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Asus ZenBook S UX391 review: Exceptional design and hinge alone cannot justify the price

Sahil Bhalla | Updated on: 11 December 2018, 16:59 IST
Asus UX391

Asus has been launching dozens of laptops in 2018 and that continues with the latest, non-touch screen (a touch version is available in the US) flagship ZenBook, for 2018. It’s designed to impress and perform as smooth as a Bugatti Veyron. It’s got a cool hinge and comes in many pretty colours - Deep Dive Blue or a Burgundy Red.

The price though, is a pain point. While the Dell XPS 13 comes in at a far more reasonable price of Rs 94,790, the Asus ZenBook S UX391 retails in India for Rs 1,29,990.

Asus is usually known for its gaming prowess, having established dominance with its Republic of Gamers range of laptops, but lately, its ultrabooks have been doing the talking. The ZenBook S UX391 is no different. It’s elegant, fast and very much portable.

The UX391 (as I’ll refer to it going forward) is made entirely out of metal. It is lighter than the Dell XPS 13 and boasts of a much higher screen-to-body ratio. The standout feature of the UX391 is that the company has included an Ergofit hinge. This tilts the laptop at an angle of 5.5 degrees to improve the comfort whilst typing. The sturdy nature of the build is another plus point going for the ultrabook. I wasn’t at all worried about people bumping into it during crowded metro journeys.

The other benefit, according to Asus, is that the Ergofit hinge helps the laptop cool better. This though I found to not be the case. The laptop more than often got hot to the point - especially when connected to the charger - where I had to set it aside for a couple of minutes and let it ‘cool’ down. I did find the audio output far improved from previous flagships and this also has to do with the hinge.

One last thing about the hinge. When you close the lid, the hinge folds in and doesn’t protrude out. So for those wondering that it’ll get in the way of the sleek design, fret not.

The sleek nature of this laptop means you only get four ports - and an included USB Type-C port adapter - and that is just the nature of ultrabooks. There are two USB Type-C Thunderbolt 3 ports, an audio jack residing on the hinge and a USB 3.1 Type-C port.

Top-of-the-line means that this ultrabook is no slouch when it comes to performance. Throw anything at it - be it Photoshop, video games, or even some heavy duty video editing - and it won’t disappoint.

The keys are a pleasure to type on, the trackpad moves smoothly and the speakers are loud and clear. The keys aren’t noisy, which is good for writing those long-winding articles, and they are backlit in case you slip into the late evening. There is a fingerprint scanner - the norm these days - and it works surprisingly fast and is very accurate.

It’s got Intel’s UHD 620 graphics card, which is good enough for some light gaming like FIFA. With some gaming during the day, and in a balanced performance mode, the laptop lasts a respectable nine hours. In line with a lot of flagship ultrabooks these days.

*Should you buy it?*

If you have the money, then why not. It’s a sleek and elegant ultrabook that is portable and doesn’t slouch when it comes to performance. That’s more than what you get in laptops these days. ASUS has separated itself from the pack with its outstanding looks and its Ergofit hinge that is unique in the market.

The price though is the problem here. With Dell’s XPS 13 coming in at a much lower price, one would wonder if the hinge and design alone make this worth the premium. Unfortunately, that answer is a no. There is also the lack of a touch-screen for Indian buyers. The consumer will surely miss that.

It’s portability and design make it standout and it is a worthy laptop in today’s market. The audience though is niche and that isn’t what ASUS was looking at when marketing this ultrabook


First published: 11 December 2018, 16:59 IST
Sahil Bhalla @IMSahilBhalla

Sahil is a correspondent at Catch. A gadget freak, he loves offering free tech support to family and friends. He studied at Sarah Lawrence College, New York and worked previously for Scroll. He selectively boycotts fast food chains, worries about Arsenal, and travels whenever and wherever he can. Sahil is an unapologetic foodie and a film aficionado.