Asus Zenbook 3 UX390UAK (UX390UA series) review – THE ultrabook of this generation


  1. Max

    August 31, 2016 at 5:17 pm

    Hi Andrei,

    Excellent review! I am considering buying this ultrabook and have a few question that you hope you could answer. FYI, I’ll be using it indoors only, so the battery aspect is not an issue for me.

    In the review you mentioned the display is rather dim. Was that with the default settings? If yes, then have you tried to adjust the brightness setting to the maximum? Dim screen would be a real deal breaker. I tend to always to adjust the display brightness on every laptop that I get because I find the default ones too dark for my taste.

    Regaridng RAM, are you sure it’s DDR4? Everywhere I’ve read, including the today’s presentation from IFA, it says LPDDR3 RAM.

    Also, are all the models equipped with finger print reader? I am asking because it’s not integrated on your unit.

    And lastly, when is it coming out? Late Sept/Early Oct?

    Keep up the good work!

    • Andrei Girbea

      August 31, 2016 at 5:37 pm

      Hi, thanks for the kind words.

      1. Yes, the screen is tested with the brightness pushed to maximum. The panel is advertised for 300 nits at max brightness, I got around 270 with my Sypder4 sensor. Still, if you plan to keep the laptop indoors, you shouldn’t have issues with the brightness.
      2. Ups, my mistake, the RAM is LPDDR3 2133 MHz
      3. I don’t know, to be frank. Mine lacked the fingerprint reader, but was a pre-production unit.
      4. I’ve been told early October over here, might be earlier in some regions, later in others.


  2. Jesus

    September 1, 2016 at 8:29 am


    I have a question I really hope Andrei or someone else can answer.
    I was about to buy an Asus UX305UA two days ago, after looking everywhere I had my decission, but just then I got informed Kaby Lake had just been released. So, my fiest question would be of course if this model will be updated to Kaby Lake soon as I need it before the end of September. And another one, wherever you look for information, Kaby Lake is supposed to be found in new laptops in September already, but many people say they won’t probably be out till the end of the year, what do I believe?

    • Andrei Girbea

      September 1, 2016 at 9:05 am

      Kabylake could be available in laptops by the end of September, but there’s no exact confirmation. I’d say the first half of October is more realistic, but each manufacturer is going to roll out updates at its own pace, and there’s no way to tell for sure when a certain unit will be available. If you’re in the US, contact Asus North America on Facebook, Twitter or by email and ask about the Kabylake version, they’re usually helpful.

      If you’re looking at the UX305UA, you should consider the UX306UA or the UX330UA instead, whichever is avialable in your region. They get a few tweaks and most importantly, a backlit keyboard. Check them out, i’ve covered them here on the site.

      Also, you could wait for the Kabylake updates (the UX306UA will be available with kabylake, the UX305UA will not get updated) and worst case scenario, if they’re not released by your deadline, just get the Skylake version then, chances are they will even drop in prices as the Kabylake updates get closer.

      • Jesus

        September 2, 2016 at 2:56 pm

        Unfortunately, I don’t live in the US, they get really great prices there… I’m living in Spain, where, not only we get less than the US as it happens in Europe in general, but even less than countries like GB or Germany and at higher prices. There are quite a lot of products that we don’t even get to see (I’m talking about technology in general), and laptops are no exception.
        Leaving that appart, yes, I’ve seen all your reviews of the UX series since I discovered this site (all of them are great I have to say :)) and that’s exactly why I chose the UX305UA.
        First and pretty important, it’s one of the few available here xD Neither the UX306 nor the UX330 can be found in any store :S
        But that was not a problem since I don’t mind about the backlit keyboard (if I had it, I would probably have it off 99% of the time hahaha) and it was a bit cheaper.
        And right now I don’t remember which things changed but I considered the UX305 was perfect for me, it’s a pitty it won’t get upgraded…
        Luckily, I’ve found the laptop that could be for me, the Acer Swift 5, from the few things announced, it looks pretty good, hope you review it as soon it comes out :P
        Sorry for such a long text, I didn’t expect it xD That’s ir, thanks for the answer and everything else!

      • Andrei Girbea

        September 3, 2016 at 6:29 am

        I’m having the Swift 7 on my desk so far, the very slim one. I’ll see if I can also get my hands on the Swift 5 next, stay close if you’re not in a hurry.

        About the UX330 and UX306, they’ll be available with Kabylake around October.

        And BTW, living in Europe as well, I know exactly what you mean about limited access to products.

      • Jesus

        September 10, 2016 at 11:16 am

        Bad news I’m afraid. Acer won’t realease the Swift series until the end of this year :(
        So, if I buy now and Asus has not their Zenbooks yet I’ll have to go with the UX305UA, which is not bad at all but I just don’t like paying that much and not getting the latest

      • Andrei Girbea

        September 10, 2016 at 1:01 pm

        Are you sure? I was told the Swift should be available in October, I’m currently working on a preview of the Swift 7.

  3. Corfle

    September 1, 2016 at 5:10 pm

    Thank you for this thorough and interesting review! I believe that you are the first one to give a proper article on this zenbook 3.

    Do you think that Asus will launch some day a real competitor of the XPS 13?
    I was waiting for this laptop but I really don’t understand the appeal of a glossy screen, moreover without the touch feature! It’s really too bad, the borderless screen is quite a nice feature to have.

    • Andrei Girbea

      September 1, 2016 at 6:32 pm

      I’m not aware of any Asus model that comes close to the form factor of the XPS 13. The closest they have is the Zenbook UX330, not exactly in the same league, but compensates by being more affordable and that should make it interesting enough for quite a few people.

    • Mike Peretz

      October 20, 2016 at 7:57 pm

      Check out the upcoming UX310UQ. Similar to the UX301LA.

      • Andrei Girbea

        October 21, 2016 at 3:45 am

        Not really imo, it’s a follow-up of the UX303 series, the UX301 was a more premium entry at its time.

  4. SG

    September 4, 2016 at 11:46 am

    im going to replace my old Zenbook 15″ with a smaller one and this sounds good. im still wondering because it has only a dual core processor. The current one has a quad core. my mbpr (late 2014 /13″/i5) has dual core and it is so slow compared my zenbook, i7/quad core.

    however… i wonder if this is any better than asus ux303ub/uq? it has i7 dual core skylake but also 940M/X dgpu. zenbook3 has only intel gpu.

    has they all have a yellow keyboard? or was it with that colour combination?

    when under heavy cpu usage, does it really be so cool? under 50C?? (from bottom?)

    • Andrei Girbea

      September 4, 2016 at 1:05 pm

      Do you play games? If yes, the 940MX in the UX303UB would make sense, if not, then no.

      All have yellow back-lightning from what I can tell, but the keys’ color differs for each model: gold, silver and blue.

      I was a little surprised of the temperatures myself, especially those under load. But that’s what I got on this test model.

  5. Transcend

    September 4, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    Is it confirmed that there would be no Thunderbolt 3 on the final (Kaby Lake) version ? That would be a deal breaker for me…

    • Andrei Girbea

      September 5, 2016 at 3:09 am

      I’m not 100% sure, but all the signs point to a lack of TB3 on that model as well

      • Jim Stern

        September 26, 2016 at 6:49 am

        Thunderbolt 3 is go boys, buckle up.

      • Andrei Girbea

        September 26, 2016 at 10:12 am

        source please?

      • Jim Stern

        September 26, 2016 at 11:18 pm

        We have confirmation, TB3 is a go!

      • Andrei Girbea

        September 27, 2016 at 3:38 am

        DO you have a source for that?

      • Jim Stern

        September 27, 2016 at 4:04 am

        I hope I’m not dreaming, I was brokenhearted when you informed me it would likely not have it — keeping my hopes up now!!

      • Andrei Girbea

        September 27, 2016 at 6:41 am

        Hmmmm, I’ll ask about that

      • Jim Stern

        September 27, 2016 at 7:07 am

        This changes many things for me if true Andrea, I’m a gamer, so having the option of hacking some use out of the Razer Core would be great.

      • Andrei Girbea

        September 27, 2016 at 9:22 am

        True, But that’s the only source mentioning TB3 that I know of. Any idea where was that from? IFA?

  6. Felix

    September 11, 2016 at 8:54 pm

    Between this and the Dell XPS15, which would you recommend? I think I’m leaning towards Dell, mostly because for the same price points the Dell seems better, but I’m not sure…

    • Andrei Girbea

      September 12, 2016 at 3:32 am

      I can’t see how you’d compare these two, they have nothing in common at all. to put it simply, if you want a portable large screen device, then get the XPS. This Zenbook is an ultraportable and that means smaller form factor, smaller screen, smaller battery, ULV processor, etc.

  7. Ashley G.

    September 15, 2016 at 6:07 pm

    Brilliant review as always, but I was wondering if you could help steer me into the right path in regards to buying an ultra portable.

    I begin University on the 26th of September and as such would prefer to have one by then, but I’m prepared to wait a few weeks for the Zenbook 3 as it impresses me so much.

    My questions to you, Andrie, are:

    – Would this Laptop be ideal for University life i.e. constant commutes, excessive typing of documents

    – If you could recommend some other Ultra portables around the same price which would compete against this, what would they be?

    p.s Extra credit for linking me to your reviews of said competitors

    • Andrei Girbea

      September 16, 2016 at 4:43 am

      Well, battery life could be a concern, and if you want something that could last for 8+ hours of casual daily use you should look at some of the larger 13-inchers, like the Dell XPS 13 or the Asus Zenbook UX306. They are a bit bigger and heavier, but still portable imo.

  8. Marilyn

    September 18, 2016 at 12:26 am

    Is there any word on when this will be available for purchase in the US?

  9. Francis

    September 25, 2016 at 11:19 am

    How would you stack up with the HP Spectre? Which is currently the thinnest laptop currently.

    Please me know what your thoughts are.

    • Andrei Girbea

      September 25, 2016 at 5:11 pm

      I haven’t reviewed the Spectre, but from the reviews I’ve read, I’m not a fan. I don’t see the point in having a thin laptop as long as it has a big footprint, which is the case with the Spectre. The Zenbook is a lot more compact, packs similar hardware and while its battery is smaller, the battery life isn’t that bad. So for me it just makes more sense as an ultraportable, but its 12-inch screen might be just to small for some users.

      If you want a 13-incher, I think the Dell XPS 13 is a better pick than the Spectre. Yes, a little thicker and heavier, but also smaller and with a much later battery, plus a matte screen or a touchscreen.

  10. Avi

    September 28, 2016 at 8:46 pm

    Great review Andrei

    I am very excited about this laptop and started seeing that is available for presale in the US.

    One question, does the mouse have the option for infinite one finger scrolling?(chiral scrolling)


    • Andrei Girbea

      September 29, 2016 at 5:34 am

      never tried it, however it’s a pretty standard microsoft precision trackpad though so I’m inclined to say no? Look it up

  11. Devin

    September 29, 2016 at 8:35 am

    I think it doesn’t support 4K@60Hz output, correct?

    It makes hardware-decoding HEVC main10 meaningless

    • Andrei Girbea

      September 29, 2016 at 8:44 am

      I think it doesn’t over USB-C , I don’t have an USB-C to HDMI dongle so haven’t tried it out. Not sure if it does via WiDi though.

  12. Holden

    September 29, 2016 at 2:19 pm

    hi, I’ll used it for editing videos, photo,, photoshop, premier, etc, heavy projects, connecting it to a external display, It will be appropriate for use?


    • Andrei Girbea

      September 30, 2016 at 4:18 am

      Not really imo. First of all, this is much thinner than the regular ultraportable, so the processor might throttle due to reaching the temperature limits. So I’d go with something a little bigger, like the Dell XPS 13, Razer Blade Stealth, Lenovo Thinkpad X260, etc.

      Also, keep in mind these are all built on Core U processors, which are not really meant for that kind of tasks. Still, if you want an ultraportable, a Core i7 U in a laptop with good cooling is the best you can get. Just make sure not to have over-expectations.

  13. Andrei Girbea

    October 8, 2016 at 6:31 am

    A quick update for those of you following this thread.

    I’ve got my hands on the Kaby Lake Core i7-7500U version of this laptop and I’ve updated the Performance, emissions and battery life sections based on the experience with this more recent version that’s similar to what’s available in stores.

    I also added some details about the adapter included in the pack, the fingerprint sensor on the trackpad and confirmed there’s no Thunderbolt 3 on the Kaby Lake model either.

    Let me know if you have any more questions.

  14. Alexis

    October 12, 2016 at 5:41 pm

    Hi Andrei,

    Thanks for the great review! Is this laptop already in stores?? I live in the Netherlands and so far I haven’t seen it in shops. Where did you get your Kaby Lake one you mention above?

    Best regards!

    • Andrei Girbea

      October 12, 2016 at 6:00 pm

      Both my units were loaners from Asus. It’s starting to pop-out in stores in some regions, I’m seeing a top config listed on for instance. I’d expect to see more in the weeks to come.

  15. Jemma

    October 13, 2016 at 12:22 pm

    Thanks for this review, it’s helped me clarify most of my doubts and leaves me with just one question: how exactly rose is the rose gold model? I saw one of the other Asus laptops labelled “rose gold” (can’t remember which one exactly) and to me it looked more like grey, with a metallic shade to it. I’ve looked carefully at the pictures above but still am not sure. Would you describe the colour as pink, or at least does it get more recognisably so when the keyboard backlighting is turned on?

  16. Shehab

    October 14, 2016 at 8:58 am

    Can i use this laptop for civil engineering

  17. Wes

    October 16, 2016 at 3:15 am

    Hi, whats a good laptop 13″ that has i7, 512gb ssd and 16gb ram. I have a max budget of 1500 usd. No need for dedicated video card. Is there such a laptop that fits my budget? Thanks!

  18. Graziano

    October 19, 2016 at 4:52 am

    Asus Zenbook 3 UX390UAK vs. Dell XPS 13. What is our choice?
    I am in the Philippines. The Zenbook 3 is available. It has better RAM (16GB), better hard disk (512GB) and better weight.
    The XPS 13 KabyLake is not yet available. The Skylake is avaialble in two versions: i7 (with 4k touchscreen but I would prefer matted) and the i5 (with matted screen). Better screen, better ports, better battery but lower processor, less RAM (8GB), less storage (256GB) and heavier. Tough choice. Your preference?

    • Andrei Girbea

      October 20, 2016 at 5:05 am

      Depends on the king of software you’re running.

      Case1: with regular use, both will work fine, but the XPS 13’s fan will remain switched off most of the time, while the fan on the Zenbook will kick on more often.
      Case2: with demanding apps, the Zenbook will throttle more often than the XPS.

      personally I’m on the XPS because I like a computer that’s able to run fanless with daily tasks, has a decent IO and a larger battery, and I’d rather sacrifice the portability to some extent to get these. But that’s just me.

      • Graziano

        October 21, 2016 at 5:49 am

        Thanks for the comment. I expected that you would recommend XPS 13. Would you recommend it even with the current Skylake version, i5, 8GB RAM and only 256 of storage over the latest Zenbook 3? Or should I wait for the KabyLake version? I am running sometime statistics software with large data files and I thought that a better processor and better RAM like the one of Zenbook 3 would make the difference. Thanks for your excellent review.

      • Andrei Girbea

        October 21, 2016 at 10:24 am

        The issue is the processor throttles on the Zenbook with high loads, so it’s not running at the best of its abilities. That’s why I consider the XPS the better pick for continuous loads.

      • Shirley Dulcey

        November 7, 2016 at 3:46 pm

        The Kaby Lake version of the XPS 13 is now available. So there is no longer a need to wait for that. You will pay more for a Dell to get equivalent specs, but in exchange you get a smaller package – the lid of the XPS is nearly all screen.

  19. Cédric

    October 24, 2016 at 4:56 am

    Hi Andrei,

    Thanks for this review.

    You refereed to the XPS 9360 Kaby Lake. I've just got mine and as many people, I get a coil whine issue. I'm very disappointed because the hardware configuration was just perfect and without any equivalence. Do you think all models of XPS 9360 are involved or just some of them? Few month ago I already sent back to Dell a 9350 because it came with many dead pixel directly out of the box… So I'm wondering about the Dell general quality.

    About this UX390, unfortunately, the glossy screen and the weak battery life exclude it from my replacement choice.


    • Andrei Girbea

      October 24, 2016 at 3:04 pm

      The XPS 9350 that I personally tested didn't suffer from much coil whine and my own XPS 9343 shows no trace of it at all, but there are some many complains about this issue that I'm thinking it might be tough to get one that doesn't whine. Not sure fi it's possible, but perhaps you can ask for replacements till you get one that doesn't?

  20. Shirley Dulcey

    October 29, 2016 at 12:38 am

    So far, ASUS has not chosen to make the 4GB configuration available in the US. Given current trends with laptops here it's not likely that they will; laptops that sell for $500 or more nearly all pack at least 8GB now. The two available versions: i5-7200U, 8GB RAM, and 256GB SSD for $1099; and i7-7500U, 16GB RAM, and 512GB SSD for $1599.

  21. Max

    November 4, 2016 at 3:40 am

    Andrei, I wanted to ask how was it in terms of attracting finger prints? I know the Royal Blue is an absolute finger print magnet, but I don't know how bad is the model you tested which is Rose Gold.

    • Andrei Girbea

      November 7, 2016 at 3:33 pm

      Well, they're still visible on the hood, but I don't think they're that annoying on the Gold or Silver versions. You can try to find another silver Zenbook somewhere and see how you feel about the prints on that one, it's going to be fairly similar on the UX390

  22. Lee

    November 12, 2016 at 2:25 pm

    Hi there,

    Which one would you recommend for me – This one or the XPS13?

    It seems with this one I'll get the same specs as the XPS13 for a lower pice? (I intend to get the 16GB RAM and I7 on either machine)

    It seems that this machine is a better deal but for some reason the XPS13 has gotten higher ratings on almost every website I visit – there must be a reason.

    So yeah I'm stuck between this Zenbook and XPS 13 – would really appreciate your help in deciding! If you've got a suggestion other than these 2 machines please let me know.

    My budget is $1000-$3000 and I'm looking for something like these two – lightweight, aesthetic and powerful.

    Thanks a lot!

    • Andrei Girbea

      November 13, 2016 at 6:16 am

      I'd pick the XPS for a few reasons: bigger matte screen, better IO, larger battery, better performance under high loads, more configurations available

      Like I said in the article, the UX390 is the one to take if you absolutely must have the thinnest and lightest computer, cause otherwise there are compromises involved with the form factor

      • Lee

        November 14, 2016 at 5:43 am

        Thanks Andrei – I will go for the XPS. Thanks for helping me decide!

  23. Lorenzo

    November 24, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    Hi Andrej,

    great post as always. You were fundamental in my purchasing the current Asus UX31A back in 2012 so i review your posts before making any decision!

    I am looking to upgrade ultrabook as i pass this to my colleague.
    My needs and usage are mostly office based. I tend to use Microsoft office suite as well as browsing all with multiple windows open at the same time. Heavy excel use and outlook use, google drive, financial analytics software and collaborative tools. Some skype conference calling and video streaming but of secondary importance. 95% of the time i need to hook up my ultrabook to an external screen and with this one ideally hook it up to two/three external screens. My battery/portable usage is very limited however i cherish the ultrabook portability for when i travel/have to work on planes (I always travel very light). Of the UX31A the main complaint i have is that it has a very small HD 256 (partitioned so the windows partition is only 100GB which encounters problems) and that when solicited it has happened the keyboard has unscrewed from the motherboard which requires opening up the computer).

    So, I have the following questions:

    1. Which processor should I go for? And is it worth waiting for the Kaby Lake Core H (if they even make them for ultrabooks!)?
    2. Given I most often use an external screen, is the difference between this 12.5inch and the 13+ inch really that big vs. the added weight saving benefit?
    3. I am concerned in daily use as described above the fan will be annoying. The ultrabook usually sits next to my screen.
    4. Will this ultrabook perform well and have the ports necessary to hook up an external screen and what max resolution can be supported by the graphics card?
    5. 1x USB is way too little, is there an adaptor and have the issues you have identified been solved?
    6. When will this be available in the US and will they make a 1TB SSD version?
    7. One of the reasons I like this ultrabook is build quality and sturdiness (vs. others who look/feel more plastic). However, should I look at the Dell XPS instead?!
    Thanks SO MUCH for your help!
    My best,

    • Andrei Girbea

      November 24, 2016 at 4:09 pm

      Hi, thanks for the kind words.

      1. Kaby lake is mostly intended for full size multimedia and gaming laptops, I don't think they'll put those in ultraportables, but that doesn't mean I couldn't be wrong. A kaby Lake Core i5 or i7 U should do fine for your needs, but preferably with 16 GB of RAM to handle that heavy excel work.
      2. I'd say no
      3. Yes, that's something to keep in mind. But, the thing is most ultraportables will get noisy with heavy loads, and what you're describing seems quite heavy. You'll have to choose between portability and fan noise at the end of the day though, since a thin and compact chassis means less space inside and thus a smaller fan that needs to spin faster.
      4. I'm inclined to say it's not the best options, due to the limited IO. I'd look at something with a Thunderbolt 3 port (Spectre x360 13, Dell XPS 13) which can run 4K screens and 60 Hz and is compatible with external docking stations.
      5. There are adapters, but you'll still be limited by what the port can do and the fact that it doesn't support TB3 functionality.
      6. It is already available, not sure about the 1 TB version. One should be available though, and there's always the option to upgrade the SSD yourself or in a specialized shop
      7. I would say yes, the XPS is better suited for your needs. Make sure you read reviews (our here on the site and others from actual buyers, on forums and stores) it has some issues and it's best you'll know what to expect before buying.

      Hope this helps.

  24. Nathan Thompson

    December 3, 2016 at 12:43 am

    I might suggest you upgrade to i1 Display Pro since you are using Spyder4Elite that it may not be as good as i1 Display Pro? I don't mind if you don't upgrade its up to you but its pretty good, much better than what Spyder deliver. I use i1 Display Pro since and that was the best hardware I had.

    • Andrei Girbea

      December 3, 2016 at 7:05 am

      You're right, the i1 is better and I was planning on upgrading for a while. Kind of expensive over here though, but it's on the to do list.

  25. Claudiu Angrlo

    December 4, 2016 at 9:40 am

    Hi, Salut,
    Its possible to upgrade the ssd space or changed to another bigger?
    I7 its a must or i5 are ok for a every day averge user?
    Tx in advance
    P.s. I want to by for my wifr for xmass

    • Andrei Girbea

      December 4, 2016 at 2:56 pm

      Yes, you can replace the SSD with a bigger one of the same tipe: M.2 90 mm SSD. There are details and pictures in the hardware section.

  26. Hans

    December 5, 2016 at 6:24 am

    Hi Andrei,
    Thanks for this excellent review as well as for all the other reviews that you posted over the years!

    I'm currently looking which ultrabook I should buy so your detailed reviews are just right for me!

    Considering alternatives I was wondering if the Lenovo 710s would be a viable option. It's very light and small with nice small bezels (I think it's even smaller than the xps13), and the other specs seem to be OK as well, it's getting excellent reviews and the price is very competitive.

    Did you look at the Lenovo 710s sofar or is there some deal breaker that I missed.

    I'm very curious to hear about your opinion!

    Best regards en keep up the good work!


    • Andrei Girbea

      December 5, 2016 at 9:13 am

      Hi, I've heard good things about the Lenovo 710s, but I haven't personally touched it so I can't formulate a proper opinion on it. Look at the reviews on and some user reviews on online stores. It's not smaller than the XPS and it's not actually in the same league either, but it's much cheaper.

  27. Qasim

    December 20, 2016 at 8:39 pm

    Hi Andrei btw great review it was very helpful to me, i am going to buy the i7 variant and i have my last concern about the connectivity cuz i have a 4k monitor and i want to know if this laptop with its 5gbs 3.1 usbc can handle it?

    • Andrei Girbea

      December 22, 2016 at 5:27 am

      As far as I know a 4K monitor will only be supported at 30 Hz.

  28. Spede

    December 20, 2016 at 11:50 pm

    Hi Andrei,

    I wanted to ask something about charging : do you know if it's somehow possible to charge the battery by connecting it to the USB hub (instead of directly into the single USB-C port) ? And with other devices connected to the hub ?

    I'm asking because I know there are both charging and (IIRC) chaining features with USB rev. 3.1, however wonder if it could work the way I described it above.

    The purpose would be to mitigate the need to charge the computer and use a USB device at the same time.

    Thanks for any insight you could provide.

    • Andrei Girbea

      December 22, 2016 at 5:28 am

      As far as I know right now, you can onyl charge this laptop with the included charger so a dock won't work. I'm not 100% sure on this though

  29. Adrian

    December 30, 2016 at 5:55 pm

    Hi Andrei!
    After reading your review I decided to go and get the i5 version. Works like a charm, I like it quite much, but I found something that's a bit annoying.

    When I want to use the functions assigned to F1-F12 keys (like Mute, Volume Up/Down, Brightness -/+, etc) I need to press Fn key + one of those keys… Given the design (the volume up/down icons are larger than the actual f1-f12 letters) shouldn't it work like the keyboard on the MacBook, where you just press the key and the volume goes up/down? (On MacBook, if you want to refresh a page for example you press Fn + F5. )

    Let me know if only my version acts like this or all of them.. Do you know a workaround for this issue?


    • Andrei Girbea

      December 31, 2016 at 8:27 am

      Try hitting Fn+ESC, that does the trick on my XPS. If not, there might be a way to tweak that from BIOS.

  30. Graham Dixon

    January 9, 2017 at 6:59 pm

    Do not buy the ASus Zenbook 3. Seems Asus sent you a perfectly working modelto review. I purchased one on Saturday and to be honest nothing works, even after installing updates.

    I have been to Windows (10) to rectify these problems and most of them are Check BIOS Settings and Chipset drivers and or run Troubleshooter which also does not work, alter the registry. Cannot find external CD, DVD, Memory Sticks etc, using Control panel it cannot even see the devices.

    The additional docking device they promise is available cannot be purchased.

    All in all this computer is a piece of unusable junk.

    Do not buy in Malaysia as there is no warranty or guarantee to return useless products like this.

    Perhaps you would let other prospective purchasers know.

    Best Wishes

    Graham Dixon

  31. Graziano Battistella

    January 17, 2017 at 7:09 am

    Sorry to hear about Dixon's experience. I bought the Zenbook 3 UX390 and it works perfectly. I perhaps regret I did not wait enough as the UX490 should be available in May and it will address most of the shortcomings of the UX390: it will have a larger monitor (14") while maintaining portability; it will have three type-C ports instead of one, and two of them thunderbolt; it will have better keyboard (1.2 mmm instead of 0.8); it will have a better cooling system. At least this is what I read from the presentation in Las Vegas. I will be curious to read the review.

  32. Lee Kah Fei

    May 10, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    Hi Andrei,

    I am planning to get the UX390 i5 version but i am concern about the issue of the poor performance when you plug in the adapter for expanding the IO ports. You were saying after expanding the IO ports with the adapter the performance was even poorer as compared to using it on battery right? You were concerned this issue could be more widespread also right? Any updates if this issue has been resolved already?

    Below was your comment when you reviewed the unit:

    "A final aspect I would like to mention here regards the IO adapter included in the pack. You can hook up the laptop to the wall-socket through this adapter if you also plan to use the USB or HDMI ports at the same time, however performance under load is very poor in this case (see the pic in the Batter section down below) and even performance with daily multitasking will suffer. In fact, it was poorer than the performance measured on battery in our tests, so there’s a fair chance something was wrong with our adapter. Could be a more widespread issue though, so you’d better test it on your unit."

    • Andrei Girbea

      May 11, 2017 at 3:52 am

      That was my experience with that sample. You might want to look into the matter and see if final retail units perform the same or not. I don't have any updates on the matter.

      • Lee Kah Fei

        May 11, 2017 at 5:00 am

        Ok noted and thanks for your advice Andrei :)

  33. Lee Kah Fei

    May 13, 2017 at 10:01 pm

    Hi Andrei,

    May i know what is the procedure of doing a clean install of the Windows as you mentioned in the review if I were to get rid of all the preinstalled bloated softwares?

  34. Caroline

    July 8, 2017 at 5:44 am

    Hi Andrei and everyone,
    I hope you would help me to give the best advance.
    I'm comparing this asus ux390 with asus ux303ub.
    I will be using this laptop for daily use only and im looking for the light weight laptop.
    Which one is more suitable for those kind of needs?

    • Andrei Girbea

      July 8, 2017 at 3:06 pm

      The UX303UB is bigger, heavier, gets dedicated graphics (for games, no use otherwise), lasts longer on a charge (bigger battery) and has more ports. If portability is your main concern, the UX390 is the better choice here, but I'd also look at something like the LG Gram 13 and Dell XPS 13

      • caroline

        July 9, 2017 at 10:44 pm

        Hi Andrei,
        thankyou for the advice, i am going to buy the i7 variant and i have my last concern about performance if i'm using virtual machine in this notebook. would it still working perfectly smooth or it would be a troublesome? because i might be using this notebook for daily use and sometimes will be using for VM too.

        Best Regards,

      • Andrei Girbea

        July 10, 2017 at 4:00 am

        Well, that's one more thing to consider. A core i7 is going to get hot on a laptop as thin as this one and that means that in demanding loads it can throttle (run at lower speeds than it could). I noticed small amounts of throttling with the test unit, so it's not a major concern, but something to consider.

      • caroline

        July 11, 2017 at 12:23 am

        Hi Andrei,
        so it would be better if i go for i5 to get more stability and reduce the throttle? i might use the virtual machine once in a while and using this machine for office daily use with some editing document, with youtube on the background usually.

      • Andrei Girbea

        July 11, 2017 at 2:41 am

        Ah, you should be fine if If you'll only push this hard occasionally. The i5 is an option for daily use, but I'd get 16 GB of RAM on this of those times when you'll run the virtual machine, and you might only get this paired with the i7. If you can find an i5 with 16 GB of RAM though, that would be my pick.

  35. Tina

    July 11, 2017 at 9:57 am

    Hi Andrei, I want to get a laptop soon for university and wouldn't really know where to start. I have an unlimited budget and I'd like something reliable that I could not only do a lot of work on but also be able to do some light gaming on it as well as some video editing here and there. I'm wanting something that doesn't get too hot and has good brightness as my eyes struggle in lower brightness. A laptop that would last at least 8 hours and be medium sized, as in 13-14 inches. There are too many reviews and options out there and people have different experiences with them. I just want something slim, reliable that doesn't get too hot or make funny noises and that would last through a day. I'm not planning on taking it places but it would be great it if was under 2kg. Thanks. x

    • Andrei Girbea

      July 11, 2017 at 10:40 am

      Hi Tina.

      What does "light gaming" mean? List some of the games that you'd want to play.

      Also, it would help to known where are you from, as there are a lot of options that are not available worldwide.

      • Tina

        July 12, 2017 at 5:47 am

        Hi, thank you for yout reply, by light gaming I just meant the sims4 really. I am in UK and was looking at Dell XPS15 or Asus Zenbook 3 deluxe or something along those lines, I wouldn't mind something less powerful as long as it is quite slim and has at least 8GB ram. I really like the looks of Asus zenbooks but love the specs and performance on dell xps 15. Also, I don't like the fact that Asus only comes with one usb port and i'd need a hub.Can you recomment something that would last at least 8 hours with similar specs of those two laptops? Thanks x

      • Andrei Girbea

        July 12, 2017 at 7:56 am

        The thing is no laptop that's slim will last 8 hours of actual daily use use, as in order to make devices thin and light OEMs have to cut on the battery. That being said, you could consider something like the Asus Zenbook UX430, it's a solid package for a good price and it's available in some UK shops. The latest XPS 13 is also a fairly good option if you opt for the variant with the FHD matte screen, the Zenbook UX330 and LG Gram 13 are others. You'll find reviews for all of thee here on the site.

        The trick imo is to opt for a laptop with a Core U processor, a 1920 x 1080 px screen and as battery as big as possible (preferably 55 Wh or bigger).

        The XPS 15 can be configured with a big battery, but comes with a faster processor that requires more energy and a higher resolution screen.

        If you absolutely want a bigger battery in a small package you can also consider something like the Lenovo ThinkPad T470s / Thinkpad X270 or Dell latitude 5280/5480 which you can configure with a bigger battery, but will protrude on the back.

        I have a list of very thin options here: , perhaps you can find something else that would spark your interest. It doesn't include details on battery size, but you can match the results with those in this list:

  36. vale

    December 27, 2017 at 7:50 pm

    Hi! Im vale from Argentina. Im not that good at english but I try my best to make my question clear.
    I have just bought ASUS ZenBook UX390UA 12.5 and I wonder about how hot it gets. I read this post (I tried to understand it as much as I can) but I am not that sure if it is normal that this computer gets hot in the right side. Is that ok?

  37. Dan

    January 4, 2018 at 1:40 pm

    Thank you so much it's far and away the best review on the web. One question, has a new Asus now appeared that has all this just better? Unlimited budget. Thanks again….

    • Andrei Girbea

      January 4, 2018 at 2:53 pm

      There's no update of this series, but there are some newer configurations.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *