When looking to get a new laptop, most people will have a specific purpose in mind. For some, it’s hard core gaming. For others, it’s video or music editing. Sometimes, it’s for portability for on-the-go business transactions. But what if you wanted a laptop that could do all these things, and do them really well? Theoretically, if money and time were no object, there is always the option of customizing your machine, but what if you’re not the kind of person who can or will spend hours on end poring through endless specs and ratings and compatibility options? Wouldn’t it be great to get something that’s “all that” right off the shelf?
Enter the ASUS Zenbook 3 Deluxe, ASUS’ most recent update to their admittedly already impressive Zenbook 3. A quick look at their product site and you will find that they set the bar pretty high in terms of what they say the new Zenbook can do. So being just the theoretical person I described earlier (who has no time or inclination to spend on number crunching and spec sheets), I decided to pick one up and see if it really is what they say.
The first thing that was immediately apparent to me was how impossibly thin the unit was. At right around half an inch thick at its widest point, this is an impressively thin laptop. Naturally, it was also extremely light, weighing in at a shade over 1kg. At least I wouldn’t have to worry about clumsily handling the unit.
The next thing I had noticed was that it was actually quite a good looking piece of equipment. It is a positioned as a premium laptop and certainly does a great job in looking the part. The metallic blue unibody with gold trim, as well as keyboard that’s backlit gold ticks all the boxes in the aesthetics department. As a bonus, mine came with a really classy looking leather sleeve.
Style Factor: Check!
So I finally get to turn it on and start-up time is virtually non-existent (under 2 seconds to get to the log-in screen).This would be a very pleasant sign of greater things to come as far as performance goes. The unit I got is features an Intel Core I7 processor so I expected it to be fast, but not THIS fast. To test how far I could push the processor, I decided to see how much I could simultaneously do without experiencing slowdown. 3 word documents, 5 excel windows, 3 browser windows. 2 HD movies simultaneously runninig (video quality is mind blowing, by the way), and, album’s worth of music later, I hadn’t felt even the slightest lag. What was even more impressive for me was that even after running the laptop for around four hours straight in a non-air-conditioned environment, there was virtually no heat build-up (just a very slight warm spot on the base of the unit where the heat sink is). I will eventually get up to testing more memory intensive audio software in the future, but right now, the future looks bright for that endeavor.
Now as great as this fine specimen of a laptop is, there were a few things that bothered me about the unit (please note that these are personal to me and may not apply to other potential users). Remember how I mentioned how thin and small and sleek the unit is, this inadvertently made it oddly difficult for me to actually open the screen. The notch that they placed as a leverage point for opening the screen proved to be too shallow for my relatively larger fingers and made it difficult to find purchase. Suffice to say, it took me longer than it should have to just get the screen to open.
Another issue I had was with connectivity. Bluetooth and Wi-fi connections worked flawlessly, and the three USB-C ports (2 of which support Thunderbolt connections) do their job really effectively. But apart from that, you’d have to get a connection dock if you want to use anything else (USB, Micro-USB. SD cards, HDMI Connections). I also lacks an optical drive. For some, this won’t be much of a deal, but for others, this may be a real inconvenience.
One last, very MINOR aspect that I found a bit lacking was the onboard audio. ASUS prides its speaker designs using Harman Kardon technology. Admittedly, it looks impressive on paper but in actual use, it left me rather disappointed. To be fair to the Zenbook speaker compliment, they sound OK but considering the size of the actual speakers, it’s almost a physical impossibility to get the tonal range you would want to get for hi-fi listening (so if you plan on doing anything of the sort, you’ll have to connect via a built in 3.5mm headphone port, or via Bluetooth. Both options work just fine).
SHORT TERM VERDICT
All in all, my experience with the Zenbook 3 Deluxe has been quite good. It is built really well, has the performance potential to do practically anything you need it to, and is at a price point that isn’t exorbitant for the amount of hardware you’re actually getting. So, is the Zenbook 3 Deluxe a machine that does it all? It has tons of potential for you to turn it into something uniquely yours. My honest thought would be that YES, it CAN do it all, you just have to know how to tell it to.