ASUS Zenbook (UX3405MA): Familiar premium design, performance in the price segment make it worth

Sports decent battery life and keyboard but not meant for gaming

asus zenbook

You wouldn’t be wrong in thinking though ASUS launches several laptops every year, much like other brands in the market, it is the Zenbook 14 lineup that often gets recognised the most.

The new Zenbook UX3405MA follows the premium look and feel of previous Zenbooks and adds a new Intel Ultra chip along with Intel Arc graphics.

Starting at Rs. 1,09,990, let’s see how this model fares. 

The Zenbook 14 (UX3405MA) comes with a 14-inch touch display (16:10 aspect ratio) with its hinge extending 180 degrees. It comes in Ponder Blue and Foggy Silver colour options, the former being the one I tried. 

It boasts an aluminium lid with the patterned design that we have seen in ASUS for a while. The laptop weighs 1.2 kg and is about 15-mm thick and it would be safe to say that this is a portable Windows machine by any standard. There’s a slight mesh around the trackpad area and is otherwise well-built, with no sacrifices made in that department. 

The 14-inch (2880x1800) OLED display is a quality panel. It has good viewing angles and does justice to high-resolution videos, including HDR content, something a lot of Windows laptops still struggle with. 

I don't use the touch functionality that often, but it works just fine. It supports 120Hz refresh rates, which makes it a good option for editing higher frame rate videos and some relatively heavy but not too intense games since this isn’t a gaming laptop. The colours on the display look punchy and the text appears sharp to read.

The left side features a USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A port plus vent while the right side carries two Thunderbolt 4 ports supporting power delivery as well as display out, an HDMI 2.1 port, and the 3.5mm combo audio jack. It would have been nicer to have a microSD card slot and an ethernet LAN port too, but then the latter wouldn’t go with the laptop’s thin profile.

The trackpad and keyboard are two of the best parts of this laptop. The trackpad is sufficiently large and is reliable to work with. It catches the usual Windows gestures for scrolling and switching between apps without any issues. The trackpad (no buttons) also has ASUS’s LED NumPad 2.0 that you can switch on from the top left corner of the trackpad, which can be used for the calculator or shortcuts such as jump while playing a video, on say, YouTube. 

The backlit keys can be switched to three levels of lighting. The keys used here have decent travel and I found them comfortable to use for long documents or quick Emails. The navigation keys could have been bigger which now seem out of place compared to the rest of the keyboard where keys are well spaced out and placed. 

You get Harmon/Kardon speakers that are bottom-facing and do a pretty good job for laptop speakers. They get loud and clear for watching something off YouTube or Netflix and have enough depth to not miss out on details. 

Coming to its battery, the laptop is powered by a 75whrs battery unit and charges from 1% to full in about 2.5 hours or so. It lasts a whole working day from 7-8.5 hours without much trouble, but much less if you are watching some movies or TV shows at high brightness. 

The laptop runs on Intel’s Core Ultra 7 155H processor clocked at up to 3.8GHz alongside Intel’s Arc graphics plus 32GB of LPDDR5 RAM and 1TB of M.2 NVMe PCIe 4.0 SSD. It’s running on Windows 11 Home OS version 23H2. 

The laptop is more than capable do everyday tasks such as using Office apps alongside having several web browser tabs, and playing music in the background while you sync your files with something like OneDrive or Dropbox. 

It takes about 20 seconds for a fresh boot and 5-7 seconds to wake from sleep before you can start using it. Graphics performance from the Arc chip seems to be fine for watching high-resolution videos or editing videos (but not for the sole purpose) and a game like Forza Horizon 5 but not for heavier games at high settings by any means. 

In a nutshell, the Zenbook 14 is an all-around pretty well-made package – whether it’s the design part, display or trackpad. On top, you get good battery life for work on the go. This price segment has started to be competitive past year or so, and the new launches from ASUS appear to be another worthy contender if a lot of work and entertainment plus a bit of gaming are your use cases.


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