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The new ZenBook 13 includes discrete graphics in an ultraportable package

The new ZenBook 13 includes discrete graphics in an ultraportable package

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We’re still waiting on Intel and AMD’s new partnership to help mainstream thin and light laptops with discrete graphics, but in the meantime Nvidia’s GeForce MX150 is the best blend of power and performance when portability is a priority. Asus now claims to have created the “thinnest laptop on the planet” to include discrete graphics: the ZenBook 13 UX331 (as seen on Engadget).

Asus also offers an MX150 in its Flip 14 two-in-one, but this new ZenBook 13, which was originally announced last year, is only 0.5-inches thick and weighs 2.5 pounds. The 1080p screen is a touchscreen, but there are no convertible hinge shenanigans. Asus claims “all-day battery,” with up to 14 hours of uptime, but that’s almost certainly a number that doesn’t include any intense gaming.

The MX150 isn’t going to compete with even budget desktop gaming builds in the framerate wars, but it should do fine with Overwatch and other popular titles designed for a wide range of hardware. It’s not built for VR, that’s for sure. Also, according to a review of a pre-release version of the UX331, Asus has downclocked the MX150 slightly, so you might not be getting as much performance as larger MX150 laptops which can afford to run the GPU at full speed.

With 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, a quad-core Intel Core i5-8250U processor, a single USB-C port, dual USB 3.0 plugs, and a microSD card reader, this is a nice amount of power and capability Asus has packed into a tiny, $999 package.