Asus ZenBook 13 UX325 review (UX325JA

This is the compact 13-inch ZenBook 13 UX325JA, the mid-2020 update to the popular Asus ZenBook series.

It has been slightly revised compared to the previous 13-inch ZenBook UX331 and UX333 models. More importantly, though, it has updated hardware (Intel IceLake), updated connectivity with Thunderbolt 3 support and USB-C charging, a larger 67 Wh battery, and improved screen options, and redesigned inputs. All of this in an affordable package. The i5 models cost from USD 900 in the USA and around EUR 1100 here in Europe. The best i7 configurations with 16 GB storage and 1 TB storage cost around 1300 EUR.

We have spent time with this ZenBook 13 in the past few weeks, gathering thoughts below with the strengths and quirks that you should consider before buying.

In a few words, this ZenBook 13 UX325JA is competitive as a compact, lightweight laptop for daily multitasking, office use, and video streaming, but just like its larger 14-inch brother, it has to deal with demanding loads. In addition, this 13-inch variant has a more squeezed keyboard that those with larger hands may find it difficult to get used to, and it still lacks a headphone jack or touchscreen option.

Technical data as checked – Asus ZenBook 13 UX325JA

Asus ZenBook 13 UX325JA
screen 13.3 inches, 1920 x 1080 pixels, IPS, matt, non-contact
2.5 W 300 nits (Chi Mei N133HCE-EN2) or 1 W 450 nits panel options
processor Intel Ice Lake, up to Core i7-1065G7, 4C / 8T
Video Intel Iris Pro G7, 64EUs
memory up to 32 GB LPDDR4X 3200 MHz (soldered)
camp 1 TB M.2 PCIe x4 SSD (Samsung PM981), Intel Optane H10 variants also available
Connectivity Wireless 6 (Intel AX201), Bluetooth 5.0
Ports 1x USB-A 3.2 gen1, 2x USB-C 3.2 with Thunderbolt 3 (data, video and power supply), HDMI 1.4b, microSD card reader, 3.5 mm socket with USB-C adapter
battery 67 Wh, 65 W USB-C charger with quick charge
size 304 mm or 11.9 inches (W) x 203 mm or 7.99 inches (D) x 13.9 mm or 0.54 inches (H)
Weight 1.13 kg (2.49 lbs) + 0.21 kg (45 lbs) charger, US version
Extras white backlit keyboard, glass NumberPad, HD + IR webcam with Hello, stereo floor speaker, optional cover, available in Pine Gray and Lilac Mist

Asus offers the UX325 series in different configurations with different RAM (8-32 GB) and memory (up to 2 TB and Intel Optane) as well as three types of Intel Ice Lake processors (i3-1005G1, i5-1035G1 or i7-1065G7 ), but also two screen variants, either with a standard IPS panel with 300 nits or a more efficient option with 1 W and 450 nits.

Design and construction

This 13-inch UX325 is pretty much a shrunk version of the 14-inch ZenBook UX425 that has already been tested, about 15 mm shorter, 4 mm narrower and about the same height (only 60 grams more for the 14-inch model)). In fact, you can hardly see the difference in size even if you have them side by side as you can see in these pictures.

Based on these aspects alone, I would turn to the 14-inch model with the slightly larger screen. This will be a clear recommendation as soon as you start typing this 13-inch variant, but we’ll get back to it shortly.

Since the two are almost identical in every respect, I only refer you to the UX425 test to get my thoughts on the design language, the choice of materials, the build quality and the practicality of this laptop.

I just want to mention that Asus didn’t save on the size of the clickpad, armrest, or I / O on this smaller model, which is sometimes due to this type of compact form factor. At the same time, the build quality is still not surprising. Despite the pleasant all-metal construction, this isn’t a unibody design, and the main case still creaks and pops when you push harder on the armrest or lift the laptop off the desk. To be honest, this ZenBook isn’t as expensive as many other 13-inch ultraportables with similar features, but these ratchets are still hard to accept and a step back from previous ZenBook generations.

As for I / O, I’m pleased to see two USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 3 support here, HDMI and a full-size USB-A, but I hate the fact that the 3.5mm Socket was sacrificed. This is a bold move from Asus, which I disagree with, even if a USB-C to 3.5mm adapter is included. What do you think?

Keyboard and trackpad

The typing experience distinguishes this 13-inch ZenBook UX325 primarily from its 14-inch relatives.

And that’s because the design didn’t leave room for the same full-size layout implemented in the UX425, but for one with slightly shorter buttons. While the UX425 receives a main set of 16 x 15 mm keys, it only receives 16 x 13 mm keys, which limits the layout and makes it more prone to failure. Although it turned out that the UX425 is one of my favorite Asus keyboards that I have ever seen, I could not achieve the same speed and accuracy results with this 13-inch model because the felt was better suited to the average Ultrabook.

However, after not testing the UX425 alongside this 13-inch model, I would have considered this to be a good keyboard, and one that those of you with smaller or average sized hands should still get along well with. But since the UX425 is a superior type and has a larger screen at almost the same size and weight, this would be my first choice, unless the UX325 is significantly cheaper in your area (or the UX425 is not available there).

Aside from layout and feedback, this keyboard is also backlit, with bright white LEDs and a special Caps Lock key. The lighting is even brighter than that of the 14-inch model, but at least not as uniform in this early sample.

At the bottom, centered on the case, Asus implemented the same spacious glass clickpad with precision drivers and secondary NumberPad functions as the UX425. It is a smooth, reliable and robust surface with good gesture support and palm rejection.

Some people may complain that this larger surface is easier to touch by hand when typing, but that hasn’t happened to any of the ZenBook versions I’ve tested. In my writing style, my thumbs usually hover over the clickpad and rarely touch it. Even if this is the case, touches have been ignored by palm rejection technology.

Incidentally, no ScreenPad is offered for this series. In terms of biometrics, there is no finger sensor on the Zenbook UX325, but there is an IR camera at the top of the screen.

screen

As with the 14-inch model, Asus offers two screen options for the ZenBook 13 UX325 series. Both are matte non-contact IPS panels with FHD resolution, but one is a standard option with a maximum brightness of 300 nits, and the other is this newer and more efficient 1 W panel with a maximum brightness of 450 nits.

Our test device receives the standard panel, and even this is good enough for everyday use, with almost 100% sRGB color coverage, large viewing angles and slightly better brightness and contrast than the 14-inch models we tested.

We received the following in our tests with an X-Rite i1 Display Pro sensor:

  • Panel Hardware ID: Chi Mei CMN1388 (N133HCE-EN2 CMN);
  • Coverage: 97.9% sRGB, 68.2% NTSC, 70.5% AdobeRGB;
  • Measured gamma: 2.10;
  • Maximum brightness in the center of the screen: 336.69 cd / m2 with power supply;
  • Min. Brightness in the middle of the screen: 20.35 cd / m
    2 with power supply;
  • Contrast at maximum brightness: 1322: 1;
  • White point: 7200 K;
  • Black at maximum brightness: 0.25 cd / m2;
  • PWM: No.

This needs to be calibrated to correct the distorted gamma and blue white point. After calibration, however, I see little light bleeding and almost no problems with the color or brightness uniformity.

I will update this section if we can also test the 1W screen.

Hardware and performance

Our test model is a first-class configuration of the Asus ZenBook 13 UX325JA with an Intel Core i7-1065G7 processor and Intel Iris Pro graphics, 16 GB LPDDR4x 3200 MHz memory and a fast 1 TB Samsung SSD.

Before we proceed, remember that our example was sent by Asus and tested with the software (BIOS 206, MyAsus 2.2.22.0 app) that will be available in early July 2020.

In terms of the technical data, this is identical to the already tested ZenBook 14 UX425JA with the same Intel Ice Lake processor, RAM type and memory. Except for the SSD, everything is soldered to the motherboard. To get in, the back wall needs to be removed, which is held in place by a couple of visible Torx screws and two additional Phillips screws hidden behind the rear rubber feet.

Just like the 14-inch model, the SSD is right next to the CPU and heats up to medium temperatures in everyday use, mid-50s in games and mid-60s in memory tests.

Regarding the software, the standard MyAsus app is provided, which allows you to control energy profiles, battery and screen settings, updates, etc. while controlling the audio in the AudioWizard.

There are two power / heat profiles to choose from:

  • Dynamic – Allows the CPU to work at 15 + W, with fans increasing up to 40dB in demanding loads and games.
  • Whisper – limits the CPU to favor lower fan noise.

I just kept the laptop in dynamic. It’s a balanced profile that keeps the fan quiet when it’s lightly used and heavier. The laptop also feels snappy with daily multitasking, video streaming, office use and the like.

Just like the 14-inch version, this ZenBook UX325 has to deal with high loads due to the applicable performance limits and a fan profile that encourages less noise.

We start testing CPU performance in task taxation by running the Cinebench R15 benchmark more than 15 times in a loop with a 2-3 second delay between runs in dynamic mode.

The IceLake i7 processor runs in the first 1-2 loop with higher clocks and higher power, but then drops quickly and stabilizes at around 20 W power and 2300 MHz at temperatures between low and medium 80 degrees Celsius. The fan rises to about 38 to 39 dB at head level in this test, and the laptop delivers values ​​of about 580 points.

We carried out the same test with the laptop unplugged. In this case, the CPU stabilizes at around 15 W and lower values.

Typically, the performance of these Intel Core U chips can be improved with a slight undervoltage, which is possible with the latest variants of Throttlestop. However, the undervoltage was somehow deactivated in all of our samples and we could not adjust the settings in any way.

To put these results in perspective, see how some other ultra-portable AMD and Intel notebooks perform in the same test.

When you run the longer and more demanding Cinebench R20 test, the CPU stabilizes at temperatures between 14 and 15 W at temperatures in the high 60s. The same applies to the cruel Prime 95 test.

We also ran our combined CPU + GPU stress tests on this notebook with the same dynamic profile.

3DMark Stress loops the same test 20 times and looks for fluctuations in performance and deterioration over time. This device failed. Luxmark 3.1 fully loads CPU and GPU at the same time. On this notebook, the CPU package runs with high performance for the first minute or two, but also with relatively high temperatures in the mid-1980s. It then drops and stabilizes at around 13 W at very limited CPU and GPU frequencies.

This is exactly what you should expect from this notebook: fast performance with daily use and short tax burdens, but a significant decrease in performance with complex tasks that take more than a minute to complete. For this reason, this should work well for editing photos, but not for editing videos or most other hard work / school applications.

Next, we ran the full set of tests and benchmarks for the dynamic standard profile. We got the following, but keep in mind that these are the best results and this ZenBook UX325 cannot keep these results for long.

  • 3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 2184 (graphic – 2482, physics – 7712, combined – 735);
  • 3DMark 13 – Night Raid: 8221 (graphics – 9506, CPU – 4657);
  • 3DMark 13 – time spy: 743 (graphics – 662, CPU – 2469);
  • AIDA64 memory test: Write: Read: 46551 MB / s, Read: 44860 MB / s, Latency: 93.3;
  • Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Medium: 1514;
  • Handbrake 1.3.1 (4K to 1080p coding): -15.18 average fps;
  • Minimum score: Rating: 4441 (CPU brand: 10114, 3D graphics brand: 2056, board brand: 17402);
  • PCMark 10: 4264 (Essentials – 9056, Productivity – 6827, Digital Content Creation – 3404);
  • GeekBench 4.4.2 64-bit: Single core: 5678, multi-core: 17979;
  • GeekBench 5.0.1 64-bit: Single core: 1306, multi-core: 4399;
  • CineBench R15 (best run): CPU 706 cb, CPU single core 182 cb;
  • CineBench R20 (best run): CPU 1370 cb, CPU single core 435 cb;
  • x264 HD Benchmark 4.0 32-bit: Pass 1 – 156.12 fps, Pass 2 – 32.76 fps;
  • x265 HD benchmark 64-bit: 113.54 s.

We also ran some workstation-related loads on the same dynamic profile:

  • Blender 2.82 – BMW car scene – CPU Compute: 12m 26s (car);
  • Blender 2.82 – Classroom Scene – CPU Compute: 40 m 38 s (car);
  • Luxmark 3.1 – Luxball HDR – OpenCL CPUs + GPUs score: 3900;

These are not bad results for an Ice Lake implementation. Below you can see how this ZenBook 13 performs against the ZenBook 14 and some other similar ultrabooks that we have tested.

-updated

Finally, we ran some DX11, DX12 and Vulkan titles
for the Dynamic Best Performance profile and the Low / Lowest graphics settings. We have the following:

UX325 – Intel i7 + Iris Pro UX425 – Intel i7 + Iris Pro UM433 – Ryzen 7 + MX350 UX434 – Intel i7 + MX250
Bioshock Infinite (DX 11, low default) 33 fps (18 fps – 1% low) 40 fps (22 fps – 1% low) 97 fps (45 fps – 1% low) 76 fps (39 fps – 1% low)
Dota 2 (DX 11, best looking preset) 18 fps (12 fps – 1% low) 34 fps (20 fps – 1% low) 74 fps (39 fps – 1% low) 47 fps (20 fps – 1% low)
Far Cry 5 (DX 11, low preset, no AA) 12 fps (10 fps – 1% low) 12 fps (10 fps – 1% low) 35 fps (32 fps – 1% low) 25 fps (21 fps – 1% low)
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (DX 11, lowest default) 28 fps (20 fps – 1% low) 22 fps (9 fps – 1% low) 65 fps (48 fps – 1% low) 31 fps (18 fps – 1% low)
Need for Speed: Most Wanted (DX 11, lowest default) 44 fps (22 fps – 1% low) 42 fps (25 fps – 1% low) – – – –
Rise of the Tomb Raiders (DX 12, lowest preset, no AA) 14 fps (2 fps – 1% low) 16 fps (3 fps – 1% low) 45 fps 39 fps
Shadow of Tomb Raider (volcano, lowest preset, no AA) 11 fps (2 fps – 1% low) 17 fps (12 fps – 1% low) 40 fps (35 fps – 1% low) 29 fps (25 fps – 1% low)
Strange brigade (volcano, low preset) 21 fps (3 fps – 1% low) 21 fps (7 fps – 1% low) 44 fps 35 fps
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (DX 11, low preset, Hairworks Off) – – – – 29 fps on average (18 fps – 1% low) 24 fps on average (10 fps – 1% low)
  • Battlefield V, The Witcher 3, Dota 2 – recorded with MSI Afterburner in game mode;
  • Bioshock Far Cry 5, Middle-earth, Strange Brigade, Red Dead Redemption 2, Tomb Raider games – recorded with the included benchmark utilities;

Casual games like Minecraft and Dota2 or older titles like Bioshock or Need for Speed: Most Wanted run on this laptop with FHD 30+ fps, but even with these titles we see a performance loss after a few minutes if the CPU runs at ~ 1 GHz and that GPU running at 600 MHz, both are significantly throttled by their maximum potential frequencies. Overall, the performance is somewhat more limited than that of the 14-inch model, although none of them are outstanding here in any way.

Don’t forget that our sample is a pre-release version, and this behavior can improve with the final retail products. I asked Asus about one of these tests so that I could run those tests again and update the article as soon as the ZenBook 13 UX325 was commercially available here.

Just like the 14-inch model, I wouldn’t expect any major changes. Improved performance would require a higher power envelope of around 25W, and I don’t think this chassis can do this in the long run, even if the fan spins faster and is louder.

Noise, heat, connectivity, speakers and others

Asus has used a basic heat module with a single heat pipe and fan, like we saw on the 14-inch ZenBook UX425 and most portable models of recent years.

Asus ZenBook 13 UX325JA cooling and thermal design

The software was also developed to minimize fan noise and not affect performance. As a result, the fan remains idle most of the time in daily use and only rises to head level to 39-40 dB when running games and other combined CPU + GPU loads.

The internal temperatures are kept in check. However, this is mainly due to the fact that the hardware package only has a limited performance when it comes to taxing loads, with the aforementioned performance losses occurring.

As it is, our Zephyrus 13 UX325 sample warmed up with daily use (but remember that this is mainly the case with passive cooling) and, on average, hot under high loads. We measured the temperatures in the mid-40s on the keyboard deck and the high 40s below, but also the high 40s on the chin of the screen right next to the exhaust. However, this thicker chin absorbs most of the exhausting heat and the actual panel doesn’t run as hot as in the previous ZenBook lineups.

* Daily use – streaming Netflix in EDGE for 30 minutes, quiet mode, fan at 0-35 dB
* Gaming – Extreme Performance Mode – Play Far Cry 5 for 30 minutes, fans at 39-40 dB

For connectivity, there is WiFi 6 of the latest generation with an Intel AX201 module on this laptop. Our setup went very well, both near the router and at over 30 feet.

Audio is processed by a number of stereo speakers that are triggered by grilles on the bottom. The angled shape of the D-Panel allows the sound to bounce off the table without distortion and also ensures that it cannot be covered easily on the lap when using the laptop. I did not notice any vibrations in the armrest even at higher volumes.

Just like the 14-inch model, however, they don’t get very loud. In our tests, we measured volumes of 70-72 dB at head height, with the music profile in Audio Wizzard having an average sound quality.

The HD camera, which is placed at the top of the screen, is good for occasional calls, but the quality is not very good.

Battery life

There is a 67 Wh battery in the ZenBook 13 UX325, which is significantly larger than what you would normally get in a 13 inch notebook. Thanks to the efficient implementation and screen of the Intel hardware, this notebook should have a reasonable life.

We got the following: The screen brightness is around 120 nits (~ 60 brightness). Don’t forget that our device gets the standard 300 nits panel and not the more efficient 1 W option.

  • 9 W (~ 7 + h of use) – Text editing in Google Drive, Dynamic + Better Battery Mode, 60% screen, Wi-Fi ON;
  • 7.6 W (~ 9 hours of use) – 1080p full screen video on Youtube in Edge, Dynamic + Better Battery Mode, 60% screen, Wi-Fi ON;
  • 6.5 W (~ 10 + h use) – Netflix full screen in Edge, Dynamic + Better Battery mode, 60% screen, Wi-Fi ON;
  • 12 W (~ 5-6 h use) – Surf in Edge, Dynamic + Better Performance Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON.

This 1 W display should save about 1.25 W of power at a brightness of 150 nits in order to im
prove the runtimes. I look forward to testing it too.

The laptop comes with a compact 65 W charger that can be connected via USB-C. It’s a one-piece design with a compact brick and a long and thick cable. It takes approximately 2 hours to fully charge. However, with quick charging, you can fill up to 60% in less than an hour.

Price and availability

The ZenBook 13 UX325 is commercially available worldwide.

Currently, the i5 model with 8 GB RAM, 512 GB storage and the 1W screen with 450 nits costs 1100 EUR in Germany or 899 GBP in Great Britain. The same configuration, but with the i7 processor, is offered in the U.S. for $ 899.

We will update as soon as we know more. In the meantime, follow this link to get updated prices and configurations in your area.

Final thoughts

As mentioned in the article, the shrunk keyboard is the main feature of this ZenBook 13 UX325 for the slightly larger 14-inch UX425 version. It’s still fine for those of you with smaller hands, but the UX425 is a more reliable and accurate type.

This makes both laptops fairly well made and light, offering good screen options, decent I / O, and bigger batteries than most other options in their niches, with very few exceptions like the LG Grams. At the same time, they have to deal with demanding loads. So if you don’t want to use them just for everyday multitasking, surfing, office apps and video / music streaming, I’d look at something a little stronger, maybe one of those competent Ryzen 4000 notebooks or even better implementations of the Intel Core U hardware. In fact, Asus plans to offer a Ryzen 4000 variant of the 14-inch model, the ZenBook UM425, in the near future, but I haven’t heard of a similar 13-inch variant yet.

It looks like this 13-inch ZenBook may be more common and a little cheaper than the 14-inch model, and that alone would make it a better buy for some of you. If the two sizes are available in your region for the same money, I would certainly choose the UX425 model.

With that in mind, we’re going to complete this article here, but I’d love to hear your thoughts on this Asus ZenBook 13 UX325JA. Contact us below with your feedback or any questions I could help with.

Asus ZenBook 13 UX325JA review

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Andrei Girbea, editor-in-chief of Ultrabookreview.com. I have been dealing with mobile computers since the 2000s and you will mainly find reviews and detailed instructions that I wrote here on the website.

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