The review of the laptop ASUS ZenBook 14 (UX425JA): polapremium

Over the past six months there were many interesting and wonderful in their own way ultraportable notebooks, but looking at them, practical the buyer had to keep in mind that with the upgrade of the working machine is better to wait: in a few months Intel and AMD will open mass production is more economical and efficient CPUs. Latest model in the ASUS ZenBook series with 14 inch screen — just one of those laptops (in this case on the basis of those 10-nanometer CPU), the imminent appearance

of which we expected. And, as it turned out, not in vain. Intel seriously pulled nizkovoltnoy own performance chips, especially where the previous generation was weak. However, a powerful CPU is not all that is needed to get a good ultrabook. Let’s see how ASUS engineers have done their part.

Technical specifications, scope of supply, prices

ZenBook 14 — not the first laptop based on 10-nanometer crystals of the Ice Lake, which we had to meet: the market, and our laboratory previously introduced updated MacBook Air. But Air, let Apple made a long-awaited upgrade to Quad core CPU, remain a kind of reference typewriter by severe restrictions of power consumption. ASUS had other plans for the ZenBook 14, therefore, all of the directory new those chips choice of Taiwanese fell on three models — a dual core Core i3 and Quad core Core i5 and Core i7 processors, each characterized by a maximum clock frequency in its group during normal power consumption 15 watts.

The configuration of the ZenBook 14 offers a generous amount of RAM — up to 32 GB. And that is not guaranteed in an ultra-small form factor, running memory in dual channel mode. The core of the Ice Lake has got the support of power-efficient chips standard LPDDR4X than also not fail to take advantage ASUS. But looking at the high rating of a new type of memory (3200 megatransect per second), you need to remember is that it connects with the Central processor twice narrower tire than LPDDR3 or DDR4 and the overall throughput eventually decreased.

Manufacturer ASUS
Model ZenBook 14 (UX425)
Display 14″, 1920 × 1080 (60 Hz), IPS
CPU Intel Core i3-1005G1 (2/4 core/thread 1,2–3,4 GHz);
Intel Core i5-1035G1 (4/8 cores/threads, 1.0 to 3.6 GHz);
Intel Core i7-1065G1 (4/8 cores/threads, and 1.3 and 3.9 GHz)
RAM LPDDR4X SDRAM, 3200 MT/s 8-32 GB (dual channel)
GPU Intel UHD Graphics 620;
Plus Intel Iris Graphics
Drive SSD (NVMe PCIe 3.0 x4), up to 2048 GB;
Intel Optane Memoy H10 (32 + 512 GB)
External connectors input / output 2 × 3 Thunderbolt/USB 3.2 Gen 2;
1 × 3.2 Gen 1 USB Type-A;
1 × HDMI;
1 × microSD
Network IEEE 802.11 ax + Bluetooth 5.0
Battery capacity, W⋅h 67
Weight, kg 1,13
Overall dimensions (L × H × d), mm 319 × 208 × 13,9
Retail price (Russia), RUB. Core i5-1035G1, 8 GB RAM, SSD 512 GB — 77 990 (recommended price);
Core i7-1065G7, 16 GB, SSD 512 GB — 91 990 (REC.);
Core i7-1065G7, 32 GB SSD 2 TB — 990 129 (REC.)

Unlike RAM, SSDS in the ZenBook 14 can be replaced, but ASUS still allows you to gain storage space in reserve up to 2 TB one module M. 2. In addition to the standard termotehnica based on Flash memory, some modifications to the laptop are equipped with a hybrid drive Intel Memory Optane H10 with a small fragment (32 GB) ultra-fast memory XPoint, but to see if they are in Russia — the big question. We are aware of three articles that will definitely appear on the local market. Today is the first day when 14 ZenBook will be available for sale, and we have only those prices, which ASUS recommends that: the younger version with the Quad Core i5 will have to pay not less than 77 990 rubles, and for the most pumped, with maximum RAM and SSD 129 990. As you can see, the ZenBook 14 — not the most affordable laptop among the current proposals with the screen 13.3 or 14 inches, but compared to “premium” devices such as the MacBook Air or business-oriented ultracompact like ASUS ExpertBook B9 — appreciate it a lot cheaper. So, now we’ll start to figure out what the Taiwanese manufacturer has decided to save, if not on the front components of the machine.

Appearance and ergonomics

If you don’t count the plastic frame around the display matrix, the ZenBook chassis 14 is made of metal and panels are painted either pale lilac or grey with a cool tint (as in the photo of our sample) color. The device looks easy — not least because of the raised edges of the lower half of the body — and really it is not. Despite the fact that inside fit capacious battery 67 W⋅h, the machine weighs only 1,13 kg. Both of those need to attract the attention of those who never parted with his laptop, but the light weight had something to pay. In this case, not the money (as we have seen, the ZenBook 14 — not the most expensive of similar models), and the rigidity of the case. Unlike the above mentioned ExpertBook B9, the novelty can not boast of some highly durable materials, and as a result, her body creaking, easy to bend in all directions.

In addition, but this is an aesthetic quibble, on a smooth dark surface is perfectly visible fingerprints, which are particularly difficult to remove from the cover, decorated with fine concentric grooves. If your choice was ZenBook 14, but irritate the skin, which will inevitably acquire any gadgets, think about whether it is better to purchase a light version.


Poskripet body ZenBook 14, we decided that the keyboard with touchpad is certainly poor. But as it is not so. Of course, the keyboard is easy to bend under pressure due to the fact that the bottom of the laptop held high above the work surface, and position the laptop rests on the rear edge of the display unit. But you have to give the Taiwanese credit, they made it so that let the keyboard and gives such a resounding response in the printing process, as in downed stronger than laptops, but not jumping under his hands, as also, unfortunately, often happens. And most importantly, the keys ZenBook 14 it is a quality mechanic. Hollow which is recessed keyboard, increased speed, and the threshold is very clear. Finally, ASUS have used the whole width of the body in order to put to the left of the main unit a number of auxiliary keys (Home, End, PgUp and PgDn), but this, we think, a controversial decision. Many never use the listed commands, even when working for a full-sized external keyboard, and hands when you print on this layout is necessary to keep in the unusual position to the left relative to the center of the screen, respectively, of the touchpad.

By the way, the touchpad, too, was a success. Like everything else in the ZenBook 14, he also squeaks if a little pressure in the wrong place, but it’s moderately smooth and moderately rough surface, and the tracking of the cursor and the reaction to the gestures are set up perfectly. From related laptops ASUS, deprived of the physical keypad, the new product got such a function as a luminous marking of the touchpad on the “virtual” keys. It is included, long-tap the upper-right corner of the panel, and as you can see in the pictures, the characters are perfectly visible even in bright light. While touch number pad does not prevent to use the touchpad for its intended purpose. But the fingerprint scanner, alas, remains the prerogative of more expensive models. Good for quick authentication on a Windows ZenBook 14 there is another tool — web-camera sensitive in the infrared spectrum.

It is worth to give a brief description and built-in stereo system. From the acoustics in the ultrabook we habitually do not expect anything good, but the ZenBook 14 and then was pleasantly surprised: the stock volume from the speakers is small, but there are low frequencies, and the sound is directed so that there is Nikaya stereo panorama.


Unlike other ultracompacts, especially the MacBook Air, the ZenBook sides 14 withdrawn the suspension connectors: a full-sized HDMI, one USB Type-A and two Type-C, which pass not only the signal to USB 3.1 Gen 2, but 3 and Thunderbolt. Last — a very pleasant surprise from an ultrabook cheaper than 80 thousand rubles. Electronics Thunderbolt 3 is used for power from a compact voltage regulator, but it works on the charger for some reason, only one nest.

In addition there is a microSD card reader, but the ZenBook 14, your iPhone, lost mini-jack for audio equipment connection. Instead, he will have to use an adapter on the Thunderbolt. Not complaining ZenBook 14 and on the wireless — there is a mandatory 5.0 Bluetooth and high speed Wi-Fi module IEEE 802.11 ax Wi-Fi (6).

The internal structure and capabilities upgrade

ZenBook touch 14, like most ultra-compact models, offer wide possibilities for changing components. ASUS has carved out maximum space, allow the device to fit a large battery. As a result, the RAM had to settle directly on the motherboard (well, the configuration of the laptop provides up to 32 GB RAM). Well, at least the SSD is left removable.

The cooling system is simple: it includes only deplorable thick, put between CPU and cooler is a small radiator. But we soon learn that the designers ZenBook 14 did not increase long-term reserve capacity of the Central processor over the regular 15 watts. Then it is enough cooler, that is. However, ASUS does not consider it so effective that ventilation occurs through one grid between the screen hinges: cool air enters from below, passing through the holes in the bottom of the chassis.

Testing methodology

Synthetic tests
App Settings
3DMark Time Spy
Geekbench 4
CINEBENCH R20
GFXBench 5 (Aztec Ruins — Normal Tier, High Tier) Windows: Vulkan, macOS: Metal
fio 3.16 Sequential read/write, random read/write (non-buffered I / o)
Work apps
App Benchmark Settings API
Intel Graphics Graphics AMD NVIDIA graphics
Adobe Photoshop CC 2019 PugetBench for Photoshop CC 0.8 (test structure the link) Basic Benchmark OpenGL + OpenCL + Metal (macOS) OpenGL + OpenCL + Metal (macOS) OpenGL + OpenCL
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC Classic 2020 PugetBench for Lightroom Classic 0.8 (test structure the link) DirectX 12 (Windows) DirectX 12 (Windows) DirectX 12
Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2019 PugetBench for Premiere Pro 0.8 (test structure the link) Standard Benchmark OpenCL (Windows)/Metal (macOS) OpenCL (Windows)/Metal (macOS) CUDA
Blender 2.81 a Demo Class Room with the Blender Foundation site Renderer Cycles. Feature Set: Supported. Tile size: 32 × 32 (CPU) and 256 × 256 (GPU) N/a (rendered on CPU) OpenCL CUDA/OptX
Demo Nissan GTR from AMD Renderer Radeon ProRender N/A OpenCL OpenCL

Testing a display is performed using the colorimeter Datacolor Spyder4 Elite in applications ArgyllCMS and DisplayCAL 3.

The battery life of the laptop is measured when the display brightness 200 CD/m2 in the following scenarios:

  • web surfing: alternate opening and closing tabs sites 3DNews.ru, Computeruniverse.ru and Unsplash.com with an interval of 25 s in Google Chrome browser (cache and cookies are disabled);
  • continuous playback 4K video format HEVC (H. 265).

The test

In performance testing participated the following devices:

Screen CPU RAM GPU SSD HDD Battery
ASUS ZenBook 14 (UX425JA) 14″, 1920 × 1080, IPS Intel Core i7-1035G7 4/8 cores/threads, is 1.2–3.7 GHz LPDDR4X SDRAM, 3200 MT/s 16 GB Intel Iris Graphics Plus G7 System RAM Acer 2200 (PCIe 3.0 x4) 1024 GB No 67 W⋅h
Apple MacBook Air Early 2020 (A2179) A 13.3″, 2560 × 1600 IPS Intel Core i5-1030NG7 4/8 cores/threads, 1.1 to 3.5 GHz LPDDR4X SDRAM, 3733 MT/s, 8 GB Intel Iris Graphics Plus G7 1.5 GB of system RAM Apple AP0512N (PCIe 3.0 x4) 512 GB No 49,9 W⋅h
Apple MacBook Pro 13.3″, Mid 2019 (A2159) A 13.3″, 2560 × 1600 IPS Intel Core i5-8257U 4/8 cores/threads, 1.4 to 3.9 GHz LPDDR3 SDRAM, 2133 MHz, 16 GB Intel Iris Graphics Plus 645 128 MB eDRAM Apple AP1024N (PCIe 3.0 x4) 1024 GB No 58,2 W⋅h
ASUS ExpertBook B9 (B9450FA) 14″, 1920 × 1080, IPS Intel Core i7-10510U 4/8 cores/threads, a 1.8–4.9 GHz LPDDR3 SDRAM, 2133 MHz, 16 GB Intel UHD Graphics 620 ~1 GB of system RAM 2 × Samsung PM981 (PCIe 3.0 x4) 1024 GB No 66 W⋅h
ASUS VivoBook S14 (S433FL) 14″, 1920 × 1080, IPS Intel Core i7-10510U 4/8 cores/threads, a 1.8–4.9 GHz DDR4 SDRAM 2666 MT/s 16 GB NVIDIA GeForce MX250 2 GB GDDR5 Samsung PM981 (PCIe 3.0 x4) 1024 GB No 50 W⋅h
MSI Prestige14 (A10SC) 14″, 1920 × 1080, IPS Intel Core i7-10710U 6/12 cores/threads, 1.1 to 4.7 GHz LPDDR3 SDRAM, 2133 MHz, 16 GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Max-Q 4GB GDDR6 Samsung PM981 (PCIe 3.0 x4) 1024 GB No 52 W⋅h

The screen quality

After we paid tribute to good design ZenBook 14 before make sure that the performance of the product ASUS is also not to take — will have to announce some bad news: the novelty has far from the best on-screen matrix. Let’s start with the fact that mediocre panel brightness (a total of 253 CD/m2) and contrast (575:1).


But it’s not so bad. The panel would be even more dull if not for the extremely high color temperature of about 8500 K — curve and gamma correction, far from the standard 2.2, which brightens the image at the cost of losing the already excessive contrast.

 

Finally, even adjusted for shot down the white point is no question that the ZenBook screen 14 is correctly reproduced shades. Alas, this is one of the rare recent laptops that could not pass the test color in a rather liberal criterion, Delta E 2000.


Unfortunately, even setup with a colorimeter will not fix all of these drawbacks, because the color coverage triangle ZenBook 14 does not coincide with the boundaries of sRGB, which covered only of 92.7 %. Thanks for that screen though, not flash and not flooded with stray illumination at the edges at low values of brightness.

Clock frequency, temperature and noise level

Central processor Core i7-1035G7 as part of an updated ZenBook 14 is not overclocked and works within the staffing long term TDP of 15 watts. As a result, the chip holds a moderate clock frequency of about 2 GHz at constant load on all four cores. Integrated graphics core Iris Plus also did not break out beyond 1 GHz. In addition, simultaneous CPU and GPU still causes the collapse of the clock frequency of the cores on x86 due to the fact that automation is not trying to hold the GPU to the Central breathe easier.

Clock rate under load
Cinebench R20 (max. number of threads) LuxMark 3.1 Cinebench R20 (max. number of threads) + LuxMark 3.1
CPU clock frequency, MHz Clock speed GPU, MHz CPU clock frequency, MHz Clock speed GPU, MHz
AVG. Max. AVG. Max. AVG. Max. AVG. Max.
ASUS ZenBook 14 (UX425JA) — Intel Core i7-1035G7 / Intel Iris Graphics Plus G7 — Silent 569 599 201 250 399 399 85 100
ASUS ZenBook 14 (UX425JA) — Intel Core i7-1035G7 / Intel Iris Graphics Plus G7 — Auto 2024 2195 876 948 1153 1297 654 699
Apple MacBook Air Early 2020 (A2179) — Intel Core i5-1030NG7 / Intel Iris Graphics Plus G7 1479 1511 651 700 995 1025 300 350
ASUS ExpertBook B9 (B9450FA) — Intel Core i7-10510U / UHD 620 Intel Graphics — Auto 1813 1900 671 750 866 900 508 550
ASUS VivoBook S14 (S433FL) — Intel Core i7-10510U / NVIDIA GeForce MX250 2555 3392 1550 1695 1804 2294 1248 1683
CPU power and GPU
Cinebench R20 (max. number of threads) LuxMark 3.1 Cinebench R20 (max. number of threads) + LuxMark 3.1
Power consumption CPU, W Power consumption GPU, W Power consumption CPU, W Power consumption GPU, W
AVG. Max. AVG. Max. AVG. Max. AVG. Max.
ASUS ZenBook 14 (UX425JA) — Intel Core i7-1035G7 / Intel Iris Graphics Plus G7 — Silent 5 5 5 5 6 6 6 6
ASUS ZenBook 14 (UX425JA) — Intel Core i7-1035G7 / Intel Iris Graphics Plus G7 — Auto 14 15 14 14 13 14 13 14
Apple MacBook Air Early 2020 (A2179) — Intel Core i5-1030NG7 / Intel Iris Graphics Plus G7 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10
ASUS ExpertBook B9 (B9450FA) — Intel Core i7-10510U / UHD 620 Intel Graphics — Auto 10 11 8 9 8 9 8 9
ASUS VivoBook S14 (S433FL) — Intel Core i7-10510U / NVIDIA GeForce MX250 19 28 N/A N/A 13 15 N/A N/A

Approx. The measurement is performed after warming up the device and stabilization of all parameters.

Cooling system ZenBook 14 is configured in such a way that the priority was the temperature of the SoC, not the noise. Indeed, the crystal is not heated above 75 °C even in the most adverse conditions. However, this does not mean that the laptop is loud. But under light load the fans though not stop, but the noise is so weak that our device is no longer able to separate their sound from the rest of the room.

Finally, if you want you can make the cooler not be heard under any circumstances, — for this is a Silent mode, which is activated in a preset program MyASUS. That’s only valid for a peaceful setting, in our opinion, too harsh. Instead of raising the permissible temperature and, perhaps, a little to slow down the processor, the profile is Silent so restricts power SoC clock frequency of x86 cores under load drop to 570 MHz, and GPU to 200. In this form of the ZenBook 14, no doubt, and not overheating, and no noise, but using it for any productive cases absolutely impossible.




Synthetic benchmarks

Thanks to the latest processor product ASUS demonstrated in a single-threaded benchmarks outstanding performance. And in the scenario of a relatively short multi-threaded performance (as in the test Geekbench) results are such that even the increased reserve power allows the Quad brothers chip Ice Lake at the tenth generation (like the old mobile chips 8000-series) to get closer to the new Intel, which if I had grown a fifth core.

However, the long load tracing rays in Cinebench R20 put everything in its place in accordance with the number of cores and TDP of each processor. Thick ultrabooks with 13.3 inch and 14 are dominant, but some thin, some of which are even more limited power, the ZenBook 14 — a clear favorite.

Intel is not in vain promised that the integrated graphics Iris Plus will make a big step forward in economical CPU of the new wave. So it is: there is a huge increase in frame rates compared to the results of a 14-nanometer SoC nizkovoltnoy tenth generation, and even chips 8000-series U, equipped with high-speed eDRAM memory, left behind. Of course, success in Intel did not ZenBook 14 suitable platform for demanding games, but the laptop-centric business users, powerful integrated graphics is useful in moderately complex tasks — such as photo processing and video encoding. The presence of a discrete GPU the entry-level ZenBook would 14 not much use, but the power consumption and the price of the device it would have reflected not the best way.



Performance in production applications

In the first practical benchmark latest model ASUS ZenBook 14 showed itself from the best side. The model is easily surpassed by the speed of rendering other ultrathin laptops and rises to results larger ASUS VivoBook S14. But this, of course, assuming that Blender does not use the discrete GPU in those machines, which it is. Built-in Intel graphics engine Cycles, as is well known, ignoring.

Unexpectedly high ratings ZenBook 14 received in the test measuring the execution time for common operations in Adobe Lightroom. Photographers have to accept that actions such as applying filters, stitching panoramas and other passive tasks will occur slowly, when the CPU only four energy-efficient cores. But the speed of the active tasks that the user performs “hands”, ZenBook 14 pulls ahead, despite the fact that the CPU opponents higher power or six cores with a discrete video card.

Approx. The scores are calculated in percent from reference performance workstation with Intel Core i9-9900K, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 and 64 GB RAM.

In the benchmark Photoshop ZenBook touch 14 continues to show good results. For the final assessment test package Puget Systems new product takes the second place after a powerful laptop MSI. ZenBook 14 helped and advanced the architecture of the cores, and integrated graphics Iris Plus, which Intel has significantly strengthened in the new generation of their CPUs.

Approx. The scores are calculated in percent from reference performance workstation with Intel Core i9-9900K, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 and 64 GB of RAM, multiplied by 10.

Approx. The scores are calculated in percent from reference performance workstation with Intel Core i9-9900K, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 and 64 GB RAM.

Ultrabooks, especially the smallest of them, are not designed for video editing 4K. But if you scale the resolution view of ¼ of the source, the novelty is quite suitable for such tasks, but the additional lightweight model is very unlikely. However, cut into the movie, not overloaded with complex effects (especially those that rely on the GPU), the ZenBook 14 is possible, but coding still takes a long time in this matter is appreciated every watt of power available to the CPU, and, of course, the number of cores.

 
 

The performance of the SSD

In test sample 14 is mounted ZenBook solid state drive capacity of 1 terabyte branded Clevo 2200, which comes across in the finished devices is not as common as, for example, the same performance of the OEM Samsung model. However, the data transfer speed of these devices, by and large, equivalent to the average queue commands. Here with single operations (except for random read) SSD is not fairing as well as notebook hard drives from Samsung and Apple, especially in the line of read data. Fortunately, the ZenBook 14 — not a workstation, and the applications, which are usually loaded ultrabooks, the user is unlikely to notice that it got not the best drive compared to solid state lasers Samsung that ASUS installs in other models.

 
 

The battery life

Stuffing ZenBook 14 — as we have seen, it is highly productive — feeds a large battery capacity of as much as 67 W⋅h In this reserve of energy a laptop stand not less than six and a half hours of continuous video viewing or six hours of active web surfing. Even the MacBook Air, which not long ago was considered a model of autonomy, it can not afford.

Insights

The one who wanted to buy the ultra-portable laptop this year, but waited, when there will be devices based on 10-nanometer of processors of Intel of Ice Lake, did the right thing, and the updated model ASUS ZenBook 14 a good example. In tests of performance, it competes with heavier and larger machines, which is also installed Intel CPU of the 10th generation, but on “old” and not so effective crystals to Comet Lake. The next major advantage of the product — capacity battery and as a result, a substantial amount of time without connection to the mains. Keyboard and touchpad ASUS ZenBook 14 — not ideal for those who write on the computer major texts (the basis of the housing lacks rigidity), but if you focus on a small weight, then to find an alternative with the convenience of the manipulators will be Oh how difficult.

Finally, ASUS engineers have been able to fit into the slim chassis almost all the necessary connectors (including the card reader, but for some reason no mini-jack for a headset) and not stingy on the support of Thunderbolt 3. Perhaps the only unpleasant surprise on the background of the overall quality of the ZenBook 14 proved mediocre screen matrix, which is neither a high brightness contrast or colour — and the result is not suitable for any serious work with design and photos. Despite this bitter disappointment, the ZenBook 14 left in the game for the championship among ultrabooks on the advanced economical Intel (and later AMD). Let the gold medal he had no chance, until the semifinals, he will surely come.

Source: 3dnews.ru

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