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ASUS ZenBook 3 Deluxe UX490 Review: Improving On Perfection

We review the ZenBook 3 Deluxe!

ASUS has been killing it with their ZenBook line of laptops in recent years, providing mobile road warriors (with deep pockets) slim, sexy and powerful devices that has the legs to stay with them the entire work day. The ZenBook 3 Deluxe is the latest member in their premium ZenBook family, and builds on the already excellent ZenBook 3 by offering more powerful internals, better battery endurance as well as a thinner frame.

ASUS ZenBook 3 Deluxe UX490 specs:

  • Intel Core i7-7500U processor
  • Integrated Intel HD Graphics 620
  • 16GB of RAM
  • 14.0-inch full HD LED backlit panel, 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • 1TB PCIE Gen3X4 SSD
  • Integrated 802.11 AC, Bluetooth V4.1, Fingerprint scanner, USB Type-C x 1, Thunderbolt Port x 2

A slim chassis made out of premium materials

The ZenBook 3 Deluxe is one of the thinnest notebooks currently in the market today. With an overall thickness of a mere 13mm when the lid is closed, it’s thin enough to fit in a manila envelope. It’s also incredibly light as well – weighing in at petite 1.1 kilos.

The ZenBook 3 Deluxe still retains that gorgeous midnight blue coloration and gold trim of the previous iteration, clad in ASUS’ now trademark Zen concentric circle finish that graces the lid of most of their high-end notebooks. With the lid closed, it looks and feels like you’re lugging a single slate of aluminum with you.

Despite having a 14-inch display, the ZenBook 3 Deluxe UX490 only occupies the same space as a 13-inch notebook, thanks to the small bezels of its full HD IPS panel.

The ZenBook 3 Deluxe doesn’t just look good – it feels extremely well put together. There’s no creaks at all anywhere in the notebook, and the only way you’ll make the aluminum chassis flex is if you press down really hard on it. Simply put, the notebook feels exactly what you’d expect from a top-tier manufacturer.

Opening the lid shows off the backlit keyboard, as well as a few other details that you might miss if you don’t look hard enough. Two speaker grilles are located near the top of the hinge, while the edges of the chassis has a slight chamfer to it. The trackpad feels great and is incredibly responsive. There’s a fingerprint scanner embedded on the upper left of it as well for better security and faster log-ins to Windows 10.

The keyboard feels pretty great too, despite having very minimal travel. Our fingers took to it pretty well after a few hours of typing. It pales in comparison to the mechanical keyboard that we typically use of course, but for what it is, the keyboard feels damn great.

All that thinness comes with a big caveat of course, as the the ZenBook 3 Deluxe only comes with USB Type-C ports – three of them, actually, with two being Thunderbolt capable. While there’s more and more devices that use the new standard, USB Type-C mice are yet to hit in mass numbers, which leaves you with two options – use the USB Type-C adapter that comes with the notebook (ASUS also includes an adapter for a full-sized HDMI connection) or buy a Bluetooth wireless mouse. If you’re like us and have to connect multiple things to your notebook to survive (camera, mouse, etc.) you’ll soon tire of the dongle life. You also get one Type-C port less when you’re charging the notebook, since the charging cable of the ZenBook 3 Deluxe connects to one of the Type-C connectors.

On to the display: that 14-inch, full HD IPS panel that has smaller than average bezels. The quality of the display is pretty good, with generally good color accuracy and brightness, though professionals like photographers and videographers might want something more accurate for their work.

Hardware that’s good enough for most tasks, and then some

The ASUS ZenBook 3 Deluxe uses Intel’s Core i7-7500U processor, paired with 16GB of RAM and around 1TB of SSD storage. That’s not exactly gaming grade, but since the notebook is aimed at mobile workers rather than gaming aficionados, that’s more than enough to get things done.

During its time with us, the notebook never felt slow or sluggish, and zipped through most tasks with relative ease. We took it with us in Bangkok, Thailand for coverage and we never felt that we needed more power as we went through our day.

Aside from the minor annoyances of the #donglelife, working with the notebook was pretty pleasurable. We even managed to render our first hands-on of the Motorola Moto Z2 Play with it, though we had to wait a few extra minutes since the notebook did all of the number crunching using its CPU. Since the notebook has no discrete graphics, we wouldn’t recommend it as a gaming machine.

As a multimedia machine however, the ZenBook 3 Deluxe is pretty awesome – the 14-inch display is perfect for watching movies, and the four speaker setup (two up top, two on the bottom of the chassis) delivers surprisingly loud, detailed sound.

6 hours on a single charge

Being thin and light is useless if a notebook doesn’t have the legs to last, though thankfully the ZenBook 3 Deluxe is capable of delivering good battery performance for day-to-day use. We managed to record around six hours of use with the notebook before it shut down, with a healthy mix of browsing, watching an episode or two of Brooklyn 99, as well as writing articles. It’s not as good as say a business notebook tailor-made for extreme endurance, but that’s more than enough for most people and execs for out-of-office work.

Verdict: one of the nicest notebooks out in the market today, but it’s pretty expensive for what it is

Aside from the minor niggles, we really can’t find a fault with the ZenBook 3 Deluxe. It’s incredibly beautiful, well built, has pretty capable hardware plus the legs to go the distance on a single charge. But as always, there’s a catch – and that’s the price. The ZenBook 3 Deluxe UX490 starts at Php 81,995 for the 256GB model, and goes up to  Php 104995 for the 1TB model that was in the notebook that we reviewed. That pricing makes it a pretty expensive notebook.

Despite that though, ASUS has managed to to outdo itself with the ZenBook 3 Deluxe. If it’s slightly out of your price bracket, try to stretch it to include the ZenBook 3 Deluxe – you won’t regret it.

John Nieves

John is a veteran technology and gadget journalist with more than 10 years of experience both in print and online. When not writing about technology, he frequently gets lost in the boonies playing soldier.

3 Comments

  1. It’s nice that you acknowledge it’s expensive unlike Lea Cruz, who deletes comments when you point out anything wrong in her articles. She recommends an Php 80,000 tablet for light use.

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