ASUS ZenBook 3 Review: Specifications and Characteristics

ASUS ZenBook 3 Review: Specifications and Characteristics
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The Asus ZenBook 3 in this review is far from being an affordable ultrabook. This gadget is for buyers interested in a laptop with an eye-catching design and a considerable amount of processing power stacked under the hood.

But besides its good looks and a promising spec sheet, is the ASUS ZenBook 3 ultrabook actually worth the money? Let’s find out together, by reviewing every feature of it!

ASUS ZenBook 3 Design

The folks over at Asus saw the potential of the ultrabook niche, and over the years, they started developing the Zenbook line-up: light and slim laptops, with a premium design, able to attract even the most demanding customers.

After opening the box, you will – obviously – be thrilled by the look of the ASUS ZenBook 3. First things first, you should know that it’s one of the most compact laptops money can buy right now. Secondly, the materials used for building it are impressive. You will notice the premium feeling being present from the first touch.

The metallic case has various finishes – make sure you check the dark blue, it’s gorgeous – and a few golden touches on the sides. Surprisingly, this laptop doesn’t attract as many fingerprints as expected, but you can’t get rid of them easily either.

We were surprised how easy the lid opens, and even though the hinge doesn’t allow a 180 opening, it’s still ok for daily use. As a side note, ASUS claims that it’s the most compact notebook hinge, measuring just 3mm.

In terms of design, the Asus ZenBook 3 is definitely one of the best looking laptops from the Taiwanese company.

Asus ZenBook 3

ASUS ZenBook 3 Display

Measuring 12.5” with a full HD resolution of 1920×1080 pixels (a superior resolution is also available), the display is protected by Corning’s Gorilla Glass 4 and has a pretty serious amount of glare. However, you won’t even notice such details, since the ridiculously thin bezels will be the first thing you’ll observe after opening the lid.

Basically, the Asus ZenBook 3 looks like it has the body of an 11.6” laptop, but the display is bigger than it should. You get the idea, right?

Even though the ASUS ZenBook 3 doesn’t have a touchscreen, you won’t even notice the lack of this feature. The colors are bright and vivid, which combined with the FHD resolution, make this ultrabook the perfect travel companion. You get to enjoy some of your favorite movies in a great looking display screen.

Speaking of enjoying movies, the ZenBook 3 is loaded with six Harman Kardon speakers, it sounds good! The sound is clear, strong, and with enough bass. There’s also a 3.5mm jack by the way, so you can use it with a pair of regular headphones.


Ok, let’s get to one of the most interesting features. The ASUS ZenBook 3 review is powered by an Intel Core i7-7500U Kaby Lake chip, clocked at 2.7GHz. Using Turbo Boost you can take it even to 3.5GHz. The graphics card is represented by an onboard Intel HD 620 unit, alongside 16GB of RAM and a 512GB solid-state drive.

Along with the 14nm-built Kaby Lake chip you get superior clock speeds, increase Turbo frequencies, native USB Type-C support, and significant graphics improvements. Yes, the ASUS ZenBook 3 is able to handle 3D and 4K content with ease.

Since we’re talking about a compact laptop with a big amount of processing power, it’s obvious that ASUS had to do something with the heat. And they did!

The ZenBook 3 laptop comes with a cooling system featuring slim heat pipes, while the air is evacuated through the grills hidden in the hinge. It’s true, it tends to get hot pretty fast, especially if you keep a lot of things open, but the cooling system does its job efficiently. The only minus is the fact that you’ll hear when the laptop starts overheating.

Overall, the Asus ZenBook 3 in this review is strong enough to use it for basic photo and video editing, browsing, watch 4K content and even some gaming. Sure, it wasn’t designed for extreme gaming, but some less-demanding titles can be easily played. After all, we’re talking about a very compact device!

ASUS ZenBook 3 Review: Specifications and Characteristics


Apparently, ASUS adopted the infamous Apple strategy for a minimalistic design. Not that we don’t like this, but minimalism in laptops means fewer ports. The ASUS ZenBook 3 laptop comes with a single USB Type-C port. But you’ll get a special adapter in the package, which offers support for USB, HDMI, and an extra USB Type-C port.

As for the wireless part, it has Wi-Fi and dual bands, alongside Bluetooth 4.0. Enough for most users, we’d say.


You wouldn’t expect much from such a tiny laptop, in terms of autonomy. But hey, surprises are everywhere!

Depending on your usage, you can get some pretty impressive numbers. The laptop has three different modes: High Performance, Balanced, or Battery Saver. If you opt for the first and maximum screen brightness, you’ll get around 5-6 hours of use. On the other side, if you reduce the brightness to 50% and opt for Battery Saver, you can easily get over 7 hours. And this is not bad at all, ASUS!

ASUS ZenBook 3 Review Wrap-up

Our ASUS ZenBook 3 review is a niche ultrabook. It’s a gadget designed to attract buyers through its design and compact size. A laptop you should buy if you want to impress a bit, and this is exactly what the manufacturer wants.

It’s obviously one of the most compact models (at the moment of this review) with a nice design, built with high-end materials. The power it packs is more than enough, thanks to the Core i7 chip. The Harman Kardon audio system is also a very big plus. ASUS should definitely not feel ashamed of the autonomy either.

ASUS ZenBook 3 Review

On the other side, we just can’t get over the lack of ports and the fact that it can get a bit noisy when the cooling system starts working.

Yes, we’d buy an ASUS ZenBook 3, but not as our my main laptop. What about you? Do you think it’s worth the money?

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Pixel Buds VS Pilot Earbuds: A Real Life Babel Fish?

Pixel Buds VS Pilot Earbuds: A Real Life Babel Fish?

In 1978, the first episode aired in the radio series, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams. Adams didn’t know it, but one of the fictional species in his radio series and books, the babel fish, would impact technology for years in the future.

The babel fish could instantly translate languages, which inspired Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) and SYSTRAN to name their AltaVista Translation Service after it. This was the first online translator; It was soon taken over by Yahoo and eventually Microsoft who changed its name from Babel Fish to Bing Translator in 2013. This was the original Babel Fish – the oldest online language translator which supported 13 languages.

However, the Babel Fish has been brought back to life recently. First by Google and now by another startup company called Waverly Labs.

First Impression of Google’s Pixel Buds

On October 4th, Google announced the Google Pixel Buds which can translate 40 spoken languages in nearly real time, among other things. However, the reviews are out and most of them are not desirable. As far as translation goes, the technology is apparently hard to work with. Regardless of this, how do the Pixel Buds work?

When using the translation feature, you must press a button on your phone and hand it to the other person so they can speak into the microphone. The translation will then be sent to your ears through the Pixel Buds. Conversely, if you say something in your native language, it will be translated and sent to the phone to be spoken by Google Assistant or read by the other person.

The translations have been said to be pretty accurate as long as you’re not using slang or names Google Assistant wouldn’t know. Also, the translations happen quickly which is a plus. So, it’s a good start, but audio quality is said to be low – background noise is a problem as the headphones don’t block it out well. This has caused problems with normal earbud functions, such as listening to music, and also with translations.

Pixel Buds VS Pilot Earbuds: A Real Life Babel Fish?

What’s Next for Pixel Buds?

However, Google has been one of the first to test the technology, and therefore there is much opportunity for them to improve and perfect the Pixel Buds. The technology can be made more user-friendly for one thing. Another thing that needs improvement is how the headphones fit in one’s ear to block out sound from outside. This seems to be the major issue right now. With these kinks worked out along with any other problems found in the future, Google can focus on furthering the translation technology to allow for deeper conversations.

Right now, it’s good enough to allow you to talk to someone and perhaps ask where something is, but not much more. It’s safe to say that this is a great start for Google – a company only just starting to create its own gadgets – and there is a lot of promise for the future of the Pixel Buds and real time translation.

Pilot Earbuds Enter the Game

Waverly Labs has also recently come out with their Pilot earbuds, which are wireless and can translate conversations in 15 languages. This is the company’s first piece of hardware and it was launched at the end of 2017. How does it work? Similar to the Pixel Buds, you just sync your conversation through a matching QR code on the app, press a button and then you can speak in your native language. The recording is then sent through the translation software and received as both text and audio by your friend.

Capabilities of the Pilot Earbuds

The Pilot earbuds only work if you and the person you’re speaking to have the app, and if you have a data connection. However, you do not have to be in the same room as the person. You can even use the app without the earbuds. People who have tested the technology have had good things to say so far.

Kent German tried it with a coworker speaking Spanish and said, “there was a few second lag between her speaking and me getting the text and audio, but it was quick enough that it didn’t feel awkward” (CNET). He also praised the noise cancelling microphones for blocking out extraneous noises, which is something the Pixel Buds lack. The translations were pretty accurate besides the obvious issues of slang and names not translating well.

Waverly Labs Pilot Earbuds

Pilot Earbuds Moving Forward

Like the Pixel Buds, the Pilot earbuds are still a work in progress. There are things to work out, more languages to add, and ways to make the app more efficient. The speed of translation of the Pilot earbuds is one thing that could definitely be improved, so that real time conversations can be made possible for people who don’t speak the same language.

Although the Pilot Earbuds cost more than the Pixel Buds, they may be a better choice in people’s eyes, because the app is compatible with both iOS and Android devices. In the other hand, Pixel Buds only work with Google’s Pixel Phone; People who do not own a Pixel phone are less likely to buy one just to get Pixel Buds. On top of this, Waverly Labs has already said it is working on making the technology available offline as well.

Perfecting the Babel Fish

Right now, neither Google, or Waverly Labs have made something that really changes the game too much. Yes, the fact that you can speak with someone and get a translation in your ear is a good start. But it’s not far off from apps that already exist, where you can speak into them and get a translation. Google Translate already does almost the exact same thing (minus the earbuds).

The excitement of this new technology is all about where it’s headed. If these earbuds can one day allow us to have fluid, deep conversations with people all over the world without knowing other languages, the possibilities are endless. These companies and others are already taking the technology available now and perfecting it to make this happen. The Babel Fish is not here yet, but it is coming!

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