Asus ZenBook 3 Deluxe hands-on review: Asus lifted the lid on its most premium 2017 laptop, the ZenBook 3 Deluxe, back at CES in January and now, finally it’s hitting the market. We went hands-on with the machine at Computex 2017.
Asus ZenBook 3 Deluxe: Specs at a glance
|Screen resolution||Full HD (1920x1080)|
|Dimensions (cm)||32.9 x 21 x 1.29|
|OS||Windows 10 Home/Windows 10 Pro|
|Ports||2x Thunderbolt 3 USB 3.1 Type-C, 1x USB 3.1 Type-C|
|Processor||2.5GHz dual-core Intel i5-7200U/2.7GHz dual-core Intel i7-7500U|
|Memory||8GB/16GB RAM (DDR3)|
|Graphics||Integrated Intel HD Graphics 620|
|Storage||512GB/1TB PCIe 3.0 x 4 SSD, 256GB SATA3 SSD|
|Battery||46Wh (9 hours) w/ Fast charging = 60% in 49 minutes|
|Audio||Harman Kardon-certified quad-speaker Asus SonicMaster Premium stereo audio system w/ surround sound|
|Extras||Fingerprint sensor, Cortana voice recognition via microphone array|
Asus ZenBook 3 Deluxe: Hands-on review:
As its name suggests, the new ZenBook 3 Deluxe is an iterative improvement on last year’s vanilla ZenBook 3. It offers similar hardware like the same set of 7th generation Intel i5 and i7 processors, the same memory options and the same graphical oomph. Its standout features are a revised design, a new I/O configuration, more and faster storage options and a more reliable power setup, all designed to iron out the biggest weaknesses of the standard model.
Asus says that the Deluxe is the most ‘prestigious’ laptop in the world, but to actually define such an ambiguous claim is easier said than done. What we can say is that Asus is offering up an attractive looking machine with a 14-inch Full HD display protected by Gorilla Glass 5 that’s able to squeeze into what’s effectively a 13-inch laptop chassis, boasting narrow 7.46-inch ‘NanoEdge’ bezels on either side and a relatively lightweight but sturdy aerospace-grade aluminium alloy body.
The graphite and silver-accented Quartz Grey option will suit most users but for those after something with a little more punch the ZenBook 3 Deluxe also comes in a Royal Blue form, with a dark blue bead-blasted body, a spun metal textured lid and gold chamfers and accents all over the place (even the letters of the backlit keyboard glow gold instead of white).
Its form is most likely dictated by its biggest rival, the go-to lightweight laptop for most, the MacBook Air. At 12.9mm the Deluxe is thinner than both Apple’s latest MacBook and MacBook Air, and at 1.1 kilograms, it’s also lighter than an Air too.
Like Apple, the Deluxe embraces USB-C but you actually get three ports in this instance. It’s powerful enough to run two external 4K displays via the two Thunderbolt 3-compliant ports, whilst the third is a more conventional USB 3.1-standard USB-C connection for charging and data. Speaking of charging, the 40Wh battery of the regular ZenBook 3 has been upped to a 46Wh set of cells that promise up to nine hours of use and offer fast charging too.
As for multimedia, the 14-inch display boasts a pleasingly wide 178-degree viewing range, punchy colours (it supports 100 percent of the sRGB standard) and decent overall contrast and brightness. It falls down as a result of the maximum 1920x1080 resolution and a reflective finish but the option to output to a 4K screen (or two) should help alleviate this shortcoming for users after more pixels.
On the audio front, there’s now a quad-speaker arrangement approved by Harman Kardon, whilst a microphone array allows for far-field voice recognition using Windows 10’s Cortana assistant hands-free.
One party-piece is that it’s one of only four ZenBooks that supports the company’s ROG GX Station 2 external graphics card enclosure; meaning those looking for a productivity machine all the time and a gaming machine part-time can simply wire the ZenBook 3 Deluxe into the Station 2 and enjoy high-fidelity gaming using an array of compatible Nvidia GeForce GTX or AMD Radeon cards when the mood grabs them.
There's a lot to love about the new ZenBook 3 Deluxe. It improves on the already solid ZenBook 3 in all the right ways and looks good at the same time. The screen resolution will be a sticking point for some even if this versatile machine should tick enough other boxes for most users wanting after an all-purpose powerhouse.
Asus ZenBook 3 Deluxe: Price and availability
The Asus ZenBook 3 Deluxe finally went on sale in the US on July 19th with an i7 model boasting 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD costing $1699 (approximately £1350) but UK availability is still up in the air. We'll let you know when the company reveals local pricing once it's available.
Read next: Asus ZenBook Pro (2017) Hands-on Review