The thinnest laptop on the planet’ is how Asus describes the ZenBook 13 UX331U, a machine that’s just 13.9mm thick at its chunkiest point. And while that boast isn’t quite accurate – Acer’s Swift 7 is a shade under 9mm, for one example – there’s no denying that this super-slender machine is well designed for life on the road.
Despite that slim finish, the ZenBook still packs some decent specs and a Full HD 13-inch display. So is it well suited to mobile professionals and anyone else who wants to stay productive on the move.
Open up the ZenBook and you’re presented with a smart matte chassis that feels far more sturdy. The edges are lined with a generous number of ports, considering the slim finish. You get two USB 3.0 ports and a dinky Type-C USB 3.1 port as well. In addition, there’s HDMI to connect to displays and projectors, plus a microSD card reader for transferring files.
Asus has also added a fingerprint sensor, located on the palm rest to the right of the touchpad. This is a handy alternative to password security, allowing you to swiftly unlock the laptop. It’s a perfectly responsive scanner and I like the shiny trim that makes it easy to locate, even in low light. That commendable design continues with the ZenBook’s excellent keyboard and touchpad. Asus rarely disappoints when it comes to usability, and I immediately got to grips with the chiclet keyboard, reaching peak touch-typing speeds in no time at all. Another of this Zenbook’s strengths is the visuals. That compact 13.3-inch display boasts Full HD image reproduction so photos, movies and everything else will appear pleasingly crisp. You practically have to mush your face up against the panel to spot any individual pixels.
Viewing angles are nice and wide, so you’ll have no trouble watching a movie with one or two mates. No need to cram your heads together awkwardly. Visibility is no problem on sunny days, either. On maximum brightness, the screen gives out quite a lot of power, while the anti-glare coating also helps.
You can also expect reasonably realistic colour reproduction. An impressive 95% of the sRGB gamut is covered by the ZenBook 13, although this dips to 73% for Adobe RGB users. he more basic Core i5-8250U version, you can also grab the UX331U with an upgraded Core i7-8550U chipset. In either case, 8GB of RAM sits alongside to keep things moving smoothly.