The bottom line: Our quick verdict on the ASUS ZenBook 3

This ultraportable's fast performance is tempered by an uncomfortable keyboard and jumpy trackpad.

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    ASUS's latest ultraportable the ZenBook 3 is often compared to Apple's 12-inch MacBook. And can you blame people? The laptop is even thinner and lighter than Apple's two-pound wonder, but just as fast and with longer battery life. And it comes with a mini dock in the box, adding precisely the sort of ports you'd be missing on the MacBook (and would only have access to if you paid extra for an adapter). On paper, then, it's precisely the computer Windows-using travelers have been looking for.

    Depending on your needs, that may still be the case, but in practice we found the ZenBook 3 isn't everything we hoped it would be. In particular, we found the keyboard and trackpad uncomfortable to use, and we had some concerns about the build quality too. It's possible you'll disagree with us there, but you owe it to yourself to get some hands-on time with the machine at a local store before buying, if at all possible.

    Engadget Score
    Poor
    Uninspiring
    Good
    Excellent
    Key

    Pros
    • Thin and light design comparable to the MacBook
    • As fast as other high-end ultraportables
    • Vibrant screen
    • Comes with a mini-dock for extra ports
    Cons
    • Keyboard and trackpad are difficult to use
    • Fingerprint sensor placement makes no sense
    • Build quality is suspect

    Summary

    The ZenBook 3 does a decent job of mimicking the MacBook's design while also cramming in faster hardware. But the combination of a hard-to-use keyboard and trackpad, along with build quality concerns, make it difficult to recommend.

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