Test of the Asus ZenBook 13 (2018): not far from the ideal ultraportable

We were able to test the Asus ZenBook 13 (UX333) for several weeks. Here is our full review on this ultrabook.

Technical sheet
FeaturesAsus ZenBook 13 UX333F
Screen 13.3 inch LCD 1920 x 1080 pixels
Intel Core i5-8265U Processor or Intel Core i7-8565U Processor
Graphics chip Intel UHD 620 or Nvidia GeForce MX150 (2 GB GDDR5)
RAM8 to 16 GB of RAM LPDDR3
Storage256 GB, 512 GB or 1 TB of storage (PCIe 3.0)
Connectivity USB Type-C 3.1 Gen 2, USB Type-A 3.0, USB Type-A 2.0, HDMI, 3.5mm jack, microSD reader, AC power
BiometryFacial recognition
Wi-FiWi-Fi 5 (802.11 ac 2×2)
Battery56 Wh or 97 Wh
Dimensions30.2 x 18.9 x 1.69 centimeters
Weight1,19 kg
Price949 euros.
This test was made from a computer loaned by the brand. The model tested is the UX333F with an Intel Core i7 8565U, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.
Design: a well thought hinge
With its Zenbook 13 version 2018, Asus uses once again two technologies that the manufacturer master well now. On the one hand the integration of a screen of 13.3 inches with borders of only a few millimeters and on the other hand its hinge Ergolift.

The manufacturer is not the first to offer borderless screens on its PCs, but it does this particularly well, since the brand has managed to integrate a full 3D camera with infrared sensor, in the border above the screen . One thing a competitor like Dell has not been successful to date. This gives the impression of having the maximum display possible without losing functionality.
For the Ergolift hinge, it raises the keyboard when the screen is pulled back. We thus find the sensations of a classic computer keyboard, with a degree of inclination of 3 degrees between the front and the back of the PC. Aesthetically, this design choice cleverly hides the bottom edge of the screen, since the keyboard switches in front of the point of view of the user. This hinge finally allows better heat dissipation at the back of the PC, since the raised area is also the one that houses the fans.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The keyboard occupies a large part of the PC's base. We are dealing here with a classic ultrabook keyboard with a line of functions, a line of numbers and the QWERTY keyboard. We can note that as on the Zenbook Pro 15, Asus offers a keyboard in American format with an elongated input key and a star key wider than normal. The navigation arrows are not distinguishable from the rest of the keyboard, just like the power button that is easily confused with the delete key.

One of the ideas of Asus for this device is at the touchpad. No question here of a second touch screen to do everything, but rather an optional keypad. By pressing the appropriate icon, a complete numeric keypad appears with the math buttons. Note that the touchpad continues to work, so you can navigate even with the function enabled.
The integration is simple, but very well done, and it's a good idea when you have to type series of numbers. It will take a good time of adaptation on the other hand to get used to the position of the buttons, since it is about a touch zone without haptic return, and in a space where our eyes are not carried usually.
It is on the connection that Asus disappoints us a little with this ZenBook 13. Nothing of crippling, the machine offers an HDMI port, two conventional USB and a USB Type-C. Unfortunately, the latter is a simple USB 3.1 2nd generation, and does not have a Thunderbolt 3 as is generally the case on laptops in this range. In my tests, I could not use this USB Type-C port to run video, or to charge the PC's battery.
The Zenbook incorporates a 13-inch Full HD screen. I did not have a problem to use it on a daily basis, but we can not really say that I put the screen in difficult conditions, with the winter weather. In these cases, the most interesting is still to refer to the results of our colorimetric probe.

The screen displays a low brightness of 260 cd / m² for a good contrast of 1360: 1. Fortunately, the matte coating should limit glare when using the PC outdoors. The colors pull, as often, a little too blue to the detriment of the level of red. The color temperature is thus 8000K on average. Finally, the sRGB color spectrum is not fully covered by our results.
Windows 10 with an increasingly intrusive McAfee
Asus takes the same software recipe as its Zenbook 15. We therefore find a Windows 10 family edition, with additional essential Asus software such as Realtek Audio Console, eManual or Asus Keyboard Hotkeys.
The problem comes mostly pre-installed adware, and especially this horrible McAfee that will regularly encourage you to pay for its full license with a pub occupying a third of the display. The defense mechanisms integrated into Windows 10 by Microsoft are however sufficient for a classic use of the device.
Rather, it is perceived as a source of pay for Asus, McAfee pays for this installation of its suite, which seems to be inherited from the past, while other brands now offer machines without supplements.
Our test drive incorporates an Intel Core i7-8565U processor backed by 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. With such a configuration, the device is primarily intended for professionals who need a mobility tool. The performance of the machine will be sufficient for editing documents, light photo editing. It will show its limits for running 3D games or for heavy editing (video editing, or image editing with many layers).
This is confirmed by the results of the Cinebench test, which calculates the rendering of a scene using 3D. The machine gets a score of 532 points, which places it under the Dell XPS 13 (2018).
An ideal autonomy for work
The machine is equipped with a 3-cell battery of 50Wh. Remember that Windows 10 is particularly sensitive to the number of applications launched, since multitasking is complete (unlike a mobile system that limits applications in the background). With my professional use (lots of open Chrome tabs, writing and a YouTube feed in the background), I had no trouble holding 8 hours and 45 minutes, a full day writing. Count a little over 9 hours in video playback.
As said about the connection, it is mandatory to go through the power port owner to charge the machine, which means it will never forget its charger and always have it with you. Today, manufacturers like Dell or Apple offer USB charging Type-C, it's convenient when you can borrow the charger of a colleague, or take a single trip to travel for all its devices. With the supplied 45W charger, it takes 3 hours to fully charge the machine.
Price and availability
The Asus Zenbook 13 is available in several configurations. It is found at 949 euros for the version tested here and equipped with an Intel Core i7-8565U with 8 GB of RAM and a 256 GB SSD.
Photo gallery
                        Test Asus Zenbook 13 The verdict
                                With its aluminum chassis and beautiful screen edge aboard, the Zenbook has a design that pleases. The keypad and touchpad turning into keypads are rather ergonomic, and the Ergolift hinge aligns the good points. Too bad the connection lacks a bit of modernity, especially on the side of the USB-C.
                                The Zenbook Full HD screen has a matte coating that unfortunately has a direct impact on its maximum brightness, which is limited. Add to that colors that pull a little too blue.
                                Windows 10 is improving from version to version, and Microsoft has invested in the security of its operating system. Why on earth is there still McAfee in default solution on Asus machines? This is done at the expense of the user experience.
                                The low-power Intel Core i7 processor, allied to flash memory and sufficient RAM allow this ultrabook to meet the expected uses. We can do the web, work documents or images, but we must forget the 3D games and too heavy tasks like video editing.
                                9 hours of autonomy by working with many tabs in Chrome, a browser known to consume battery is very good. This means that the machine is able to keep a whole day's work away from a power point. Too bad the refill is limited to the owner port power.
                    The Asus ZenBook 13 is a powerful and well designed ultrabook. It goes to the basics, which allows it to keep a very competitive price. We will retain its borderless screen that still welcomes a camera module capable of facial recognition, and its Ergolift hinge which provides comfort at the level of typing, while playing a role in the cooling of the machine. We would have liked that Asus plays the game of USB Type-C to the end by offering a port compatible with the Thunderbolt 3, or at least the recharge and display of an external display. The port is here the minimum service. Similarly we regret once again the integration of McAfee which will be good only to display an unpleasant ad in the middle of a work session. This ZenBook 13 is anyway a machine that can be recommended, especially when its rather aggressive price that puts it under the 1,000 mark.
                        Good points
                        Borderless screen
                                                            Facial Recognition
                                                            Touchpad / well-thought keypad
                                                            Ergolift hinge
                        Negative points
                        USB-C without charge or Thunderbolt 3
                                                            Screen that lacks brightness

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