ASUS ZenBook Deluxe 3 UX490UA Review: A Striking, Slim Ultrabook

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ZenBook 3 Deluxe UX490UA - Summary And Conclusion

ASUS’ new 14-inch ZenBook 3 Deluxe UX490UA is a solid ultrabook option, but it’s only that. It’s got great style with an ultra-thin design, low weight, and an excellent brushed aluminum body. The extra two USB-C ports alleviates one of the major headaches of its 12.5-inch cousin, the UX390.

And there’s plenty to like about this machine as a premium productivity machine. The keyboard makes it easy to type accurately and quickly. The touchpad is smooth and accurate with support for multi-finger gestures, if a little oversensitive at times. Its fingerprint reader makes logging in with Windows Hello a snap.

However, the machine is not without drawbacks, most of which stem from the push to make this laptop as thin as possible. The base isn’t as sturdy as it could be, with a noticeable amount of flex to it. Surface areas can get pretty hot, and the fan is audible to a level that could be distracting for some users in quiet environments. Battery life is decent but just average. It’s easy to imagine that, had ASUS been willing to make this just a millimeter or two thicker, these issues could have been less of a trade-off.
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It’s also a little disappointing to see a laptop that costs $1,699 come with a 1080p display with no touch capabilities. That’s a little easier to swallow in the 12.5-inch UX390, but for a 14-inch laptop in this price range it feels like a step down. Consider that the Surface Laptop, while not carrying exactly the same specs, occupies the same price strata and has a vastly higher-resolution 10-point touch display with pen support.

In the end, the ZenBook 3 Deluxe UX490UA offers the kind of excellent performance we expect from Kaby Lake-based Core i7 ultrabooks, and respectable battery life. It’s a solid productivity machine that looks great. However, it definitely occupies a premium price segment, which might make it harder to overlook its 1080p display and arguably less than solid feel.
  • Excellent design with premium materials
  • Three USB-C ports, two with Thunderbolt 3
  • Great performance for its class
  • Very good keyboard
  • Gets warm under stress
  • Fan noise is higher than we’d like
  • Only 1080p display
  • Deck flexes more than it should

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