From bamboo laptops to ultra-books, ASUS has never stopped unleashing innovations in the laptop space. A couple of months ago we checked out the brand’s new ZenBook Duo series that aims to challenge the very definition of a laptop with a dual screen. The UX 481 laptop in that range stood out with a gorgeous 14-inch full HD primary screen (1920 x 1080 pixels) – perfect for catching videos or crafting PPTs, and a secondary screen – that ASUS calls the ScreenPad Plus, that is touch enabled with a screen resolution of 1920 x 515 pixels and a 178-degree viewing angle. The new ZenBook 14 stays within ASUS’ comfort zone, a lightweight laptop that is bolstered by an AMD chip that also brings key performance improvisations. It’s also a good looking laptop.

That’s the first thing you will notice as you notice the refined build quality. You can’t miss ASUS’ signature ErgoLift hinge that tilts the keyboard to the most comfortable typing position. This tilt design also improves the cooling and audio performance of the laptop. It’s easy to open the laptop with a single hand. ASUS calls this Utopia Blue, it’s almost silver with a blue tint and the brushed metal design adds to its appeal. The keyboard is ergonomic and delivers good key travel (this review was typed in quick time on the ZenBook 14). You will notice elegantly designed speaker grills that flank the keyboard.

The audio performance is one of our favourite features of this laptop. The Harmon Kardon logo occupies pride of place below the keyboard. The ZenBook 14 boasts of a quad-speaker sound system created by ASUS’s Golden Ear team in tandem with Harmon Kardon. The set up includes two bass speakers and two high-frequency speakers that elevate the AV experience especially when you’re watching HD content on the go.

The ZenBook has long been the lightest laptop in the ASUS range and also among the best lightweight Windows laptops out there. This latest avatar features a slim-bezel NanoEdge display that pushes the screen to body ratio to 86%. It’s also more compact than its predecessor (the UX 430). The ZenBook 14 also wears the AMD Ryzen badge. The new generation AMD RyzenTM 5 processor with 8GB DDR4 RAM running at 2400MHz keeps this laptop chugging along.  The latest AMD Ryzen 5 processor also packs the powerful AMD RadeonTM RX Vega 8 graphics processor. On the storage front, the laptop is backed by an ultrafast 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD and a dual-band Wi-Fi 5. The laptop is not short on ports with 2 USB Type-A ports, a USB Type-C port and also a SD Card reader.

The ZenBook 14 delivers great value for its sticker price. Battery life is quite solid – ASUS claims around 12 hours; we managed close to that duration with a mix of video and MS Office usage. At 1.39 kg, it’s quite compact and should slip into some of your slimmer messenger bags. It has some handy touches like a fingerprint sensor but it’s the speedy performance and the sound quality that make a big impression.

The ASUS ZenBook 14 (UM431) costs Rs 59,990 

Check out ASUS’ full range of ZenBooks