ZenBook UX410U

£800 in British money is still a significant purchase, but in 2018 it's still where you'll be looking at a mid-range laptop. That said, the ZenBook UX410U is certainly towards the higher end of the mid-range.

What you get is a 14-inch laptop that packs the style and build quality of something much more expensive, that's also packing quite a punch thanks to Intel's new 8th generation processors. In years past, there's no way you'd have been getting a quad-core laptop like this for this price.

It isn't without some flaws, but the Zenbook UX410U is a nice laptop for both business and personal use.

Stylish power

ASUS Zenbook UX410U

£799.99 as tested

Bottom line: It looks like a more expensive laptop and it performs like one for the most part.

Pros:

  • Premium style and build quality.
  • Included case, VGA, and Ethernet adapters.
  • USB-C, HDMI and SD card all present and correct.
  • Quad-core i5 CPU

Cons:

  • Display isn't bright enough.
  • Trackpad a little on the sensitive side.
  • Webcam is pretty bad.

What you'll love about the ASUS ZenBook UX410U

ZenBook UX410U

All hail the Intel 8th generation processors. Not an exaggeration, either, as thanks to the latest advancements you're now getting a quad-core i5 in this laptop with eight threads where previous generations would have been a dual-core. In this case, that means great performance (albeit clocked at 1.6GHz) and Intel UHD 620 graphics for a good bit cheaper than some more expensive and slower laptops from maybe six months ago.

The processor is backed up here by 8GB of 2400MHz RAM and a 256GB SATA 3 SSD for all the storage. Being SATA and not NVMe type it means ultimate speeds aren't the fastest you'll find, but more than adequate for a laptop in this price bracket.

Here are a couple of benchmarks, comparing the processor and SSD in the ZenBook to some other recent laptops.

CPU

Geekbench 4.0 benchmarks (higher is better)

Device CPU Single core Multi core
Zenbook UX410U i5-8250U 3,967 12,402
Surface Book 2 15 i7-8650U 5,036 14,237
Surface Book 2 13 i7-8650U 4,862 14,694
XPS 15 (9560) i7-7700HQ 4,503 13,587
Razer Blade 2017 i7-7700HQ 4,277 13,597
Surface Laptop i7 i7-7660U 4,714 9,535
Surface Pro 2017 i7-7660U 4,513 9,346
Surface Book i7-6600U 3,977 7,486

The ZenBook is the only i5 in this list, so on single-core performance it's naturally a little behind both 7th and 8th generation i7 chips. The difference becomes apparent when you see how close the multi-core score is to a 7th-generation quad-core i7 in the XPS 15 and Razer Blade, while leaping ahead of dual-core offerings in the Surface Pro and Surface Laptop. Both of which cost more than this laptop.

SSD

CrystalDiskMark (higher is better)

Device Read Write
Zenbook UX410U 530 MB/s 455 MB/s
Surface Book 2 1TB 1,411 MB/s 1,202 MB/s
Surface Laptop i7 486 MB/s 244 MB/s
Surface Pro 2017 1,284 MB/s 963 MB/s
Surface Book 1TB 1,018 MB/s 967 MB/s
Surface Laptop i5 423 MB/s 237 MB/s

Nothing surprising here, it's little more than a good SATA3 SSD. It's handily faster than the more expensive Surface Laptop, though.

So, performance is pretty good, and you can even play Sea of Thieves on it (within reason) and Fortnite, too. The display looks pretty good at 14-inches and 1080p and is a matte finish IPS panel with solid viewing angles. Color wise we're looking at 93 percent sRGB and 72 percent Adobe RGB which isn't the best you'll find, but far from ASUS' worst either. Out of the box calibration on this review unit wasn't too far off, just a tad high on the greens.

Category Spec
CPU Quad-core Intel Core i5-8250U, eight threads
RAM 8GB 2400MHz
SSD 256GB SATA3
Display 14-inch IPS, 1920 x 1080
Ports HDMI, USB-C, USB 3.0, SD card, 3.5mm

The ZenBook UX410U feels every bit the premium product throughout, with an all-metal body, harman/kardon speakers that have a fairly strong sound with plenty of volume, a precision touchpad and all the ports you could possibly need. Despite being metal, it's not very heavy.

It's also a solid choice for business users since ASUS includes not only a case in the box but also a USB Ethernet adapter as well as an HDMI to VGA adapter. Nothing screams enterprise like an ancient VGA monitor you need to hook your laptop up to.

The keyboard is predictably good for an ASUS laptop, something I personally really like. You always get great key travel, something I much prefer to have on a laptop over really shallow keys. It's also backlit with different stages of brightness. Battery life isn't too bad, too, with anywhere between six to eight hours of mixed use in my testing.

What you'll hate about the ASUS ZenBook UX410U

ZenBook UX410U

The display might look good but it's not very bright. Thankfully there's no glossy reflection hell, but in bright light even maxed out I'm not happy with the brightness here. It's too dim, even for a well-lit room.

You won't be sitting outside and working on it on a sunny afternoon, that's for sure.

Something else that's pretty bad is the webcam quality. At £800 I'd expect something that doesn't look like it belongs on a super-cheap, entry-level laptop. Sure, you can make your video calls on it, but this is a great choice for business users. And honestly, I'd expect a little more from something that'll probably get used quite a lot.

The trackpad is also a little sensitive for my tastes. It's precision, which is good, but even turning down the sensitivity and cursor speed I wasn't completely happy. It might be down to the super slippy finish on the trackpad, which I'm also not overly fond of.

Bottom line on the ASUS ZenBook UX410U

For £799 in the UK, this is an excellent package for both consumer and business users. The included dongles for Ethernet and VGA along with decent battery life, nice case and a compact form factor make it superb for tucking in a bag and hitting the road with. You might not want to leave the charger at home, but if you're not on it constantly you could make it through a workday out easy enough.

ASUS mid-range laptops have been a mixed bag in the past, with slow SSDs and sub-par displays bringing down the overall experience. The display here still isn't quite as good as I'd like, even at this price, but it's still decent, just a little on the dim side.

Otherwise though, there's a lot to like. The keyboard is good, the performance is outstanding thanks to Intel's latest processors and we've got a mid-range laptop that will handily outperform the Surface Laptop.

In the U.S., the UX410U with an 8th-generation Core i7 is available for $870, the model as tested is available in the UK for £799.

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