Earlier this year we’ve reviewed the redesigned 2020 ZenBook 14 UX425JA series, a brand-new product at the time and a step-up from the previous 2019 generations.
Several months later in late-2020, Asus now offer the ZenBook 14 UX425EA models in their line-up, as hardware updates of the earlier UX425 iterations, now with Intel Tiger Lake hardware and Iris Xe graphics, faster memory, and a few different screen choices, as well as slightly improved power profiles over the UX425JA variants we’ve tested.
We’ve spent time with two different ZenBook 14 UX425EA configurations, a lower-level model based on the Intel i5-1135G7 platform, and the higher-tier version running on the i7-1165G7. Down below we’ve gathered all our thoughts and impressions on these ultrabooks, with their solid traits and their quirks that you should be aware of when deciding if these are the right buy for you or not.
Specs as reviewed – Asus ZenBook 14 UX425EA
||Asus ZenBook 14 UX425EA
||14.0 inch, 1920 x 1080 px, IPS, matte, non-touch
2.5W 300-nits (Chi Mei N140HCE-EN2) or 1W 400-nits (AU Optronics B140HAN06.8) panel options
||Intel Tiger Lake, up to Core i7-1165G7, 4C/8T
||Intel Iris Xe
||up to 32 GB LPDDR4x 4266 MHz (soldered)
||1x M.2 PCIe x4 SSD (Intel, Sk Hynix, Kingston), Intel Optane H10 variants also available
||Wireless 6 (Intel AX201), Bluetooth 5.0, Ethernet with adapter
||1x USB-A 3.2 gen1, 2x USB-C 3.2 with Thunderbolt 4( data, video, and power), HDMI 1.4b, microSD card reader, 3.5 mm jack with USB-C adapter
||67 Wh, 65W USB-C charger with quick-charging
||319 mm or 12.5” (w) x 208 mm or 8.18” (d) x 13.9 mm or 0.54” (h)
||2.62 lbs (1.19 kg)+ .45 lbs (.21 kg) charger, US version
||white backlit keyboard, glass NumberPad, HD+IR webcam with Hello, stereo bottom speakers, sleeve, available in Pine Grey and Lilac Mist
Asus offer the late-2020 UX425EA series in a couple of configurations, with various amount of RAM (8-32 GB) and storage options (up to 2 TB and Intel Optane), three types of Intel Tiger Lake processors (i3-1115G4, i5-1135G7 or i7-1165G7), but also two screen variants, with either a standard 300-nits IPS panel or a more efficient 1W 400-nits option.
If you’re interested in our other reviews of Asus ZenBook lineups, you can find them listed here, while our extended coverage of the best ultraportable laptops of the moment is available here.
Design and construction
In many ways, this ZenBook is one of the most attractive mid-range 14-inch ultrabooks available right now.
Asus went with a compact and lightweight design, and metal is used all-around to give it a premium feel. The surfaces feel nice to the touch and are fairly resistant to smudges and fingerprints in this dark-gray color scheme, and Asus also offers this series in a lighter variant, called Lilac Mist. If you opt for that one, keep in mind that it also comes with a silver keyboard, and white backlit silver keys are difficult to read and a no-no in my book, yet you might feel differently.
My knit with this series is still the fact that it doesn’t feel as sturdy and solid as some of the higher-tier products out there, including Asus’s own ZenBook S or ExpertBook lineups. The main chassis and screen are fairly well made and don’t bulge much even when pressed harder, but when grabbing and picking up the laptop, the back part squeaks, and the hinges are a little bit weaker than I’d want and don’t steadily keep the screen in place.
Speaking of, these ZenBooks implement the same Ergolift hinge design as the entire modern lineup of Asus ultraportables. That means that the screen raises on these small rubber feet placed on its bottom part, and lifts the laptop’s main body from the desk, allowing for extra airflow underneath and a slightly inclined typing position.
However, this design translates into the hot air being blown out through this grill placed just under the screen, and that causes the area around the exhaust to heat-up with more demanding loads. Compared to the older models, this ZenBook UX425 gets a slightly thicker plastic chin underneath the display, which soaks up most of the expelled heat and that’s why the panel itself only hit temperatures in the high-30s and low-40s, while the bezel hits temperatures in the 50s. This might seem like a tiny detail, but it’s something that will improve the product’s reliability, and a welcomed update in my book.
Moving on, this ZenBook is mostly a practical everyday companion. Asus put grippy rubber feet on the bottom, even with these tiny rear pieces at the back of the screen, implemented a spacious arm-rest, a large clickpad, and a full-size keyboard, and pushed the IO and the status LEDs to the sides, towards the back. Furthermore, the screen can be easily picked-up and adjusted single-handedly, but as I already mentioned, the hinges could have been firmer. I’m also not entirely happy with the fairly aggressive metallic edges around the interior, which look great but aren’t the friendliest on the wrists.
Back to that IO, the ZenBook UX425EA gets 2x USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 4 support this time around, a full-size HDMI port and USB-A slot, plus a microSD card reader. There’s still no 3.5 mm jack, and that’s because Asus claim people use wireless headphones these days so they decided on leaving that out, something I don’t approve.
They did include a USB-C to 3.5 mm jack in the pack, alongside a USB-A to LAN adapter and protective sleeve. For what is worth, looks like Asus are backing-down on their decision about the 3.5 mm jack, as that’s now back on their latest ZenBook 14 update, the UX435 series, which we’ll discuss in a future article.
Keyboard and trackpad
I’ve said it before and I’ve been further convinced after spending more time with these ZenBooks, this here is my favorite keyboard that I’ve come upon on an Asus laptop so far, and one of the best in the segment.
Compared to their 2019 ZenBooks, Asus updated the layout, stretching it across the entire chassis, and that translates in a wider set of main keys, wider arrows, and an extra column of Function keys at the right, with dedicated Home, PgUp, PgDn, and End. The power-button remains the top-right key, and while it’s stiffer than the regular keys, you should still disable it in Windows to prevent the laptop from going to sleep by mistake.
The overall feedback is what makes this a nicer typer than what Asus put on their previous ZenBooks and all of their other 2020 options tested in recent months, with slightly increased resistance and improved accuracy over most other ultrabooks, but while remaining a quick and quiet implementation (except for the Space key). Good job.
I also noticed that these keys have a slightly concave shape and are not completely flat, which might also help with the overall typing experience. They also feel nice to the touch, with a soft rubberized surface.
This keyboard is also backlit, with white LEDs and three levels of intensity to choose from, plus dedicated indicators for CapsLock and Fn+Esc. Some light still creeps out from beneath the keycaps, but the keys are overall well lit and fairly uniform.
Down beneath, centered on the chassis, Asus implement a spacious glass clickpad with Precision drivers and secondary NumberPad functionality, the same they include on most of their other 2020 ZenBooks. It’s a smooth, reliable, and sturdy surface, with good gesture support and palm-rejection, and I have nothing to complain about it. This here is also one of the best clickpads you can get on a Windows laptop these days.
As a side note, there’s no ScreenPad offered for this series, which remains an exclusive of the 2019 ZenBook 14 UX434 line, as well as the updated 2020 ZenBook 14 UX435 series, that we’ll discuss shortly.
Finally, when it comes to biometrics, there’s no finger-sensor on the Zenbook UX425, but you do get an arguably more seamless method of singing into Windows with that IR camera at the top of the screen.
Asus offers three screen options for the ZenBook 14 UX425 series. They’re all matte non-touch IPS panels, but one is a standard FHD option with 300-nits of max brightness, the other is this newer generation and more efficient FHD 1W panel with 400+ nits of brightness, while the third option is a sharper WQHD (2560 x 1440 px) panel with 300-nits of brightness.
We’ve tested both the FHD options, the base-panel on the i5 configuration (on the left in the following pictures), and the upgraded panel on the i7 model (on the right).
The base-panel is a standard model from Chi Mei, implemented on quite a few other mid-range 14-inch laptops, with almost 100% sRGB color coverage, good contrast, and wide viewing angles.
Here’s what we got in our tests, with an X-Rite i1 Display Pro sensor:
- Panel HardwareID: Chi Mei CMN14D5 (N140HCE-EN2);
- Coverage: 97.1% sRGB, 67.0% AdobeRGB, 69.4% DCI-P3;
- Measured gamma: 2.07;
- Max brightness in the middle of the screen: 297.64 cd/m2 on power;
- Min brightness in the middle of the screen: 17.92 cd/m2 on power;
- Contrast at max brightness: 1107:1;
- White point: 7800 K;
- Black on max brightness: 0.27 cd/m2;
- PWM: No.
This panel came poorly calibrated out the box, with a skewed White Point and Gamma point. Calibration drops the maximum brightness even more, so you’ll struggle with this option in bright environments.
The upgrade 1 W panel made by AU Optronics is not just more efficient, but also offers higher maximum brightness, deeper blacks, improved contrast, and minimally wider color-gamut coverage.
Here’s what we got in our tests, with an X-Rite i1 Display Pro sensor:
- Panel HardwareID: AU Optronics AUOA48F (B140HAN06.8);
- Coverage: 98.9% sRGB, 70.1% AdobeRGB, 72.8% DCI-P3;
- Measured gamma: 2.40;
- Max brightness in the middle of the screen: 418.92 cd/m2 on power;
- Min brightness in the middle of the screen: 22.49 cd/m2 on power;
- Contrast at max brightness: 1759:1;
- White point: 6600 K;
- Black on max brightness: 0.23 cd/m2;
- PWM: No.
This panel also came better calibrated out of the box, but the skewed gamma still required a recalibration.
As for the WQHD model, we’ll update this article once we get to test that as well, but I wouldn’t bother with it. FHD resolution is sharp enough in my opinion for a 14-inch screen, and sacrificing the improved efficiency and higher-specs of the 1W FHD panel just for an increase in resolution makes no sense to me, especially when you’ll most likely have to pay extra for it.
Hardware and performance
We’ve tested two versions of the ZenBook 14 UX425EA a mid-specced configuration based on an Intel Tiger Lake Core i5-1135G7 processor and 8 GB of RAM, and a top-model with the i7-1165G7 and 16 GB of RAM.
Both are pre-production samples provided by Asus for the purpose of this review, and tested with the same software available as of mid-October 2020 (BIOS 300, MyAsus 126.96.36.199 app).
Spec-wise, the UX435EA series is based on the late-2020 Intel Tiger Lake platform:
- the i7-1165G7 includes a 4C/8T processor with Max Turbo Speeds of 4.8 GHz and 12 MB of cache, plus Intel Iris Xe graphics with 96 EUs and up to 1.3 GHz clock speeds.
- the i5-1135G7 includes a 4C/8T processor with Max Turbo Speeds of 4.2 GHz and 8 GB of cache, plus Intel Iris Xe graphics with 80 EUs and up to 1.3 GHz clock speeds.
Both variants are paired with up to 32 GB of LPDDR4x memory soldered on the motherboard, and PCIe x4 storage (just a single slot). Our test units get a 256 GB SSD and a 512 GB SSD, respectively, both mid-tier and not impressively fast, but fine for daily use. The storage is upgradeable, but everything else is soldered. Getting inside is a simple task, it just requires poping up the back panel hold in place by a couple of Torx screws, all visible around the sides.
As far as the software goes, these ZenBooks get the standard MyAsus app which allows control over the power profiles, battery and screen settings, updates, etc, while the Audio is controlled in AudioWizard.
There are three performance/thermal profiles to choose from:
- Performance – allows the CPU to run at 18+W in sustained loads, with fans ramping up to 37-38 dB;
- Standard – allows the CPU to run at 16+W in sustained loads, with fans ramping up to 37-38 dB;
- Whisper – limits the CPU at 5+W to favor lower fan-noise of sub 33 dB.
The Standard profile is well-balanced and keeps the fan mostly idle with light use, and quiet with heavier loads. Both configurations feel snappy with daily multitasking, video streaming, text-editing, and the likes.
On to more demanding tasks, we start by testing the CPU’s performance by running the Cinebench R15 benchmark for 15+ times in a loop, with 2-3 seconds delay between each run, on the Performance mode.
Both the i5 and the i7 run at high power and clocks for a few runs, and then stabilize at around 18-19W of power, clock speeds of ~2.6 GHz, and temperatures in the 85-90 degrees Celsius. The fan ramps to about 37-38 dB at head-level in this test, and the laptops return scores of around 660 points on the i5 model, and around 700 points on the i7. Not bad, considering both are mid-level implementations of this Intel Tiger Lake hardware and power-limited to a mid-level TDP.
Undervolting is not an option for Tiger Lake with the latest variants of Throttlestop, so we could not tweak the settings in any way.
We did retest the laptop on the Standard and Whisper modes. Standard limits the i5 CPU at around 16+ W, but allows doesn’t have a noticeable impact on the i7 configuration, while Whisper lowers the limit to 5+ W on both, with quieter fans. Finally, the laptops stabilize at around 13-15 W when unplugged, on the Performance mode. All these findings are detailed in the chart below.
To put these results in perspective, here’s how a couple of other AMD and Intel ultraportable notebooks score in this same test.
Compared to higher-power i7 Tiger Lake tested in the ZenBook S UX393 or the i5 in the Acer Swift 3 14, this series limits the processor more aggressively, which has a positive impact on the temperatures, and a negative impact on the performance. Future BIOS updates might change this behavior. At the same time, these 14-inch ZenBook UX425EA models run at higher-power than the ZenBook Flip 13 we’ve also reviewed just a few days ago. At the same time, the 6Core Ryzen 4000 platform is still a clear step-up in performance over the Intel options.
We further verified our finding by running the longer and more challenging Cinebench R20 test, and the gruesome Prime 95 test, in which the CPUs stabilize at around 15-19 W after a short initial boost.
We also ran our combined CPU+GPU stress tests on this notebook, on the same Performance profile.
3DMark stress runs the same test for 20 times in a loop and looks for performance variation and degradation over time, and both configurations failed to pass it, but by a low margin. This suggests that the performance degrades somewhat once the heat builds-up, and makes perfect sense, given how the platform runs at higher-power for the minutes of intensive activity and then is limited towards 19W. Luxmark 3.1 fully loads both the CPU and GPU at the same time, but it doesn’t properly support the Tiger Lake at this time, so is not relevant here.
Next, here are some benchmark results. We ran the entire suite of tests and benchmarks on the standard Performance profiles on both the i7 and the i7 models. Here’s what we got.
||UX425 – Intel i7 1165G7
||UX425 – Intel i5 1135G7
|3DMark 13 – Fire Strike
||4445 (Graphics – 5107, Physics – 10201, Combined – 1578)
||3966 (Graphics – 4431, Physics – 11601, Combined – 1430)
|3DMark 13 – Night Raid
||13877 (Graphics – 17755, CPU – 6202)
||13627 (Graphics – 16491, CPU – 6869)
|3DMark 13 – Time Spy
||1596 (Graphics – 1455, CPU – 3560)
||1444 (Graphics – 1302, CPU – 3798)
|3DMark 13 – Wild Life
|Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Medium
|Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme
|Handbrake 1.3.1 (4K to 1080p encode):
||20.31 average fps
||21.64 average fps
||5478 (CPU: 12421, 3D Graphics: 3377, Disk: 11914)
||5275 (CPU: 12597, 3D Graphics: 3316, Disk: 10215)
||4670 (E – 9612, P – 6576, DCC – 4373)
||4522 (E – 9296, P – 6152, DCC – 4391)
|GeekBench 4.4.2 64-bit
||Single-Core: 6523, Multi-core: 21033
||Single-Core: 6150, Multi-core: 20794
|GeekBench 5.0.1 64-bit
||Single-Core: 1489, Multi-core: 5288
||Single-Core: 1404, Multi-core: 5248
|CineBench R15 (best run)
||CPU 838 cb, CPU Single Core 213 cb
||CPU 820 cb, CPU Single Core 204 cb
|CineBench R20 (best run)
||CPU 1789 cb, CPU Single Core 515 cb
||CPU 1711 cb, CPU Single Core 495 cb
|x264 HD Benchmark 4.0 32-bit
||Pass 1 – 192.32 fps, Pass 2 – 43.22 fps
||Pass 1 – 186.62 fps, Pass 2 – 42.78 fps
|x265 HD Benchmark 64-bit
We also ran some Workstation related loads, on the same Performance profiles:
||UX425 – Intel i7 1165G7
||UX425 – Intel i5 1135G7
|Blender 2.90 – BMW Car scene- CPU Compute
|Blender 2.90 – Classroom scene – CPU Compute
As expected, the i7 marginally wins on the CPU tests, both in single and multi-core scores, but the i5 ends-up within 10% in most cases, and even surprisingly outscores the i7 in 3DMark, Handbrake, or Blender. I’d reckon the system limits the CPU a bit more aggressively on the i7 configuration in these tests, which suggests a slight difference in thermal quality between the two.
The i7 also wins the GPU tests, and by a greater margin of 10-15%, again not a surprise given that the Iris Xe G7 in the i7 processor gets 96 EUs, while the chip in the i5 is a snipped version with 80 EUs. Otherwise, the two stabilize at similar frequencies, as you’ll see below, when we test the gaming performance of these platforms.
We ran a couple of DX11, DX12, and Vulkan titles on the Performance profile, FHD resolution and Low/Lowest graphics settings. Here’s what we got:
||UX425 – i7 1165G7 19W
||UX425 – i5 1135G7 19W
||UX393 – i7 1165G7 26W
||UX425 – i7 1065G7 15W
||Swift 3 – i5 1135G7 28W
||IdeaPad 7 – AMD R7 + Vega 8 26W
||UM425 – AMD R7 + Vega 7 13W
|Bioshock Infinite (DX 11, Low Preset)
||70 fps (40 fps – 1% low)
||69 fps (36 fps – 1% low)
||83 fps (44 fps – 1% low)
||40 fps (22 fps – 1% low)
||88 fps (52 fps – 1% low)
||81 fps (58 fps – 1% low)
||66 fps (50 fps – 1% low)
|Dota 2 (DX 11, Best Looking Preset)
||56 fps (44 fps – 1% low)
||52 fps (42 fps – 1% low)
||63 fps (39 fps – 1% low)
||34 fps (20 fps – 1% low)
||73 fps (44 fps – 1% low)
||53 fps (40 fps – 1% low)
||39 fps (28 fps – 1% low)
|Far Cry 5 (DX 11, Low Preset, no AA)
||26 fps (18 fps – 1% low)
||21 fps (13 fps – 1% low)
||29 fps (19 fps – 1% low)
||12 fps (10 fps – 1% low)
||31 fps (19 fps – 1% low)
||28 fps (24 fps – 1% low)
||21 fps (17 fps – 1% low)
|Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor (DX 11, Lowest Preset)
||65 fps (47 fps – 1% low)
||62 fps (43 fps – 1% low)
||68 fps (53 fps – 1% low)
||32 fps (22 fps – 1% low)
||77 fps (58 fps – 1% low)
||33 fps (24 fps – 1% low)
||45 fps (36 fps – 1% low)
|NFS: Most Wanted (DX 11, Lowest Preset)
||60 fps (46 fps – 1% low)
||57 fps (42 fps – 1% low)
||60 fps (45 fps – 1% low)
||42 fps (25 fps – 1% low)
||60 fps (53 fps – 1% low)
||60 fps (46 fps – 1% low)
||56 fps (34 fps – 1% low)
|Rise of the Tomb Raider (DX 12, Lowest Preset, no AA)
||29 fps (14 fps – 1% low)
||27 fps (12 fps – 1% low)
||46 fps (12 fps – 1% low)
||16 fps (3 fps – 1% low)
||46 fps (31 fps – 1% low)
||41 fps (22 fps – 1% low)
||28 fps (22 fps – 1% low)
|Shadow of Tomb Raider (Vulkan, Lowest Preset, no AA)
||28 fps (16 fps – 1% low)
||26 fps (15 fps – 1% low)
||34 fps (18 fps – 1% low)
||17 fps (12 fps – 1% low)
||41 fps (23 fps – 1% low)
||38 fps (22 fps – 1% low)
||27 fps (16 fps – 1% low)
|Strange Brigade (Vulkan, Low Preset)
||44 fps (28 fps – 1% low)
||41 fps (22 fps – 1% low)
||54 fps (45 fps – 1% low)
||21 fps (7 fps – 1% low)
||56 fps (48 fps – 1% low)
||41 fps (36 fps – 1% low)
||37 fps (32 fps – 1% low)
|The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (DX 11, Low Preset, Hairworks Off)
||28 fps (22 fps – 1% low)
||21 fps (14 fps – 1% low)
- The Witcher 3, Dota 2, NFS – recorded with MSI Afterburner in game mode;
- Bioshock, Far Cry 5, Middle Earth, Strange Brigade, Tomb Raider games – recorded with the included Benchmark utilities;
I’ve added a couple of other configurations for comparison, all of them ultraportables available within the same segment and price-range.
First off, with a roughly 19W power-cap, bot the i5 and the i7 configurations cannot run at the best of the platform’s abilities in this ZenBook UX425EA implementation. As illustrated in the logs below, both the CPU and the GPU are capped by the power-limitation here.
Here’s the i5 configuration.
And here’s the i7.
For comparison, I’ve included the higher-power i7 in the UX393 and the i5 on the Swift 3, which both end-up outmatching the i5/i7 tested here as they run at 25-28 W of power (but with higher temperatures and increased fan-noise). That’s just something you can either accept here or not, Asus tried to balance-put these ZenBooks UX425EA and ended up sacrificing the sustained performance to some degree, but while keeping thermal and noise-levels at bay, as you’ll see in the next section.
Now, as far as the gaming experience goes, the i5 ends-up at within 5-10% of the i7 in actual games, and both can handle simpler and older titles just fine, bur barely cope with AAA titles released in the last years. At the same time, though, both the i5 and i7 are a clear step-up from the IceLake hardware in the earlier-2020 ZenBook 14, and close to the AMD Ryzen alternatives, although the differences in power-envelope play a big role with those as well.
Noise, Heat, Connectivity, speakers, and others
Asus went with a basic thermal module here, with a single heatpipe and single fan, the same kind we’ve seen implemented on most of their past ZenBook, VivoBook, and ExpertBook lineups. That’s supplemented by an open-back design and the Ergolift hinge system, yet the exhaust is placed just under the screen and still blows hot air into it, which we’ll discuss in a bit.
Furthermore, the software is also designed to minimize fan-noise. The fan rests idle most of the time with daily use on the Standard profile, but is, at the same time, mostly active on the Performance mode with the laptop plugged-in, in which case it ramps up to about 35 dB at head-level, something the speakers can still easily cover up.
However, even with the idle fan, none of our test models is completely silent, as they both experienced some degree of electronic noises noticeable in a quiet room. This is a random issue with modern computers, and there’s no way to tell whether yours will be plagued by this kind of noise or not: make sure to listen for them carefully once you get your unit, and just return it if not satisfied.
With games, the fan ramps up to 37-38 dB at head level on both configurations, which is quieter than most other modern ultrabooks with this kind of specs.
Now, thermally the laptop runs merely warm with daily use, which is fine considering the mostly passive cooling, and averagely hot with demanding loads and games. We’ve measured temperatures in the high-40s C at the top of the keyboard and on the back panel, as well as mid-50s C on the interior, just around the exhaust, and on the back, just on top of the CPU heatpipe. The Arrows and WASD regions run at comfortable levels, in the 30s.
As mentioned already, the hot air is pushed out into the screen’s bottom bezel, which soaks up most of the heat. The panel itself hits temperatures of around 43-45 degrees C in its hottest part right next to the exhaust, but most of it runs in the 30s.
*Daily Use – streaming Netflix in EDGE for 30 minutes, Whisper Mode, fans at 0-35 dB
*Gaming – playing Far Cry 5 for 30 minutes, Performance Mode, fans at 37-38 dB
For connectivity, there’s the latest-gen WiFi 6 with an Intel AX201 module on this laptop. It performed well with our setup and the signal and performance remained strong at 30-feet, with obstacles in between.
Audio is handled by a set of stereo speakers that fire through those grills on the underside. The angled shape of the D-Panel allows the sound to bounce off the table, but I’ve noticed vibrations and distortions at higher volumes.
Compared to other ZenBook 14s tested recently, the speakers on these models are a lot louder, at 85-88 dB at head-level. Looks like Asus are processing and amplifying the sound, which leads to the increase in volume and vibrations, as well as a weird unnatural quality at those higher volumes. Switching this off in the DTS Audio Processing limits the volume, but also normalizes the quality.
Now, these speakers still lack plenty in the lower-end and Asus are over trying to compensate it with their processing, but they end-up sounding weird and unnatural once pumped above 50% of their volume. At lower-levels, though, these are fine for movies and music playing in the background, with or without the DTS mode. I found these best at about 30% volume at DTS on Music, which allows them to sound cleaner and still loud enough, in the 74-76 dB.
However, these don’t get very loud, we only measured volumes of 70-72 dB at head-level in our tests, and the audio quality is about the average you should expect from this class, fine for movies and music, but not impressive by any means. All these on the Music profile in Audio Wizzard. For what is worth, the same speakers turned out to be much louder in the ZenBook 14 UM425IA that we’ve tested, but without the installed Audio Wizard app.
Finally, I should mention there’s an HD camera placed at the top of the screen, fine for occasional calls, but still not much in terms of quality.
There’s a 67 Wh battery inside the ZenBook UX425, which is larger than what you’d normally get on a 14-inch notebook. Combined with the efficient Intel hardware implementation and screen, this notebook should last for a fair while on a charge.
Here’s what we got on the i5 model with the standard 2.5W 300-nits panel, with the screen set at around 120-nits (70% brightness).
- 8.4 W (~7+ h of use) – text editing in Google Drive, Standard + Better Battery Mode, screen at 70%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 5.6 W (~10 h of use) – 1080p fullscreen video on Youtube in Edge, Whisper + Better Battery Mode, screen at 70%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 5.4 W (~10+ h of use) – Netflix fullscreen in Edge, Whisper + Better Battery Mode, screen at 70%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 12-14 W (~4-5 h of use) – browsing in Edge, Standard + Better Performance Mode, screen at 70%, Wi-Fi ON.
And here’s the i7 Configuration with the upgraded and more efficient 1W 400-nits panel, also set at around 120 nits (60% brightness).
- 7 W (~8+ h of use) – text editing in Google Drive, Standard + Better Battery Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 5.2 W (~11 h of use) – 1080p fullscreen video on Youtube in Edge, Whisper + Better Battery Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 4.8 W (~12+ h of use) – Netflix fullscreen in Edge, Whisper + Better Battery Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 10-12 W (~5-6 h of use) – browsing in Edge, Standard + Better Performance Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON.
Both configurations ship with a compact 65W charger that plugs-in via USB-C. It’s a single-piece design with a compact brick and a long and thick cable, and a full charge takes about 2 hours. However, quick-charging allows to fill-up to 60% in less than an hour.
Price and availability
The ZenBook 14 UX425EA is hardly available in stores at the time of this post.
From the little we know right now, we’re looking at around $900 to $1000 in the US and around 1100 EUR here in Europe for the base configuration with the i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM, 512 GB of storage, and the 300-nits FHD screen. The higher-tier i7 model with 16 GB of RAM, 512 GB of storage, and the 1W 400-nits screen should go for around $1200 in the US and 1300+ EUR in Europe, while the WQHD configurations would go for a little extra.
We’ll update when we know more, and in the meantime, follow this link for updated prices and configurations in your region.
Having used these ZenBooks for the last weeks, I feel that they’re quite a step-up from the models tested earlier in the year and well-balanced everyday ultrabooks.
Sure, you’re paying a slight premium for the metallic construction and the compact/lightweight form-factor, but these remain highly competitive in both the i5 and the i7 configurations. The Tiger Lake hardware allows them to handle everyday chores smoothly while running quietly and cooly. Unfortunately, both our units were plagued by electronic noises, but hopefully, you’ll get luckier and end-up without that. Make sure to test and carefully listen for such imperfections if you decide on one of these ZenBooks.
And then, these ZenBooks can also handle demanding loads and light gaming fairly well. They’re not the most powerful ultrabooks on the market or even the most powerful Tiger Lake implementations, instead, they balance performance, thermals, and noise levels surprisingly well, and that might just be enough for the average user. The long battery life, the solid screen choices, the excellent inputs, and even the IO further enhance these ZenBooks in their niches.
Sure, there are still quirks to accept. There’s room to improve the build-quality and those rather weak hinges, the lack of a dedicated 3.5 mm jack isn’t my favorite decision, and the speakers are still not great, especially with the aggressive processing applied by default. But as a whole, and especially when considering the price, I’m impressed and recommend these within their class.
Of course, these UX425s are not without competition, both in Asus’s camp (such as the AMD-based ZenBook UM425 and UM433 models, or the Intel-based ZenBook UX435 with Nvidia graphics), but also from the other OEMs, with more powerful devices such as the Lenovo Yoga Slim 7 or the Acer Swift 3 14 selling for less, and plenty of options such as the Lenovo Yoga C940 or the LG Gram 14 selling for about the same price. Each have their own strong-suits and flaws though, so make sure to properly research your options. Aside from the ones mentioned here, this article on the best ultrabooks of the moment is a great place to start your search.
Anyway, this wraps up our review of the Asus ZenBook 14 UX425EA series, but I’d love to hear your thoughts on it, so please get in touch in the comments section down below.
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