ASUS has today used its Computex 2016 press conference in Taipei to introduce the ZenBook 3 notebook. The company’s third-generation ZenBook notebook is not only designed to be ultraportable, but to also seemingly be a direct competitor to Apple’s 12-inch Retina MacBook range given the fact that the two pieces of hardware have striking visual similarities. With that said, the newly announced ZenBook 3 is thinner, lighter and allegedly faster, meaning that it should instantly garner attention from those looking for a new portable notebook.
One of the instantly staggeringly impressive things about the ZenBook 3 is its form factor. The new laptop will ship with what feels like an almost impossible to achieve thickness of just 11.9mm. That has been made possible thanks to an aerospace-grade chassis engineered and manufactured from an extremely light aluminum alloy that allows the notebook to weigh in at just 2 pounds.
You could be forgiven for thinking that making it thinner and lighter would result in a structure that could suffer integrity damage a lot easier. You’d be wrong, with ASUS promising that the ZenBook 3 is “50% stronger than the standard alloy” material being used in competing products of this nature. So it’s thinner, lighter, and strong than the competition, but how does it perform?
The hardware features an edge-to-edge 12.5-inch display offering up a 1920-by-1080 pixel resolution. We’re not at the stage yet where we can produce laptops with entire glass frontals, meaning that the ZenBook 3 has a very tiny bezel around the display (7.6mm), but still serves up an 82% screen-to-body ratio. That should hopefully position the ZenBook 3 as an almost de-facto choice for those who are looking for a new laptop for viewing media and enjoying rich content.
The default Windows 10 installation (Home or Pro version) is backed up by an Intel Core i5 or Core i7 processor with an accompanying 16GB 2133MHz RAM. Consumers will also have the choice of customizing the notebook to ship with a 512GB SSD or a 1TB PCIe Gen 3 SSD.
If audio performance is paramount to your notebook experience, then ASUS seems to have ticked that box as well with the quad-speaker audio provided by the extremely well respected Harman Kardon. MacBook fans will also note that the ASUS ZenBook 3 seems to have adopted the single USB Type-C port for charging the device and connecting additional accessories and peripherals.
The ZenBook 3 provides up to 9 hours of battery life for all-day computing, and can charge itself up to 60% in 49 minutes only. Asus has also thrown in a backlit keyboard, but most importantly this ultra-thin notebook also comes with an embedded fingerprint sensor for biometric security. A notebook of this profile is unlikely to pack a fan for heat dissipation, but it appears Asus has had no trouble providing it with one resulting in a cool runtime.
Those interested in the new ZenBook 3 will be able to welcome it into their lives with one of three finishes; Royal Blue – which looks absolutely stunning – Rose Gold, or Quartz Grey. The notebooks will start shipping in Q3 of this year, with prices starting at $999 for the Intel Core i5 entry-level model.