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[Review] Asus Zenbook UX425JA-EB51: MacBook Who?

    The Zenbook lineup is synonymous with quality. I think that by now anyone reading this knows this, otherwise, you wouldn't be bothered. Asus has managed to make a name for themselves not only due to their consistent delivery of good laptops under this lineup but also thanks to the many innovations that the company keeps introducing upon each generation to keep things interesting.

Today we're here to go in-depth on this review of the Asus Zenbook UX425JA-EB51. A nice, high-end laptop, with good build quality, a solid configuration, and several surprises under its belt beyond the classic specs we've come to expect within its price range. 

But the question you want to know is: Is this the laptop for you? Well, that's what we're determined to find out as we uncover everything you need to know about the UX425JA-EB51. Spoiler alert; it might not be for you. 

Technical specifications 

  •  Make / Model Asus Zenbook UX425JA-EB51
  •  Dimensions 12.6 x 8.2 x 0.5 inches
  •  Weight 2.49 pounds
  •  IPS Backlit LED Panel | 14 inch 
  •  Full HD resolution (1920 x 1080 pixels)  
  •  Gen Intel Core i5-1035G1 processor | 4 cores | Up to 3.6 GHz 
  •  8GB RAM (DDR4) 
  •  Intel UHD 620 Graphics Controller (Integrated)
  •  512GB storage (SSD) 
  •  3-cell battery (Lithium) 
  •  Windows 10 Home Operating System    
  •  Wi-Fi 6 Connectivity Bluetooth 5.0 USB 2.0 Type C (with charging option) USB Type A HDMI Audio combo connector Multi-format card reader HD Webcam 

Who's this laptop perfect for?

This laptop is perfect for power users of the Microsoft Office Suite or similar. It's also a great option for programmers who work back-end and therefore don't need a dedicated graphics card to render top-notch graphics. 

It's a solid option for students, writers, freelancers, or digital marketing workers who want a laptop that they can take with them easily due to its lightweight design yet still have enough battery to not have to take the charger with you everywhere you go. 

Ultimately, it's a great option for those who don't need a dedicated graphics card (graphic designers, gamers, and the like) and want a durable laptop with ample storage space and a strong enough processor to deal with what 99% of us will request of it. 

However, if you're looking for something slightly cheaper and don't mind switching up a Core i5 for an AMD Ryzen 7 then you should definitely consider the recently reviewed Acer Swift 3 SF314-42-R9YN which also packs 8 GB of RAM and 512 GB of storage but adds more standardized connectivity options to the mix.

Design and Panel

Ultra slim aluminum body

The UX425JA-EB51 is distinguished by its great thinness and sturdy build quality, thanks to an aluminum chassis with an attractive refractive finish. It is a laptop that can be placed on the lap to work comfortably, as its hinges allow the laptop to open up to 150 degrees.

Which brings us to the ErgoLift feature, one of those features that you would never assume as essential but that once you've used a laptop with it you can't live without it. Specifically, it's a slight tilt of the keyboard to allow for a more comfortable typing experience and give your wrists a bit of a rest if you've been using laptops with sharp edges. 

Speaking of typing sessions, Asus didn't forget to deliver on the keyboard front, with a comfortable key travel experience, a backlit keyboard, and a digital number pad located on the trackpad. 

This last feature is quite popular amongst number crunchers who don't want to give up on having a comfortable keyboard for the sake of having a dedicated numeric pad on the right-hand side of the laptop. No, in the case of the digital number pad all you have to do is click on the upper right corner of the trackpad, and just like that you've got a digital numeric pad ready for you to start the crunching.

ErgoLift, build quality, digital number pad, these things add up. 

What about the display?

If you are the kind of person that goes straight to check out the display's resolution we don't blame you. We do to. Don't worry, Asus did their homework here as well.

We've got a nice Full HD resolution on a 14-inch IPS panel with wide viewing angles, a matte finish and an anti-reflective coating, which coupled with 400 nits of brightness allow you to use the laptop outdoors. 

Yup, that's right, Asus has thought about it all. Obviously, you won't see squat under direct sunlight but on a normal cloudy day you can easily take this laptop with you on the town and get your groove on in any outdoor cafeteria (assuming we're not on lockdown of course). 

Let's talk about the key components

But we can't just guide ourselves by the design when researching a new laptop, otherwise, we'll end up with a shiny new paperweight. No, we need to look at the brains behind it all. That brings us to the key components. 

On that front, CPU-wise we've got a quad-core Intel Core i5-1035G1 processor, which runs at a base 1.3 GHz and goes up to 3.6 GHz in turbo mode. This is a 10th generation processor with 6 MB of caché.

I know, we can also read a spec sheet. Isn't that amazing? Translating for the non-geeks, what this means is that you're looking at a very good mid-range processor which coupled with the right RAM and storage can deliver a good overall experience. 

Specifically, when you couple the 10th generation i5 with 8 GB of DDR4 RAM and 512 GB of SSD storage capacity you've got yourself a very quick laptop capable of dealing with demanding tasks such as running a two or three virtual machines at once or working late-night coding sessions on Eclipse and other IDE's. 

And yes, you can definitely work on your slides, your Canva designs, and go to town on excel or binge-watch Game Of Thrones with this set of specs. 

Is the RAM upgradable? 

Unfortunately, what you can't do is upgrade the RAM on this laptop. RAM on the Zenbook lineup is rarely upgradeable and the UX425JA-EB51 is no exception to this. However, with this processor and 8 GB of RAM you should still be able to get some serious multitasking done before it ever became an issue. You should only worry if you're planning on having 10 apps and 30 browser tabs open at a time, then you might crash the system, otherwise, you're good. 

Will this laptop work for a graphic designer or a gamer?

On the graphics department, the UX425JA-EB51 packs an integrated Intel UHD Graphics Card. This is a good GPU for tasks such as the aforementioned streaming of movies, launching virtual machines, and such. You can even do some picture editing on Photoshop. 

However, for professional graphic designers, hardcore gamers or professional editors we would recommend you get a laptop with a dedicated graphics card as this one would not be suitable for those tasks. 

Battery life and connectivity options

As far as battery life is concerned, Asus has done a pretty good job and claims you can get up to 22 hours worth of autonomy on a full charge. That said, we know better then to trust the manufacturer's claims. A good rule of thumb for battery life is to always assume 30% less than advertised. That still delivers 15 hours in this case and is consistent with the reviews we've been reading.

Of course, this will depend widely on your usage and your mileage may vary but on an average usage of browsing the web, a bit of video, and some text editing you could easily get above and beyond 10 hours which removed the need to carry the charger everywhere you go. 

What about the connectivity options? 

As far as connectivity is concerned, you've got a couple of USB type C ports for thunderbolt connectivity, a single USB Type-A port, as well as a microSD card reader. 

That's right, I said microSD not a regular SD card reader like most laptops

There's also a notable absence of a 3.5 mm audio jack which Asus tries to fix by giving us an adapter and they also deliver an adapter from USB to Ethernet port in case we wanted to go online through a wired connection.

When it comes to the wireless connections we've also got the latest WiFi 6 standard which, if you haven't been keeping up is the latest standard (right after WiFi 802.11 ac) as well as Bluetooth support and your traditional high definition webcam.

Verdict: Should you buy it? 

Should you buy the Asus Zenbook UX425JA-EB51? Well, that's going to depend largely on what you intend to do with it. If you're looking for a lightweight powerhouse laptop with solid battery life and enough specs to work on the go be it programming, designing on Canva or editing documents then this is a great option for you.

However, if portability is not that big of a deal for you or if you're going to work with graphically intensive hardware then you should know that there are options far more suitable for you out there. Specifically, the recently reviewed Asus TUF Gaming FA506IH-AS53 which has a similar price point, even better specs but lacks on the portability department. 

That said, for 99% of the population, if you can afford to get the Zenbook then you're likely to be very happy with it.