Asus ZenBook 14 UX435EG-XH74 Review
The Asus ZenBook 14 UX435EG-XH74 delivers a 14-inch viewing experience in a 13-inch form factor with the latest “Tiger Lake” quad-core performance, at a great price.
- Incredible screen-to-body ratio
- Well-engineered metal case
- Good performance
- 2 x Thunderbolt 4
- Middling contrast display
- Reflective display surface
The Asus ZenBook 14 UX435EG is a good laptop for anyone looking to do a little bit of everything – browsing the web, watching movies, office work, college assignments and some casual gaming. For just over one grand, you get solid performance from an 11th Gen Intel Core i7 processor and over 8 hours of battery life.
In addition to a comfortable keyboard, Asus’ latest laptop has the best connectivity options, including a pair of Thunderbolt 4 ports. However, a dim display and a polarizing reflective display surface might give some shoppers pause. For the solid performance and reasonable price, the ZenBook 14 is among our Editors’ Top Picks for midrange Ultrabooks.
Asus ZenBook UX435EG-XH74 specs
Last update on 2021-04-15 at 11:06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
For the ZenBook 14, Asus uses a slim, compact dark grey (they call it pine gray) metal case, with a signature brushed concentric surface on the lid. That should be it on design, since everything here should be about that screen. Or rather the lack of anything much around it.
The side bezels surrounding the display measure just 2.9mm, while the bottom clock in at 3.3mm, while the top nets 6.1mm to accommodate the camera and mic inputs. As a result, you benefit from a staggering 92% screen-to-body ratio, something that allow the ZenBook 14 to match the depth of 13-inch display with fairly large bezels, including the Dell XPS 13, although the former is slightly wider in width.
The 6.1mm top bezel, as mentioned, is a reasonable compromise as it allows for the perfect placement of the webcam on the top of the screen, rather than being positioned on the lower chassis as is on the Huawei MateBook X Pro, or even the chassis itself, resulting in that unpleasant ‘up nose’ angle.
What the Asus ZenBook is not, however, is a truly ultralight laptop. Competitors like the aforementioned Dell XPS 13 are much slimmer if not lighter and super-thin, and the even slimmer Acer Swift 7 is a 14-inch alternative in a different league. Clocking in at 0.39 inches to the ZenBook’s 0.67 inches.
That said, there are upsides to having a little thickness, including ample space to fit full sized USB port. There is a single full USB 3.1 port, the rest are a pair Thunderbolt 4 connections (USB Type-C, Power Delivery, and DisplayPort via USB-C).
These inputs also serve to supply power to the notebook and for video output as well. At least being two of them, you have another free port for your devices such as an external GPU or as a docking station, when the other one is being used for charging.
In total, you have two DisplayPorts, HDMI, USB 3.2 as well as an audio combo port. Should you need more ports, you’ll have to do with an external docking station. Here are the connectivity options:
- 1x HDMI
- 1x 3.5mm Combo Audio Jack
- 1x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A
- 2x Thunderbolt 4 supports display / power delivery
- Wi-Fi 6(Gig+)(802.11ax)
- Bluetooth Bluetooth 5.0 (Dual band) 2*2
The ZenBook 14 has a reflective 14-inch display with a native resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. The screen is bright enough for daily use, with 312.6cd/m2 brightness, this IPS panel exceeds the category average of 300 cd/m2, but the contrast is a bit low. Still, we appreciate the fact that it doesn’t suffer from any level of color shifting and the output quality is very good.
In addition to good color reproduction, the viewing angles on the IPS panel are stable and can be viewed from any angle. That said, the reflective display surface makes reading contents on the screen difficult in outdoors setups, but under a shade or an overcast sky everything is clearly displayed.
Inputs – Keyboard & ScreenPad
Apple’s Butterfly keys are among the best you can have in the market, and you’ll easily get accustomed to lightly pressing the keys and having them rebound with less effort. Asus made some effort to create the same effect with the ZenBook 14, though the end result is a bit mushy.
The keys don’t quickly spring back into place, and they lack a consistent level of resistance. In short, the Asus manages to offer a keyboard that’s ideal for everyday tasks, and nothing more. The keyboard illumination has three steps that you can select using the function key.
We first saw the ScreenPad on the premium Asus ZenBook 3, and we’ve seen the feature appear in Asus’ midrange models. The ScreenPad essentially replaces a standard trackpad with a secondary display with a touchscreen. It acts like another external display that’s plugged into the system. It can be turned on or off via a dedicated key. When the pad is turned off, it works like any simple ClickPad.
There are some small applications built into the secondary display to give the impression of the available possibilities of the ScreenPad. They include a calculator, a field for handwriting input and a Quick Key application bundle for easy-access functions (cut, copy, paste).
The 5.65-inch touchscreen has a maximum resolution of 2160 x 1080 pixels, supports 10 touch points and is very responsive to touch inputs. It also features App Switcher function, that lets you move docked windows between your main display and ScreenPad display.
Asus ZenBook 14 performance
If you thought the Asus ZenBook 14 is all about that NanoEdge screen, with bezels that are barely there, you’ll be surprised what it packs under the hood. The performance of the other core components is more impressive.
The Intel Core i7-1165G7 quad-core CPU will be plenty for all but the most demanding mobile workflows. Ditto the 16GB RAM and 512GB NVMe SSD, which deliver desktop class storage performance. This is an 11th generation processor (Tiger Lake) that blasts through everyday tasks, multitasking is a non-issue, going from one tab or apps to another won’t cause any noticeable slowdown.
The system runs smoothly, and you won’t encounter any slowdowns. With a ULV CPU that operates at basic clock speed of 2.8 GHz (4.1 GHz Turbo), this laptop offers reliable computing power for office and Internet applications.
On the other hand, the ZenBook 14 uses a dedicated Nvidia GeForce MX450 graphics card, that represents Nvidia’s latest midrange chip offering. It belongs to the same Turing chip family as the GeForce GTX-1650 graphics core, and the GPU is able to use the fast GDDR6 graphics storage (2048 MB).
With this GPU, most games are playable at great frame rates at low resolution and low to medium quality levels. You can get away with less demanding games, but performance-hungry games such “Assassin’s Creed Valhalla” won’t be playable even at lower settings.
More of a not-surprising win is the Asus ZenBook 14 UX435EG’s battery life. Managing 14 hours 19 minutes on a single charge under normal everyday use, is good by any standard and gives you the option of not carrying the charger when you head out for the day.
The new ZenBook 14 is a pretty well priced 14-inch Ultrabook that offers good if predictable all-round performance. It sits somewhere in between the MacBook Pro and the Dell XPS 15 in price, the Asus UX435EG-XH74 is a solid option for anyone wanting an Ultrabook that. Can easily tackle even some of the more processor-intensive tasks you throw at it.
However, for all its slim-bezel goodness, the ZenBook’s screen is merely OK. It’s not the highlight it would have been with a punchier, higher resolution panel (higher than the included 1080p), but you have the extra ScreenPad for convenance.
All of these makes the Asus ZenBook 14 a solid choice worthy of your shortlist, but not necessarily a no brainer. But all things considered, if you can live with the negligible flaws as they don’t affect productivity, the Asus ZenBook 14 UX435EG-XH74 is a slick and powerful laptop that’s perfect for the mass consumer.