Notebook Review

Asus ZenBook S Review: One of the Best Ultrabooks

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Recently, at Computex 2018, Asus announced the release of its new ultrabook Asus ZenBook S, which is the thinnest and lightest among all Asus models.

I checked the version for $ 1500 (95 200 p.) packed with an 8th generation 4-core Intel i7-8550U processor, 16 GB of RAM, 512 GB solid-state SSD with PCIe interface, and a 13.3-inch 4K UHD display. You can also buy a version for $ 1200 ($ 76,100), which is equipped with 8 GB of RAM, 256 GB SSD and a Full HD display.

Asus is clearly aiming at creating the most subtle andlightweight laptop, making it a versatile and high-performance machine. Does ZenBook S have any chances to become one of the best laptops on the market in the face of tough competition? Learn from the review ...

  • Design Asus ZenBook S
  • Cooling system and noise
  • Ports and connectors
  • Keyboard and touchpad
  • Excellent 4K screen
  • Speaker sound
  • Performance
  • Fast SSD
  • Ultrabook in games
  • Battery life
  • Alternatives
  • Should I buy?
  • Design Asus ZenBook S

    The new ZenBook S has the traditional Asusfinishing in the form of concentric circles on the lid, in the center of which the company logo is superseded in gold letters. The laptop case is made of a single piece of metal, a durable aluminum alloy with rounded edges and an accent of pink gold. The color is monophonic, there is a dark blue, like the hero of my review, or a dark red version.

    The thickness of the cover is only 4 mm. The case is durable, does not play anything and does not creak when pressed. The Dell XPS 13 and HP Specter 13 are beautiful laptops, but the Asus ZenBook S impresses with its elegance and compact design.

    This ultrabook was developed usingMIL-STD-810G test sets, which allow to determine the resistance of equipment to environmental influences (impact resistance, protection against condensate, vibration, extreme temperatures, ultraviolet radiation, etc.).

    Whether it is open or closed, the laptopIt feels like one solid piece of metal and glass, which is superior in strength to both the XPS 13 and Specter 13. Powerful hinges give the whole structure additional strength and firmly hold the lid at the right angle, however, it can be opened even with one hand (macbook test) .

    The thickness of the body of the ZenBook S in the thickest place is only 13 mm, and the weight is only 1.1 kg.

    Cooling system and noise

    But, the Asus ZenBook S is not thick enoughair flow control and full heat removal. Asus solved this problem by installing a new cooling system with a thin liquid crystal polymer fan that maintains the air temperature five degrees lower than previous systems.

    There is also a new loop ErgoLift,which supports the keyboard at an angle of 5.5 degrees and enhances the passage of air flow through the rear vents. Even with the most heavy loads, the laptop stays cool and the fan runs quietly.

    The Quiet Fan utility does all the work of balancing performance and fan noise. When performing simple tasks or watching streaming video, the fan practically does not spin.

    Ports and connectors

    Of the connections in the ZenBook S, we have 2 USB-C 3.1 Gen2 ports with Thunderbolt 3 support and 40 Gbit / s, 1 USB-C 3.1 Gen1 port, a combined audio jack, 2X2 MU-MIMO 802.11AC and Bluetooth 4.2.

    Asus's ZenBook S ultrabook comes (not all versions) with a USB-C mini hub on USB-C, HDMI and USB-A for accessing legacy devices.

    Comfortable keyboard and precise touchpad

    Keyboard Asus ZenBook S has a relativelysmall key travel - 1.2 mm, but thanks to a special mechanism, pressing is accurate and with excellent tactile feedback. The backlight here has 3 levels of brightness and looks consistent and attractive.

    The touchpad of the ZenBook S is large, with a smooth and comfortablesurface, it supports Microsoft Precision. The Windows 10 Hello feature is supported by a fingerprint reader built into the touchpad. This is not the most convenient place, but scanning and unlocking happens instantly.

    Excellent 4K screen

    Asus ZenBook S is equipped with a 4K UHD-display withpixel density 331 ppi. In the colorimeter tests, the average color gamma screen of the ZenBook S is similar to Specter 13, but inferior to the 4K version of the XPS 13. The accuracy of the colors here is higher than that of both competitors by 2.13, and the gamma is darker by 2.3.

    The contrast of this display is excellent - 1300: 1, with deep blacks and stunning whites. Brightness is 306 nits, which exceeds the standard of 300 nits in most modern laptops.

    The screen of the ZenBook S proved to be excellent in all tests. Specialists in photo and video editing may lack more saturated and accurate shades, but for the rest it is a luxurious display.

    Speaker sound

    The sound from the speakers of the Asus ZenBook S is also very good, it is more than enough to watch videos and TV shows or listen to quiet melodies.

    Laptop performance

    8th generation Intel Core processors,provide excellent performance. My overlooked ZenBook S was equipped with a Core i7-8550U chip, which showed great performance throughout the test.

    Ultrabook Asus ZenBook S not bad recommendedin single-core and multi-core Geekbench 4 tests and coped well with video encoding tests using the Handbrake utility. The results were slightly slower than the XPS 13, but faster than other notebooks with a Core i7-8550U processor.

    Fast SSD

    Asus equipped ZenBook S with Samsung PM961 PCIe 512 GB fast drive, thanks to which the loading of the operating system, as well as opening applications and accessing files, is very fast.

    In general, the ZenBook S storage system has excellent performance, which to a greater extent meets even the highest requirements.

    Ultrabook in games

    Asus ZenBook S is limited to integrated graphicsIntel Uhd 620, which is more suitable for running casual and old games with low details. For more serious games, the Asus ZenBook Flip 14 with the discrete Nvidia GeForce MX150 video card is better suited.

    In the 3DMark test, the ZenBook S is a bit behindSpecter 13 and XPS 13. In the game Rocket League with a 1080p graphics setting, the Asus laptop showed 49 fps, which dropped to 22 fps when turned on high quality.

    Battery life

    Laptop Asus ZenBook S is equipped with a battery on50 W / h, which is considered the average for this class of devices. As expected, the battery life is not impressive here. The laptop worked just over 3 hours in the Basemark test.

    While browsing the web, the new Asus ultrabook showed just over 7 hours, while in the looped video playback test, the result was just over 8 hours.

    Alternatives to Asus ZenBook S?

    More expensive Specter HP 13 worth $ 1860 (118000 p.) Is a close competitor with good looks and high performance. It offers the same Core i7-8550U, 16 GB of RAM, 512 GB PCIe SSD and 4K display.

    Dell XPS 13 for $ 2100 (133,300) - one morerival with good performance, nice design and the best battery life. But, for a higher price, it offers the same Core i7-8550U, 16 GB of RAM, 512 GB PCIe SSD and 4K display.

    You can also choose an Apple MacBook that is as thin aswith the same build quality, but slightly lighter in weight. However, you will pay $ 1950 ($ 123,800) for the 7th generation Core i7-7Y75, 16 GB of RAM, 512 GB PCIe SSD and a less clear display.


    Asus ZenBook S is rock hard, excellentLooks and offers good performance. It is close to becoming the perfect ultrabook, but because of the 4K display, battery life is not impressive.

    This can be corrected by choosing a version with a Full HD screen, however, you will have to abandon a larger amount of RAM and storage space.

    Should I buy it?

    Yes. ZenBook S is a very thin, light, stylish and almost silent laptop. If the battery life cycle plays a big role for you, you should choose the version with Full HD screen.

    Benefits of Asus ZenBook S

    • Excellent build quality.
    • Excellent performance.
    • Clear and contrast 4K UHD display.
    • Comfortable keyboard.
    • Reasonable price and features.

    Disadvantages of ZenBook S

    • Battery life with a 4K screen is mediocre.
    • There are no full USB and HDMI connectors.

    Ultrabook Asus ZenBook S - video