Asus ZenBook 3 Deluxe UX490UA - Asus ZenBook 3 Deluxe – Performance and battery life

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Asus ZenBook 3 Deluxe – Performance

At this point I should point out that the ZenBook 3 Deluxe I have in for review is about to be replaced by a new model that comes with Intel’s latest 8th-generation processors. Most years I’d say this doesn’t matter much, but for 8th-gen, Intel has doubled the number of cores on its laptop chips so all Core i5 and i7 CPUs benefit from quad-core performance, for a 40% speed boost.

With that in mind, the dual-core performance from the Intel Core i7-7500U is pretty good, with benchmark scores that put it nearly exactly in line with, or a little ahead of, rivals with the same chip. With 16GB of RAM and an ultra-fast 512GB SSD with maximum read speeds of over 1800MB/sec, this isn’t a slow laptop by any means, and will plough through photo editing and HD video tasks with ease.

Related: Intel Core i chips explained

However, it isn’t particularly steady with regards to the noise it creates. The fans on my model constantly spun up, only to spin down again, every other second. This is infinitely more distracting than a fan that’s loud but consistent.

Considering these annoying fans, it’s at least a relief that this laptop never becomes overly hot on its underside, so it can be used comfortably even if you’re hammering it with tasks.

It’s fast, but it doesn’t have a noticeable advantage over the likes of the Dell XPS 13 or the 13-inch MacBook Pro.

Asus ZenBook 3 Deluxe – Battery life

Ultra-thin executive laptops often fall short when it comes to battery life, and the ZenBook is no different. At best I could squeeze a little under five hours out of it, which is fairly impressive considering its lightweight and thin design – but that was being very conservative. In the Powermark benchmark, which involves web browsing and watching offline video, it lasted six hours.

Asus imagines that you’ll be away from the mains only occasionally with this device, even building in a feature that encourages healthy charging, whereby the laptop only ever reaches 60% of its maximum charge to prolong the cell’s life. This setting can be changed in the software, and will be handy for those who unplug briefly for meetings.

The one upshot of all of this is that the ZenBook 3 Deluxe charges super-fast; you can go from empty to full in a little over an hour.

Related: Best laptops

Should I buy the Asus ZenBook 3 Deluxe?

Starting at £1200 and rising to beyond £1700, the ZenBook 3 Deluxe needed to be next-to-flawless to justify its price. However, a shortfall in battery life, an overly active fan and a slightly dodgy touchpad mean it doesn’t quite pass all the tests necessary of a premium laptop.

If you do choose to shell out on a ZenBook 3 Deluxe, it would be wise to wait until models with quad-core Intel chips begin to appear.

Alternatives include the regular, sub-1kg ZenBook 3, the heavier Dell XPS 13 and the MacBook Pro, which all come in cheaper than the bottom-spec ZenBook 3 Deluxe.

Verdict

A desirable, but flawed Ultrabook.

Score in detail

  • Performance 8
  • Keyboard 7
  • Design 8
  • Screen Quality 8
  • Build Quality 8
  • Value 6
  • Touchpad 6
  • Heat & Noise 6
  • Battery Life 7
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