Earlier this year, I reviewed the 2018 Zenbook 14 UX433F. For this article, I am reviewing the Zenbook UX434FL-AI034T which retails at S$2,098. Here are the differences:
Same Intel CPU specs but different graphics display: Both models come with Intel i7-8565U CPU. The new Zenbook 14 uses GeForce MX250 while the older one is MX150.
Same RAM but different SSD: Both models come with 16GB RAM. The new Zenbook 14 is loaded with 1TB PCIe SSD while the older model is 512GB.
Touch Display: The new Zenbook 14 has touch display while the older one does not.
ScreenPad 2.0: The new Zenbook 14 touchpad doubles as a 5.65-inch Super IPS display (2160×1080). On the older Zenbook 14, the touchpad only doubles as a number pad.
Weight: The new Zenbook 14 is 1.35kg and 1mm thicker, while the older model is 1.09kg.
With the above comparison, would you think it justifies the additional S$200? I would say yes!
After using the 2019 Zenbook 14 for over 2 weeks, here are some areas of impression.
It is heavier than the previous year’s model, and for users who prefer to travel light, the new Zenbook 14 does feel a little weighed down. I am somewhat pampered by the LG gram 13 which is a mere 965 grams.
On paper, this additional display seems like a great feature, but I find it less practical than the Zenbook Pro Duo. This is because the Zenbook 14’s ScreenPad is prone to accidental touches by the sides of the palm, and when it does, the cursor jumps to the ScreenPad instead of the main screen. It’s also too small to display textual information, probably more useful for apps that are designed for small screens. I usually disable the ScreenPad and only use it when I find a genuine purpose (like playing Spotify), but even so, after I unlock the laptop, the app does not stay on the ScreenPad (this seems to be a Windows OS issue).
If given a choice, I would opt for a model without the ScreenPad for a lower price.
As for the touchpad sensitivity, I find it better than the 2018 model. So, kudos to ASUS for the improvement.
The Zenbook 14 performs fast and smooth. The startup and sleep sequences are instantaneous. So fast, that I would forgive the positioning of the power button, which I often mistook it for “delete” button and tapped it, before pressing it again to revive the computer in a snap. The PC Mark score is 4106.
The Zenbook 14 speakers are astoundingly good. ASUS has managed to design the laptops that deliver wide-range frequency. Apart from the 2 side speakers, the entire laptop works as a sound chamber that provides a fuller sound. There is no real bass, but the fullness on the Zenbook 14 is beyond what most laptops can achieve.
I love the ability to unlock the laptop without always entering the password. With built-in infra-red camera, the Zenbook 14 can recognise your face in any lighting condition. My preference is still using fingerprint sensor.
The 2019 Zenbook 14 appears to provide similar battery life as the 2018 model. By going easy on the backlight and the ScreenPad, I am getting about close to 7 hours battery life on-and-off doing productivity stuff and web browsing. Fortunately, the power adapter is really compact, way better than the Zenbook Pro Duo.
ASUS Zenbook 14 is a high-performing solid laptop that has undergone military-grade MIL-STD 810G durability test, including drop test, vibration test, altitude test, high temperature test. The finishing is excellent, the keyboard actions are snappy and reactive, the screen is vibrant, the touch screen is sensitive. I like that the power adapter is compact which makes it easy to carry around. The retail package also comes with cloth case, which protects the laptop during commute. The best part of the laptop is the speakers.
But 2 things I do not like: the ScreenPad 2.0 is not that useful to me, and the weight is a little heavy. The 2018 version of the Zenbook 14 would suit my needs better, but it lacks touchscreen panel, which is an important factor for my laptop purchase. Nevertheless, the new Zenbook 14 offers more features at a competitive price.
- Premium design and durable material finishing
- Comprehensive features with good overall performance
- ScreenPad 2.0 is not that useful for me
- Relatively heavy for my preference