The Zenbook UX331UN feels like a safe bet if you're in the market for a light and compact notebook with a good screen, good keyboard and the hardware to handle everyday tasks, but also gaming and more demanding loads when needed.
But although there's nothing utterly wrong about it, it doesn't excel at anything either and pretty much all of its aspects could be improved to some extent, from the build quality, to the panel choice and battery size. The second half of 2017 is finally the right time to buy an all-round ultra-portable laptop that can handle standard everyday activities such as browsing, movies or music, but also games, graphics editing and some other more demanding chores.
The build quality is good, just not as solid like as with a few of the alternatives.
Although that Blue model looks gorgeous, I believe smudges and fingerprints will show a lot easier on the gloss-like lid of this version, so I’d personally opt for the Grey model if possible.
BTW, it’s beyond me why Asus keep pushing these glossy lid coatings.
Well, I’m very familiar with the XPS that has been my ultra-portable of choice for the last years, and the XPS is for many the standard in the 13-inch niche of thin-and-light notebooks where the Zenbook UX331 plans to compete as well.
Anyway, while there’s some flex in the lid and in the main-body of the UX331UN, I don’t think potential buyers should worry about that.
And that’s because Intel have unveiled their first quad-core ULV platforms and Nvidia has updated their base-level dedicated graphics.
The Asus Zenbook UX331UN is one of the better devices that put both these hardware novelties in a compact and light 13-inch body, and the results are a significant step-up from anything similar available in the last years.The inner chassis is still made out of plastic, which partially takes the blame for the flex, alongside Asus’s choice of using a thin sheet of metal on the hood.These two on the other hand help lower the weight, so it’s a loose some, win some (little, though) situation here.Back to the form-factor, this Zenbook is still one of the most compact 13-inchers available out there, and the extra mm in length and width over the XPS 13 actually leave room for slightly bigger palm-rest and enough space on the top bezel to actually put the webcam on top of the screen, where it should be.Before we move to the impressions gathered from using this laptop in the last weeks, I should also add that Asus offers it in two color options, both nice and rather unique: the Slate Grey that we have here, and the Royal Blue we’ve seen on the Zenbook UX370 tested recently, as well as on other Zenbooks.For some reasons, Asus have a hard time joingin these two parts properly together.