ASUS ZenBook Duo UX481 is one of the best looking, fastest and budget-friendly premium laptops you can get today.
ASUS ZenBook Duo UX481 Review: Ultra Portable With a Stunning Design
The ASUS ZenBook Duo UX481 is a refined version of its predecessor, the UX481, and comes with a larger battery, better processor and a slightly thicker chassis. See our review below for full details.
ASUS ZenBook Duo UX481 14” FHD NanoEdge Bezel Touch, Intel Core i7-10510U, 8GB RAM, 512GB PCIe SSD, Innovative ScreenPad Plus, Windows 10 Home, UX481FA-DB71T, Celestial Blue
Design and Build
Shedding away the bling that the older Asus Ultrabooks have been known for, the ZenBook UX481 is built with simplicity and elegance. Swaying from the laser cut circular design on the lid which Asus is popular for, the ZenBook UX481 sports a gorgeous brushed finish with a sleek design. Available in Obsidian Stone and Aurora Metallic and Balck Metal color schemes, the UX305LA’s design and all-metallic finish makes it quite similar to the MacBook and Dell XPS 13.
The lid with the shining Asus logo in the centre, the keyboard base, as well as the bottom – everything is crafted from high-grade aluminium. Needless to say, the monolithic design and build material not only makes the ZenBook UX481 stand out of the competition, but imparts durability to the laptop. A comforting feature of the smooth hinges was the ability to lift the screen of the UX481 without holding down the base of the laptop with the other hand, something which the MacBook users have enjoyed for years.
A special design element of the UX481 is its intake vents for proper ventilation, keeping its Broadwell processor cool at all times. The air vents have been smartly placed at the bottom, as well as at the exhaust panel behind the hinges, which facilitates the hot air out and the cool air in. In terms of Input/Output ports, Asus will keep you happy with 3 x USB 3.0 ports, SD Card Slot, and a micro-HDMI port as well. Asus does not provide a micro-HDMI to HDMI dongle, so you will need to buy the additional accessory to use the feature.
The ASUS ZenBook Duo UX481 has been equipped with a 13.3-inch display with the IPS panel technology. Known for its wide-viewing angles, sharp imagery and vibrant colors the 13.3-inch IPS display offers a full-HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. The matte finish of the screen makes it perfect for outdoor usage, with a brightness ratio of 305 cd/m2.
With 98% coverage, sRGB ratio of 69%, and an AdobeRGB ratio of 74%, the UX481 offers a premium quality display which is above average in its category. One factor of the UX305LA’s screen can be annoying, and that is the auto-brightness sensor that turns off the screen brightness too often. However, you can configure the brightness from the Control Panel, so the brightness issue is not a deal breaker.
Keyboard and Trackpad
Keeping the keyboards similar throughout the ZenBook UX481 series, the UX481 offers the same crisp and light typing experience. When compared with the Dell XPS 13, the keys offer a deeper click, which is always welcomed by typists, and feels quite firm and smooth. Some users have reported that the keyboard can be a bit loud with the clicks, especially the Space key, which can be slightly inconvenient for quiet workers.
A disappointing factor of the UX481 keyboard is the absence of backlight, which makes it problematic to enjoy a smooth and error free typing experience in the dark. However, the contrasting color of the keyboard base does help ease the pain of the missing backlight. The trackpad is decently sized and recognizes gestures and swipes easily, but dedicated right and left click buttons would have been better. Despite its full-sized keyboard and a large trackpad, the UX305LA offers plenty of palm-rest, which just adds to the overall comfort of typing.
Under the Hood
Bundled with the Intel Core i5-5200U processor with Broadwell architecture, the UX481 has the firepower to handle most of your regular processes and tasks. With 8GB DDR3 RAM and 128GB Solid State Drive storage, booting will always be ultra-fast and surfing through heavy operations will be without a hiccup. However, having just 128GB of storage on your laptop might not be the ideal choice for most, so you might want to consider upgrading the storage or keeping an external storage device handy.
Coming down to the graphics performance, there is only so much you can expect from the Intel HD Graphics 5500 GPU. Playing full-HD movies and browsing the web should be smooth and zippy, but playing titles such as Dirt 3 and Dota 2 would only be possible on low to medium settings. Installed with the latest build of Windows 10, the ZenBook UX305LA comes optimized right out of the box.
• Looks beautiful and has been built to last
• Full-HD display with matte finish makes it perfect for outdoor use.
• Robust hardware and solid performance benchmark.
• Quiet performance with an impressive battery span.
• Non-backlit keyboard can make typing a hassle in low-light conditions.
• The standard HDMI port is missing, using the feature needs a separate dongle.
The Final Verdict
Considered one of the best budget-friendly Ultrabooks available today, the Asus ZenBook Duo UX481 leaves out very little to desire. The beautifully designed chassis and the impressive display make the UX305LA stand apart from the rest, while the additional attributes such as its intuitively placed cooling vents help it overcome the heating problem which most monolithic laptops are haunted by.
Not without a few shortcomings, the ZenBook Duo UX481 could become the perfect laptop with a backlit keyboard and added storage space. Nonetheless, there is no doubt in the fact that the UX481 is one of the most good-looking, fastest and budget-friendly premium laptops you can find in the market today.