Asus ZenBook 3 Tramples Apple’s MacBook With Thinner And Lighter Chassis, Core i7, 1TB SSD

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Apple hoped to revolutionize the thin and light category with its 12-inch MacBook in early 2015. Not everyone was convinced, however, given the notebook’s meager performance, single USB-C port that was used both for charging and expansion, and $1,299 entry point. The 2016 update didn’t move the bar much further, which is giving PC manufacturers the perfect opportunity to take shots at Apple’s premium notebook. That’s where Asus comes into play with its new ZenBook 3, which is a prime example of “Anything you can do I can better.”

The ZenBook 3 measures in at just 11.9 millimeters thick, undercutting the MacBook which is 13.1mm thick. And while the MacBook weighs in at an incredibly lightweight 2.03 pounds, the ZenBook 3 is just a tiny smidge lighter at an even 2.00 pounds. The notebook’s chassis is made from an aerospace-grade aluminum alloy, which ASUS says is 50 percent stronger than typical aluminum alloys used by its competitors and is available in Royal Blue, Rose Gold and Quartz Grey.

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Despite the incredibly thin design, Asus was still able to incorporate a fan into the ZenBook 3's design. The “world’s thinnest fan” measures just 3mm thick and is what allows the ZenBook 3 to offer up to an Intel Core i7 processor, whereas the MacBook can only muster a Core m7 at best.

Other features include a 12.5-inch Full HD display, up to 16GB of 2133MHz RAM, up to a 1TB PCIe SSD, a glass trackpad, a built-in fingerprint reader, Harman Kardon quad-speaker setup, and a full-size backlit keyboard with 19.8mm key pitch and 0.8mm key travel. On the battery front, Asus says that the ZenBook 3 will last up to 9 hours on a charge (compared to 10 for the MacBook) and uses fast-charging technology to reach 60 percent capacity (from empty) in just 49 minutes. And even though the ZenBook 3 has a single USB-C port just like the MacBook, at least Asus has added in Thunderbolt 3 support as well.

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The ZenBook 3 starts at $999, which will get you a Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. A mid-range model with a 512GB SSD will set you back $1,499. Checking every option on the box (Core i7, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD) will cost you $1,999. Unfortunately, there is no word on availability at this time.