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There’s a crazy amount of choice if you’re looking for a sleek ultraportable laptop. The gorgeous 13.9in Huawei MateBook X Pro is one obvious choice, or the more functional Dell XPS 13. Now prepare yourself for another. Here’s our first-look review of the Asus ZenBook S13 UX392, which we got our hands on at CES 2019.
Brief Tech Questions: Asus ZenBook S13 UX392
|How fast is it?||It should be pretty darn nippy, with either a Core i5-8265U or Core i7-8565U inside|
|What about games?||Yes, games too, thanks to Nvidia’s highly respectable GeForce MX150 graphics chip|
|Lighter than 1kg?||Not quite. It’s 1.1kg, but that’s still lovely and light|
|What about battery life?||We’re sceptical of Asus’ 15-hour claims, but you should get ten hours of life in general use|
|Where’s the webcam?||No sacrifices here: it sits at the top of the screen, but as you’ll see from the photos this means its housing juts out from the top|
|Any relation to the ZenBook S13 UX391?||Yes indeed – it’s the successor to the Asus ZenBook S13 UX391UA I reviewed last year|
Asus ZenBook S13 UX392: first impressions
The first thing you notice is just how compact this machine is. Sometimes specifications don’t tell the whole story, but let’s try: it’s 316mm wide, 12.9mm thick and 195mm deep. Of those figures, it’s the 195mm depth that’s most notable: that’s approaching micro-laptop levels so favoured by the Japanese.
Despite this, Asus squeezes in a 13.9in screen, boasting that it “delivers the biggest screen-to-body ratio of 97%”. And with a 2.5mm border on either side, it does look amazing. Just note that there is an odd bit that juts out the top, so that Asus can squeeze in an HD webcam.
I’m not the biggest fan of Asus’ favoured, swirling metallic finish, but due to the sheer compactness of this laptop’s design it will turn heads.
Asus ZenBook S13 UX392: what else is good?
I think Asus has made the right decision about ports. There’s an old-style USB port so that you can still connect a flash drive or wireless mouse receiver, but it looks to the future with two USB-C ports. I’d have preferred Thunderbolt to USB 3.1, but you can still hook up a second screen. A microSD card slot and audio jack complete the picture.
While the jutting-out webcam is ugly, if you make lots of video calls then it makes much more sense than the 2018 Dell XPS 13’s placement below the bezel (although this is set to change in the 2019 version) and the awful pop-up webcam of the Huawei MateBook X Pro.
Asus ZenBook S13 UX392: what’s not to like?
At this early point, there’s only one thing I really don’t like about the UX392: its half-height Enter key. Asus isn’t alone in making this sacrifice to squeeze everything into an ultraportable chassis, but in my brief time with the ZenBook I accidentally hit the backslash key three times.
Not everyone will be a fan of the way the keyboard tilts either. I got used to this when I reviewed the ZenBook S13 UX391UA last year, but take note if such things irritate you.
Asus ZenBook S13 UX391UA: pictures
Asus ZenBook S13 UX392: early verdict, price and availability
Sheer arithmetic shows that Asus has made about ten excellent decisions to each poor one, and this looks set to be an excellent machine. I look forward to getting a final product in for review when it goes on sale – but as yet, we don’t know exactly when that will be, or a final price.
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