Asus ZenBook S13 review: Hands-on

Asus ZenBook S13full review

Asus is further cementing its position as one of the premium hardware manufacturers at this year’s CES. If it’s taking gaming hardware in a new direction with the Mothership or cramming as much performance as possible into a tiny form with the ZenBook S13, Asus is fighting its corner vigorously. The ZenBook S13 is a beautiful little thing.

The almost bezel-less design makes it look extremely clean and tight, and the inclusion of the ‘reverse notch’ places the webcam in a space where it doesn’t increase the size of the top bezel. In terms of the more interesting and innovative design choices we’ve seen at CES this year, Asus is certainly taking more calculated risks and they’re paying off.

Price and availability

We don’t have concrete pricing or release information for the ZenBook S13 at this time but we’re expecting to see it launched in the next few months. In terms of a price estimate the 2018 ZenBook 14 started from GBP999/£1,199 – we’d expect this to start a little higher thanks to discrete graphics and new design, but expect something around GBP1,200/£1,200.

Design and build

When looking at the device for the first time the biggest impression comes from the screen.

The bezels are almost non-existent on the sides and also on the top, making the viewing experience extremely slick as the display almost touches the edges of the laptop. This design allows for a staggering 97% screen/body ratio on the 13.9 inch display, which is only FHD but very pretty to look at none-the-less. The webcam is held within a notch that protrudes from the centre of the top bezel, it’s small enough to still fit within the design and actually works very well thanks to the gently curved edge – it also provides a little lip that you can use to open the lid too, which is more useful than you may imagine in a time of extremely slim design and small form factors.

There are a couple of little design details that make the S13 feel very tailored and premium, the diagonally brushed aluminium on the keyboard deck and the cut line above the function keys make it stand out just that little bit more from the vast array of laptops on the market these days. The laptop is tiny too with dimensions of 31.6 x 12.9 x 1.95 centimetres (12.4 x 5.08 x 0.77 inches) but despite this features a nice array of ports including a full-sized USB-A, 2x USB-C, a microSD slot and a headphone jack to boot.

The S13 is powered by a 50Whr battery which is supposed to provide up to 15 hours of battery life, but as ever, do take this with a pinch of salt until we’ve had a chance to test it properly. Asus ZenBook S13 review: Hands-on

Performance and specs

Something this small and pretty surely can’t have impressive specs under the hood too, right? Asus have made sure the ZenBook S13 is well equipped with your choice of the Intel Core i7-8565U or the Core i5-8265U processors.

You’ll also have the option of a discrete Nvidia GeForce MX150 which will provide some substantial graphics performance, although will certainly come with a substantial increase in cost. Asus ZenBook S13 review: Hands-on The processor and graphics will be supported by up to 16GB of RAM and 1TB of SSD space.

These specs allow the laptop to be extremely nippy and while we haven’t had the chance to put it through its paces with the discrete graphics card just yet, it should provide some impressive Photoshop performance on the move too.

Verdict

If there is ever a sign that laptops are getting smaller and lighter without compromising performance then the Asus ZenBook S13 is a prime example.

Gorgeous design with an all but bezel-less experience, impressive performance, discrete graphics and a large battery in a small form make this an extremely impressive device.

Specs

Asus ZenBook S13: Specs

  • Processor: 8th-gen Intel Core i5-8265U, i7-8565U (WHL)
  • Display: 13.9 inch Full HD (1920 x 1080)
  • Memory: 8GB-16GB LPDDR3 Dual Channel (On Board)
  • Storage: 256/512GB/1TB PCIe SSD
  • Battery: 50Wh, up to 15 hours

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