Nimish SawantAug 19, 2016 12:27:35 IST
Asus announced its latest ultrabook - the ultra slim ZenBook 3 - at the Z3NVOLUTION event where it unveiled its third generation Zenfone 3 smartphones. Now while the smartphones will start selling in India by the end of this month, the ZenBook 3 will only arrive here in Q4.
The ZenBook 3 is priced at Rs 1,47,999 which makes it a laptop to consider for a niche audience who want the absolute best internal components while having a light and portable form factor.
The Zenbook 3 looks quite elegant in terms of design. It comes in three colours - Royal Blue, Rose Gold and Quartz Grey - each of which has a golden coloured chamfering going around the edges. The keypad covers the entire horizontal length when you open the flap, and the speaker section is present just above the keyboard. The track pad which comes with a layer of glass, comes in two variants - one is a plain trackpad and the higher end one comes with a fingerprint scanner for one-touch login. The keypad was quite responsive and offers a decent amount of travel. Asus has also managed to put in a 3mm fan under the hood to ensure that the temperatures of the Intel Core processors remain under check.
If there was one thing we did not like, then it was the presence of just a single USB Type C port. Specially considering this ultrabook comes with full desktop-class graphics. Unless Asus is planning to bundle a boat load of accessories for free with the Zenbook 3, it still carries forth the same major flaw that has been there in the Macbook as well. We are still way too dependent on things such as an extra USB port for mouse and an SD card slot for transferring photos from your digital cameras (not all cameras out there are Wi-fi enabled) and so on.
Considering we are seeing a lot of premium laptops in a slim form factor off late, we decided to compare the ZenBook 3 with the HP Spectre and Dell XPS 13 which are high performance slim form factor Windows 10 based laptops. We also added the Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch (with Retina Display) to the mix as it makes a lot more sense than the Intel Core m series sporting Apple MacBook which is more closer in form factor to the ZenBook 3.
|Asus ZenBook 3||HP Spectre||Dell XPS 13||Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch (Retina Display)|
|Price||Rs 1,47,999||Rs 1,19,900||Rs 1,35,990||Rs 1,46,900|
|Weight||0.91 kg||1.11 kg||1.29 kg||1.58 kg|
|Dimensions||296 x 191.2 x 11.9 mm||32 x 229 x 10.4 mm||304 x 200 x 15 mm||314 x 219 x 18 mm|
|Processor||Intel Core i7 7500U||Intel Core i7 6500U||Intel Core i7 6560U||5th gen Intel Core i5|
|RAM||16GB LPDDR3||8GB LPDDR3||8GB LPDDR3||8GB LPDDR3|
|Graphics||Intel HD Graphics||Intel HD Graphics 520||Intel Iris Graphics 540||Intel Iris Graphics 6100|
|Display Size||12.5-inch LED backlit LCD||13.3-inch LED backlit LCD||13.3-inch InfinityEdge touch||13.3-inch LED backlight LCD with IPS panel|
|Display Resolution||1920 x 1080||1920 x 1080||3200 x 1800||2560 x 1600|
|Storage||512GB PCIe SSD||512GB PCIe SSD||256GB PCIe SSD||512GB PCIe SSD|
|Ports||1x audio jack, 1x USB Type C||3x USB Type C, 1x audio jack||2x USB 3.0, 1x USB Type C, 1x SD card slot||2x Thunderbolt 2 ports, 2x USB 3.0, 1x audio jack, 1x SDXC card slot, 1x HDMI port|
|Operating System||Windows 10 Home / Pro||Windows 10 Home||Windows 10 Home||OS X El Capitan|
The one immediate advantage that the ZenBook 3 has over competition is the presence of the latest 7th generation Intel Core i7 processor and it comes with 16GB of RAM which is double that found in all its competitors. At 910 grams, the ZenBook 3 is also the lightest notebook in the list.
The thinnest laptop however is the HP Spectre which has created quite a buzz since its launch, for the slim form factor. HP has also managed to cram in an Intel Core i7 processor with 8GB of RAM and 512GB PCIe SSD. It offers a 13.3-inch full HD form factor which is a more traditional size. But it has the lowest battery capacity among the others, which could be a matter of concern.
The Dell XPS and the MacBook Pro offer high resolution displays which certainly gives them an edge. The Dell XPS 13 with its InfiniteEdge display offers a unique proposition. The MacBook Pro offers the highest battery capacity, and has many more ports for the working professional as compared to other laptops. Technically, the MacBook should have been in this list since it offers similar form factor and weight, but since it is based on the Intel Core m platform, it would have been a bit unfair to compare it with the ZenBook 3 which is much more powerful.
Barring the ZenBook 3, all the other laptops are currently selling in India. While the MacBook Pro 13-inch has been a proven consistent player, the real interesting battle is between the three Windows 10 laptops. At such thin form factors, heat management becomes a prime area of concern. Specially so, when you consider that these laptops house an Intel Core i7 processor inside.
So it would be quite difficult to gauge which laptop is better than the other just based on looking at the specifications. We will need to do thorough testing of all the laptops and compare not just benchmark scores, but take a look at heat management and battery life of these laptops. The Dell XPS 13 is already being tested as we write this, so its review should be out soon. Do check back for the full review.
Asus has not yet given the exact launch date for the ZenBook 3, so we will have to wait till the end of the year for that. In that time gap, if HP Spectre, Dell XPS 13 and Apple MacBook Pro 13.3-inch get a price drop, then it will make things that much more difficult for the ZenBook 3, unless it offers mind-blowing performance. We will have to reserve our verdict till then.
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