The Masters of Bezel - Zenbook Review
Asus has become the master of a word I don’t recall hearing 5 years ago, the “Bezel”.
This refers to the outside frame space between the edge of the screen of your laptop and the outside of the chassis.
The narrow bezel that features on the Asus Zenbook UX431F is known as NanoEdge and essentially makes the visuals of your screen more immersive. If you don’t believe me, look at one of these screens then go look at one from 2 years ago and see how the thick black line around your screen is actually really distracting.
This also improves how compact the laptop is, making a 14inch monitor that's as small as a 13 inch monitor. Now an inch may not seem like much, until you are squeezing your laptop into a tight satchel ready for a flight to a business appointment.
The lightweight design is to be applauded, at times its easy to forget that what you are holding is a powerful laptop, at around 1.45kgs it feels more like a tablet or even a plus sized phone. It really adds to the “take anywhere” mentality of what computers like this were originally designed for.
The ErgoLift hinge lifts the body of the machine up as you open the lid allowing for more airflow to the underbelly improving the overall cooling of the machine and adds to the sound performance as well. It’s very clever how they have done this so practically rather than design another component to fit inside it that cools.
There is no compromise on power either.
The machine I tested was the 14 inch model with an Intel I5 and 8G of Ram. It’s not a powerful gaming machine, but it is a quality piece of engineering that handled video, audio and graphic production quite well.
Like most computers there are varying degrees of power you can get and I believe the next model up is an I7 with 16 gb ram and a whopping 1 TB Hard drive, all still within the same compact frame which is just a technical marvel.
I’ve always been really impressed with the Harmon/Kardon speakers that come on these machines, hands down they made one of the best amps I’ve ever owned and the super small design while still putting out loads of quality sound is amazing. It’s one thing to put out lots of sound, to do it and still remain crisp and clear is a technical achievement that belongs to the ASUS SonicMaster Tech in these Zenbooks.
One of the coolest design additions of the last few models has to be the way they have integrated the numeric keypad into the trackpad. At first glance you don’t even realise that is is a numeric keypad, but when you activate it the LED layout feels so Science Fiction.
Battery life has improved again, they tell us it is up to 10.8 hours of use, I’m not sure I got close to that, but to be honest I wasn't really timing it and if I spent a solid 10 hours in front of the machine I’d probably get in trouble with my wife. I think if you were using the machine at its absolute basic ability you would get to 10 hours no problem. If you are pushing it to its limits, have your power cable on standby.
The design of this machine is really what sells it to me, It’s sleek and sexy, the silver metal finish is all about class and the fact that you can instantly go from being in your bag to working on a document is fantastic.
Not only is It light it also feels strong, so it has a sense that it’s something of worth.