My second laptop was a Toshiba satellite — a grotesque-looking, non-biodegradable plastic piece of machinery which weighed over 2 kilos. When I invested close to Rs 20,000 in buying it, my concern wasn’t for the environment. I was only hoping that it would run a bunch of less-demanding games and, of course, get some writing done. Carrying it around had always been a pain. You could see me lug around this “portable” device for the most part of my daily commute.
Enter Asus UX430UA. This sleek-looking, ultra-portable laptop holds a lot of promise when it comes to design and portability. However, it comes with a hefty price tag. At Rs 74,990, ASUS has clearly positioned this in the premium segment. But is this enough to wean away users from Apple’s MacBook Air? Let’s find out.
Asus UX430UA Specifications: 14-inch FHD NanoEdge anti-glare LED-backlit Display | Intel Core 7th generation i7-7500U processor | 8GB RAM + 512 GB SSD | Windows 10 Home OS | 1 Type-C USB 3.1 port, 1 Type-A USB 3.1 port, 1 USB 2.0, 1 Micro HDMI, 1 combo audio jack, SD Card Reader | WiFi 2X2 AC + Bluetooth 4.1
Asus UX430UA Price in India: Rs Rs 74,990
Asus UX430UA design, display
The review unit delivered to us was a stunning “Royal Blue” Asus UX430UA. The aluminium-alloy lid features the standard spun-metal finish which is found in most of Asus’s “classic design” laptops. And the trademark concentric-circle design is enhanced with a crystal-like glossy coating. The downside, however, is that it would get a forensic scientist all excited. It is a super smudge-magnet. I would recommend using a pair of surgical gloves while handling it.
Coming to the chassis, Asus packs everything in a 13-inch frame which is light and easy to carry. When I say light, I mean it is just a little over 1 kilogram. So no more deadlifts outside the gym, yay! That is not it. It gets better. The chassis is just 15.9 mm thick, which is about the same length of a Re 1 coin.
The UX430UA comes with a 14-inch NanoEdge display, which means the bezels are narrow, 7.18mm to be precise. What this does is it increases the screen-to-body-ratio to 80 per cent. The display allows wide viewing angles of up to 178° degrees. Also, the anti-glare display is like extra pizza toppings and cheese.
Asus UX430UA performance review
One thing I loved about the UX430UA is its boot time. It is amazingly fast considering that it runs on a 8GB RAM. I did not push the Asus to its limits but did stretch its memory by opening multiple tabs on Google Chrome. At one point, I had a couple of Windows apps running in the background along with infinite tabs on Chrome. Asus handled it pretty well as Chrome did not lag or crash.
This can also accommodate a few games which are less graphic-intensive. Asus also released a sister version: the UX430QA. It comes with a NVIDIA GeForce 940MX graphics chip to amp up your gaming experience.
At this price point, it is a must to have a backlit keyboard. The keys are soft and very responsive to the touch. The trackpad is smooth and easy to use. However, the fingerprint scanner is a hit-and-a-miss for me. But that has been the case with most fingerprint scanners. If your fingers are moist then be ready to type out the password as this one would never grant you access. Even under dry conditions, there is a 20 per cent chance that it wouldn’t work.
The Harman Kardon-certified speakers are well placed on the sides, right below the keyboard. But I was disappointed with the sound. It was clear but sometimes was barely audible, where I had to crane my neck close towards the laptop.
Asus UX430UA battery review
Coming to the battery, Asus claims the UX430UA can last up to nine hours. However, if you don’t turn off the keyboard backlight then be prepared to search for a power socket. I had set the screen brightness at half when I began binge-watching ‘Ricky and Morty’, and I was able to finish two seasons (3.6 hours) till the battery reached 45 per cent. For an average user, on full charge, the UX430UA should last for at least 6-7 hours.
Asus UX430UA verdict
Despite its lean frame, this laptop is quite sturdy. Its light weight makes it comfortable to carry it around. This will find users who are looking to buy a laptop entertainment and also work. In my opinion, had ASUS thrown-in a decent graphics chip at the same price point then it would have been tough to look for other options in the premium segment.