Asus ZenBook S13 review (UX392FN – Core i7, MX150)


  1. Mopy

    April 15, 2019 at 6:23 pm

    How is ASUS Ergolift different from the Dell Adamo XPS from circa 2009? They seem very similar to me.

    • Andrei Girbea

      April 15, 2019 at 9:19 pm

      They are fairly similar, of course with the refinements of 10 years of technology advance

  2. Ameen

    April 16, 2019 at 8:38 pm

    Hey man, thanks for this great review
    I was thinking about getting this laptop, am a programmer (spends most of the day typing) and am looking for a laptop that's really portable since I have a long way to go from home to school and back, something fairly future proof, fast and good specs i5, 8 GB ram n 256 GB storage would do to handle my work don't need a dGPU. Can you suggest any other laptop for me please? N I don't have a big budget

  3. Joel

    April 17, 2019 at 8:23 pm

    My question is, what advantages does the $1,400 ZenBook S13 (i7/MX150 Max-Q) have over $600 Huawei MateBook D (R7/Vega 10), besides being a little lighter?

    UX392FN is more on the level of HP Envy 13 and Lenovo Ideapad 14, ultrabooks with MX150 under $900. Year old premium options including MateBook X Pro 2018 or Thinkpad T480s are now available for around $1,200 and less. Considering that fact, this ZenBook is absolutely, enormously overpriced. Like most things from Asus, this is another 5/10 laptop.

    Give it a 500+ nit touchscreen option, decent ports, PCIe x4 controllers, 60+ Wh battery, usable speakers, upgradeable components, all with a non-catastrophic QC and Service record, and then we're talking $1,300+ launch price for an entry-level dGPU laptop.

    Also I fail to understand how this category is a niche, or how this is different from 20 other MX150 ZenBooks with marginally varying specs and inconsistent keyboards. Starting at $400 entry-level to $2k, the sheer number of MX150 laptops in 2019 are over dozens.

    Everything else aside though, personally the keyboard backlight alone is a deal-breaker. Curious who thought that was a funny idea, along with etching "UNSTOPPABLE" on top of an inadequate cooling system that can barely cool the world's worst performing dedicated graphics chip.

    • Andrei Girbea

      April 18, 2019 at 10:32 am

      I agree, there are other similarly specced laptops available for less. Some might even be better buys, like the MateBook X Pro, something I also mentioned in the conclusions section. The T480s only gets a 250-nits screen, and even the i5 with MX150 and 256 GB storage is around $1300 (perhaps less with sales).

      However, there are a few other things to consider:

      1. How each option actually performs in demanding loads and games, as well as their thermal/noise footprint.
      2. With this ZenBook you're also paying for the craftsmanship quality, the design, and the lightweight. If you don't care about those, that's fine, but some might.
      3. The UX392 is brand new, while those options you mentioned as alternatives are a year old. That means they come with older hardware (although that doesn't actually matter in most cases, as Kaby Lake-R and Whiskey Lake CPUs are similar), but also that the UX392 is going to get cheaper in the months to come.
      4. The ZenBook is more widely available, while some of the others are not or are more expensive outside the US, and I'm trying to weight this in the rating.

      "Give it a 500+ nit touchscreen option, decent ports, PCIe x4 controllers, 60+ Wh battery, usable speakers, upgradeable components, all with a non-catastrophic QC and Service record"

      I would sure love to see at least some of these in as many laptops, but aside from the X Pro, I'm not aware of any that checks most of them.

      All in all, I think the UX392 is a good overall laptop, hence the high rating. However, everyone should do their own research based on what they value in a computer, budget, prices and availability options in their regions, not just take for granted something that some guy writes on the Internet, even if that guy reviews 50+ laptops each year. :)

      • Joel

        April 20, 2019 at 6:05 am

        You're right of course, it is a decent laptop with certain aesthetic value.

        But $1,400 for what is presented as a flagship ultrabook with this many flaws is unjustified.

        – No TB3 ports. Even more baffling is that last gen units had them.
        – 5 hour battery life. 50 Wh is minuscule for a flagship 14" with dGPU. 70 Wh should be the very least.
        – $1,400 for non-upgradeable 8GB RAM is not cool, regardless of PC type. Either throw in a socket or cut prices.

        MateBook X Pro, Samsung NoteBook 9 15 (MX150), Thinkpad T480s (QHD 300-nit), Blade Stealth (FHD, MX150) – all these laptops check 4/5 boxes I listed above and offered 16GB RAM for <$1,500 at launch. All 4 are better alternatives to the ZenBook S13 (MX150), then and now.

        But while strictly comparing apples to apples, if I just wanted a fancy lightweight laptop with MX150, I would recommend Envy 13 over the ZenBook S13. Because it does everything the ZenBook does, only $500 cheaper.

      • Andrei Girbea

        April 21, 2019 at 12:13 pm

        1. Yes, I don't understand that either. The best explanation I could get from their PR was that they preferred to implement a dGPU instead of TB3, but the reality is that they should have implemented both.
        2. There's actually some spare room inside and they probably could have squeezed in a larger battery, but opted to use the one from the other Zenbook lines (cost saving, I guess?). 70 Wh would sure be nice, but it's unrealistic on such a thin device imo. 60 Wh on the other hand should be doable.
        3. Most thin and lights go this route these days. I don't like it either, but it's one of the culprits of miniaturization. What I don't understand is why Asus didn't' put 16 gigs on that launch configuration, that would have made it more competitive at 1400. Hopefully that will change once this gets in stores.

        I feel this could have been an even better device if Asus did not plan to make it "the thinnest laptop with dedicated graphics", and instead made it a bit thicker and heavier, but used the space for a bigger battery (60 Wh would have been realistic imo), maybe upgradeable RAM and perhaps better speakers. Thermals could have been better as well with a 2-3 mm thicker body.

        Unfortunately, I haven't reviewed most of those laptops you mentioned, as some are not available here in Europe. I agree that for someone living in the US, those are at least alternatives worth considering, if not better picks as you're saying, especially if you don't need the lightweight and fancy craftsmanship of the ZenBook. And yes, I totally agree there are better value i7/MX150 laptops out there, if value is what you're primarily looking for.

      • Jason

        July 5, 2019 at 7:17 am

        stop whining. The Dell xps 13's keyboard is garbage. Thinkpad screen is garbage and no dedicated graphics card, blade stealth looks like shit and costs more than this. matebook x pro is hardly available and chinese spyware city.

  4. Stu

    April 19, 2019 at 2:27 pm

    The screen appears to be very reflective. Is there any anti-reflective coating used?

    • Andrei Girbea

      April 19, 2019 at 3:11 pm

      there's no antiglare coating, just glass, and yes, it is reflective.

  5. Amelia

    April 20, 2019 at 2:14 pm

    Just got mine 2 days ago. Bought it to substitute my oldie asus K450. Expensive at 1800€ but totally worth it. Some month ago I was waiting for the Asus 433, but I didn't ike the fact it came with a weaker screen in terms of Nits. when news came out about this UX392, I knew I had to wait for it. It is expensive, but with a i7, 16gb ram, lightweight (for people who like me carry laptops everyday to work, it's important) and a fantastic screen one can not complain about the price.
    comparing the 433 at 1400€ I found it was worth the 400€ difference and invest in a laptop that will give great performance for a (hopefully) longer time.
    Software like Blender, runs smoothly. The fan is quiet and rarely speeds up.
    besides, it is very beautiful and the notch gives it a nice look. many people don't like it but I actually do and it is a great help to easily open the lid.

  6. DimTm

    April 20, 2019 at 11:28 pm

    Our last article, you wrote that there is a matte screen.
    13.9-inch – FHD anti-glare, 400 nits

    There a version with anti-glare or matte screen?


    • Andrei Girbea

      April 21, 2019 at 12:15 pm

      The initial details at the time the UX392 was announced mentioned an anti-glare screen, but the final product seems to be only available with a glass screen, as far as I know right now. I'm sorry for the confusion, I've updated the initial article as well.

      You should however ask the local Asus PR about it if you can, Asus have a tendency of delivering different SKUs to different regions, with or without glass screens.

  7. A.

    May 3, 2019 at 9:46 pm

    One correction: the memory works at 2133 MHz, not 2400 (as it is stated in the table containing the technical specifications). As a rule of thumb, the LPDDR3 modules work at 266 MHz less than the DDR4 ones. I.e., if the systems equipped with DDR4 run at 2400, then the ones equipped with LPDDR3 will run at 2133. This is not a rigorous engineering fact, it currently just happens to be so.

  8. Martin

    May 28, 2019 at 4:12 pm

    Amazing and detailed review!
    I have a question regarding the screen resolution. For this price point on a flagship device, I tend to expect a QHD or UHD screen option. Does the Zenbook S13 offer these choices? And does the difference in resolution translate into any real-world difference while using it? Thanks! :)

    • Andrei Girbea

      May 29, 2019 at 10:05 am

      it doesn't, but this is a small screen. Yes, you'll see the difference from a QHD/UHD to FHD on a 14-inch display, content and fonts looks smoother with the higher resolution option, but a high-res screen would also be more expensive and would take a toll on battery life, so I still think FHD is the sweet spot in the 13-14-inch segment.

    • Jason

      July 5, 2019 at 7:19 am

      show me another device with dedicated graphics with these specs or troll somewhere else. You are looking at around 1.7 to 2k for these specs with 1440p/4k.

  9. Fabrizio Degni

    July 23, 2019 at 8:39 am

    Thanks to all for the comments as well as the top notch review.
    It is priced 6999 AED in UAE… but which one is for you the best alternative to date with that ratio display?

  10. Tim

    August 31, 2019 at 2:27 pm

    I've bought this laptop some time ago and I'm trying to play watch dogs but it crashes and exits the game (in the middle of the game). I'm guessing that's because of over heating. So I was wondering if you can tell me how to undervolt my cpu and increase my fan speed (it's so quite I'm guessing it can work a lot better if allowed to run in higher speeds). Thanks for your awesome review!

    • Andrei Girbea

      September 3, 2019 at 2:19 pm

      There's no control over the fan, but you can undervolt with Throttlestop (use the search on the site, we have a guide). That also allows to limit the CPU to a certain frequency, leaving extra headroom for the GPU to run at higher clocks.

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