Asus ZenBook 14 Ultralight UX435 initial review (UX435EAL model – Tiger Lake i7, Iris Xe)

27 Comments

  1. Prac Malone

    November 12, 2020 at 2:00 pm

    Is there is an embargo on the Nvidia MX450 and that's why you cannot publish the review of it turned on? Any ETA on when that review will be published? Thanks !

    • Andrei Girbea

      November 12, 2020 at 2:10 pm

      There's no embargo, the MX450 just doesn't work properly on this engineering sample with the current BIOS. The review is in stand-by right now, as I am waiting for updated BIOS or drivers on the Asus website, or perhaps a newer sample. So far no news.

  2. Meatball

    November 13, 2020 at 1:49 am

    Would you mind sharing the playlist you testing laptops speakers? I am also interested in what's your opinion about the trade off between the amount of bass sound and distortion or arm-rest vibration? Just curious cause I am only listen pop music. However, the weight of the devices seems unbeatable to anyway.

    • Andrei Girbea

      November 16, 2020 at 11:23 am

      My playlist includes Pharell – Happy, Billy Joel – Vienna, PInk Floyd – Dark side of the Moon and a few others. For me, the laptop sounds best with DTS on but volumes of sub 50%.

  3. Cyril

    November 13, 2020 at 1:53 am

    Thanks a lot for this review. I've been waiting for it since September. I own a UX32VD which is now quite old, and I feel this generation might be a good candidate to replace it.

    I tested a TB3 EGPU last summer at a friend's home and found it awesome. Plan to buy a system along with my new laptop. Do you think it would be a good combination?

    • Andrei Girbea

      November 16, 2020 at 11:25 am

      Could be, but I'd wait for more reviews first. I was informed that our initial findings are a bit different than what should be expected from the final product, so I'm waiting for a retail sample and will update the article.

  4. Louis M

    November 30, 2020 at 2:52 pm

    Hi there, appreciate all your reviews, I personally think your content is some of the best out there. Wondering if you have any thoughts on the following:

    Looking for a daily driver, worthy the ability to occasionally dabble inn some gaming. I would likely be doing most work and most gaming on external monitors with the device closed. Open to a external GPU situation but would like something that can handle some occasional gaming independently.

    I also need to be able to travel with the laptop easily, I spend a good amount of time on the road so portability is key.

    I have been looking at the ZenBook 14 EGL with the MX450, or possibly the new Zenbook S model. If you happen any thoughts between the two (or other suggestions) it would be great to hear!

    Thanks again for all your perspectives!

    • Andrei Girbea

      November 30, 2020 at 3:21 pm

      Hi.

      I've yet to receive a finalized version of the UX435 EL model, so can;'t comment on the performance with the MX450 for now. I'd suggest waiting for some reviews before deciding, just to be safe. The ZenBook S is a good Tiger Lake laptop based on our tests, but runs fairly hot in demanding loads and I'm not sure of the impact of using the laptop with the lid closed with these kind of activities.

      personally, I'd rather recommend something with an open-back design, such as Lenovo IdeaPad 7 (AMD or Intel, based on what you prefer – form gaming, I'd probably go with the Intel + MX350 version). A Razer Blade Stealth should also cope with your needs well, if within budget, but both of these offer superior cooling imo over these ZenBooks.

  5. Louis M

    December 1, 2020 at 4:54 pm

    Andrei,

    Good to know, thank you! This is probably a 90/10 situation (90% productivity and professional use / 10% gaming) so the "thin and light" aspect is the most important to me. Just trying to figure out a way that i can grab a device that can support that 10% well enough when the mood strikes. The Razer blade stealth is ok on budget, but it's a little beefier and more gaming specific than i really want to be carrying around to meetings.

    DO you have any clue on actual release dates for these?

    Thanks again!

    • Andrei Girbea

      December 1, 2020 at 5:10 pm

      Got it, this ZenBoom makes a lot more sense then in this case.

      I was told January 2021 over here, but that my depend between regions. I also got a more recent BIOS on the early test unit that I still have around and the gaming performance is not bad with this sort of MX450. Still waiting for a finalized unit before I can republish the final test results, though, but I will have an article on MX450 laptops in a few days.

  6. James Printer

    December 4, 2020 at 5:50 pm

    I might die waiting to buy this laptop. They're soooo slow releasing it.

  7. Louis Mayer

    December 15, 2020 at 10:15 pm

    Hi Andrei! Any timeline on the MX450 round-up?

    Also wondering whether any of these MX450 models would be on the table for a Christmas purchase, somewhat surprised that they wouldn't try to get these out before the season.

    Given that today is the 15th, I assume the answer is no. Let us know if you've heard anything further! I'm currently managing day-to-day on a 3-4 year old Zenbook that is doing ok, but itching for an upgrade!

    Thanks again,

    Louis

    • Andrei Girbea

      December 16, 2020 at 11:06 am

      I have a list of MX450 laptops ready, but I also wanted to include some benchmarks results and thoughts on performance in the article, and unfortunately, all I have right now is an early sample that might not return the same results as the retail models. I'm also waiting for a final sample of the ZenBook to update this article, but no word on it yet. Have been told it should be available in January. Sry I can't offer more assistance at this moment. If you're interested in the performance of that pre-production MX450 unit that I have, let me know and I'll get back to you on email.

  8. Rob

    December 22, 2020 at 2:00 am

    Just a question, is there only one fan in this modell? Will there be enligt cooling for the mx450?
    Saw you mentioned somewhere that this modell was thicker?

    • Andrei Girbea

      December 22, 2020 at 6:17 pm

      Yes, single fan. This is the more-efficient MX450 and it is handled fine by a single-fan thermal module. Higher-perf/power MX450 versions would require a more complex cooling solution. I still can't share benchmarks results as I'm still waiting for a finalized test unit.

  9. Louis

    January 10, 2021 at 1:43 am

    Hi again, happy new year!

    Still doing some research although it still looks like the ZenBook 14 may be at the top of the list. At this point I've been trying to figure out whether the regular 14 or the UltraLight is the better call.

    I know you had some concerns about heat management on the UltraLight configuration with vents blowing directly on the screen. Is that design any less concerning on the non-ultralight version?

    It looks like there are some other MX450 ultrabooks coming out, if there are configurations you think are better than these would be great to hear as well. Hope you had a nice holiday!

    • Andrei Girbea

      January 10, 2021 at 3:30 pm

      Hi, Happy new Year!. Less so because the regular model gets this thicker plastic chin, which absorbs most of the heat. With the UL, the panel is closer to the exhaust and thus heats up more. I should update this article with eh final findings within 2-3 weeks, waiting for the retail model to get here.

      Not sure about the other MX450 models, but I'd expect some to better handle the heat with sustained loads than these thin and light ZenBooks. No way to tell for sure than reading proper reviews, though.

      Hint: AMD 5000 mobile laptops will also be released in the next few days. Keep an eye on those as well.

  10. Louis

    January 10, 2021 at 4:40 pm

    Thanks Andrei! Good to know.

  11. Jo

    February 6, 2021 at 3:43 pm

    Hello, do you know if the wireless card is removable or upgradable? I don't know why Asus put BT 5.0 insted 5.1

  12. Cyril

    February 8, 2021 at 1:24 pm

    Hi Andrei,

    Asus seems to have a lot of issues delivering this product. It's like a ghost: very very few reviews, no retailer, no answer from Asus…

    By the date it will be available, the next generation will be released…

    • Andrei Girbea

      February 15, 2021 at 11:08 am

      Yeah, I noticed it. I've yet to hear anything about an updated review unit as well.

  13. Louis

    February 26, 2021 at 9:40 am

    Any updates on delivery timeline on these models?

    I'm still using a 3-4 year old zenbook as my daily driver and am highly motivated to find the right replacement!

    • Andrei Girbea

      February 26, 2021 at 9:43 am

      I'm constantly inquiring about this and hope to be able to finish up the article at some point. Last I've heard it was scheduled for March here in Europe, but there's no way to tell for sure with the current situation…

  14. Louis

    February 26, 2021 at 7:27 pm

    Crazy. I wonder what is causing such a delay. The non-ultralight Zenbook 14 is already available for retail, and it's the same hardware. They must be having some issues with manufacturing, or perhaps the heat dispersion issues you raised in your write-up have turned out to be more significant. Also wonder if there will be chipsets making these configurations somewhat "past-gen" by the time it's released.

    Will be interesting to see, thanks for the note Andrei!

    • Andrei Girbea

      February 26, 2021 at 9:27 pm

      I don't have any inside information, but I also incline to blame the delays on the manufacturing of the magnesium chassis. The hardware has been around for a while now, so shouldn't be the culprit.

      AMD Cezanne will be out soon, but only available in fewer products. This platform smokes Intel in multi-core performance, but Tiger Lake is still solid as far as IPC goes and pair with the MX450, pretty good in GPU activities for this class.

  15. Pablo

    March 1, 2021 at 8:48 pm

    Hi! Thanks for your reviews. Do you know if Asus is releasing a 11th gen 15 inches Zenbook? Like an update of the UX534. As far as I know, there is only the UX535, but that one is a Zenbook Pro with H type processor and heavier (2 kg).
    And related to this, does the number pad in the second screen of this ux435 work well? The number pad is one of the main reasons I look for 15 inches laptops so this seems a good alternative.
    Thank you!

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