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Asus ZenBook 3 Deluxe UX490UA review: A sexy laptop that fits more screen into less space

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If laptops could be twins, the Asus ZenBook 3 and Asus ZenBook 3 Deluxe would be nearly identical, although the latter would be the smarter of the two.

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7.8

Asus ZenBook 3 Deluxe UX490UA

The Good

The Asus ZenBook 3 Deluxe is very slim and stylish. It fits a 14-inch screen into a compact body and includes a fingerprint reader. Performance is excellent.

The Bad

Battery life is short. Ports are limited. There’s only a standard HD screen option.

The Bottom Line

Asus slips a big screen into the thin body of the ZenBook 3 Deluxe, but the battery isn’t as upscale as the design.

That's because the ZenBook 3 Deluxe is essentially the ZenBook 3, but with a larger 14-inch display (instead of a 12.5-inch screen) and the Windows 10 Pro operating system. The Asus ZenBook 3 is a top-notch Windows alternative to the 12-inch MacBook, but the new, larger Deluxe version feels more like a MacBook Pro.

The Deluxe version offers the additional IT-friendly features in Windows 10 Pro that power users or traditional businesses need. The thing is, most people can do without those extra features.

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A slim laptop with a big screen.

Josh Miller/CNET

However, if the Windows 10 Pro features are essential, the Asus ZenBook 3 Deluxe is one of the sexiest laptops you can buy. I'd venture to say that it's even prettier than the MacBook.

The configuration of the ZenBook 3 Deluxe we tested had a 2.7GHz Intel Core i7-7500U, 16GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD storage. It costs $1,700 in the US. (Official AU and UK pricing was not available at the time of publishing. Pricing converts to AU$2,282 and £1,307.)

Business fashionable

This is what we call a crossover laptop. It has pro-level features like a fingerprint reader and Windows 10 Pro, but it skips the typical business laptop aesthetic: all-black, matte finish and serious.

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Fingerprint scanner for extra security.

Josh Miller/CNET

It has a stylish aluminum chassis, and the back of the deep blue lid has a circular brushed pattern, just like the ZenBook 3. Thanks to its supremely thin and lightweight build, it's extremely portable, especially considering this is a 14-inch display.

It feels very solid, and the screen hinge is tight, however I wouldn't count on it handling a big drop very well. I accidentally dropped it once when it was closed (from about 3 feet), and it hit the concrete on its corner. It wasn't destroyed, but I was pretty bummed about ruining its pristine, gold-accented perimeter.

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A short drop caused some damage on the left corner.

Josh Miller/CNET

Similar to the MacBook, the ZenBook 3 Deluxe has a backlit keyboard with island-style keys that almost reach to the edge of the chassis. While the shallow keyboard isn't designed for long-form typing, it still works fine for, say, writing a laptop review.

Up to snuff

Unsurprisingly, since it's a ZenBook 3 clone, the ZenBook 3 Deluxe is an excellent performer. It's great for surfing the web, streaming HD video, basic photo and video editing and general office tasks, but not so much for games. Using the Google Chrome browser, I was able to have about 20 tabs open before any significant lag started happening.

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It includes HDMI and USB-A adapters.

Josh Miller/CNET

The ZenBook 3 Deluxe's downsides also mirror those of its simpler predecessor. First is the ZenBook 3's limited set of connection options, which are USB-C-only. Asus kindly includes a few adapters in the box, including HDMI out and USB-A port, so, depending on your needs, you might not need to buy a port adapter. With a MacBook or MacBook Pro, you're on your own for buying adapters to fit any of your existing gear.

Ports

  • Three USB-C ports (Two Thunderbolt 3)
  • Headphone jack

Another letdown is the laptop's screen. A standard non-touch 1,920x1,080-resolution screen is the only option available. There's no upgrade for a 2,560x1,440 or higher version, which is what we'd expect from a premium-priced laptop. 

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Thin bezels help maximize screen space.

Josh Miller/CNET

It works well enough for watching an HD movie or two, but for an expensive, premium laptop, it's a little disappointing. Same goes for the speakers. They're not very loud, so I recommend headphones.

Internal specs

  • 2.7GHz Intel Core i7-7500U
  • 14-inch non-touchscreen
  • 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution display
  • 16GB RAM
  • 512GB SSD
  • Professional

The ZenBook 3 Deluxe's battery life averaged 7 hours and 29 minutes in our online streaming video battery drain test. That's not very impressive compared to other laptops. Similar laptops like the LG Gram have longer-lasting battery life, with an impressive 11 hours and 30 minutes. The MacBook is just behind at 10 hours and 26 minutes.

The ZenBook line has always been Asus' premium show-off laptop series, and the unique swirling design has held up well over the past few years. But other laptops are moving the ball forward more in terms of features and battery life, so this ends up feeling expensive for what you get, even if it is awfully pretty.

Asus ZenBook 3 Deluxe laptop is prettier than the MacBook Pro

See all photos

Asus ZenBook 3 Deluxe UX490UA specs

Price as reviewed $1,699
Display size/resolution 14-inch 1,920x1,080 display
PC CPU 2.7GHz Intel Core i7-7500U
PC Memory 16GB DDR3 SDRAM 2,133MHz
Graphics 128MB dedicated Intel HD Graphics 620
Storage 512GB SSD
Networking 802.11ac Wi-Fi; IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n , Bluetooth 4.1
Operating system Microsoft Windows 10 Professional x64

Multitasking multimedia test 3.0 (in seconds)

Toshiba Portege X20W-D 424Asus ZenBook 3 Deluxe UX490UA 475HP Spectre x360 (13-inch, 2017) 512LG Gram (13-inch, 2017) 570Apple MacBook (2017) 671
Notes: Shorter bars indicate better performance

Geekbench 3 Multi-core

Toshiba Portege X20W-D 8,370Asus ZenBook 3 Deluxe UX490UA 8,098HP Spectre x360 (13-inch, 2017) 7,726LG Gram (13-inch, 2017) 6,647Apple MacBook (2017) 6,490
Notes: Longer bars indicate better performance

Online streaming battery-drain test (in minutes)

LG Gram (13-inch, 2017) 690Apple MacBook (2017) 626Toshiba Portege X20W-D 610HP Spectre x360 (13-inch, 2017) 482Asus ZenBook 3 Deluxe UX490UA 449
Notes: Longer bars indicate better performance

System configurations

Asus ZenBook 3 Deluxe UX490UA Microsoft Windows 10 Pro (64-bit); 2.7GHz Intel Core i7-7500U; 16GB DDR3 SDRAM 2,133MHz; 128MB dedicated Intel HD Graphics 620; 512GB SSD
Apple MacBook (2017) Apple MacOS 10.12.5 Sierra; 1.2GHz Intel Core m3-7Y32; 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,866MHz; 1,536MB Intel HD Graphics 615; 256GB SSD
LG Gram (13-inch, 2017) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.5GHz Intel Core i5-7200U; 8GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,133MHz; 128MB dedicated Intel HD Graphics 620; 256GB SSD
HP Spectre x360 (13-inch, 2017) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.7GHz Intel Core i7-7500U; 16GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,866MHz; 128MB dedicated Intel HD Graphics 620; 512GB SSD
Toshiba Portege X20W-D Microsoft Windows 10 Pro (64-bit); 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-7600U; 16GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz; 128MB dedicated Intel HD Graphics 620; 256GB SSD
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7.8

Asus ZenBook 3 Deluxe UX490UA

Score Breakdown

Design 9Features 7Performance 8Battery 7