The ASUS ZenBook 13 UX325EA-DH51 combines power, portability, and affordable pricing, the top three features that all of us want in ultraportable laptops. It adds a gorgeous HD OLED display that you can find even on some expensive models.
- Gorgeous OLED display
- Decent CPU performance
- Phenomenal battery life
- No headphone jack
- Weak speakers
Our favorite Asus ZenBook 13 is back for 2021, packed with the latest 11th generation processors and rocking a full HD OLED panel for fantastic, vibrant colors and some solid CPU performance. The model we’re reviewing – the UX325EA-DH51, comes with Windows 11 pre-installed, but everything else remains unchanged over its Windows 10-based predecessor, the Asus UX325EA-DS51, from last year.
Once again, its Intel Iris Plus graphics card option makes it a better choice over the AMD Ryzen 5000 variant of the same model that features a Radeon graphics card; both models have Thunderbolt 4 support. Still, the lack of a headphone jack holds the ZenBook 13 from being truly great.
That doesn’t mean this isn’t one of the best Ultrabooks on the market now, though it is. From its gorgeous design and lightweight chassis to its bright and vibrant 400-nit OLED display, the Asus ZenBook 13 UX325EA is one of the best-looking ultrabooks that easily takes on the Dell XPS 13 and Apple MacBook Air (M1, 2020) but rings a much lower price than both rivals. It’s also a good bit lighter than both of those, losing only to the very most lightweight notebooks like the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano.
ASUS ZenBook 13 UX325EA Specs
Here is the Asus ZenBook 13 configuration in this Digital Weekly review:
- Laptop Class: Personal, Student, Business
- CPU: Intel Core i5-1135G7
- Graphics: Intel Iris Xe
- RAM: 8GB
- Screen: 13.3-inch, OLED 1080p, 400 nits
- Storage: 256B PCIe SSD
- Ports: 1 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1, 2 x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2, 1xHDMI 2.1, MicroSD
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0
- Camera: 720p IR webcam
- Weight: 2.51lbs (1.14kg)
- Size (W x D x H): 11.97 x 7.99 x 0.55ins
The design of the Asus ZenBook 13 is undoubtedly one of its main standout features. Asus created a seriously lightweight Ultrabook, measuring just 0.55-inches and weighing 2.51 pounds. The aluminum chassis has a sleek brushed metal design on the lid that radiates out from the Asus logo emblemed off-center on the front. It’s an art piece that you’ll proudly whip out in public.
Port selection is excellent for an Ultrabook: two USB Type-C, a USB Type-A, an HDMI 2.0 output port, and a microSD slot. You’ll notice that a headphone jack is absent, which, honestly, we’d have preferred to remain in exchange for a microSD card slot.
The ZenBook 13’s display is colorful with precise detail when you’re watching movies. The Asus ZenBook 13 lacks a touch-enabled screen, which is still fine, despite the robust touch capabilities built into Windows 11 that are useful for everyday computing tasks like browsing the web and minimizing app windows. The ZenBook 13 also lacks a 4K display option.
The only display available in the Asus ZenBook 13 UX325EA-DH51 line is a full-HD (1,920 by 1,080 pixels) LED-backlit panel, which can be configured with either 400 nits or 300 nits of brightness. Our review unit has the brighter version, which we highly recommend unless you’re looking to eke out as much battery life as possible, in which the 300-nit backlight would be a preferable choice.
Right above the display, there’s an HD (720p) webcam with IR sensors that support face recognition logins as well as Windows Hello. Its video quality is average; the picture is slightly noisy even in bright indoor lighting setups.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The edge-to-edge keyboard is comfortable enough for daily use, though some might find the keyboard layout too cramped, that’s expected of a 13-inch laptop. As for the touchpad, it is fine but not as responsive or comfortable as you’ll find on the XPS 13. Still, we like the tapping experience as you can even transform the touchpad into a calculator with virtual backlit buttons.
However, don’t confuse that with the unique ScreenPad available on some high-end ZenBook models. The ScreenPad is a blend of a secondary touch screen and a touchpad, but it’s not a must-have feature like the Apple Touch Bar.
One thing that stands out, though, is the ErgoLift design that lifts the keyboard towards you as you fully extend the screen, making typing to be more pleasant than it would otherwise be.
The ASUS ZenBook 13 (UX325EA-DH51) is one of the first production laptops we’ve reviewed with Intel’s Tiger Lake CPUs and Windows 11 pre-installed. The Intel Core i5-1135G7 has four cores, eight threads, and a base frequency of 2.4Ghz. It also uses Intel’s latest Iris Xe graphics processor. The integrated graphics engine offers performance that’s within striking distance of an entry-level gaming laptop with a discrete GPU and is a boon to people who prefer an ultraportable laptop but occasionally need to play games on the side.
To ascertain the ZenBook’s performance, we stacked it side-by-side with a few other comparably priced ultraportable laptops, including the Acer Swift 3 and the Apple MacBook Air. You can see their basic specs in the table below.
The Asus ZenBook 13 is great, especially in single-core performance, though the same can’t be said of the multicore performance. This is pretty typical of Intel chips which tend to lag slightly at multitasking than AMD chips but perform so well in intensive apps that require higher single-core power, like gaming or video encoding.
That said, the Intel Core i5-1135G7 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB SSD storage are capable enough for general use and productivity work. The ZenBook 3 can launch 30 tabs of Google Chrome, with some tabs running YouTube, others Twitch streams, while others run TweetDeck and GSuite applications with random news pages. The laptop won’t show any signs of sluggishness even with such a load.
The ZenBook 3 excels well even on synthetic benchmark tests, scoring 4,756 on the Geekbench 5 overall performance test, pushing past the premium 4,030 premium laptop average. The Swift 3, with its AMD Ryzen 7 CPU, came closest to matching the ZenBook 13 with a score of 4,639. The MacBook Air (M1 chip) hit 5,284, which is the kind of performance you’d find on Intel Core i7/Ryzen 7 series notebooks.
With the arrival of 11th Gen CPUs, we’re also getting a new integrated graphic chip, Intel Iris Xe. With this new component, Intel promises gamers more play at 1080p by doubling the gaming performance of the previous generation chip.
OK, can you play AAA titles on these new integrated chips? Yes, but we’re still not convinced you should. You can get away with games like Control, but on low, so it won’t be the best-looking experience.
The 11th Gen chips are part of Intel Evo, the second stage in the company’s Project Athena initiative. Evo comes with several system requirements for laptops to receive Intel’s certification. One of those is at least 9 hours of battery life for 1080p systems.
The ZenBook 13 UX325EA exceeds those expectations with 13 hours 41 minutes while browsing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness. That’s almost three hours longer than the 10:02 premium laptop average and much better than its direct competitor, the Acer Swift 3 (11:24), while the MacBook Air leads the pack with over 17 hours on a single charge.
Verdict: Affordable, Powerful, and Impressive Portability
The Asus ZenBook 13 UX325EA-DH51 combines power, portability, and affordable pricing, which are the top three features that all of us want in premium ultraportable laptops. Therefore, this laptop is an excellent choice for an under-$1000 notebook, which is the bottom end of the premium ultraportable category.
However, Asus did need to make a few compromises to realize the optimal blend of features. That includes a slightly inferior build quality and no option for a 4K display or a touch screen, both of which are available in the more-expensive Editors’ Choice Dell XPS 13.
These few drawbacks only keep us from awarding the Asus ZenBook 13 an Editors’ Choice award. Still, they’re certainly not enough to keep us from recommending this excellent laptop to people looking for the latest and greatest Intel chip in a slim, attractive notebook that won’t break the bank.
Last update on 2022-10-04 at 09:21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
ASUS ZenBook 13 Ultra-Slim Laptop, 13.3” OLED FHD NanoEdge Bezel Display, Intel Core i5-1135G7, 8GB LPDDR4X RAM, 256GB SSD, NumberPad, Thunderbolt 4, Wi-Fi 6, Windows 10 Home,Black, UX325EA-DS51
5 used from $619.88