Editor’s Rating: 8/10
A thin laptop that combines good performance with solid battery life at a decent price range.
This is a thin and light model that has a decent CPU and battery life, making it a great option for doing daily tasks and light gaming.
A dim display and the lack of a Thunderbolt 3 port could make this laptop a less desirable option for many people.
Detailed Review of ASUS ZenBook 14 (2019, UX431FA-EH55)
Finding the best laptop to get in the mid-range market is not that easy to do, considering there are many different options available.
But some models try to separate themselves from the competition by offering a good combination of performance, battery life, and solid build. This is what the Asus ZenBook 14 is trying to do with its plethora of great features being offered.
This 14-inch ultra-thin laptop has good enough processing power to allow you to use it as a daily device for both work and a bit of play. Combine that with an affordable price tag, and this laptop should be a good option for many who need a decent device for work and school.
However, as a mid-range laptop, it does fall short on certain aspects. The device also doesn’t provide the kind of screen you would expect from this price range.
ASUS ZenBook 14 Configuration In Review
Processor: Intel Core i5-10210U (up to 4.2GHz) | RAM: 8GB LPDDR3 | Storage: 512GB NVMe PCIe SSD | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics | Display: 14” Full HD LED, 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution | Operating System: Windows 10 Home | Battery Life: 9 Hours | Weight: 3.26 lbs | Other Features: Backlit Keyboard, ErgoLift hinge, 86% Screen-to-Body Ratio, Fingerprint Scanner
A Thin and Light Laptop That is Tough and Durable
Let’s dive in deeply in this review to see what makes this thin laptop a good mid-range option.
One of the first things that you will notice when you look at the ASUS ZenBook 14 is its design. The device features a metallic chassis with a sleek silver finish and faint line designs on the surface. The lines are deceptive since the surface is still very smooth to the touch.
The finish also features a faint Utopian Blue. It’s not that obvious, but you can clearly see looking at the laptop at various angles. The laptop is also thin, with a thickness of only 0.6 inches. It’s not the thinnest laptop available, but it’s still pretty thin.
Opening the ZenBook 14, you will be greeted with a silver finish on the keyboard deck. The keyboard also possesses great contrast color that is pleasant to look at, especially if the keyboard’s backlight is cranked up to its brightest.
…it provides a good viewing angle and a comfortable typing position, but it also provides a great breathing room for the laptop…
The keyboard is also crisp when typing, provides good feedback, and very comfortable to use. Also noticeable on the keyboard deck are the speakers, which are placed on the space on the right and left of the keyboard. The trackpad is located below the deck and the fingerprint scanner is placed on the top right of the trackpad.
We’re not sure about the placement of the fingerprint scanner since it can be a bit distracting, but who knows, that might work out for you. You will also notice the laptop’s ErgoLift 145-degree hinge design when you open it up.
The great thing about this hinge is that the base is lifted and provides a 4.5-degree space underneath. Not only does it provide a good viewing angle and a comfortable typing position, but it also provides a great breathing room for the laptop.
This is a 14-inch laptop, but you wouldn’t think it’s one based on the appearance alone since it’s not bigger when you put it besides 13-inch laptops. This is possible because of the 86% screen-to-body ratio of the display. The thin bezels allow for the device to have a 14-inch screen, despite a small body.
Even with its thin and light (the laptop only weighs 3.26 lbs) build, the ASUS ZenBook 14 feels durable and well-built. It is a sturdy laptop that has undergone extreme testing, allowing it to withstand harsh temperatures and even a few drops without breaking down.
Of course, it would be better if the device is cared for properly. But its durability means that the device is not delicate that a few bumps and bruises will already damage it.
Great Power For Everyday Use And Activities
To provide a good laptop for everyday use, the ASUS ZenBook 14 features the 10th Gen Intel Core i5-10210U processor, 8GB of RAM, 512 SSD hard drive, and Intel UHD graphics.
This is the model that we reviewed, but if you prefer more power, you can go for the Intel Core i7-10510U processor with Nvidia GeForce MX250. Based on the specs that ASUS equipped on this laptop, you can see that this device can do a lot of things that you will need for either work or school.
You can use it to work on documents, have multiple browsers open, watch YouTube videos, and many more all at the same time without experiencing any issues or lag. You can even use this device to do light photo editing work.
…it’s a decent laptop that’s good for doing daily tasks and providing some entertainment…
The only thing that you can’t really do with this laptop is to play the latest and demanding video games. With only the standard Intel UHD graphics equipped, the ASUS ZenBook 14 won’t be on anyone’s best gaming laptops list.
You can only use this laptop for casual gaming or playing the older titles that are not demanding on the graphics. Don’t expect to use this laptop for hardcore and intense photo editing, as well as video editing since it doesn’t have the features for it.
Nevertheless, it’s a decent laptop that’s good for doing daily tasks and providing some entertainment.
Feature-rich With Solid Battery Life
Aside from good design and decent power, the ASUS ZenBook 14 also has other great features that give it added function, as well as solid battery life.
The 14-inch 1920×1080 display provides great and colorful images that can provide a great viewing experience, whether you’re watching videos, doing work, or editing images. One major issue with the display, though, is that it’s a bit dim.
You will need to increase its brightness a bit for better viewing. Other than that, everything is great. The display is also able to properly show the image or video’s colors, making it more fun to watch movies. You can always adjust the color settings in case you don’t like the standard setup.
Aside from the display, the ASUS ZenBook 14 also offers great audio quality. The two speakers on the deck provide great and crisp sounds, providing for a great listening experience. The volume, though, can use a bit of an improvement.
The ZenBook 14 also provides a decent number of ports that any user will be happy to have. It features a USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C port, a USB 3.1 Gen Type-A port, a DC jack, and an HDMI port on the left.
On the right, you have a USB 2.0 Type-A port, an SD card slot, and an audio jack. This provides flexibility and increased functionality when it comes to the laptop’s connectivities. It would have been better if the Gen 2 Type-C port was replaced with the faster Thunderbolt 3 for a quicker transfer of large files.
With all of these features and power, the ASUS ZenBook didn’t disappoint in the battery life aspect. The device was able to last 9 and a half hours on a single charge while also doing usual tasks.
This doesn’t put it in the laptop with the best battery life list since there are way better options for that. But it’s still an above-average battery life, putting above many of the laptops in the mid-range market.
The Asus ZenBook 14 UX431FA is a good laptop for people looking to do a little bit of everything. For $799, you get solid mid-tier performance from a 10th Gen Intel Core i5 processor and over 9 hours of battery life. In addition to a comfortable keyboard, the laptop also has a pair of surprisingly powerful speakers. However, a dim display and polarizing design might give some shoppers pause.
Buy It If…
Finding a good mid-range laptop is not easy to do, considering the many good options available for you, like this model. This is a great laptop if you’re someone who needs an everyday device that can function properly for basic work, research, and minor editing. The large display, sturdy build, and solid battery life are also added bonuses for this affordable laptop.
Don’t Buy It If…
The dim display of this device can, as well as its mediocre graphics card means that it’s not the laptop of choice if you’re looking for the best gaming laptop under $1,000. There are better options at this price range if gaming or photo and video editing are what you need. You can also opt to spend more to get some of the best laptops for video editing.
ASUS ZenBook 14 (2019, UX431FA-EH55) Alternatives
The great thing about the mid-range laptop market is that there are many alternatives available. Here are some of the models that we can suggest:
- Dell XPS 13: A lightweight device with good power that is a great alternative to the ASUS ZenBook 14.
- Acer Swift 3: Great combination of power, design, and affordability.
- HP Envy X360: A 2-in-1 laptop with a good graphics card, decent power, and great features at affordable prices.
If you’re looking for a budget gaming laptop, you can check out our list of the best gaming laptops under $800.