My laptop is essentially my lifeline while I’m travelling. It is the link to family and friends back home, potential clients and of course, it is essentially my mobile office. I have been carrying around a MacBook Pro for years and I have to say, lately it has become a little too big and heavy for me. So when ASUS offered to loan me the new ZenBook 3 UX390UA to road test I was very curious to see what life was like behind the wheel of a completely new and very shiny ride.
What I loved about the ASUS ZenBook 3 UX390UA
It is super light, compact and ultraportable
When you have a camera bag kitted out with an SLR, lenses and accessories you are quickly carrying around about 15 kilos on your back. Add a laptop to that and you may need a sherpa just to get through the airport. Every gram counts. The ZenBook 3 only weighs 910 grams, that’s more than 30 percent lighter than my current laptop. My shoulders are already breathing a sigh of relief.
The ultra light body obviously makes it super mobile, not just for the long haul trips. It means you can carry it in one hand with your coffee in the other and you can throw it discretely into your handbag so you aren’t broadcasting to the world that you are in possession of something valuable; that’s key when you are travelling to new destinations, particularly alone.
It is paper thin
Okay, so it’s not quite paper thin, but it’s a supermodel in the world of laptops at less than 12 mm thick. It’s one of the slimmest laptops on the market. If you are a daily commuter or a traveller, you will appreciate just how important that is to squeeze it into your bag, whether it’s a backpack or briefcase.
It is powerful and a little pimped out
Now, I’m no tech genius. While I work in the digital space, I simply expect my tech tools to work for me on demand, and I am very demanding. I edit photos, video and write on my laptop everyday so I expect my workhorse simply to keep up with the pace.
The ZenBook 3UX390UA features a 15W Intel Core i7-7500U processor, 8GB of high-speed 2133MHz RAM and 512 SSD. That’s a lot of tech speak that translates to “it’s super powerful”. It’s more powerful than the MacBook. In real terms, that means it does everything a little faster, from transferring photos to saving files. Every second counts when you are bursting to head out and explore a new city.
The fingerprint sensor on the keyboard brings a little Bond feel to the design. It also means you don’t have to type in a password after you step away from the screen for a few minutes.
The three port mini dock is also a clever essential so you aren’t stuck with a single USB port.
The size of the screen
The 12.5-inch screen is a little bigger than the MacBook and the perfect size for travel. It’s not just important during the work day, but also the wind down. There are many nights spent catching up on Netflix while I am on the road and my laptop instantly becomes my television. For that reason the screen size is important. The audio is also important for movie nights and listening to music. Did I mention my laptop is also my Spotify speaker? The ZenBook 3 has four speakers meaning the sound isn’t as flat as it is on other devices. I was impressed.
It is pretty. Really Pretty
I’m the first to admit vanity plays a part when I’m shopping for tech toys. Nothing kills your look quite like a chunky, matt black computer propped on your lap while in transit. I had the Royal Blue ZenBook 3UX390UA to try. It features accents in gold both externally and on the colour-matched keyboard. It’s very flash. The Royal Blue is the most subtle colour way available and the one I would prefer for travel. If you are simply using it for university, hot desking or carrying it around town, you must check out the rose gold.
It is deceptively strong
The ZenBook 3 is little but it packs a punch. Constructed from Aerospace-grade aluminium alloy, ASUS says it is 50% stronger than a standard alloy used for laptops. If you are anything like me and you accidentally knock your laptop off tables, leave it in precarious positions and put it down on hard surfaces, this added protection might just come in handy.
What I didn’t love about the ZenBook 3
- The screen resolution wasn’t as great as the MacBook and it wasn’t quite as bright.
- The keyboard is a little clunky. I’m sure this is something you simply get used to.
- The fan noise. This is also something I am not used to but no doubt would become accustomed to, particularly as I work outdoors a lot and anything that helps keep that computer cooler is a bonus to me.
- While it is super strong and comes with a stylish carry case, I would probably pick up a neoprene sleeve just to ensure it is really protected from all the bumps that come with a trip.
I have to admit as a long-time Apple aficionado, I secretly didn’t want to like the ASUS. But, it won me over. For a traveller, it has everything you need in one very beautiful package. It’s powerful, it’s thin, lightweight, extremely beautiful and it’s cheaper than its competitor.
Learn more about the ASUS ZenBook 3 UX390UA here.
Shop the ASUS ZenBook 3UX390UA here.
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