Updated: Aug 18, 2021
Today, we’re taking a look at what I think could be, THE laptop for most people out there, the Asus ZenBook UX434.
Just to get things out of the way, I’m going to touch on a few pointers, on why I think this may be the laptop for most people.
So first up, design. Right off the bat, you’ll be greeted with a really sleek design, and the colours do look and give a premium impression. It’s royal blue, with a rose gold trim, not forgetting the iconic ripple effect on the aluminium lid that is present on most ZenBooks.
Overall, it’s a really nice design that wouldn’t look out of place anywhere, be it in a professional environment, at a cafe, or even while gaming.
Next up, is the display. You can get a full 1080p IPS display that is capable of 100% sRGB coverage. The bezels are also really slim and the UX434 boasts a screen-to-body ratio of 92%.
Viewing angles are great and the colours are rich and vibrant, as to be expected of IPS. You’ll definitely be able to enjoy your favourite content and even be able to do some light editing as well. For our model right here, this display is also touch-enabled, but there is also an option for a non-touch variant.
Up top, you also get a webcam, with support for Windows Hello. Moving down, you have the keyboard. You’ll also notice the same colour aesthetic throughout down here, with the keycaps in the same rose gold trim for the letters. The keyboard is also backlit, though I do feel it could be slightly brighter at its max setting.
The overall typing experience is excellent, with good key travel and nice tactile feedback. Typing on it was really nice, and this exact script right here was typed out with this keyboard. I rarely made any mistakes and even if I do, the backspace is nice and big, and so are all the other important keys such as shift, control and the space bar.
I also prefer the default settings for the top row of function keys, since you can activate it, without holding onto the function key itself. Overall, great keyboard.
Now we move on to, what’s unique on this laptop, and that’s the trackpad. The trackpad, also acts as a secondary display, and this is the second generation of the technology, aptly named, ScreenPad 2.0.
Using the ScreenPad 2.0, you can quickly snap applications down to the home screen, just like you would a smartphone, and you can then launch them right there and then. By default, the app will launch on that small display right there, but if you use the app navigator, same as your recent apps button like on your smartphone, you can then see all the opened apps, and choose to either pin it, or display it up top on the main display.
Other useful functions included the digital numpad, and also a handwriting app, which I would say is most useful for digital signatures.
There is however, a couple of drawbacks. One, you can’t use the trackpad as a trackpad if you’re planning to use it as a second display, and two, you can’t actually use the full resolution of it, which is actually 2,160 x 1,080, simply because of Windows Scaling issues, so that’s a bit of a letdown.
But if you always use a mouse, the second display might prove beneficial for secondary tasks such as Spotify, YouTube, or simply a Windows folder.
For I/O, you get a total of two USB 3.1 ports, one of which is Type-C, full size HDMI and a power jack on the left, and on the right, surprisingly enough, a USB 2.0 port, a headphone mic combo jack and a microSD card reader.
Our model here is equipped with an Intel i7-8565U, 16GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, and there’s actually a GPU inside too, an Nvidia MX250 with 2GB of VRAM.
Now though it’s running a U-processor, it’s an 8th gen chip so it’s a quad-core processor, compared to just two cores on the last generation. Although it has a base clock of just 1.8GHz, it can Turbo Boost all the way to 4.6GHz, which you will actually see it do that at times, especially for light tasks such as typing, loading a webpage or just opening an application.
In Cinebench R20, the Intel Core i7-8565U score a 1438 on the Multi-Core, and 327 on the Single Core. Those numbers aren’t going to break any records, but overall, the laptop feels snappy, and the CPU performance won’t disappoint.
But the real benefit of this laptop is actually the MX250, and just that alone makes quite a bit of a difference. In terms of productivity, we can pretty much run Lightroom or Photoshop with not much issues, and if you’re into video editing, using DaVinci Resolve 16 to render a 10-minute 1080P file took 45 mins 10 seconds, while a 15 minute 4K file took an hour and 18 minutes.
Yes, 4K will still stress this machine, especially using DaVinci Resolve. You will however, most likely fare much better using Adobe Premiere Pro. Still, I would say 1080P would be much more suited.
But that’s not all, with an MX250, you can also play some games as well. In CSGO, even at 1080P max settings, you can enjoy a very playable frame rate of 85 frames per second.
PUBG pushes the graphics much more, with 1080P medium getting you about 29 frames per second while dropping down to 720P will net you a much more playable 48 frames per second.
To keep it short, the UX434 will be able to handle most light gaming titles out there and some bigger titles, as long as you’re willing to drop the settings.
As for temperatures, the CPU hit around 82C, while the GPU hovered around 73C. These were recorded while playing CSGO. But you can expect much cooler temperatures when doing light tasks, or even when using Photoshop.
Though, the best thing about this laptop so far is the battery life. You get a 50-watt hour battery inside this chassis and on the better battery setting, you can expect almost 8 hours of general usage, of which was mostly web browsing, the occasional YouTube video, and working on documents like this article. So you can be glad to know that it can very likely last you a full day outside if you forgot to bring the power brick along.
As I’ve mentioned at the start, I believe this could be the laptop for most people out there. You have a sleek chassis with a nice display and really good performance for most tasks along with great battery life.
The price of the ZenBook UX434 is also not too expensive, coming at just under S$2,098. You can even get it for cheaper, if you can configure the laptop to have lesser storage, though configuration will vary from region to region.
All in all, pretty great performance in a lightweight package at, I would say, a reasonable price.
More information about the ZenBook UX434 is available on Asus’ website.