Asus Zenbook S13 UX391 UA/FA review – flagship Zenbook for 2018


  1. Aleksey

    June 7, 2018 at 3:41 pm

    Hi Andrei!

    Notebookcheck preview shows huge throttling.

    Can you investigate that a bit and see if undervolting helps?

    • Aleksey

      June 7, 2018 at 3:42 pm

    • Andrei Girbea

      June 7, 2018 at 4:18 pm

      Mine did not throttle badly, you can see the hwinfo logs in the article . I had the i5 though, the i7 might not do that well.

  2. Graziano Battistella

    June 13, 2018 at 1:27 pm

    My concern is the keyboard. I have the Zenbook 3 UX390 and I am disappointed with that keyboard. Is the keyboard of the Zenbook S UX391 much better or not? If not, what would you recommend? How is the keyboard of the Matebook XPro? I read the X1 Carbon has the best keyboard but it is very expensive. Thanks.

    • Andrei Girbea

      June 14, 2018 at 9:13 am

      The keyboard on the UX391 is better imo, but I was also quite happy with the low travel keyboard on the UX390. Haven't got my hands on the Matebook yet, the Huawei laptops are not available over here.

  3. miki

    June 13, 2018 at 5:25 pm

    Thanks for the review. I was extremely happy Asus finally switched power/delete button. However, on all official images and various YT reports, power button is still the last one (like with all Asus models). Strange…


  4. Graziano Battistella

    June 20, 2018 at 12:51 pm

    Sorry to bother again. I am curious, why did Dell abandon the keyboard tilting design of the Adamo XPS? Is it because customers were not happy? Is it because with that design the laptop is not very stable? Because the tilting of the display has to go all the way back? Before buying, I am a little concern with that innovative design. Thanks.

    • Andrei Girbea

      June 20, 2018 at 3:40 pm

      I found this kind of hinge pretty stable on both this Zenbook and the Vivobook that I tested earlier. My only concern would be that the small rubber feet that the screen rests on will wear off in time.

      • Graziano Battistella

        September 8, 2018 at 10:13 am

        I bought the Zenbook S three or four weeks ago. Unfortunately, what I feared, has materialized. After tilting the monitor back, the right side corner of the laptop does not touch the desk, it remains a little higher, and it is worsening with use. There must be a hinge problem. Very disappointed. Can it be fixed?

      • Andrei Girbea

        September 10, 2018 at 1:03 pm

        I don't think so. Poor quality control on your unit. My test unit sit stable on all its legs. I'd ask for an exchange.

  5. Will

    July 15, 2018 at 4:53 pm


    I just noticed something very strange. Your model has an air intake vent on the bottom, while notebookchecks does not, why is this?

    And could you check if the thunderbolt is 4x with full bandwidth?


    • Andrei Girbea

      July 17, 2018 at 11:26 am

      Good questions. Mine was preproduction, perhaps they decided to opt for taking it out on the final units, which could explain he throttling issues. Should further look into it.

  6. Kevin

    July 17, 2018 at 1:37 am

    Is this laptop good enough for photo editing? I'm using Lightroom for photo edit.
    But I don't know if the i7-8550U can handle the job or not? Or should look for a notebook with normal voltage cpu?

    • Andrei Girbea

      July 17, 2018 at 11:27 am

      I'd look at a standard-voltage CPU laptop if possible.

  7. one

    August 31, 2018 at 12:20 pm

    Good review.
    One thing I would like to know is compatibility with egpu. Helped my friend with his prev zenbook pro ux501 which was frustratingly difficult. Was able to plug akitio node and asus xg station to a xps 9560, but zenbook simply refused (at the same time we were not that techie ourselves 😬). I thought xg being an asus should have worked but nope

    • Andrei Girbea

      August 31, 2018 at 1:05 pm

      I don't have an eGPU, so never tested that out. Doug has one and he might have tested it on the Zenbook UX550. Not the same laptop, but still an Asus, so I'll ask him about it.

      • One

        August 31, 2018 at 1:06 pm

        Thank You VM. Not much articles about asus laptops with egpu variants

      • Andrei Girbea

        August 31, 2018 at 1:29 pm

        Doug says his Mantiz Venus worked fine with the Zenbook UX550VE. Of course, that's no guarantee this Zenbook S will work as smoothly, especially since it's a different hardware platform, but I'd reckon it might… Sry I can't be of more assistance. You could also drop a question in this article and perhaps some of the people still following the comments could help more:

    • Mauro Palmeira

      December 5, 2018 at 3:10 am

      So, just to update if someone is thinking about the Asus UX391UA to pair with an eGPU.

      This laptop just do not work with many eGPUs. This laptop do not work the Mantiz Venus and also does not work with Asus own Rog XG Station 2.

      I RMA this laptop to Asus so that they try to fix an on and off problem (connecting and disconnecting). They couldn't, and told me that this laptop is not compatible with the Mantiz Venus and also with the Rog XG Station 2 they tested with. They say that the laptop is only guarantee compatible with the XG Station Pro.

      So, if someone reading this is thinking about the Asus UX391UA to pair with an eGPU, don't do it, it just won't work.

  8. Stanley Lee

    September 16, 2018 at 6:23 pm

    Hi, does UX491 UA/FA support 4x PCIe lanes for Thunderbolt 3 port? And does it support OPI 4GT/s Mode?

    • Andrei Girbea

      September 17, 2018 at 12:27 pm

      Unfortunately I forgot to check at the time of the article. I'd expect they're 2x PCIe each, so OPI 2GT/s, but I could be wrong. Perhaps you can contact Asus support and ask them about it, hopefully they'll have a proper answer

      • Stanley Lee

        September 18, 2018 at 10:25 am

        Thanks for your reply, Andrei.

  9. John Doughboy

    September 21, 2018 at 9:19 am

    No one seems to have addressed this but I am concerned about how the ergolift will work if there isn't enough desk space for all the feet. What happens if three quarters of the laptop is on a desk and the other quarter is jutting off the edge? What about half on half off? Does the whole laptop slide down and go crashing to the floor? What about if the back is hanging off an edge? Will it flip backwards and go crashing as well? Also am not sure how to hold the laptop in one hand. Usually you can just wrap your fingers around the back on a normal laptop and support it fully. If you do that with this laptop there will be a large gap and any hand movements will move the screen on its hinge. I am also concerned about the typing angle. The recently announced ux333/ux433/ux533 look to have a reasonable typing angle increase, but the ux391 typing angle seems awkwardly huge?

    • Andrei Girbea

      September 21, 2018 at 2:54 pm

      Most laptops are unstable if they don't sit on all their feet, although designs with long feet like the XPS 13 are the exception.

      Now, this design is probably not for everyone and not necessarily the best either. Should work for most people who just keep their laptop on a desk or on the lap/legs, I think it's going to work just fine. And the angle is actually fine, this laptop is small and I'd reckon that makes it look bigger than it actually is. I worry about QC control though, which could cause the front feet and the back hinge to be misaligned, as someone else already mentioned in the comments.

  10. DimTm

    October 12, 2018 at 9:44 pm

    "with good brightness" – Max brightness in the middle of the screen: 285 cd/m2 on power;
    You think that brightness is good ?

    I will remind you
    Brightness Dell XPS 13 9370 => 399
    Huawei MateBook X Pro 495 cd/m²
    Macbook pro 13 2018 495 cd/m2

    • Andrei Girbea

      October 13, 2018 at 11:00 am

      Perhaps "good" is a bit of an overstatement, but it's above average, and if you kept reading, I mentioned our sensor detects lower levels, so in reality it's at about 300 nits. Yes, there are brighter options out there, but the XPS 13 is the only real alternative, as the others you mentioned have a glass layer and/or are more expensive.

      • DimTm

        October 14, 2018 at 2:20 am

        OK . All the same, compared the older generation it's not good . For example Zenbook UX303LN has been 344 cd/m². Unfortunately asus regressed

      • Andrei Girbea

        October 15, 2018 at 11:51 am

        You're right, but personally I find a 300-nits matte panel good enough for everyday use, even in brighter light. I'd guess it's up to each of us to decide on their threshold.

  11. Shaw X. Tan

    December 31, 2018 at 7:33 pm

    "USB-C only" is a Pro to me. I completely moved away from other variants of USB a few years ago – yes it's possible without dongles, just invest in some new cables and accessories! I sold my Kindle Paperwhite because it doesn't have a USB-C, and I won't buy a new one until it does.

    My Sonic toothbrush charges with a Qi wireless charging pad which has a USB-C connector. I did a few mods to gadgets too, including an alarm clock is now using standard USB-C PD charger happily. I'm considering a beautiful coffee scale (, because it has a USB-C for charging and temperature readings.

    I wouldn't buy the new laptops ASUS announced this year, because they put the ugly USB-A back.

  12. Minh

    September 7, 2019 at 6:23 am

    Link to the calibrated display profile is not working – can you fix it?

    Thanks a lot!

    • Andrei Girbea

      September 9, 2019 at 9:45 am

      Looks like I didn't save the profile for the laptop, sry for the inconvenience.

  13. First Last

    November 16, 2019 at 5:33 pm

    The UX391FA with the 8565U is a big improvement over the UX391UA you reviewed, I've tested both. The UX391FA has a semi-passive fan that is turned off most of the time and only turns on under high heat, and turns back off again very quickly. You can also set a silent fan profile in the MyASUS app that limits the max RPM to extremely quiet levels without lowering boost TDP. It also boosts to a much higher TDP and the screen is excellent in the 4K touch version. My 4K screen has a JDI (Japan Display) IPS panel (model JDI LPM133M385A) with an incredible 1600:1 contrast ratio measured with my Spyder5. Also 100% sRGB but Adobe RGB is just average so it's not wide gamut. However, it has the best black level of any IPS I have ever seen and peak brightness is high too. I was extremely surprised at the JDI panel since they usually make high end IPS displays for Apple and Zenbooks are very hit and miss when it comes to panel quality. Maybe I got lucky, though the ZenBook S 4K version is considered a flagship ultrabook product too…

    I also compared to the UX392 and found the UX391FA to be much better despite that the UX392 has two fans. The UX392 has loud fans that are always active, yet the UX391 performed better with it's one semi-passive fan. It boosted to a higher TDP and also kept a high TDP in silent fan profile, while the UX392 cripped performance with a 5W CPU TDP in silent fan profile.

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