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publié le 18 novembre 2018 Beauté › Boxs Beauté

The Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UA’s down-firing Harman Kardon speakers are actually pretty decent for a budget laptop, with crisp, detailed sounds and a tiny bit of bass (better than nothing, which is what you usually get). The ZenBook 13’s speakers are also impressively loud, as I discovered when I cranked “Live and Let Die” by Paul McCartney and Wings. The ZenBook’s speakers are no substitute for a set of dedicated speakers, of course, and you’ll generally get better sound by plugging in a pair of headphones. That said, I’ve definitely heard worse.

Meanwhile, the Asus ZenBook 13’s 480p webcam (which sits in the bezel above the display) capures blotchy, washed-out images that will disappoint all but the most indiscriminate Skype users. The Asus ZenBook 13’s collection of ports should satisfy most budget-minded users, starting on the left side with a full HDMI port, the first of two USB 3.0 ports, and a USB 3.0 Type C Gen 1 port (up to 5Gbps). Also on the left: a barrel-shaped charging port, plus a pair of indicator lights for charging and standby.

On the right side of the ZenBook 13, you’ll find a second USB 3.0 port, a combo audio jack and a micro SD card reader. No Thunderbolt 3, unfortunately, but that’s not surprising given the ZenBook’s budget price tag. As with any budget-priced ultraportable laptop, and particularly one with an integrated graphics core, you’ll need to keep your expectations in check when evaluating the Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UA’s performance. No, the ZenBook 13 isn’t a gaming machine, nor will it rattle any bones with it comes to processor-intensive tasks like video encoding. That said, the ZenBook has solid productivity chops, and its impressive battery life only sweetened the deal.

PCMark 8 Work Conventional
First, we wanted to confirm that the Asus ZenBook 13 can perform everyday tasks with a spring in its step. To do this, we fired up PCMark 8, a benchmark that simulates such daily computing chores as browsing the web, composing word documents, tinkering with spreadsheets and video chatting. Typically, we’re looking for a minimum PCMark 8 score of 2,000, while the peppiest laptops often score 3,000 or better.

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Good news: the ZenBook 13 and its quad-core, eighth-generation CPU clears the 3,000 mark with ease, along with its similarly equipped competition. Don’t get too hung up on who got first place and who came in last. For our purposes, any score over 2,000 merits a passing grade, and quibbling over a few hundred points in the 3,000 range is just splitting hairs.

HandBrake
Here’s where things get interesting. In our next benchmark, we use the free HandBrake tool to convert a 40GB video file into an Android tablet-compatible format. This lengthy (often an hour or more) and CPU-intensive task tells us a lot about how a given laptop manages heat buildup. When it comes to quad-core laptops, a Handbrake score below 4,000 seconds is pretty good; 4,000 to 5,000 seconds is average, while more than 5,000 seconds is decidedly meh. Once you’re in the 6,000 range, you’re generally in the land of cheaper dual-core laptops.

With its conservative approach to thermals, the Asus ZenBook 13 lags its competitors when it comes to lengthy CPU-intensive tasks.
With a score of 5,136 seconds (nearly an hour and a half), the ZenBook 13 UX331UA’s Handbrake time lands it in last place, just a few minutes ahead of its pricier UX331UN sibling. It’s not an awful score, but it’s not great either.

Looking under the hood, we find that the ZenBook 13 (the UA version) puts the pedal to the metal during the opening moments of the Handbrake benchmark, with its CPU package temperature soaring to 90 degrees Celsius (approaching the Core i5-8250U’s operational limits) and its processor clock speed cranking to about 2.8GHz. Within a few minutes, a combination of thermal throttling (which cuts CPU speed to deal with the heat) and power-limit throttling (which puts a lid on processor wattage output) kicks in, slamming on the brakes until CPU temperatures fall to a much cooler 60 degrees Celsius and clock speeds slow to about 1.85GHz, where they settle in for the remainder of the test.

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To put the ZenBook 13’s last-place Handbrake performance in perspective, consider that the first-place finish for the Dell XPS 13 comes with a hefty $1,200 price tag, while the other laptops in our comparison chart are thicker and heavier, and thus easier to cool. Indeed, the cheaper Acer Aspire E15 is nearly twice as thick and heavy as the ZenBook.Bottom line: if you were wondering how a laptop like the Asus ZenBook 13 could be so thin and light for just $799, its iffy HandBrake score tells you why.

Cinebench
While our Handbrake benchmark measures a laptop’s performance over an hour or so, our next test is generally over in a matter of minutes. Cinebench tasks a system with rendering a 3D image in real-time, a CPU-stressing chore that spins up cooling fans just like HandBrake does, but only for a brief period of time.

Short busts of intense activity are no problem for the Asus ZenBook 13, as its third-place Cinebench score attests.
The Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UA fares much better with Cinebench, coming in third behind the much pricier Dell XPS 13 and the discrete-graphics version of the ZenBook (the UX331UN).As it turns out, Cinebench’s short run time works to the ZenBook 13’s advantage. As in the Handbrake test, the ZenBook bursts out of the gate, flooring it when it comes to CPU performance while cranking out heat in the process. By the time thermal throttling kicks in, the Cinebench test is practically over.

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