I recently received a package from my friends at ASUS. In the package was an ASUS ZenBook 14 UX434F- these are the kinds of perks you get being a local tech magazine blogger. The laptop came at the perfect time. During this pandemic, I have been forced to work from home and hold most meetings online. However, my 5-year old HP Pavilion has disappointed me on several occasions, and I had been toying with the idea of getting a new machine.
But I realize that I am not alone. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, most people have been forced to work from home, writing reports and holding online meetings. This means that a powerful laptop has become a necessity for most people. Thus, many people have been shopping for laptops but are overwhelmed by the myriad of brands available in the market.
I have been with this laptop for a week now, testing it through typing, watching videos online, streaming videos, holding my zoom meetings, playing light games, and charging my phone, and I must admit that I am pretty impressed. Therefore, I thought I should share my two cents on the same to help someone who is struggling to choose a premium laptop in a market flooded with so many options.
I have always wanted to have a smaller and lightweight laptop since I am a nomad writer. Therefore, as soon as I saw the ASUS ZenBook 14 UX434F, I knew that it was the perfect machine for people like me. The laptop is 14” in width and lightweight at about 1.26kgs. I especially appreciate ASUS’s thoughtfulness, where instead of having a broad frame eating into the screen space, the body of this laptop only takes up about 5% while the screen takes 95%. But although the screen is robust, I noticed that the skin is reflective, which is a drawback as this can cause distractions.
I was relieved to see that the laptop has a full HDMI port. Unlike most compact computers, which lack this feature, ASUS ZenBook 14 UX434F was thoughtfully designed to ensure that it does not compromise functionality. There is also a power port, USB 3.1 Type C, and USB 3.1 Type A on the connectivity side. On the other side is a headphone jack port, and a microSD card reader porter. There is also a USB 2.0, which I haven’t used so far.
ASUS ZenBook 14 UX434F is one gorgeous machine. It meshes a classy navy blue sheen with aluminum trim scattered about its frame. It has some silver touches for that extra classy look. This makes it the perfect laptop for both official and casual settings.
The laptop is also framed with small bezels, that is, a 2.9mm side bezel and a 3.3mm bottom bezel. This makes it one of the slimmest machines in the market. It’s also important to note that, unlike other similar models that sacrificed the camera, this laptop retained it. The ultrathin camera helps enhance the sleekness of the machine and has been designed to improve picture quality and reduce noise. This feature is a plus, given my frequent video calls with clients and family.
The classic TKL keyboard gives an excellent typing sensation. The keyboard has softly finished full-size keys, proper spacing, and short arrows. The keys are neither too-wobbly nor hollow-feeling. Also, there is less key travel, which allows comfortable typing while the three-backstage light that lies below the keyboard makes nighttime typing easier.
The screen comes in the latest ErgoLift hinge design, which allows the user to rotate it to 145 degrees. Also, it allows for a slightly inclined typing position that is generally more comfortable than the straight typing position. The ErgoLift hinge design also helps to improve cooling and audio output.
Below the keyboard is the ScreenPad instead if the traditional touchpad. The Screenpad 2.0 comes with a variety of pre-installed applets to enhance functionality. For example, my laptop has Quick Key, which allows one to automate frequently used keyboard sequences. It also has a Handwriting app that enables one to write using fingers and enter the text into a webpage or app. Although this app is meant to make typing more comfortable, I found it much slower than typing using the keyboard. Also, there is a Numkey that allows one to type numbers into apps while the calculator can be used for all calculations. You also get MyAsus, which is the Asus utility pad.
Virtually any app could be dropped down to the ScreenPad. While working, I preferred dropping down my social media apps so that I could work, on the main screen, with minimal distractions. Also, the pre-installed Spotify app on the ScreenPad allowed me to select a playlist to play as I worked.
Overall, I found the touchpad to be very useful. However, having to remember to change into touchpad mode to do some basic touchpad controls was a little annoying.
The performance of ASUS ZenBook 14 UX434F matches the ambition of the outer hardware. My unit comes with 16GB RAM, but a 512GB SSD. This allows you to handle multiple demanding tasks without skipping a beat. It also has an Nvidia MX 250 graphic chipset, which allows smooth gaming. This feature is also great for video and photo editing tasks. On the other hand, the gigabit-class Wi-Fi and ASUS Wi-Fi Master technology allow ultrafast downloads and smooth streaming.
The screen is a very shiny and reflective 14-inch LED-backlit touchscreen with FHD (1,920 x 1,080) resolution. Although the reflective screen can cause distractions, it compensates with its color resolution, which is pretty good for watching videos. While in the past, I could not watch movies on my laptop due to the poor resolution, I must admit that I really enjoyed watching movies on the ASUS ZenBook 14 UX434F. Also, I loved the fact that at 40% brightness, I could still work pretty comfortably due to the illumination.
The Harman Kardon speakers produce a crisp sound, free of distortions, even in the loudest setting. I found this feature to be very useful for my zoom meetings. While with my HP Pavilion, I have to have my headphones to hear the speakers on my zoom calls clearly, this laptop allows me to hear speakers clearly even without the use of headphones.
The laptop has a 50Wh 3-cell Lithium-polymer battery, which the company claims lasts up to 12.3 hours. However, the battery lasted nearly 9 hours, which is still pretty great, especially for people who travel or work from the field a lot. Besides, a single charge allows you to work all day. But be careful of ScreenPad as I noticed that it drained the battery faster.
The ASUS ZenBook 14 UX434F is an incredibly brilliant machine. It tries to combine new technologies with ultra-portability and has so far done a great job at that. The laptop is worth your consideration, especially if you are looking for a powerful, reliable, and compact machine. Although the ScreenPad drains power faster, it shouldn’t distract you from everything else that the laptop has to offer.
The machine is available Bright Technologies, located along Kimathi Street, for the price of Kshs 140,000. I believe that it’s an excellent machine for its price range and I am seriously considering it.
ZenBook 14 UX434F
A Brilliant Machine that Comes in an Ultra-Portable Package; 14” in width; 1.26kgs weight; 16GB RAM; 512GB SSD hard disk; 9 hours battery life.
- Compact and Lightweight
- Innovative ScreenPad
- Great speakers
- Minimal screen bezel
- Fast downloading and streaming
- Long-lasting battery
- The ScreenPad drains power
- The reflective screen can be distracting