Asus ZenBook 15 UX534 FT Review: A near spectacular Ultrabook with a trick up it’s sleeve
The ZenBook range has always provided us with really good ultrabooks in the near future and the Zenbook 15 UX534 FT is on a similar blueprint. Impressive Ultrabook outside and a spec sheet to back it up.
The Zenbook 15 has all the top specs you would want in your top of the line Ultrabook and still has more left but is still not the absolute perfect device we hoped for it to be. We assess the home runs and the flaws we found in the ZenBook 15 in our extensive review.
Build and Display
The device is well built and gives you a good sense of confidence in holding the device and handling it without really caring about if or when your device is going to fall. The material used feels precious. As a plus, the device is tested for torture conditions, now that doesn’t mean that you could drive a car over it (or maybe you can we didn’t test it) but it can surely take some drops and would be fine.
The device has the classic Asus design with ASUS’s ErgoLift which lifts the keyboard on an angle while the lid is open. This is mainly for the heat dissipation to help the heat management as the ultrabooks don’t have big fans like gaming laptops. On the topic of heat management, Asus has also opted for an Aluminium lid and a polycarbonate base which take little away in touch and feel but helps in your device not heating up drastically.
Asus haven’t changed their design philosiphy but why change what’s not broken?
Asus hasn’t done much new with the Zenbook lineup in terms of colours or design, which is perfect and is still among the most classy looking ultrabooks you could find on the market.
Above the keyboard, you get a gold strip with a grill design, although not a speaker it really adds to the whole classy design philosophy adopted by Asus, and we are not complaining one bit.
One thing about the design that we just have to complain about is how much of a fascination this laptop has of fingerprints, the aluminium top is just impossible to keep clean, and if you can’t see some prints on your computer you are better off to not buy the blue variant of the ZenBook 15. Also, the huge white sticker is ruining the whole aesthetics of the keyboards and should have been with the user manual not super glued on the keyboard.
Display and Face Unlock
In the laptop industry, unlike the smartphone industry, not everyone is offering you bezel-less display, and the Asus’s NanoEdge display is definitely among the best if not the best Bezel-less displays you could find on a laptop.
The lower bezel is huge but is hidden thanks to the ErgoLift design, the webcam is still placed at the top and alongside it is a 3D IR sensor used for the face unlock, which is better than any other laptop on the market but still no where near the accuracy of smartphones, so the fingerprint sensor is still the best option to unlock your laptop.
The display panel, a FullHD IPS panel is a hit and a miss at the same time, the panel is very high quality, love the colours, which are perfectly balanced not over saturated. It offers good viewing angles and offers a fantastic video viewing experience.
The only thing that really grinds my gears is that the display has a glossy finish, which can become a nightmare in outdoor conditions, there is also not a lot for you to play with the brightness settings which definitely doesn’t help your outdoor viewing.
Keyboard and The ScreenPad
Previously ASUS tried to replace the number pad and replace the basic Trackpad with ScreenPad which was in reality just a gimmick and nothing more. But with the Asus ZenBook UX534 and also the UX434 they have rethought the design and the outcome is the ScreenPad 2.0 which is a radical implementation of the touch bar on the MacBook.
The ScreenPad might still seem like a gimmick still but it is a second screen which when you get used to is more than just a gimmick. Here you get a matt finish screen which means better visibility and basically no fingerprints. ScreenPad is your second screen when you need it or just a regular good quality trackpad.
ScreenPad is only going to improve with time and we’ll see what Asus will be doing with it.
While there are also dedicated apps, like Microsoft Office apps which let you do some editing and viewing, you also have the Adobe Photoshop app for it which you can use on the ScreenPad independently there aren’t many which is why Asus also has opened API for developers to grow the platform so it’s only going to get better.
The keys on the Keyboard have a really good clicky feel to them, and keys have a fair amount of travel. The keyboard is backlit which works well with the design of the ScreenPad.
The device we review was powered by an Intel Core i7-8565U Whiskey Lake chipset, coupled with the 4GB of Nvidia GTX 1650 Max-Q GPU, which is good mid-tier GPU that is being offered on an Ultrabook so we can’t really complain. You also have 16GB of DDR4 RAM, along with 1TB NVMe SSD.
While the ZenBook 14 UX434 offers Intel Core i5-8265U chip with 8GB of DDR3 RAM and NVIDIA GeForce MX250 GDDR5 2GB GPU.
What these Specifications tell us is that you could open a billion chrome tabs while listening to music on Spotify running on your second screen would be light work for the ZenBook. Editing a video while running Spotify in the background would not tire down the ZenBook anytime soon.
The laptop can also handle some games but don’t expect it to be playing the latest COD on highest settings on your little Asus ZenBook, because that’s what Asus builds ROG devices for.
We ran Cinebench of the ZenBook 15 which gave us the score of 1507 for CPU and 408 for single-core performance which is very good compared to its competition.
Although there is a grill like the design at the top of the keyboard those are not the speakers. Asus ZenBook 15 UX534 and the Zenbook 14 UX434 both have a dual speaker setup which is fine-tuned by Harmon/Kardon are at the bottom of the laptop. Which are helped by the hinge design to give a better sound output, but they are certainly not the best or the loudest we have witnessed on a laptop.
The ZenBook comes loaded with ports. It has a 1x Type-C 3.1 Gen 2 port, 1x Type-A 3.1 Gen 2, 1x Type-A 3.1 Gen 1, HDMI port, SD card reader, and an Audio Jack.