- Great keyboard
- Not as slender as it thinks
- Limited performance
- Display lacks accuracy and brightness
- Review Price: £599
What is the Asus ZenBook UX410UA?
If you’re after a capable mid-priced laptop to take with you everywhere, the ZenBook UX410UA might just be the solution. Asus is playing up this 14-inch notebook’s slim and light build, which makes it one of the more portable options at the £599 price point. That is, without resorting to a ‘convertible’ device (which is basically just a tablet with a keyboard cover attached).
You still get plenty of smart features, including a Full HD display, Intel Core chipset and a full-sized backlit keyboard. This is all packed inside a lightweight aluminium chassis that won’t drag you down. So how does this ZenBook stack up against the competition, and is it really as portable as Asus claims?
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Asus UX410UA – Design and build
On first glance the Asus looks rather plastic, but this laptop is actually crafted from an aluminium alloy. Asus’ typical ‘spun-metal’ finish adds a circular pattern to the lid, which occasionally catches the light in a funky fashion and jazzes up an otherwise plain silver design. That said, I doubt that anyone will be stopping in Starbucks to cast admiring glances.
Although the ZenBook UX410UA is indeed light for a mid-range 14-inch laptop, it isn’t quite as slim as I anticipated. Asus’ promotional images show off those narrow edges, which are just about wide enough to accommodate a full-sized USB port. However, they also hide the fact that the bottom curves outwards, seriously adding to the laptop’s girth. As a result, the ZenBook isn’t really any thinner than other 14-inchers on the market.
Still, that alloy frame weighs just 1.4kg, so slipping the laptop into a backpack and carrying it around all day isn’t a burden. Thankfully, the chassis is reassuringly rugged too. There’s very little flex to speak of, while the slender lid is also quite firm. You have to push hard on the outer surface to see any distortion on the display.
As far as connectivity goes, the ZenBook ticks pretty much all of the boxes. You get one USB 3.0 port and a couple of USB 2.0 ports, all of which can be used to attach peripherals or charge your mobile devices.
You’ll also find a Type-C USB connection, which is particularly handy if you’re using an external drive. This allows for fast data transfer, back and forth.
Rounding off the ports is a full-sized HDMI, so you can throw the display output to a monitor or projector. You can also expand the on-board storage with an SD memory card. My review model came with just 128GB of space on its SATA 3 SSD, so this expandability is pretty much essential if you want to slap on a load of games or media. That said, the ZenBook UX410UA is available in a choice of 256GB or 512GB of storage.
Sadly, there’s no built-in fingerprint sensor for bypassing password entry. You’re stuck with those ponderous old-school security methods (especially as Windows Hello isn’t supported).
Asus ZenBook UX410UA – Keyboard and touchpad
Anyone who spends much of their time on the road typing should enjoy the ZenBook’s well-designed keyboard. Those isolated keys are well spaced for a comfortable touch-typing experience, even though they don’t quite stretch the full width of the laptop. Travel distance and positioning suited my needs just fine. And while the board is admittedly a little spongy towards the centre, that didn’t impact typing at all.
The cursor keys are rather crushed up in the bottom-right corner – but that’s a pretty common complaint with laptops of this size. Thankfully, Asus has avoided cramming in separate Page Down and Page Up keys alongside. If you’re typing in a rush, those are all too easy to hit by accident, to much frustration and gnashing of teeth.
Good news if you like to burn the midnight oil, too. The keyboard is backlit, so you can work in the dark whenever you need.
Beneath that keyboard you’ll find an indented touchpad, complete with dual integrated mouse buttons. The pad is pretty standard for mid-priced laptops, proving sensitive enough to shift your cursor around without constant finger lifts. However, pushing to click occasionally results in that age-old problem of shifting the cursor, so you end up selecting the wrong thing. I quickly learned to tap the pad’s surface for a left mouse-click instead.
You can disable the touchpad if you wish, using one of the function keys. However, I never accidentally brushed the surface with my palm while typing, so I never needed that feature.
Asus ZenBook UX410UA – Screen
The ZenBook UX410UA’s 14-inch display is a decent – if unremarkable – panel for a mid-range machine.
That 1920 x 1080 resolution keeps images crisp; you’ll need to squint really hard to see any individual pixels. Likewise, the 96.1% sRGB score is perfectly respectable, meaning colours in documents and on websites will generally be accurately reproduced.
However, accuracy drops sharply to just 67% for Adobe RGB. Any photographers who shoot in that format will lose some colour accuracy, so may want to consider a different device for image editing.
Unfortunately, the screen refuses to tilt far back, sticking before you even hit the 45-degree mark. Just as well then that viewing angles are wide; otherwise, I’d have struggled when using the ZenBook on my lap.
I’d also have preferred a more powerful panel. Pump up the brightness to maximum levels and the ZenBook is fine for indoor use, but visibility is somewhat hampered when you’re outside in bright conditions. Even with the matte finish to cut down on reflections, you’ll end up shifting around to counter the glare – especially when watching darker movie scenes.
More good news for night owls, however: Asus has delivered a pretty decent Eye Care mode. This basically filters blue light when you’re working in the dark, for a more comfortable experience. Just load up the wonderfully titled ‘Splendid Utility’ app and you can activate the feature at any time, as well as tweak the strength of the filter.
There’s also a ‘vivid’ mode on offer, although this didn’t seem to do much beyond oversaturating lighter images.
Asus ZenBook UX410UA – Audio
You’ll find dual speakers housed on the base of the laptop, right by the lip. These pump out stereo sound, although the positioning isn’t ideal. Audio is directed away from your face, with the result that it’s slightly muffled. The effect is even worse when typing, as your sleeves dampen that sound even further.
Audio quality is perfectly fine for a mid-range laptop. You won’t want to jam to your tunes as the sound is rather tinny, with no proper bass or depth to speak of. However, slap on your favourite TV show and you’ll be able to hear just fine, provided you aren’t trapped in a seriously noisy environment. Even on top volume, I didn’t hear any kind of distortion or fuzziness.
Asus ZenBook UX410UA – Performance
As with most Asus laptops, you can pick up the UX410UA in a range of configurations. Our review model was the most basic iteration, which packs a 2.4GHz Intel Core i3-7100U chipset. The device is also available with a Core i5-7200U, Core i5-8250U, Core i7-7500U or Core i7-8550U chipset. Those iterations will provide stronger performance than the device reviewed here.
Likewise, our review device had just 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM. You can boost this up to 16GB according to the official specs, for even faster performance.
That said, this Core i3 model is fine for everyday use including web browsing, media streaming, photo editing and so on. Besides a couple of unexpected pauses when I was skipping between three or four different apps at once, the UX410UA generally enjoyed life without much complaint.
However, given that this is a budget-friendly laptop, you can forget about any kind of dedicated graphics for creative tasks and gaming. Instead, the Asus UX410UA uses integrated Intel HD Graphics 620 for its visuals.
In the 3DMark: Ice Storm test, the laptop churned out a score of just 41,675. Meanwhile, the more demanding Fire Strike test yielded a basic result of 709. In other words, this device isn’t suited to graphically demanding tasks.
I also played a little Skyrim, to see how older games fared. The game automatically set its detail levels to low upon loading, and those seemed to be the best settings on this laptop. With everything dialled down, I enjoyed a reliably fluid frame rate. Similar titles and basic 2D indie games also ran without much fuss.
- PCMark 8 – 2330
- Geekbench single core – 3004
- Geekbench multi-core – 5796
Testing the SSD drive yielded read speeds of 519.5MB/sec, and write speeds of 184.1MB/sec. Pretty much what we expected from this kind of machine.
Asus ZenBook UX410UA – Battery life
With mixed use, you can expect to get a solid nine hours of battery life from a full charge. That’s with Wi-Fi turned on and the display turned up to maximum brightness – although note that I had the keyboard backlighting turned off most of the time. If you try a spot of gaming then this will of course drop to roughly five to six hours.
In the standard Trusted Reviews battery benchmark test, which involves a mixture of web browsing and video playback, the ZenBook managed to last 10hrs 30mins in total.
Why buy the Asus ZenBook UX410UA?
While the ZenBook UX410UA bills itself as a slim and light machine, in reality it’s barely any thinner than most of its rivals. There’s no denying that it’s still quite portable however, thanks to the lightweight design.
Besides that advantage, there’s very little reason to buy the laptop over any other mid-ranger. Performance is typically limited, while the display is a little dim and slightly lacking when it comes to colour reproduction.
All the same, as a full-time writer, I did appreciate the well-constructed keyboard and the ZenBook’s rugged and reasonably portable nature.
The Asus ZenBook UX410UA is a perfectly fine mid-range laptop, whose main strength is its lightweight build. In every other regard, it struggles to differentiate itself from the competition.