Laptop Mag Verdict
The Asus ZenBook 13 has a sci-fi vibe with a sturdy, midnight-blue chassis and an engaging touchpad mini-display, but it has a dim panel.
Touchpad doubles as a mini-display
Nice variety of ports
No Thunderbolt 3
Petite Shift key
Why you can trust Laptop Mag Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.
CPU: Intel Core i7-10510U CPU
GPU: Nvidia GeForce MX250
Display: 13.3-inch, 1920 x 1080
Size: 11.9 x 7.4 x 0.76 inches
Weight: 2.8 pounds
Want to watch an online lecture on your touchpad while taking notes on Microsoft Word? You can do that. Want to sketch a digital drawing while referencing a picture on a mini display? You can do that, too. Thanks to Asus’ ScreenPad 2.0, an intelligent touchpad that doubles as a secondary display, you can boost your productivity by interacting with two apps simultaneously.
The Asus ZenBook 13 is also a head turner with a midnight-blue chassis and gold accents, all packed into a durable, lightweight design. However, the dim display is a bummer and the keyboard has a few kinks, too. But with a 10th Gen Intel Core i7 CPU and a discrete Nvidia graphics card, the Asus ZenBook 13 is powerful enough to satisfy demanding workloads from app-juggling students, business users and content creators.
Asus ZenBook 13 UX334FLC price and configuration options
The starting price of the Asus ZenBook 13 is $949.99. This configuration is equipped with an 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8565U CPU, Intel UHD graphics, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD and a 1080p display.
For an extra $60, you can upgrade your processor to a 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10510U CPU.
The royal-blue ZenBook 13 I reviewed costs $1,149.99 and features an Nvidia GeForce MX250 GPU.
Asus ZenBook 13 UX334FLC design
The ZenBook 13 looks like it belongs aboard a futuristic spaceship. With its sleek, science fiction-esque chassis, this ultraportable seems ready to disseminate technical information on how to defeat an incoming alien planet.
Let’s hope the space captain keeps a lint-free cloth handy, though. This laptop attracts fingerprints and smudges like moths to a flame.
The word “Asus” — emboldened with gleaming gold letters and a futuristic font — catches your eye as it takes center stage on the Zenbook 13’s lid. The luminous Asus logo is placed inside faint concentric circles, which are reminiscent of the circular groves you’d find on a vinyl record.
Open the lid and Asus’ ErgoLift hinge will prop up the royal-blue keyboard deck at a slight angle to increase typing comfort, airflow and audio quality from the bottom-firing speakers.
Matching the lustrous Asus logo on the lid, a gold, edge-to-edge strip is placed above the island-style keyboard — on it, you’ll find the words “Asus Zenbook.”
Below the space bar, you’ll find the ScreenPad — a technology that transforms the touchpad into an intelligent mini display. The sturdy ultraportable earned the MIL-STD-810G military-standard certification, proving it can withstand chassis-endangering conditions, such as shocks, drops and extreme temperatures.
The Asus Zenbook is the perfect laptop for an on-the-go, busy bee. Due to its super-small footprint, this ultraportable will fit snugly in your favorite travel and/or commute bag while still leaving plenty of room for other valuables.
At 2.8 pounds and 11.8 x 7.4 x 0.7 inches, the ZenBook 13 is just a tinge thicker than its ultraportable rivals: the Apple MacBook Air (2.8 pounds, 0.6 inches thick) and the Dell XPS 13 (2.8 pounds, 0.6 inches thick).
Asus ZenBook 13 UX334FLC ports
While the ZenBook 13 has a decent variety of ports, I would have loved to see a Thunderbolt 3 port in the mix.
Asus ZenBook 13 UX334FLC display
Sporting a 95% screen-to-body ratio, ZenBook 13’s bezels are incredibly slim, Asus dubbed it a “NanoEdge” display. Watching videos on this damn-near bezel-less, 13.3-inch panel was a visual treat but its dim 1080p display disappointed.
I watched The King’s Man trailer on YouTube, and on close-up scenes, I could make out Ralph Fiennes’ crow’s feet and his deep forehead wrinkles. However, I wasn’t able to spot more muted details that would be highlighted on higher resolution displays, such as vellus hair on an actress’ cheek.
The ZenBook 13's display covered 100% of the sRGB color gamut, which falls short of the 112% color-coverage score of the average premium laptop. The ZenBook 13’s rivals — the Apple MacBook Air (113%) and the Dell XPS 13 (115 %) — also bested Asus’ display.
At 254 nits of brightness, the ZenBook 13 is dreadfully dim compared to the 369-nit category average. The Apple MacBook Air (386 nits) and the Dell XPS 13 (417 nits) shined far brighter than the ZenBook 13’s dismal display.
The Zenbook 13 has a Delta-E color-accuracy score of 0.36 (0 is perfect), which pales in comparison to the color-accuracy score of the average premium laptop (0.3). The displays of the MacBook Air and XPS 13 are slightly more color accurate with scores of 0.34 and 0.35, respectively.
Asus ZenBook 13 UX334FLC keyboard
I have mixed feelings about the Zenbook 13’s island-style keyboard.
On one hand, I loved the keyboard’s bouncy, clicky keys and its satisfying tactile feedback with 1.4mm of key travel. However, as you might expect with the ZenBook 13’s compact design, typing on this keyboard felt slightly cramped.
Secondly, Asus committed an offense that was highlighted on our 2020 laptop trends that must die piece — butchering the Shift key. I will give Asus a pass this time, though, because it seems as if the laptop maker sacrificed the Shift key to provide more real estate for priority keys (i.e. letters). But in my opinion, if Asus opted for an edge-to-edge keyboard, perhaps the Shift key could retain its normal width and everyone would be happy.
I only hit 80 words per minute on the 10fastfingers.com typing test, which falls below my typical 85 wpm. With that petite Shift key, there may be an adjustment period before you can get fully comfortable with the keyboard.
The 5.2 x 2.7-inch touchpad doubles as a ScreenPad — a secondary display that you can toggle on or off at your leisure. When the mini display was turned off, the touchpad was responsive and I had no issues using Windows 10 gestures, such as pinch-to-zoom and two-finger scrolling.
Asus ZenBook 13 UX334FLC ScreenPad 2.0
At first, I thought the ScreenPad feature was a gimmick, but after experimenting with it for a few days, I can honestly say that it is a useful feature for multitaskers who love juggling several apps at once.
When you switch on your ScreenPad, you’ll find a slew of apps to boost your productivity, including Slide Xpert, Doc Xpert and Sheet Xpert, which are companions for PowerPoint, Word and Excel, respectively. For example, while pulling up Word on my main display, I launched Doc Xpert on the ScreenPad to have easy access for changing the font size, text color and viewing mode.
You may also find the Handwriting app to be handy. With my finger, I scribbled a quick note on the ScreenPad and I was amazed to watch the software translate my chicken scratch into text. I looked up at the Microsoft Word document I had opened on the ZenBook’s panel and there it was — the words I just scribbled on the touchpad appeared on my display as digital text.
The most amazing feature of the ScreenPad is the ability to drag apps from the main display to the touchpad and vice versa. This is perfect for students who want to take notes while watching an online lecture.
It was also a pleasant surprise to see Spotify as one of the ScreenPad’s home apps. As I was writing a portion of this review on the ZenBook 13, I was jamming to a playlist that I could pause and play using the touchpad display. Pretty sweet!
Asus ZenBook 13 UX334FLC audio
I blasted Black Eyed Peas’ "Mamacita” on Spotify. The Latin-inspired music struggled to fill my medium-sized testing room. The audio wasn’t quiet, but I expected the music to be louder at max volume.
In terms of quality, the music that emanated from the bottom-firing, harman/kardon speakers was surprisingly impressive and well-balanced. I played around with three presets on the AudioWizard app: Bypass, Music and Movies. “Mamacita” sounded its best with the Music preset; it made the vocals sound more prominent.
Asus ZenBook 13 UX334FLC performance and graphics
Armed with an Intel Core i7-10510U CPU and 16GB of RAM, the Asus ZenBook 13 handled multitasking like a champ with the 30 Google Chrome tabs (four of them played 1080p YouTube videos) I threw at it. I didn’t experience any lagging when I opened a massive spreadsheet in Google Docs.
On the Geekbench 5.1 overall performance test, the ZenBook 13 reached 3,489, which fell short of the average premium laptop score (4,125), but it outpaced the Apple MacBook Air (2,789). The Dell XPS 13 plowed past the Asus and Apple ultraportable laptops with an impressive score of 4,648.
On the HandBrake benchmark, the ZenBook 13 transcoded a 4K video to 1080p in 21 minutes and 34 seconds, which is slower than the premium laptop average (18:43). The Apple MacBook Air was about six minutes slower than the ZenBook 13 (27:10), but the XPS 13 kicked some serious butt. The Dell ultraportable completed the test in just 15 minutes and 40 seconds.
We also ran the PugetBench Photoshop test, which loops through 21 different Photoshop tasks in three cycles. The Asus Zenbook 13 achieved a score of 503, which got crushed by the average premium laptop score of 602. The Dell XPS 13 smoked the ZenBook 13 with a knock-out punch of 657. The Apple MacBook Air lagged behind with a score of 459.
If you’re interested in how well the ZenBook 13 runs with some light gaming, the Asus ultraportable achieved 23 frames per second on the Sid Meier’s Civilization VI: Gathering Storm benchmark, which is a frame lower than the average premium laptop (24 fps). However, the ZenBook 13 beat the Apple MacBook Air’s laughable 7 fps. The ZenBook 13 also outpaced the Dell XPS 13, which hit 19 fps.
Asus ZenBook 13 UX334FLC battery life
When we ran the Laptop Mag battery test, which involves continuous Web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness, the Asus ZenBook 13 lasted 9 hours and 8 minutes, which bested the runtime of the average premium laptop (9:02) by just 6 minutes.
The Apple MacBook Air outlasted the Asus ZenBook 13 by 23 minutes (9:31), but the Dell XPS 13 knocked it out of the park with an impressive runtime of 12 hours and 39 minutes.
You may expect a higher runtime from the Asus ZenBook 13, but keep in mind that it runs two displays, which can be a drain on battery life.
Asus ZenBook 13 UX334FLC webcam
The webcam on the Asus ZenBook 13 is awful.
Cameras on laptops typically stink, but the ZenBook’s webcam takes the cake. The image “quality,” or lack thereof, is a cesspool of blurriness, poor definition and visual noise. Looking at myself on the camera, I laughed at how my image would make a great “ghost” effect in a horror film. On the plus side, the camera renders colors quite well — the camera accurately picked up on my skin tone as well as the different shades of red of a nearby apple.
The camera also features 3D IR technology, which is useful for a hands-free Windows Hello login with facial recognition. If you’re concerned about privacy, you can switch off the camera by pressing the F10 key.
Asus ZenBook 13 UX334FLC heat
You don’t need to worry about the ZenBook 13 burning your thighs off — the laptop remained pretty cool on our heat test, which involves streaming a 15-minute, 1080p video.
The touchpad only reached 84 degrees Fahrenheit, which falls below our 95-degree comfort threshold. The center and underside of the keyboard measured 93 and 94 degrees, respectively. The hottest area of the ZenBook 13 — near the vents on the bottom of the laptop — reached 96 degrees Fahrenheit.
Asus ZenBook 13 UX334FLC software and warranty
ZenBook 13 users will appreciate MyAsus, which can also be found on the ScreenPad’s home screen. With MyAsus, you can access system information, customer support, fan modes and battery settings.You can even link your Android smartphone to your laptop.
The Asus ZenBook 13 also has Alexa capabilities. By clicking the blue Alexa icon on the taskbar, you can set up Amazon Alexa and use your voice to hear the news, check the weather, control your smart home and more.
You’ll find the usual Windows 10 bloatware as well, including Candy Crush Friends and Farm Heroes Saga.
The slim-bezel Asus ZenBook 13 is a head turner in a sea of boring blacks and grays — its subtle gold accents and midnight-blue chassis helps this ultraportable stand out of the crowd. Its touchpad, which doubles as a secondary display, is the cherry on top of this super-fun ultraportable.
However, the ZenBook 13 UX334FLC does have its flaws, including a dim display. If you want a brighter panel, better performance and longer battery life, opt for the Dell XPS 13, which has a starting price of $1,149.
But if you don’t want to miss out on the ZenBook 13’s generous variety of ports and its awesome ScreenPad feature (it’s pretty darn cool), this Asus ultraportable won’t let you down.
Kimberly Gedeon, holding a Master's degree in International Journalism, launched her career as a journalist for MadameNoire's business beat in 2013. She loved translating stuffy stories about the economy, personal finance and investing into digestible, easy-to-understand, entertaining stories for young women of color. During her time on the business beat, she discovered her passion for tech as she dove into articles about tech entrepreneurship, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the latest tablets. After eight years of freelancing, dabbling in a myriad of beats, she's finally found a home at Laptop Mag that accepts her as the crypto-addicted, virtual reality-loving, investing-focused, tech-fascinated nerd she is. Woot!