14%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics
Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN
NVIDIA GeForce MX150, Intel Core i7-8550U
18572 Points ∼100% +122%
Asus Zenbook 3 Deluxe UX490UA
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-7200U
8382 Points ∼45%
Fujitsu LifeBook U937
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-7200U
8191 Points ∼44% -2%
Huawei MateBook X
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-7200U
7542 Points ∼41% -10%
3DMark 11 Performance
1781 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
6056 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
934 points
Help

Gaming Performance

Both modern and older demanding games, such as The Witcher 3 (2015) or Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016), were too much for the HD 620 even on minimum details at a resolution of 1024x768. Isometric perspective games, such as StarCraft II, are usually playable on medium and sometimes even high details. Notable exceptions include the last two installments of the Anno series. Farming Simulator 17, a rather simplistic game, ran smoothly on medium settings.

We experienced multiple blue screens while running our gaming benchmarks as well. Thus, we are very glad to be able to present you with at least some benchmark scores.

low med. high ultra
The Witcher 3 (2015) 14.3fps
Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016) 20.4fps
Farming Simulator 17 (2016) 48.6fps

Emissions

System Noise

System noise
System noise

The fan was always spinning even when the notebook was completely idle and the system cooling policy was set to “passive”. Fortunately, it remained fairly unobtrusive and quiet, and it was barely audible from a distance of roughly half-a-meter (a bit less than 2 ft) in an office with a single PC running in addition to the notebook itself. Running the Kraken 1.1 browser benchmark, the fan started slowly spinning up yet still managed to remain fairly quiet by and large. More demanding tests, such as running Prime95 + FurMark simultaneously, resulted in a quiet unobtrusive hum that fell into oblivion at a distance of a few meters. It is worth noting that Prime95 produced an error message and stopped its worker threads after just a few minutes but did not crash the computer.

Update 2/21/2018 - new review unit: the notebook no longer crashed when running Prime95.

Noise Level

Idle
30.2 / 30.2 / 31.2 dB(A)
Load
35.7 / 34.2 dB(A)
  red to green bar
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   Audix TM1, Arta (15 cm distance)   environment noise: 30.2 dB(A)
dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs204142.74341.341253840.54037.8383132.932.331.230.732.94031.828.729.631.531.85030.931.329.928.630.96328.929.930.931.128.9802828.227.230.42810027.92827.93227.912525.826.226.425.825.816025.825.927.226.125.82002423.824.724.92425023.523.724.324.223.531522.722.722.62322.740022.722.722.921.822.750021.621.921.121.221.663020.620.520.120.320.680021.620.719.619.521.6100024.623.219.218.624.6125025.223.518.417.925.216002422.517.717.424200024.82317.51724.825002725.517.216.727315026.323.91716.426.3400023.120.716.816.323.1500021191716.121630018.617.616.91618.6800017.617.116.815.917.61000017.116.816.91617.112500171716.91617160001716.91716.117SPL35.834.230.630.235.8N2.321.51.42.3median 23.1median 22.7median 18.4median 17.9median 23.1Delta2.21.833.72.228.931.229.430.628.928.129.930.529.928.127.527.928.529.727.526.925.528.127.726.926.22625.62926.225.625.726.126.825.624.625.225.426.324.62423.823.823.32422.122.622.62322.121.621.721.621.621.620.42121.521.220.419.820.119.119.319.818.618.618.118.218.618.618.518.218.118.61918.717.918.21919.818.217.417.619.820.218.817.917.420.220.619.31817.620.621.720.117.917.721.722.620.718.818.322.62220.619.318.52223.32120.519.123.330.222.119.219.230.225.520.319.419.525.521.719.919.519.421.720.219.419.319.420.219.4191919.219.418.818.718.618.718.818.318.218.118.318.317.717.717.617.717.735.732.131.130.835.72.11.61.51.42.1median 20.4median 19.9median 19median 18.7median 20.41.61.20.90.81.63229.82928.828.529.628.82929.828.528.528.428.328.630.428.532.132.431.432.828.127.727.927.426.526.327.227.427.82928.529.726.124.624.225.224.424.323.224.724.923.822.425.125.423.521.825.724.823.920.324.823.822.618.823.724.423.118.424.724.222.818.124.227.426.117.627.530.83017.131.430.829.316.930.529.327.616.928.936.234.516.73635.433.516.735.330.929.516.93131.730.116.931.532.330.117.132.429.92717.430.325.523.317.725.72220.5182219.118.717.919.318.418.41818.543.541.829.643.44.13.51.34.1median 26.1median 24.6median 17.9median 25.72.93.21.93.3hearing rangehide median Fan NoiseAsus Zenbook 3 Deluxe UX490UAFujitsu LifeBook U937Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN

Temperature

massive throttling to 600 MHz (non-defective review unit) while performing our stress test
massive throttling to 600 MHz (non-defective review unit) while performing our stress test

Even under sustained load, surface temperatures remained very low and never exceeded 33 °C. The maximum temperature recorded inside the case was 51 °C.

Under normal circumstances, this would be the place to discuss maximum temperatures while running our Prime95 + FurMark stress test. Unfortunately, these are also missing from this review due to constant blue screens and reboots while attempting to run these tests. From what we can tell, core temperatures never exceeded 70 °C. We will report back with more detailed findings once we have received a working test unit.

Update 2/21/2018 - new review unit without constant crashes: given the fairly low CPU temperature of just 53 °C while running our stress test we must presume a rather conservative and tentative system cooling policy. CPU frequency was reduced to 600 MHz in this scenario, and consequently we weren’t surprised by the system’s power consumption of just 22 W. The first unit consumed up to 32 W in this load scenario but was unable to cope with heat emissions and crashed accordingly. The second review unit was much more conservative and careful when it came to temperatures and clock speeds, but at least it remained stable throughout the test. We also have to add that ending the stress test did not induce normal operation at previous speeds just yet. As the graph reveals CPU frequency was increased to around 1.9 GHz after a while but remained far from its theoretical maximum of 3.5 GHz for quite a while. Thus, periods of sustained and extreme load will incur a long-time system performance penalty. It took the UX490 seven minutes to resume normal operation at higher clock speeds and temperatures.

 25 °C
77 F
26 °C
79 F
27 °C
81 F
 
 24.6 °C
76 F
25.1 °C
77 F
26.3 °C
79 F
 
 24.7 °C
76 F
24.9 °C
77 F
25.4 °C
78 F
 
Maximum: 27 °C = 81 F
Average: 25.4 °C = 78 F
27.2 °C
81 F
26.4 °C
80 F
26 °C
79 F
26.5 °C
80 F
26.1 °C
79 F
25.5 °C
78 F
25.6 °C
78 F
25.4 °C
78 F
25.2 °C
77 F
Maximum: 27.2 °C = 81 F
Average: 26 °C = 79 F
Power Supply (max.)  31.4 °C = 89 F | Room Temperature 22.6 °C = 73 F | FIRT 550-Pocket
(+) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 30.6 °C / 87 F, compared to the average of 29.4 °C / 85 F for the devices in the class Office.
(+) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 33.3 °C / 92 F, compared to the average of 33.9 °C / 93 F, ranging from 21.2 to 62.5 °C for the class Office.
(+) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 33.2 °C / 92 F, compared to the average of 36.4 °C / 98 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 25.4 °C / 78 F, compared to the device average of 29.4 °C / 85 F.
(+) The palmrests and touchpad are cooler than skin temperature with a maximum of 30.4 °C / 86.7 F and are therefore cool to the touch.
(-) The average temperature of the palmrest area of similar devices was 28.2 °C / 82.8 F (-2.2 °C / -3.9 F).
Heat-map top (idle)
Heat-map top (idle)
Heat-map bottom (idle)
Heat-map bottom (idle)
Heat-map top (load)
Heat-map top (load)
Heat-map bottom (load)
Heat-map bottom (load)

Speakers

Pink noise
Pink noise

Fairly uncommon for a notebook, the ZenBook 3 Deluxe features not two but four speakers, two of which are located above the keyboard and two at the front facing downwards. Maximum volume is fairly impressive for its compact size, and it should thus be loud enough for medium-sized rooms. Sound quality was surprisingly decent as well despite the fact that the Harman Kardon-certified so-called “Asus SonicMaster Premium Stereo audio” technology was heavy on mids and highs and skimped noticeably on bass. Overall, sound quality was clear, almost natural, and fairly dynamic.

As mentioned before, the speakers lacked bass. They were, however, capable of reproducing these low frequencies quite well in higher spectrums. Some songs sounded very sharp without any distortions or oscillation at maximum volume. High punctiform levels that are quite common e.g. for Metal music were mashed up into a single noise beyond recognition. Reducing the volume helped significantly in these cases.

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2038.641.338.62541.137.841.13134.830.734.84034.631.534.65037.328.637.36338.231.138.28040.730.440.710042.63242.612545.225.845.216044.826.144.820047.824.947.825050.724.250.731555.72355.740056.621.856.650059.621.259.663056.920.356.980057.119.557.1100061.118.661.1125062.217.962.2160064.517.464.52000651765250061.916.761.9315063.616.463.6400061.416.361.4500062.816.162.8630065.11665.1800066.615.966.61000067.71667.71250064.91664.91600062.916.162.9SPL75.430.275.4N36.41.436.4median 61.4median 17.9median 61.4Delta4.63.74.630.630.829.932.529.730.127.730.32931.926.828.126.329.323.3282329.321.629.121.230.219.333.318.235.618.138.618.24717.651.517.456.717.662.117.763.118.363.918.562.619.166.519.27019.573.619.475.819.472.719.270.418.773.318.370.117.770.530.8821.444.2median 18.7median 62.60.815.532.732.330.531.628.328.929.432.134.232.429.331.626.534.130.541.925.149.725.849.124.753.623.654.422.559.721.15919.662.918.868.318.571.217.771.317.372.817.672.117.473.517.470.717.571.61868.317.970.318.369.918.670.818.769.418.868.318.864.830.582.81.556.1median 18.7median 68.32.3635.435.335.437.234.637.237.932.237.942.632.342.641.93141.941.829.841.844.727.244.74627.34645.425.245.448.82448.851.923.951.953.722.853.762.322.162.364.420.864.46620.36663.819.563.858.51958.558.317.758.355.817.455.857.616.857.662.216.862.262.516.662.559.216.659.258.216.658.26116.66163.316.763.359.416.759.454.116.954.152.916.952.94716.84772.829.972.833.11.333.1median 58.3median 17.4median 58.35.22.35.2hearing rangehide median Pink NoiseAsus Zenbook 3 Deluxe UX490UAFujitsu LifeBook U937Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UNHuawei MateBook X
Asus Zenbook 3 Deluxe UX490UA audio analysis

(-) | not very loud speakers (67.7 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(±) | reduced bass - on average 13.5% lower than median
(+) | bass is linear (6.1% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 2.9% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (4.3% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 2.8% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (4.4% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(+) | overall sound is linear (12.9% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 6% of all tested devices in this class were better, 2% similar, 93% worse
» The best had a delta of 8%, average was 21%, worst was 51%
Compared to all devices tested
» 9% of all tested devices were better, 2% similar, 89% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Fujitsu LifeBook U937 audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (82 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 31.6% lower than median
(+) | bass is linear (3.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(±) | reduced mids - on average 7.3% lower than median
(±) | linearity of mids is average (8.4% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(±) | higher highs - on average 9.2% higher than median
(±) | linearity of highs is average (7% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(-) | overall sound is not linear (32.6% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 91% of all tested devices in this class were better, 4% similar, 5% worse
» The best had a delta of 8%, average was 20%, worst was 50%
Compared to all devices tested
» 93% of all tested devices were better, 3% similar, 4% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (82.8 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 16.9% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (9% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 4.3% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (4.2% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 1.8% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (3.4% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(+) | overall sound is linear (13.3% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 16% of all tested devices in this class were better, 2% similar, 83% worse
» The best had a delta of 8%, average was 20%, worst was 50%
Compared to all devices tested
» 10% of all tested devices were better, 3% similar, 87% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Huawei MateBook X audio analysis

(-) | not very loud speakers (66 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(±) | reduced bass - on average 8.3% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (7.6% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 3.3% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (6.2% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 2.6% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (6.6% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(+) | overall sound is linear (11.8% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 7% of all tested devices in this class were better, 4% similar, 89% worse
» The best had a delta of 8%, average was 20%, worst was 50%
Compared to all devices tested
» 6% of all tested devices were better, 2% similar, 93% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Frequency diagram (checkboxes selectable/deselectable!)

Energy Management

Power Consumption

Taking into consideration that the 14-inch ZenBook 3 Deluxe is slightly larger than its three 13.3-inch competitors we quickly came to the conclusion that the newcomer is a fairly efficient subnotebook. Power consumption was only around 10% higher than on the Fujitsu LifeBook. The second quad-core equipped ZenBook was more efficient when idle but had a 10 to 88% higher power consumption under load (the latter sounds more feasible). The Huawei MateBook X’s handicap was its high-resolution display, which led to higher power consumption in all scenarios. The ZenBook 3 Deluxe’s 65 W power supply is amply dimensioned.

Update 2/21/2018: the new review unit had a much lower power consumption under extreme load than the old one: it maxed out at just 22 W after a full hour. Power consumption while running 3DMark was just 24.6 W (load avg.).

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.45 / 0.46 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 3.3 / 6.1 / 10.1 Watt
Load midlight 24.6 / 22 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
Asus Zenbook 3 Deluxe UX490UA
7200U, HD Graphics 620, Micron 1100 MTFDDAV256TBN, IPS, 1920x1080, 14
Fujitsu LifeBook U937
7200U, HD Graphics 620, Samsung CM871a MZNTY256HDHP, IPS, 1920x1080, 13.3
Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN
8550U, GeForce MX150, SanDisk SD8SN8U512G1002, IPS LED, 1920x1080, 13.3
Huawei MateBook X
7200U, HD Graphics 620, LITEON CB1-SD256, , 2160x1440, 13.3
Power Consumption
-6%
-31%
-51%
Idle Minimum *
3.3
3.11
6%
2.7
18%
4.6
-39%
Idle Average *
6.1
6.1
-0%
5.3
13%
11
-80%
Idle Maximum *
10.1
6.75
33%
6.2
39%
12
-19%
Load Average *
24.6
28.9
-17%
37.6
-53%
39.5
-61%
Load Maximum *
22
33.3
-51%
60.1
-173%
34.6
-57%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Life

Once again we have to put off publishing some of our findings due to the ZenBook 3’s constant blue screens and reboots under load. We thus have to focus primarily on the Wi-Fi test, in which the ZenBook 3 Deluxe lasted just as long as the ZenBook 13 despite its smaller 46 Wh battery (compared to the ZenBook 13’s 50 Wh battery): It ran out of power after around 8 hours, which means it should in theory last all day for most users. The 50 Wh Fujitsu LifeBook U937 ran 31% longer while the MateBook X had to pay the price of a higher average power consumption combined with a small 40 Wh battery.

Update 2/21/2018: At 9.5 hours, the ZenBook 3 Deluxe should easily last a full day of work. The new review unit beat the older, defective unit (8 hours) by a significant margin.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
17h 12min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
9h 22min
Load (maximum brightness)
2h 33min
Asus Zenbook 3 Deluxe UX490UA
7200U, HD Graphics 620, 46 Wh
Fujitsu LifeBook U937
7200U, HD Graphics 620, 50 Wh
Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN
8550U, GeForce MX150, 50 Wh
Huawei MateBook X
7200U, HD Graphics 620, 40 Wh
Battery Runtime
11%
-1%
-28%
Reader / Idle
1032
1152
12%
1321
28%
512
-50%
WiFi v1.3
562
654
16%
504
-10%
337
-40%
Load
153
161
5%
120
-22%
162
6%
H.264
714
576

Preliminary Verdict

Pros

+ classy design with high recognition value
+ compact thanks to narrow bezels
+ decent build quality
+ 2 x Thunderbolt 3
+ quick charge
+ TPM 2.0, fingerprint reader
+ useful accessories (bags, dongles, etc.)
+ decent ClickPad
+ outstanding contrast ratio
+ decent color accuracy out of the box
+ quiet, cool
+ efficient

Cons

- maximum opening angle less than 135 °
- no ports other than 3x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C
- glossy display
- color temperature too high, blue tint
- insufficient color-space coverage
- poor application of turbo boost
Asus ZenBook 3 Deluxe UX490UA. Review unit courtesy of notebooksbilliger.de.
Asus ZenBook 3 Deluxe UX490UA. Review unit courtesy of notebooksbilliger.de.

If you have read the entire review you will certainly agree that at this point we cannot publish any final scores for the ZenBook 3 Deluxe just yet and have disabled our score widget accordingly. If the constant crashes turn out to be a systematic issue, which we don’t assume at this point, it would reduce the ZenBook’s score drastically.

The very compact, classy, and well-made case is practically flawless save for the comparatively narrow opening angle that became an issue during the test over and over again. The notebook’s selection of ports is certainly futuristic and still quite unusual, and it will require the use of dongles for the time being. Windows 10 Professional with support for Bitlocker was not preloaded on our review unit but is available to complete the notebook’s TPM 2.0 and fingerprint reader safety equipment. We were particularly impressed with the very quiet and power-efficient operation and the notebook’s more than decent battery life.

The rest of our criticism is directed exclusively at the overall acceptable display. Since it is not a touchscreen the additional protective layer of Gorilla Glass is all but useless - we would have preferred a matte panel instead. Maybe Asus felt “inspired” by the MacBook Air. After all, Apple has been impossible to dissuade from using glossy displays in all of their products for years. In addition, the display is not made for photo-editing given its underwhelming color-space coverage.

Whether or not the ZenBook 3 Deluxe will get an endorsement now depends on how the second review unit is going to behave.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Asus ZenBook 3 Deluxe UX490UA (i5-7200U, 256 GB SSD) Subnotebook Review
Sven Kloevekorn, 2018-02-16 (Update: 2018-02-26)