Asus Zenbook 3 UX390UAK (UX390UA series) review – is this THE ultraportable of this generation?

92 Comments

  1. 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.

  2. 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 :)

  3. 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?

  4. 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.

  5. 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: https://www.ultrabookreview.com/4219-the-lightest-ultrabooks/ , 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: https://www.ultrabookreview.com/11638-intel-kabylake/

  6. 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?

  7. 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.

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