ASUS, the computer and mobile phone manufacturer, looks game, set and ready to tackle Apple’s range of ultraportable laptop computers with the new ZenBook 3. The machine is only now beginning to roll out and is due to be available to Sri Lankan consumers towards the end of September 2016. Despite our best efforts, we weren’t able to get our hands on a demo machine, but with the specs and performance ASUS is promising, the new ZenBook 3 is likely to be a game changer.
ASUS has not released a line of totally new ultra-portables for some time now, previous releases being merely upgrades. The ZenBook 3 will be a 12.5” clamshell ultraportable. It’ll come in different configurations but we found the machine with the top end specs to be stunning.
It’s 30% thinner than the MacBook Air, 9% thinner than the MacBook and features a 32 step spun-metal finished, uni-body made of an aerospace-grade alloy. It’ll be available in Royal Blue, Rose Gold and Quartz Gray, which we think is a bit more adventurous than Apple’s offering. It’s supposed to weigh in at around 900 grams.
Under the hood, the promised top end configuration of the ZenBook 3 is absolutely stunning. 6th Gen Intel Core i7 Processor, Intel Graphics, 16 GB of LPDDR3 RAM, 1 TB of SSD Storage and a brand new cooling system to deal with it all, along with all of the other usual features. The 12.5” full HD display claims to have a 178 degree viewing angle and is protected with Gorilla glass 3. It also boasts some super built-in audio with 2 stereo speakers and 2, 5-magnet speakers.
We are supposed to see a USB C port for peripheral connectivity/charging which can be expanded with ASUS’s Universal or Mini Docks.
The device is supposed to ship with the Windows 10 Platform pre-installed. Both Pro and Home versions are available. Other bells and whistles include a full size, edge-to-edge backlit keyboard and fingerprint recognition on the touchpad for use with Windows Hello.
While we haven’t been able to get our hands on an actual machine, based on our past experience with ASUS machines, we expect them to deliver a robustly built, sturdy piece of hardware that looks great. The display though, may not impress. Apple is likely to retain its glory in that area. ASUS tends to install lower quality displays and bump up performance with their Splendid software. A truly stunning display will be a pleasant surprise. Given their track record with audio though, this should be great. Also, for such a cool high end machine, a VGA webcam is a let-down.
We think the ZenBook 3 will bring serious competition for Apple and other ultra-portables. Running the Windows platform will give users the flexibility Apple doesn’t, along with the style that Apple does. We can’t wait to get our hands on one of these and have a go at it. The Lankan launch can’t come soon enough.