Asus trims ZenBook bezels to retain title of world's thinnest

The company showed us a trio of new systems at CES, including the ZenBook 13S, whose NanoEdge bezels it says are the thinnest of any laptop on the planet.

Justin Jaffe Managing editor
Justin Jaffe is the Managing Editor for CNET Money. He has more than 20 years of experience publishing books, articles and research on finance and technology for Wired, IDC and others. He is the coauthor of Uninvested (Random House, 2015), which reveals how financial services companies take advantage of customers -- and how to protect yourself. He graduated from Skidmore College with a B.A. in English Literature, spent 10 years in San Francisco and now lives in Portland, Maine.
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The ZenBook S13 and its NanoEdge bezels.

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For a long time, choosing a laptop required making compromises. Considerations like portability, aesthetic appeal, performance, battery life -- depending on your budget, you might find something that delivered on two or three of them at best. But, as we're seeing clearly at CES this year, times have changed. And Asus continues to refine its portfolio of well-rounded ultraportable laptops and workstations that check boxes across the board. 

We got our paws on some of the company's 2019 laptops during an advanced sneak peek at CES this afternoon: the StudioBook S W700, a souped-up workstation that crams a 17-inch display into a 15-inch chassis; the ZenBook 14, a slick but affordable ultraportable; and the ZenBook S13, a sleek 2.5-pound laptop with NanoEdge bezels.


The ZenBook 13's NanoEdge bezel runs a bit thicker at the top to accommodate an HD camera.

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The ZenBook S13 follows the path forged by last year's model, further shrinking bezels, weight -- now down to less than 2.5 pounds -- and overall footprint. The new version we saw today, model UX392, has a 13.9-inch LED display ensconced by what Asus says are the slimmest display bezels of any laptop on the market, with a 97 percent screen-to-body ratio. Sure, that "title" — if accurate — is temporal. Nevertheless, the NanoEdge bezels are remarkably slim and certainly make the FHD IPS display pop.

Also impressive is the fact that Asus has again equipped its flagship ultraportable with some heavy-duty hardware, including Nvidia GeForce MX150 graphics -- the same GPU Asus used for the previous model -- as well as eighth-gen Intel Core processors, up to 16GB of LPDDR3 memory and up to 1TB of SSD storage. Pricing was not announced.


The Asus ZenBook 14.

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Asus was willing to give us pricing for the other ultraportable we saw today, however, the ZenBook 14 (model UX431), which starts at $750. Given that price, it's an impressive specimen, weighing just over 3 pounds and sporting a spun aluminum aesthetic that's very similar to that of the ZenBook S13. 

Features and specs are similar, as well, though there are more configuration options with the ZenBook 14 than you have with its smaller, slimmer sibling; you can choose to have the GeForce MX150 or integrated Intel graphics; an Intel Core i7, i5 or i3 CPU; and an optional anti-glare treatment for the 14-inch display. Both systems come with quad-speaker Harman Kardon-certified audio and USB-C ports. 


This one goes to 11: the StudioBook S W700.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Along with the two ZenBooks, Asus also showed us the StudioBook S W700 -- a powerful workstation for creatives that's got a 17-inch display crammed into its 15-inch chassis. The specs are the story with this machine, so here's an overview of the highlights:

  • CPU: Intel Xeon E-2176M 2.7GHz hexa-core with Turbo Boost (up to 4.4GHz) and 12MB cache or Intel Core i7-8750H 2.2GHz hexa-core with Turbo Boost (up to 4.1GHz) and 9MB cache
  • Graphics: Nvidia Quadro P3200 6B GDDR5 VRAM
  • Display: 17-inch LED-backlit FHD NanoEdge display, PANTONE Validated
  • Memory: Up to 64GB DDR4 2,666MHz (SO-DIMM x 2, support for ECC)
  • Storage: Up to 4TB PCIe NVMe Gen 3 x 4 SSD x 2, support for CPU-attached RAID 0/1 (up to 48Gbps)
  • Weight: 5.3 pounds (2.4kg)

An Asus rep told us that the ZenBook 14 (model UX431) will be available in the US in March or April starting at $750. The company did not announce pricing or availability for the ZenBook S13 or StudioBook S W700. 

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