High-end positioning, high price. The reference we have in review adopts the war name UX392FN-AB006T and it is announced at 1700 euros. For this price, Asus has the good taste to provide a pretty protective pouch and a USB Type-C to HDMI / USB adapter. It remains to be determined whether this ZenBook is a serious challenger to our benchmark ultraportable, the Dell XPS 13 2019 edition.
At first contact with the ZenBook S13, the tone is set. We are in the presence of a clearly high-end machine which does not seem to suffer from any aesthetic defect. The back of the 13.9-inch screen is made of brushed aluminum alloy for the most beautiful effect, a material also found on the interior tray. The latter accommodates the backlit keyboard (3 intensities, a classic Asus model, with pleasant touch keys and comfortable typing comfort). Only regret: the touch Entrance is rectangular and arranged horizontally. During long typing sessions, the risk of hitting the key * are great at first, enough to make us complain badly.
Built in magnesium alloy, the underside of the machine is very resistant to scratches and helps to stiffen the whole. In terms of connectivity, finesse requires, Asus is content with the minimum. But, as we mentioned in the preamble, the manufacturer has the good tone to provide a USB Type-C to USB / HDMI adapter to extend the socket set.
Screen closed, the thickness of the ZenBook S13 does not exceed 1.4 cm and on the scale, the needle indicates 1.15 kg (to which are added the 218 grams of the power supply in plug format, MacBook style) . In terms of compactness, the dimensions are very close to those of a conventional 13.3 inch ultraportable PC but with a larger display surface.
A quality and well integrated screen
And let’s talk about the screen of the ZenBook S13 right away. It occupies more than 90% of the space on the façade. Windows and apps are displayed in XXL. The frame is extremely thin, and even the small upper projection hosting the webcam and the microphones blends in with the decor.
We just regret that Asus favored a glossy coating. In our opinion, the mat is much more comfortable for working in very brightly lit environments. Let us relativize however by mentioning that a particular treatment seems to have been applied to it since the light reflections seemed to us a little less intense than on certain competing machines. No need to put your fingers on the slab, however. It may be brilliant, but it is not tactile. And that is good news!
Other good news, the quality of the slab is simply stunning. We even repeated the reviews several times to make sure that our probe did not have a problem. Thus, the maximum average brightness reaches 436 cd / m2 and the average maximum contrast ratio peaks at 1564: 1. In order not to spoil anything, the backlighting of the panel is homogeneous, there are no big differences between the black and white renderings on the 13.9 inches.
Note also that the colors are extremely faithful to reality, which is rare enough to be emphasized. Clearly, whether to watch videos, photos or even summary editing, the screen of this Asus is satisfactory. In addition, the screen diagonal and the definition (Full HD) make it possible to display two windows simultaneously and offer good office working conditions.
Finally, note that deploying the screen slightly raises the keyboard (4 °). This little ergonomic tip improves typing comfort a bit and is reminiscent of the analog mechanics used on Sony’s Vaio fire or more recently, on some HP laptops.
Big worker, little player
Work, surf, view content … it’s in the ropes of any high-end ultraportable. Particularity of this Asus, it can play in small doses. Under the keyboard is a Core i7-8565U whose four cores (variable speed between 1.8 and 4.6 GHz) activate the apps, 16 GB of DDR3 memory (soldered, not expandable), 512 GB SSD and, above all, a dedicated Nvidia GeForce MX150 graphics card. The low-power version of the GPU (10 watts) is at work. Running a few games not too greedy in material resources remains entirely in its ropes.
Keep in mind, however, that in 3D, it will probably be necessary to seriously refine the graphic settings such as the definition of the image, to reach the sacrosanct stage of 60 images per second. If you abuse the processor, the throttle will be invited into the dance and the performances will therefore drop. It didn’t take us more than 5 minutes to drop the frequency of the Intel chip from 3.9 GHz in Turbo mode to 941 MHz after asking it to run a game at the same time as running a few other greedy programs .
On the other hand, the breakdown will make you pay immediately. It then rises in the towers and reaches 36.2 dB, while emitting a rather unpleasant noise. Not to mention the thermometer which can climb up to 44.1 ° C maximum under the machine and 33.6 ° C on the palm rests. Attention, heat peak!
Enough breath to hold a short day of work
Last and not least, that of endurance. We submitted the ZenBook S13 to our main autonomy reviews, including that of looping video streaming and, the other, reproducing more varied use scenarios. By setting the feed profile to Normal use not the profile Asus Recommended enabled by default, we get times between 7:18 am and 7:25 am in continuous use. Not crippling but a little disappointing all the same.
By way of comparison, our champion Dell XPS 13 achieves times between 8:14 am and 12:23 pm under the same review conditions; the ZenBook 13 UX333 achieves times between 8 and 10 hours.
Finally, note that the battery recharges in 2 hours 45 minutes but it takes less than 40 minutes to recover half of its charge.
The verdict of the review
Asus ZenBook S13
Although Asus no longer needs to prove itself in the ultramobility segment, the manufacturer likes to show muscles from time to time. That’s what it does with the ZenBook S13, a very good high-end ultraportable that combines power, display quality and comfort of use. Its autonomy is quite correct … without reaching the level of excellence of its main competitors. And if we add the price factor (and a few small flaws) to the equation, its overall score necessarily feels a little …