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Product Listing

ASUS ZenBook S review: Simply a very good ultrabook

By Koh Wanzi - 29 Dec 2018
Launch SRP: S$2398

Performance benchmarks

Test setup

Here’s a full list of the notebooks we’re looking at:

  • ASUS ZenBook S UX391
  • Dell XPS 13
  • HP Spectre
  • Lenovo Yoga 920

Test notebooks compared
  ASUS ZenBook S UX391 Dell XPS 13 (2018) HP Spectre (2017) Lenovo Yoga 920
  ASUS ZenBook S UX391 Dell XPS 13 (2018) HP Spectre (2017) Lenovo Yoga 920
Launch SRP
  • From S$2398
  • From S$2899
  • From S$3299
Processor and Chipset
  • Intel Core i7-8550U (1.8GHz, 8MB cache)
  • Intel Core i7-8550U (1.8GHz, 8MB cache)
  • Intel Core i7-8550U (1.8GHz, 8MB L3 cache)
  • Intel Core i7-8550U (1.8GHz, 8MB L3 cache)
Operating System
  • Windows 10 Home
  • Windows 10 Home
  • Windows 10 Home
  • Windows 10 Home
System Memory
  • 16GB LPDDR3 dual-channel 2133MHz
  • 16GB LPDDR3 2133MHz
  • 16GB LPDDR3 2133MHz RAM
  • 16GB DDR3 2400MHz RAM
Video & Display
  • 13.3-inch 1,920 x 1,080-pixel IPS
  • Intel UHD Graphics 620
  • 13.3-inch 4K InfinityEdge touch display
  • Intel UHD Graphics 620
  • 13.3-inch 1,920 x 1,080-pixel IPS
  • 13.9-inch 3,840 x 2,160 IPS
Storage
  • 512GB M.2 PCIe SSD
  • 256GB PCIe SSD
  • 512GB PCIe SSD
  • 1TB PCIe SSD
Optical Drive
  • None
  • None
  • None
  • None
Connectivity
  • Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
  • Bluetooth
  • Killer 1435 (802.11ac, 2x2)
  • Bluetooth
  • 2x2 Intel 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 4.2
  • 2x2 802.11ac Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 4.1
Audio
  • ASUS SonicMaster stereo audio system with surround-sound
  • Stereo speakers tuned by Waves MaxxAudio, 1W x 2
  • 4 x digital array microphones
  • Bang & Olufsen dual speakers
  • HP Audio Boost
  • Dolby Atmos (via headphones)
  • 2x JBL Speakers
I/O Ports
  • 2 x Thunderbolt 3 USB-C
  • 1 x USB 3.1 USB-C
  • 1 x headphone jack
  • 2 x Thunderbolt 3 USB-C
  • 1 x USB 3.1 USB-C
  • 1 x microSD card reader
  • 1 x headphone jack
  • 1x USB 3.1 (Gen 1) Type-C
  • 2x Thunderbolt 3
  • 1x headphone/mic combo jack
  • 1x USB 3.1 (Gen 1) Type-A
  • 2x Thunderbolt 3
  • 1x headphone/mic combo jack
Battery Type
  • 50Wh
  • 52Wh
  • 43.7Wh lithium-ion battery
  • 70Wh lithium-ion battery
Dimensions
  • 311 x 213 x 12.9mm
  • 302 x 199 x 11.6mm
  • 308.2 x 224.2 x 10.4mm
  • 323 x 223.5 x 13.95mm
Weight
  • 1.05kg
  • 1.21kg
  • 1.11kg
  • 1.37kg

Next up, here are the benchmarks used:

  • PCMark 10
  • PCMark 8
  • 3DMark
  • Far Cry 2
  • Tomb Raider

 

PCMark 10

PCMark 10 offers different benchmark tests, each designed for a specific scenario. The regular PCMark 10 benchmark focuses on the modern office, and covers a wide variety of tasks encountered in an office scenario. On the other hand, the Express benchmark focuses on applications typically used by office workers in administration, sales, and managerial roles. Finally, the Extended benchmark gives the most comprehensive view of system performance, encompassing essentials, productivity, digital content creation, and even gaming.

The ZenBook S fell somewhere in the middle of the pack here. However, it did better than the Dell XPS 13, which is still one of the best performance oriented Windows ultrabooks you can get. And for reference, it's still quite a bit better than the LG gram 13.

 

PCMark 8 Storage

PCMark 10 doesn’t have a dedicated storage benchmark yet, so we’re using the one from PCMark 8 in the meantime.

The ZenBook S came out ahead of the competition here. It utilizes a speedy Samsung PM961 512GB PCIe M.2 SSD, which uses the company’s new Polaris controller, a decision that’s clearly paying off.

 

3DMark

The ZenBook S lagged behind the XPS 13 in 3DMark, but it managed to edge out the other notebooks. In Cloud Gate, the XPS 13 was around 14 per cent faster. Fortunately, it's still plenty faster than the LG gram 13.

 

Far Cry 2

Unfortunately, the ZenBook S didn’t do as well in Far Cry 2. The XPS 13 remained the top performer by a sizeable margin, but the ZenBook S was just a hair behind both the HP Spectre and Lenovo Yoga 920 at Medium settings. Things evened out slightly at Very High settings, but the XPS 13 retained its lead.

 

Tomb Raider

The XPS 13 came ahead in Tomb Raider as well, but the ZenBook S managed to hold its own with performance numbers somewhere in the middle of the pack.

8.5
  • Design 8
  • Features 8
  • Performance 8.5
  • Value 9
  • Mobility 9
The Good
ErgoLift hinge makes it more comfortable to use on lap
Great keyboard and touchpad
Solid build quality
Two Thunderbolt 3 ports
Good value compared to competition
The Bad
Lid is prone to fingerprints
No touchscreen display