Asus takes on the Apple MacBook with its new ZenBook 3

This new laptop from Asus comes lighter and thinner than Apple's laptops while packing more powerful hardware. However, it only has one port.

Aloysius Low

Aloysius Low

Senior Editor

Aloysius Low is a Senior Editor at CNET covering mobile and Asia. Based in Singapore, he loves playing Dota 2 when he can spare the time and is also the owner-minion of two adorable cats.

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Asus isn't shying away from a laptop battle with Apple, on Monday introducing its new ultra portable ZenBook 3. At the launch event at Computex here in Taipei, the company talked about how its new laptop was thinner, lighter and more powerful than Apple's MacBook and MacBook Air ranges.

The aluminium bodied laptop sports a 12.-5 inch screen and will start at $999 (which converts to £685, AU$1,395) for the base model with 4GB of RAM, an Intel Core i5 processor and 256GB of onboard storage. That puts it in a similar price range to Dell's XPS 13 and the Razer Blade Stealth, two other strong MacBook alternatives.

Asus ZenBook 3 is slim, shiny and powerful

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The top-of-the-line model will retail for $1,999 (£1,370, AU$2,790) and will feature an Intel Core i7 processor, a whopping 1TB SSD and 16GB of RAM.

If you're not a fan of the shiny metal on your devices, then perhaps the ZenBook 3 isn't for you. But I liked the shininess of the ZenBook 3, especially the gold trim around the edges. It's a bold statement and stands out in a sea of more mute-coloured notebooks.

I spent some time with the ZenBook 3 on the Computex show floor and came away impressed. The laptop was light, very portable and well constructed. However, like the MacBook, it only has one USB Type-C port, which is unfortunate.


Are you a fan of shiny metal laptops, because the Asus ZenBook 3 will dazzle you.

Aloysius Low/CNET

There was one more pressing issue, though -- the keyboard. I tried three units, and two of them had trouble registering my key presses. It'd be a shame if the retail model is hampered by a lacklustre keyboard.

Asus has not yet revealed when the ZenBook 3 will be available.

Key specs

  • 12.5-inch full-HD (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) display
  • 11.9mm thick
  • 910g
  • USB Type-C
  • Price starting from $999

Check out the rest of CNET's Computex 2016 coverage here.