Asus' ZenBook 3 is literally a Windows-powered MacBook

Asus unveiled its new ZenBook 3 earlier this year and it made headlines for being thinner and lighter than Apple's new MacBook. I got a chance to get a closer look at a ZenBook 3 today at IFA in Berlin, and it's clear this is literally a Windows-powered MacBook. If it wasn't for the Asus logo and brightly colored exterior, it would be pretty hard to tell the two apart.

Both the MacBook and ZenBook 3 use a single USB Type-C port and a headphone jack, and no other ports. Even the keyboards are similar and shallow, although Asus claims it has better travel than the MacBook. I didn't really notice that during my limited testing, and the keyboard just felt as mushy and weird as the MacBook's. There are some pretty big differences inside, though. Asus has opted for the latest 7th generation Core i7 chips inside its ZenBook 3, which means it's going to perform better than the Core m7 found in Apple's latest MacBook. Asus hasn't released exact specs yet, but the demo unit I tested was running at 1920 x 1080, so Apple's 2304 x 1440 panel on the MacBook definitely beats the ZenBook 3 on paper. That aside, you can configure the ZenBook 3 with up to 16GB of RAM, and it weighs just two pounds and is 11.7mm thin.

Asus also unveiled a new trackpad on the ZenBook 3 today, and it integrates a fingerprint reader that's compatible with Windows Hello. That means you can rest your finger on the reader and use it to log into Windows 10, websites, and apps. Acer has also experimented with integrating a fingerprint reader into its new Swift 5 laptop trackpads, so we might be about to witness a trend of this integration from laptop makers in the coming months.

Asus dedicated a lot of stage time today to comparing its ZenBook 3 to the MacBook and MacBook Air, noting that it was faster, thinner, and lighter than both models. A variety of Windows OEMs now produce laptops that are far more powerful than Apple's MacBook air with better designs and specifications. It's clear that Apple is lagging behind with its laptop range, especially the MacBook Air that was once considered the best in its class. With Windows laptop makers already ahead, all eyes are now on Apple's media event next week to see if the company is ready to unveil its new range of MacBooks.

Asus is planning to release the ZenBook 3 soon, priced at 1,999 Euro (around $2,220.99) for the top Core i7 model.


Throwing that word around, are we?

Didn’t they just have an article about T Mobile’s use of unlimited and that words no longer have meaning?

It is not just a word, though. Ever since Apple’s multi-year purchase plan for the machining equipment was completed, comptetitors also got the possibility to buy it and start making unibody notebooks. The difference is how much similar those devices are from Macbooks (air).

By the way, you can run windows on Macintoshes, if you want so. So the difference is not in this.

Right, you can literally run Windows on a Macbook, but this isn’t it.


"[They] keep using that word. I do not think it means what [they] think it means."

And in the headline too [facepalm]

Ugh, that spun-metal lid design is getting old (to me).

that metal lid alone makes the entire thing look hideous and cheap

You think that is bad? I know a guy who has a laptop that he bought in Singapore and it has fake engine turned effect plastics on the shell.
Taste never reached that part of the world, I guess.

Only place engine turning belongs..

Never liked it on computers, ever. It may work on circular shapes, but on rectangular shapes looks out of place. It’s like lipstick on a pig, trying to make it look fancier, but failing miserably.


9 hours of battery life… I’ll believe it when/if I see it.

There is no way in hell that thing will get 9 hours of battery life. Unlike many PC manufacturers, Apple is usually very honest/realistic with their battery life estimates (HELLO DELL! Let’s talk about "17 hours" on my XPS 15…) If the 12" MacBook w/the Core m7 gets 9 hours in a similar form factor, then the laws of thermodynamics are going to have something to say about Asus’ claim.

I’m guessing it’s more like 4 hours of normal use.

The Asus does have a less power-hungry screen

Reminds me of this (starting around the 50-second mark).

While it does look like a shameless copy of a MacBook, there is no way anyone will confuse it for one thanks to the incredibly cheap look of this device.

Even its website cloned Apple:

The intro reads like a Jony Ive video, photography uses the same angles/lighting, typography is the same, the way specs and ports are represented, the fingerprint icon, etc.

I just had a look at the homepage. I think it looks like a very well thought out computer. Improved in the right areas compared to the Macbook? Better key travel, better sound, faster hardware.

Poorer screen, probably much poorer battery life, fan…

As far as i can see, this has no fan.
This is rated for 9 hours and the MacBook is rated for 10. I think it might actually hit that number given the lower screen resolution. And when you get below 13 inches, 1080p is adequate.

Look on the website, it has a fan. They call it something fancy but it is a fan.
Apple’s battery estimates are usually good, Asus’s tend to overestimate and it is going to be poorer having the non-low power CPU and a smaller battery.
I agree, the screen isn’t significant in the grand scheme of things but just countering the above poster’s contention that it improves on the MacBook. It doesn’t really.

You’re right, it actually does have one.
Well, at least it improves upon the port selection.

It doesn’t

View All Comments
Back to top ↑