Best 2020 Asus ZenBook UX425JA Review

Asus ZenBook UX425JA Slim and light laptops are becoming more affordable, and manufacturers always love to see what people really want. If like me, you spend most of your day using a laptop and have to take it with you, it does not become a burden wherever you go.

Thankfully modern laptops use slim SSDs and CPUs that do not require very heavy cooling, and of course, it is safe to skip optical drives and many legacy ports, all of which help.

Still, while I like all the latest hardware and high-end specifications, usability is just as important as being able to check a bunch of boxes on a list. In particular, I look for a comfortable keyboard and trackpad, battery life, portability and embed. If these factors are not in place, raw power, looks, and other bells and whistles hardly matter.

Asus ZenBook UX425JA Review
Asus ZenBook UX425JA Review

So I am reviewing the Asus ZenBook UX425JA today. This 14-inch ultraportable weighs just 1.17 kg which is lighter than the current-gen MacBook Air, but promises versatility and power. I’ve been impressed with previous Zenbook UX-series models, so let’s see what’s the latest in-store.

Asus Zenbook UX425JA Design

The most striking aspect of the ZenBook UX425JA is how thin and light it is. It is a 14-inch laptop that is much smaller than some 13-inch models from long ago. It is just 14 mm thick at its thickest point. Asus says it has used an aluminum alloy for durability. The keyboard is full body metal including deck and bottom. The model is available in a pine gray finish, which Asus describes as “cool” and “intelligent”, and I like the fact that there are no gold accents at the moment.

The body actually looks somewhat blue-gray under bright light. There is an off-center Asus logo on the lid, with the trademark Zen-series concentric circle design that comes out of it. The effect of brushed metal is very subtle and you may not even notice it at first. Overall, this is a smart, professional looking laptop that you can take anywhere with you. The equivalent 13-inch Zenbook UX325 model is only available in Lilac Mist, which is slightly less neutral.

Asus claims that it is the world’s thinnest 14-inch laptop with a full set of ports, but it is a controversial claim. Sure, you get a full-size HDMI output and a standard USB Type-A port, which I appreciate, but no 3.5mm audio socket. Like modern smartphones, Asus clearly thought it would be okay to drop this basic, universal standard (which Apple has not done even on their lowest-priced laptops) and I strongly disagree. You get a dongle in the box – more on that later – but it will be a major inconvenience in many situations.

The left and right screen borders are 2.9 mm thin, but there is enough room above the screen for a webcam to be where it needs to be. This is important, as facial recognition is one of the selling points of this laptop. At least modernity and practicality are balanced here. The screen itself is non-luminous, which is great for productivity.

Asus ZenBook UX425JA Review
Asus ZenBook UX425JA Review

Opening the lid tilts the lower half of the laptop at a relatively non-noticeable 3 degree angle. Asus says this improves ergonomics, but has more to do with better air intake through the vent from the bottom and exhaust from just above the hinge.

In the lower half we have a well-stretched keyboard that almost reaches the edges of the laptop body. Immediately, I saw the row of dedicated paging keys on the right, which I always like to see. The arrow keys are unfortunately compressed in a row, but much wider than normal and also slightly different, so they are easier to find by touch alone.

The keyboard is quite comfortable. The action is a little spongy, but the key travel is good for such a slim body, and nothing is out of place. The power button in the top-right corner is slightly tighter than the others to help prevent accidental right. You get three levels of white backlighting but I found that the light is slightly distracting through the bottoms of the keeps.

You won’t find Asus’s exotic screenpad LCD screen trackpad here, but there are some hidden tricks nonetheless. With a tap in the top right corner, the trackpad can turn into a number pad, which is super convenient for quick calculus and data entry. Backlit numbers act like a physical number pad, and even symbolize mathematics.

Also See: Asus Zenbook 14 Review Click Here

The best thing is that even when the number pad is activated, it can differentiate between the trackpad tap and the intentional use of numbers, so you can move your cursor back and forth without switching things normally. Can choose The backlight will turn itself off after a few seconds of inactivity, but will be ready to spring back to life upon touching the number pad.

Not only is it super convenient, but another shortcut. A swipe in from the top left corner will pull the Windows Calculator app, and another swipe will dismiss it. A combination of shortcuts can actually come in handy sometimes. As for the basic functionality of the trackpad, its generous dimensions make working in Windows a breeze, and it was always smooth and precise. Windows 10 multi-touch gestures also worked well for me.

Asus ZenBook UX425JA Review
Asus ZenBook UX425JA Review

Asus ZenBook UX425JA Price and Specification

Starting from Rs. 79,990, the Zenbook UX425JA is not the cheapest laptop, but the industry has been on the upswing in price delays, so it factors into your purchase decision. The 13-inch Zenbook UX325 starts at the same price. The base variant has a Core i5-1035G1 CPU and 8GB of RAM with Intel UHD integrated graphics. I am reviewing the version priced at Rs. 95,990, featuring a more powerful Intel Iris Plus Core i7-1065G7 GPU with integrated graphics and 16GB of RAM.

These CPUs are Intel’s 10th General Lake Ice Lake ’10nm model, which has some modern features such as AI-based acceleration for certain types of workloads. They are supposed to run efficiently in slim laptops without generating too much heat or using too much power. Asus has used soldered, non-upgradeable LPDDR4X RAM, but both variants have a modular 512 GB M.2 PCIe SSD.

Full-HD 1920×1080-pixel has 300nits maximum brightness which is sufficient for productivity and entertainment. Asus offers some other premium models with color-calibrated screens and enhanced gamut coverage, but not for the ZenBook UX425JA.

In terms of connectivity, there is an HDMI 2.0 video output on the left side and two Thunderbolt 3 Type-C ports. Thunderbolt ports support DisplayPort video output and USB power delivery charging. On the right side, you get a USB 3.2 Gen1 (5Gbps) Type-A port and a microSD card slot. Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5 complete the wireless options.

The Asus ZenBook bundles USB Type-A with EX425JA for 3.5mm adapters from Ethernet and Type-C. The audio dongle appears to be active, and is high-resolution certified. It still doesn’t fix the lack of a 3.5mm socket – you may need to plug in a pair of earphones when out and about, for any reason, and none if you have a Type-C. Will be a pair of Or Bluetooth earphones work. The fabric sleeve that is included with this laptop does not even have a pouch for the dongle and will certainly be easy to lose.

It has a 67Wh battery, and Asus claims up to 22 hours of productivity. You can use either of the two Thunderbolt 3 ports to charge this laptop. The included 65W adapter is relatively compact and conforms to USB Type-C power delivery. This will let you charge the battery from zero to 60 percent in less than an hour, but you can charge it slowly using other Type-C adapters or even a power bank.

Asus ZenBook UX425JA Review
Asus ZenBook UX425JA Review

Asus ZenBook UX425JA Usage and Performance

I had a generally enjoyable time using the Zenbook UX425JA. It is light enough to carry anywhere, even in a small bag, but you may not want to use it directly on your lap due to the vents on the bottom. I was happy that despite the heavy workload there was very little fan noise. The center and left side of the keyboard may be slightly warmer, but the palm rest areas remain relaxed.

I was physically a little wary, given how thin and light this laptop is. However, the lid does not flex very much, and when I tried it there is no warp on the screen. The hinge runs the entire width of this laptop and makes contact with the surface of your desk when open, so the lid remains relatively stable. I also liked the fact that when opening the laptop with a finger, the base is fixed. However, the keyb flexes a bit while typing.

The keyboard and trackpad are comfortable and easy to work with. I noticed some degradation of contrast and color fidelity on the screen when viewing any content on any angle. I don’t think this laptop is particularly good for entertainment in a group, but it was fine for me to sit directly in front of it. With almost no distortion, the speakers produce surprisingly loud and crisp sound, but the bass is weak.

Windows 10 is completely fine, and the ZenBook UX425JA booted quickly enough. I had no problem with everyday apps, running multiple browser tabs, including web apps and simultaneous video streaming. Asus has preinstalled McAfee LiveSafe which pestered me with huge pop-up ads to buy a subscription.

The MyAsus Dashboard app provides some promotional offers on system diagnostics, customer support, driver updates and downloadable software. You can adjust parameters for battery health, display color modes, fan profiles, and more. It also has the ‘Us Link to MyAsus’ feature that allows you to pair Android or iOS phones via Bluetooth and receive calls and notifications on a laptop, including the ability to reply to notifications. If you have the MyHasus app installed on your phone, you can also transfer the file and URL. On Android, there is also the ability to mirror your phone’s screen or use it as an extended display.

The 512GB SSD featured a gradual read and write of 1856.5MBps and 976MBps, respectively, in the CrystalDiskamer 6, and this performance contributes to the ZenBook UX425JA’s overall clutter. It took 2 minutes, 52 seconds to compress a 3.24GB folder of files mixed with 7zip, and it took 1 minute, 46 seconds to transcode the 1.3GB AVI file to H.265 in Handbreak.

For overall system performance, PCMark 10 reported scores of 4,205 and 3,443, respectively, in its standard and extended runs. The Cinebench R20 completed its single-threaded and multi-threaded render tests with scores of 436 and 1,383 respectively. POV-Ray’s benchmark test ran in 4 minutes, 24 seconds.

The ZenBook UX425JA is not a gaming laptop by any stretch, and graphics power is limited to the integrated Intel Iris Plus GPU. You can expect to run simple 3D games, or some older titles on lower settings, but most relatively modern AAA games are not going to work. 3DMark’s Time Spy and Night Raid tests scored 810 and 7,483 points respectively. I removed Tomb Raider’s shadow and managed only 14fps at the lowest graphics quality setting, dragging the resolution to 1280×720. Completely disabling anti-aliasing only increased to 17fps.

Asus makes some impressive claims about battery life. In real-world usage, I wasn’t able to get anywhere around 22 hours of usage, but I did manage to get through the entire 8–10 hours of workday, with light browser-based apps running and backgrounds. I had some media streaming. The CPU-intensive Battery Eater Pro benchmark lasted 3 hours, 24 minutes which is great.

Decision

I really like the ZenBook UX425JA, and I think Asus has done very well overall, giving such a portable yet capable laptop. It has no serious drawbacks, and its performance and battery life will be fine as long as you’re not expecting to do serious content creation work or play modern games. Students and working people will like it very much.

Although this laptop should be handled with care, it is very thin and light. The keyboard, trackpad and screen are good for productivity and the light-up number pad is actually useful without detracting from the core functionality.

Of course this is not correct, however. The biggest problem I have is the lack of a standard 3.5mm audio socket, and I’ll gladly trade a few millimeters and grams. It is obviously ridiculous that a laptop has tried to dig into this standard, and I hope this is not the beginning of a trend. Performance is slightly lower for entertainment, though fine for productivity. Also, if you were expecting touchscreen or cellular data, you would have to look elsewhere.

The ZenBook UX425JA will compete with Xiaomi’s Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition on the low end, and Dell XPS 13 and HP Specter models as well as the MacBook Air (2020) if you have a generous budget. The variant I tested officially priced at Rs. 95,990, which is a lot to pay. Nevertheless, the cost of such a laptop would be very high not long ago. Core i5 variant Rs. 79,990 would be more attractive, and an interesting option for those who want to be one step ahead of the mainstream.

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