ASUS ZenBook S UX393 review – amazing build quality paired with great performance

Every company out there has its own super-premium ultrabook. Dell has the XPS, Lenovo has the X1 series, while ASUS… well, ASUS has the ZenBook S. It is an exceptional device with a thin profile, a ton of features, and to some extent – quite powerful hardware.

The choice of providing a high-res display with a 3:2 aspect ratio is another reason to think that the ZenBook S UX393 is aimed at professionals. Would it be for the IT industry, trading community, or even for presentation purposes, the more vertical space is always considered as a plus. Well, except for media consumption.

Despite all of the features that it provides, it would mean nothing if the laptop isn’t up to the standards. Both in terms of performance and construction. So, let’s take our deep dive, and see what this laptop is made of (literally and metaphorically).

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/asus-zenbook-s-ux393/

Contents


Specs Sheet

ASUS ZenBook S UX393 review – amazing build quality paired with great performance - Specs

  • AUO B139KAN01.0 (AUO1A94)
  • Color accuracy  2.8  2.2
  • HDD/SSD
  • up to 1000GB SSD
  • RAM
  • up to 16GB
  • OS
  • Windows 10 Pro, Windows 10 Home
  • Battery
  • 67Wh, 4-cell
  • Body material
  • Aluminum
  • Dimensions
  • 306 x 224 x 15.7 mm (12.05" x 8.82" x 0.62")
  • Weight
  • 1.35 kg (3 lbs)
  • Ports and connectivity
  • 1x USB Type-A
  • 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
  • 2x USB Type-C
  • 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps), Thunderbolt 3
  • HDMI
  • Card reader
  • MicroSD
  • Wi-Fi
  • 802.11ax
  • Bluetooth
  • 5.0
  • Audio jack
  • 3.5 Combo Jack
  • Features
  • Fingerprint reader
  • optional
  • Web camera
  • 3D IR HD
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Microphone
  • Array Microphone w/ Cortana or Alexa Voice Rec.
  • Speakers
  • ASUS SonicMaster Technology
  • Optical drive

What’s in the box?

Inside the package, we found a cloth sleeve, some paperwork, a 65W USB Type-C charger, and a USB Type-C to 3.5mm Audio dongle.


Design and construction

Right from the get-go, we can say that the laptop looks stunning. It has sharp corners and chamfered edges. The build material here is metal, and the structure is super rigid. Both the base and the lid are very resistant to flex, which is great. In terms of dimensions, the laptop is 15.7mm in its thickest point and weighs 1.35 kilos.

It’s good to see that the lid can be opened with a single hand. This is thanks to the smooth hinges. As you can see, the laptop comes with the ErgoLift mechanism, which raises the backside of the base from the ground, as soon as you open the device. This is particularly good for cooling.

Additionally, you can tell that it helps with the screen-to-body ratio of the machine. This way, the bottom bezel gets super thin, as are the side ones. Here, the top one is the thickest, but it also houses an HD Web camera with an optional IR face recognition sensor. By the way, some of the rigidity of the lid is provided by the glass cover of the display. Yes, it is touch-enabled as well.

Looking at the base, we see an edge-to-edge keyboard design with large keycaps and a power button that doubles as a fingerprint reader. The unit is backlit and offers decent key travel with feedback that is right in between being clicky and mushy.

A NumPad section is out of the question at this screen size. However, ASUS seems to have found a way around this issue by employing their NumberPad touchpad. It is equipped with a glass surface, which provides a smooth gliding experience, while the tracking is pretty accurate. Its name comes from the function that it delivers by pressing the top right corner of the surface. This reveals a capacitive NumPad. You can also quick-launch the Calculator app by diagonally swiping from the top left corner.

Interestingly, the bottom panel reveals a total of four rather small grills. Two of them are taken by the speakers, while the other two are supposedly for ventilation. Hot air, on the other hand, exits the device through a vent on the back. This means it is fired directly at the bottom part of the display.


Ports

On the left side, there is an HDMI connector and two Thunderbolt 4 ports. Then, on the left, there is a USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) port, and a MicroSD card slot.


Disassembly, upgrade options and maintenance

To take this laptop apart, you need to undo a total of 9 Torx-head screws. After that, pry the bottom panel with a plastic tool, starting from the hinge gaps.

Inside, we see a 67Wh battery pack. It lasted us for 12 hours of Web browsing, or about 9 hours of video playback. So, if you need to take the battery out, you first need to unplug it from the motherboard. Then, undo all 8 Phillips-head screws, holding it to the chassis. After you do this, you will be able to lift the battery away.

This laptop is equipped with up to 16GB of soldered memory. Thankfully, it works in quad-channel mode. As for the storage, there is one M.2 PCIe x4 slot.

The cooling comprises a single heat pipe, that connects to a low-profile heat sink, where a fan blows the heat away.


Display quality

ASUS ZenBook S UX393 is equipped with an IPS display, model number AUO B139KAN01.0 (AUO1A94). Its diagonal is 13.9″ (35.3 cm), and the resolution – 3300 x 2200. Additionally, the screen ratio is 3:2, the pixel density – 285 ppi, and their pitch – 0.09 x 0.09 mm. The screen can be considered Retina when viewed from at least 30 cm (from this distance, the average human eye can’t see the individual pixels).

Its viewing angles are excellent. We have provided images at 45 degrees to evaluate quality.

Also, a video with locked focus and exposure.

The maximum measured brightness is 436 nits (cd/m2) in the middle of the screen and 412 nits (cd/m2) average for the entire area of the display with a 16% maximum deviation (all tests are performed with the “Normal” display mode). The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen and at maximum brightness is 6500K (average) – matching the 6500K optimum for sRGB.
In the illustration below you can see how the display performs from a uniformity perspective.
Values of dE2000 over 4.0 should not occur, and this parameter is one of the first you should check if you intend to use the laptop for color-sensitive work (a maximum tolerance of 2.0 ). The contrast ratio is good – 1430:1.

To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction to the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.

Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people on HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors, etc for printing. Colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.

Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.

The yellow dotted line shows ASUS ZenBook S UX393’s color gamut coverage.

Its display covers 100% of the sRGB/ITU-R BT.709 (web/HDTV standard) in CIE1976, and 100% of the DCI-P3 color gamut, making the image look vibrant and attractive.

Our “Design and Gaming” profile delivers optimal color temperature (6500K) at 140 cd/m2 luminance and sRGB gamma mode.

We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange, etc. You can check out the results at factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.

Below you can compare the scores of ASUS ZenBook S UX393 with the default settings (left), and with the “Gaming and Web design” profile (right).

You can also see a comparison between the default settings (left), and the “Gaming and Web design profile” (right) in the P3-D65 color space.

The next figure shows how well the display can reproduce dark parts of an image, which is essential when watching movies or playing games in low ambient light.

The left side of the image represents the display with stock settings, while the right one is with the “Gaming and Web Design” profile activated. On the horizontal axis, you will find the grayscale, and on the vertical axis – the luminance of the display. On the two graphs below you can easily check for yourself how your display handles the darkest nuances but keep in mind that this also depends on the settings of your current display, the calibration, the viewing angle, and the surrounding light conditions.


Response time (Gaming capabilities)

We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and vice versa.

We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 33 ms

After that, we test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “Gray-to-Gray” method from 50% White to 80% White and vice versa between 10% and 90% of the amplitude.


Health impact – PWM / Blue Light

PWM (Screen flickering)

Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses, the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.

The light coming from ASUS ZenBook S UX393’s display does not flicker at any brightness level, which makes it comfortable for long periods of use.


Blue light emissions

Installing our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin, and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.

Buy our profiles

Since our profiles are tailored for each display model, this article and its respective profile package are meant for ASUS ZenBook S UX393 configurations with 13.9″ AUO B139KAN01.0 (AUO1A94) (3300 x 2200) IPS panel.

*Should you have problems with downloading the purchased file, try using a different browser to open the link you’ll receive via e-mail. If the download target is a .php file instead of an archive, change the file extension to .zip or contact us at [email protected]

Read more about the profiles HERE.

In addition to receiving efficient and health-friendly profiles, by buying LaptopMedia's products you also support the development of our labs, where we test devices in order to produce the most objective reviews possible.

Office Work

Office Work should be used mostly by users who spend most of the time looking at pieces of text, tables or just surfing. This profile aims to deliver better distinctness and clarity by keeping a flat gamma curve (2.20), native color temperature and perceptually accurate colors.

Design and Gaming

This profile is aimed at designers who work with colors professionally, and for games and movies as well. Design and Gaming takes display panels to their limits, making them as accurate as possible in the sRGB IEC61966-2-1 standard for Web and HDTV, at white point D65.

Health-Guard

Health-Guard eliminates the harmful Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM) and reduces the negative Blue Light which affects our eyes and body. Since it’s custom tailored for every panel, it manages to keep the colors perceptually accurate. Health-Guard simulates paper so the pressure on the eyes is greatly reduced.

Get all 3 profiles with 33% discount


Sound

ASUS ZenBook S UX393’s Harman/Kardon speakers produce a sound of very good quality. Its low, mid, and high tones are clear of deviations.


Drivers

All drivers and utilities for this notebook can be found here: https://www.asus.com/Laptops/For-Home/Zenbook/Zenbook-S-UX393-11th-Gen-Intel/HelpDesk_Download

Battery

Now, we conduct the battery tests with Windows Better performance setting turned on, screen brightness adjusted to 120 nits, and all other programs turned off except for the one we are testing the notebook with. This device’s 67Wh battery pack delivers 12 hours and 2 minutes of Web browsing, or 8 hours and 45 minutes of video playback.

In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for automatic web browsing through over 70 websites.


CPU options

We found this laptop with either the Core i5-1135G7 or the Core i7-1165G7. They are both quad-core CPUs part of the Tiger Lake-U architecture.


GPU options

In terms of graphics, there is nothing really to choose from. You only get what is integrated inside of the aforementioned CPUs. With that said, the Iris Xe Graphics G7 is quite capable.


Gaming tests

cs-go-benchmarks

CS:GO HD 1080p, Low (Check settings) HD 1080p, Medium (Check settings) HD 1080p, MAX (Check settings)
Average FPS 170 fps 130 fps 65 fps

DOTA 2 HD 1080p, Low (Check settings) HD 1080p, Normal (Check settings) HD 1080p, High (Check settings)
Average FPS 139 fps 90 fps 63 fps

Temperatures and comfort

Max CPU load

In this test we use 100% on the CPU cores, monitoring their frequencies and chip temperature. The first column shows a computer’s reaction to a short load (2-10 seconds), the second column simulates a serious task (between 15 and 30 seconds), and the third column is a good indicator of how good the laptop is for long loads such as video rendering.

Average core frequency (base frequency + X); CPU temp.

Intel Core i7-1165G7 (15W TDP) 0:02 – 0:10 sec 0:15 – 0:30 sec 10:00 – 15:00 min
ASUS ZenBook S UX393 3.48 GHz (B+24%) @ 92°C @ 44W 2.90 GHz (B+4%) @ 92°C @ 29W 2.56 GHz @ 92°C @ 27W
Dell XPS 13 9305 3.49 GHz (B+25%) @ 99°C @ 43W 3.08 GHz (B+10%) @ 99°C @ 32W 2.26 GHz @ 74°C @ 17W
ASUS ZenBook 14X OLED (UX5401, 11th Gen) 3.76 GHz (B+34%) @ 94°C @ 53W 3.46 GHz (B+24%) @ 94°C @ 43W 3.31 GHz (B+18%) @ 94°C @ 39W
ASUS ExpertBook B1 B1400 3.67 GHz (B+31%) @ 87°C @ 51W 3.38 GHz (B+21%) @ 93°C @ 39W 3.26 GHz (B+16%) @ 94°C @ 34W
HP ZBook Firefly 14 G8 3.24 GHz (B+16%) @ 90°C @ 45W 2.92 GHz (B+4%) @ 74°C @ 30W 2.25 GHz @ 61°C @ 18W
Dell Latitude 14 5420 3.80 GHz (B+36%) @ 98°C @ 51W 3.27 GHz (B+17%) @ 98°C @ 35W 2.78 GHz @ 96°C @ 26W
HP EliteBook x360 1040 G8 3.43 GHz (B+23%) @ 98°C @ 40W 2.84 GHz (B+1%) @ 88°C @ 27W 2.43 GHz @ 69°C @ 17W
HP Elite Dragonfly G2 3.17 GHz (B+13%) @ 98°C @ 34W 2.34 GHz @ 76°C @ 18W 2.14 GHz @ 73°C @ 16W
Lenovo Yoga Slim 7i Pro (14) 3.90 GHz (B+39%) @ 85°C @ 61W 2.57 GHz @ 69°C @ 26W 2.37 GHz @ 57°C @ 20W
HP Pavilion 14 (14-dv0000) 3.08 GHz (B+10%) @ 91°C @ 40W 2.79 GHz @ 89°C @ 29W 2.13 GHz @ 71°C @ 18W
Acer TravelMate P4 (TMP414-51) 2.99 GHz (B+7%) @ 94°C @ 33W 2.66 GHz @ 93°C @ 27W 1.86 GHz @ 68°C @ 16W
Acer Swift 3X (SF314-510G) 3.74 GHz (B+34%) @ 95°C @ 45W 3.45 GHz (B+23%) @ 95°C @ 37W 3.09 GHz (B+10%) @ 85°C @ 28W

We’ve tested a lot of devices equipped with this processor. Ultimately, the ZenBook S UX393 places somewhere in the top half in terms of frequency, but it maintains a very high temperature throughout the entire test.

Comfort during full load

You can definitely hear the fan spinning quickly, however, it is by no means too loud. And this is when we apply an extreme workload for long periods of time. The external temperature is also in check, with the hotspot on the keyboard measuring about 41°C. It’s worth mentioning that the bottom panel gets pretty hot, and you should avoid running the notebook on your lap during long extreme loads.


Verdict

The ZenBook S series never fails to impress. As soon as you take the laptop out of the package, you can tell why it is considered a premium device. It looks stunning and at the same time, it is built like a tank. This is not only due to the use of metal for the body, but also because everything inside is pretty tightly packed. Of course, this leads to some setbacks like the lack of SODIMM slots for memory expansion.

This puts you in a situation where you have to pick the best configuration for the long run. Given that most ultrabooks out there don’t offer memory upgrades, though, this is not unexpected. And on the bright side, you get an M.2 PCIe x4 slot for storage upgrades.

While we are talking about ports and slots, we have to mention the I/O. Again, it’s not stellar, but it blows away Dell’s XPS series, as it not only features two Thunderbolt 4 connectors, but a MicroSD card slot, a USB Type-A port, and an HDMI connector. You also get a USB Type-C to 3.5mm Audio dongle inside the box.

How about the performance? Well, the laptop stacks up well against the competition, especially given its slim profile and low weight. The Evo platform, which this device covers, is suitable for heavy workloads, and even some gaming, thanks to the quad-channel RAM, which provides the integrated graphics card with a much-needed bandwidth.

You have to keep in mind, though, that the bottom panel gets quite toasty – something you don’t want near your precious gems.

On the bright side, there are a bunch of features like the fingerprint reader, and the optional IR face recognition sensor. Not to mention the NumberPad, which is great for the number crunchers out there.

ASUS ZenBook S UX393’s IPS panel has a high resolution, excellent maximum brightness, good contrast ratio, and comfortable viewing angles. It’s great to see that its backlight doesn’t flicker at any brightness level. What is even better, is that it covers 100% of the sRGB and DCI-P3 color gamuts, and the color accuracy is outstanding. This makes the device perfect for photo editing, and other types of creative work.

All in all, the ZenBook S UX393 is a surprisingly complete package. You get a long enough battery life, a ton of features, including the in-house noise cancellation, and a ton of performance. And this is in a form factor that suggests that you are on your business edge.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/asus-zenbook-s-ux393/

Pros

  • Thin, light, and rigid chassis
  • Charges via Type-C
  • 2x Thunderbolt 4 + MicroSD card slot + HDMI port
  • Good battery life
  • Decent performance
  • Full sRGB and DCI-P3 coverage with accurate color representation
  • No PWM
  • Fingerprint reader + optional IR face recognition sensor


Cons

  • The bottom panel gets pretty warm in extreme scenarios
  • Soldered memory

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