Save up to $90! Great Deals on Norton 360 antivirus starting at just A$79.99 Get comprehensive protection with Norton 360 including Antivirus, secure VPN, a Password Manager, PC Cloud Backup, and more. All backed by 60-day Money Back Guarantee and 100% Virus Protection Promise.
Review: Asus ZenBook 3
Gorgeous, small and powerful but with a big Aussie price hike
- Very light and portable
- Surprisingly powerful
- Low-travel Keyboard
- Australian price hike
- Too few ports
If you're in the market for a powerful ultraportable, this ticks all the boxes. But it's even more expensive for Australians and that hits its value score.
Price$ 2,699.00 (AUD)
Asus also does a nice job with battery life on the ZenBook 3. Despite the more power-hungry CPU, this laptop lasted just over eight hours in our video rundown test, which involves running a 4K movie file on loop in Windows 10’s native Movies & TV app.
That’s 100 minutes longer than Surface Pro 4, which has a similar panel size but a higher-resolution touchscreen and a slightly smaller battery. On the flip side, the Kaby Lake XPS 13 lasted 3 hours and 15 minutes longer, but its battery is about 50 percent larger than the 40-watt-hour pack inside the ZenBook 3. It’s unclear how the MacBook and its 41.4-watt-hour battery would do in a similar rundown test, but with that lower-watt Core m processor, we’d guess it’d be perhaps an hour or so longer than the ZenBook 3.
Asus touts the ZenBook 3 as a superior MacBook alternative, and I’d have to partially agree. In a lighter and almost equally compact package, you get a much faster processor—one that better matches up with the fast storage and RAM paired with it. The fan noise you get in exchange for that power is very tolerable. It’s more of an audible hum than a noisy jet-engine roar.
I even think that the one area that Asus downgraded (relative to the MacBook) is a smart decision. While the MacBook features a 2304 x 1440 display, the ZenBook 3 sports a less glamorous 1920 x 1080 screen. I’d argue that on a 12.5-inch screen, the lower resolution is far more comfortable to work with.
But Asus didn’t finish its beatdown on its most obvious rival. The keyboard could use a lot of improvement, and it’d be nice if that USB-C port had a faster controller for data transfers. (That latter point kills me a little, since the machine is so packed with high-end components otherwise.)
If you don’t give two figs about Apple and just want a compact Windows machine that’s easy to carry around, well—the ZenBook 3 is really portable. I carried it to and from work on public transit without noticing it too much in my backpack. It performs well, too. So if you can live with just one USB port, there’s a lot to like. If you can’t—well, there are plenty of excellent ultrabook competitors to choose from. You’ll just have to pick a different feature that compromises on something you don’t care about.
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 ASUS TUF FX505 (Ryzen 7) review: Tolerable trade-offs
- 2 Oppo A5Xs review: Cutting corners
- 3 Garmin Fenix 5 fitness tracker smartwatch review
- 4 Panasonic Blu-ray recorder PVR set-top box review
- 5 Xiro Drone Xplorer V by Rapoo review
Latest News Articles
- ARM just showed 2021's smartphone CPUs, led by the powerful Cortex-X1
- Aussie Broadband debut 1Gbps NBN plans
- Telstra now have a mmWave-capable 5G hotspot
- Motorola shore up wallet-friendly portfolio with G8, G8 Power Light and E6S
- Foxtel to launch new Binge streaming service
PCW Evaluation Team
This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.
It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.
As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.
The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.
This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.
Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications
- Huawei P40 Pro review: Breaking Point
- Dell XPS 13 (2020) review: A deft upgrade that doesn't break what doesn't need fixing
- How Australia's Telcos and ISPs are reacting to increased coronavirus connectivity demands
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies