ASUS ZenBook 4K (UX510UX): If You Need an Ultra HD Laptop…

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ASUS Zenbook 4K review
ASUS UX510UX (also known as ZennBook 4K): Credit: ASUS

As part of my work with another outlet, ASUS has sent me eight laptops (and counting) for review consideration over the past few months. One in particular was pretty cool and I thought GeekDad readers might be interested in it: the ZenBook 4K. Or, technically, the UX510UX. I’m not sure I would make full use of a 4K laptop, but the display on this one sure is nice.

While I am constantly working with a wide range of Windows laptops, I’m a Mac guy when it comes to my personal computers. However, the ASUS ZenBook 4K was really a joy to use. Here’s why it made an impression. It’s an attractive laptop.

1. It has a pretty decent (backlit) keyboard and more uncommonly, the touchpad is excellent. So many Windows laptops have a touchpad that’s too small and frustratingly unresponsive. Or sporadically responsive. The ZenBook 4K’s touchpad is glass covered and worked just as well as anything Apple puts out. Which is to say, it consitently worked the way it is supposed to.

ASUS ZenBook 4K review

ASUS ZenBook 4K review
At 250 Percent magnification, the ZenBook 4K display is just about right for web surfing, writing, etc… (Photo by Brad Moon)

2. The “Zen” design of circular polished aluminum is attractive, feels solid and well finished and does a good job of not attracting fingerprints.

3. That display. It’s a 15.6-inch LED-backlit display with anti-glare treatment at 3840 x 2160 resolution. That’s 282 ppi, so everything is razor sharp. It also has an ultra-wide color gamut (74% AdobeRGB) and a 178-degree viewing angle. It’s also bright and that— combined with the anti-glare treatment —meant I could actually use it outdoors, during the day. Without squinting. Watching 4K video on the display was simply amazing. Going back to the relatively lousy 2012-era not even Full HD display on my MacBook Air was painful after this one. The only thing is text is virtually unreadable at native resolution, at least for my eyes (ASUS ships it set to 250 percent magnification by default, so I’m not the only one). You can get a lot of text onscreen if you want, and it’s razor sharp, but so, so tiny…

4K display makes for tiny text
4K resolution on a 15.6-inch laptop makes for awesome 4K video, but for everyday use the native text is crazy small (Photo by Brad Moon)

The rest of the specs on my loaner were decent for a mid-range Windows laptop. The latest Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM and an Nvidia 950M graphics card with 2GB of video RAM. Storage was a balance between speed and capacity with a 128GB PCIe SSD  for zippy operation and 1TB HDD for mass storage. It also has 802.11ac (it better have to stream 4K video) and besides a full complement of ports, there’s USB-C as well. Battery life was in the eight hour range.

You could do some gaming on this laptop, although with the 950M you’re not going to be able to crank the effects. As much as I loved the 4K display, if it were me and I was going to be using it for working as much as for watching video, I’d save a few hundred bucks — and the hassle of constantly switching the screen to 250 percent magnification to actually be able read anything — and go for the Full HD version instead.

But if you want 4K in a laptop, the ASUS ZenBook 4K is worth checking out.

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