I've been putting the ZenBook 14 UX425EA through its paces over the last few days (specifically, the UX425EA-SH74). It won't be available until mid-October, according to Asus. There's not much that distinguishes the UX425EA from the horde of ZenBooks above — it has the same gleaming metal lid, fold-under hinge, and compact design. But all eyes are on this ZenBook for one reason: the processor. The UX425EA is one of the first production machines equipped with Intel's quad-core Core i7-1165G7 processor (of the 11th Gen Tiger Lake line). The form-factor is possibly this laptop's main selling point, as it is significantly smaller and lighter than most alternatives with comparable specs and features.
As you can see in the images, the bezels around the screen are minuscule, and we're not just talking about the side bezels, but also the top and especially the chin, or at least the visible part of it, as more of it is hidden behind the main body as part of what Asus calls the Ergolift hinge mechanism. This results in an excellent screen-to-body ratio, but keep in mind that the advertised figures are somewhat misleading. We've seen it before on the ZenBook S line, and it's a system that lifts up the computer on the back of its screen, creating a slightly inclined typing position and extra space underneath for improved airflow. The disadvantages are that the laptop no longer rests on its four rubber feet on the underbelly, but on two of those and two extra tiny feet placed at the bottom of the screen, and that the display can only lean back about 150 degrees. Of course, we could consider the mechanism's long-term reliability, but there's no way of knowing how it will age and whether it will become loose or unstable over time. For the time being, it appears to be well-made and dependable, and Asus mentions that the laptop is MIL-STD-810G military standard compliant, for what it's worth.
The UX435EG includes two Thunderbolt 4 ports (USB Type-C; Power Delivery, DisplayPort via USB-C). They also provide power to the notebook as well as video output. Good: Even with the power supply connected, there is still one open port for other devices like a docking station or an external GPU. The 14-inch notebook has three video output ports in total (2x DP, 1x HDMI). Asus also included a USB Type-A port (USB 3.2 Gen 1) as well as an audio combo port. If you require more connections, you must use a docking station. The microSD card reader (reference card: Toshiba Exceria Pro M501 microSDXC 64GB) is one of the fastest in its class, with maximum transfer rates of 79.2 MB/s (transferring 250 jpg image files @ 5 MB each) and 86.3 MB/s (copying large data blocks).
The Asus ZenBook UX425J may not break speed records, but it has enough power to handle everyday tasks such as multiple browser tabs, your favorite media and chat apps, Office tools, and even some light photo editing. The UX425J's prospects are further enhanced by its long battery life, slim design, bright and accurate display, and quick keyboard.
Of course, if you require more CPU power, particularly for multi-threaded workloads, you should look elsewhere, and other laptops may be preferable if you require better security features, a physical numberpad, or a headphone jack. The ZenBook, on the other hand, is a capable and extremely affordable ultraportable at this price.