Asus ZenBook 13 UX331 Review: A Jack Of All Trades, Great For Gaming While Staying Thin, Light And Not Costing A Kidney
Asus has been in the laptop market for some time now and has sold about 1.5 million units in 2017. We are also getting reports that the company is planning to sell 2 million gaming laptops this year due to the inflated prices of the graphics cards and the lack of supply of GPUs. Here we are going to talk about one of the laptops from Asus, the Asus ZenBook 13 UX331.
Asus ZenBook 13 UX331 Review
The Asus ZenBook 13 UX331 is an allrounder and something worth looking into if you do not want to spend too much on a laptop but also want to be able to do a bit of light gaming on the go. The Asus ZenBook 13 comes with MX 150 graphics. This might not be the best graphics out there to be fitted into a laptop form factor but it is not the worst either.
If you keep your expectations reasonable then you will surely not be disappointed. You can check out the details regarding what we think about the Asus ZenBook 13 UX331 below in our complete review.
Asus ZenBook 13 UX331 Specifications
The Asus ZenBook 13 UX331 is a pretty good laptop and while it might not be the best of the best, what you get for the price is pretty interesting. A lot of people are looking for that one laptop that is thin, light and is powerful enough for some gaming. The Asus ZenBook 13 UX331 can do all those things and it looks good while doing that, which is another plus point to keep in mind when buying a laptop.
You can check out the Asus ZenBook 13 UX331 specifications in the table below:
|Asus ZenBook 13 UX331 Review|
|Display||13.3″ 1920 x 1080 IPS Touchscreen|
|CPU||Intel Core i7-8250U|
|Graphics||Nvidia GeForce MX150 2GB GDDR5|
|(1) USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C; (2) USB 3.0|
|Harman Kardon Audio|
|Windows 10 Home|
Keeping in mind all that you are getting inside the small form factor, $999 is not a lot of money. I Cant stress how unique this laptop is, all things considered.
Asus ZenBook 13 UX331 Build
The Asus ZenBook 13 is not the thinnest ultrabook in the market, there are thinner and lighter versions that are on the market, which you can also check out. There is enough room for a proper thermal solution in order to keep things cool inside keeping in mind there is an MX 15o inside. Talking about the build quality of the laptop, it is well made and feels premium.
This is a $1,000 device and when you are spending that much money, there are some things that you expect. Build quality is one place where the Asus ZenBook 13 does not disappoint. Some people might find that the screen has a little flex to it but if you are used to that then you might not find it all that bad. If that is something that you can ignore then everything else is spot on when it comes to build quality.
Talking about the trackpad, it is glass and has a bit of texture with Windows precision drivers out of the box. While this is not the best trackpad on a laptop it is one of the better ones that we have seen from Asus. You should have not problems whatsoever when using the trackpad of the Asus ZenBook 13 on a daily basis.
There is also a fingerprint sensor on the side if you want to use Windows Hello in order to login to your device.
The screen is pretty good as well. It is a 1080p panel and has great viewing angles so you will be able to consume content on the go without much fuss. The display is bright and color accurate. The hinge could be a bit stiffer but that is something that will grow on you with time. You might not notice that at all if your previous laptop had a loose hinge as well. If you can ignore that then all other factors regarding the screen are pretty great.
Getting inside is a bit tricky but if you are patient and have the right tools it can be done. You do have to remove the bottom feet and getting them back on can be a problem but take care of things and you should be fine. Once you have removed the screws that are hidden under the feet you can replace the SSD.
The SSD that comes with the Asus ZenBook 13 UX331 is a bit slow and if you want faster storage then you can replace the SSD for a faster one. The SSD included is a SATA drive so you can opt for an NVMe if you want faster storage. Other than that there is not much that you can replace. Upgradability is not something that you have when it comes to the Asus ZenBook 13 UX331.
The Asus ZenBook 13 UX331 comes with a 50W battery and while this might not be the biggest battery ever fitted into the laptop you will notice that it lasts longer than some 60W batteries. I am not sure how Asus is pulling this off but if I had to take a guess I would say that there is some kind of software optimization in play here. The battery is pretty good and will last you a little more than 9 hours depending on how you are using the laptop.
The Asus ZenBook 13 UX331 comes with Harmon/kardon audio and while we have seen pretty bad audio with this branding the ZenBook actually comes with pretty good audio. The only thing that bothers is me is that the speakers are downwards. I would have liked it better if the speakers were front firing but then again you cant get everything that you ask for in a budget.
Nvidia MX 150 And Graphics Performance
The Asus ZenBook 13 UX331 comes with Nvidia MX150 graphics, so you can expect to see some decent performance from the laptop. Having that said we are going to tell you how well this laptop can run popular games and what kind of framerate you can expect to get.
The MX150 is an impressive graphics solution keeping in mind that it does not need out of this world cooling in order to keep it in a comfortable temperature, nor does it need multiple fans to keep it from melting itself. You can click here to check out the specifications of the Nvidia MX150 as well as other graphics solutions for laptops.
You also get a KabyLake-R CPU so there is plenty of processing power and you will be able to run applications that take advantage of multiple cores and threads. Talking about the fans, if you are not doing something too intense the fans do not turn on and the laptop is almost completely silent.
When you put a bit of a load on the laptop you can hear the fans but they are not too loud. It is only when you are gaming that you can really hear them. While testing the Asus ZenBook 13 UX331, we did not notice any kind of thermal throttling until we ran a stress test but depending on what you plan to do with the laptop it is highly unlikely that you will be pushing this laptop that far.
The Asus ZenBook 13 UX331 is a great device and while you won’t be able to play Fallout 4 with 10 mods installed it has pretty decent performance when it comes to graphics. This is a very capable laptop if you are willing to turn down your graphics setting a little bit.
The plus points of the Asus ZenBook 13 UX331 are as follows:
- Great build quality
- Amazing finishing
- Love the Blue color
- Decent graphics
- Multiple cores and threads
- Decent cooling
- Good pricing
- Thin and light
- Good battery life
The cons of the Asus ZenBook 13 UX331 are as follows:
- Slow SSD included
- Poor camera
- Keyboard could be better
The pros of the Asus ZenBook 13 UX331 outweigh the cons and you need to keep in mind that there is no device out there that is perfect. There will always be an issue or two. While there are some things wrong with the Asus ZenBook 13 UX331, if you are looking for a laptop that is thin and light and can perform well in games then the Asus ZenBook 13 UX331 is something worth looking into.
Let us know what you think about the Asus ZenBook 13 UX331 and whether or not you are interested in getting one of these laptops.