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(Pocket-lint) - The Asus ZenBook 14 is a 14-inch laptop that takes many features from the company's 2018's "S" and "Pro lines and squishes them into a more compact offering for 2019.

We caught up with the new model from Asus at CES to see if you should get excited.

Compact design

  • 14-inch screen
  • HDMI port and SD Card reader
  • Number pad in trackpad

Unlike the new ZenBook 13, which comes with incredibly thin bezels, and an external notch for the webcam, the ZenBook 14 takes a more traditional approach.

The design is much more akin to the Asus models that came before it featuring an ErgoLift hinge that automatically lifts the keyboard up into a comfortable typing position when you open the lid.

It's an all metal design with plenty of sharp edges. The bezel might not be as thin as the ZenBook 13, but it's still a fairly minimal 6.5mm around the 14-inch LED-backlit 16:9 NanoEdge full-HD (1080p) display even though the casing is what you would traditionally see in a 13-inch model.

Yes, Asus has done a Dell and created a much bigger screen than you would expect given the size of the device. At just 1.45kg, it's also lightweight enough take wherever you go. 

asusAsus ZenBook 14 initial review A 14-inch screen in the body of a 13-inch laptop image 4

Beneath the screen is a full-sized chiclet keyboard which itself is braced by a pair of upward-firing Harmon Kardon speakers. Below that largish trackpad, complete with a fingerprint reader in the top right-hand corner and when needed an illuminated NumberPad. Handy for those accountants out there.

The sides are flanked by a bevy of ports including 1 x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C (10Gbps), 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A (5Gbps), 1 x USB 2.0, 1 x HDMI, SD card slot, 1 x Audio combo jack.

The inclusion of HDMI should appeal to those constantly having to connect to projectors to present as it means they won't need to worry about a dongle, while the SD card slot will appeal to those keen to get their photos onto the device with minimal effort.

The keyboard comes across fairly "spongy" when we had a go typing on it and the screen is good, but nothing to blow you away. We played with the new ZenBook 14 inside in a fairly dark room so we're looking forward to seeing what its performance will be like in an office with windows, or on the go on the train for example.

Improved performance

  • Core i7, i5, and i3 options
  • Up to 1TB of SSD storage

Our time with the ZenBook 14 was brief and certainly not enough to gauge its performance on a number of tasks like editing a huge Excel spreadsheet or working with high-res video or images, but judging by the spec sheets this should be able for "road-warriors" looking to do a number of tasks without going in to heavy on the creative editing side of things.

There are a number of configurations available including Intel Core i7-8565U/Intel Core i5-8265U/Intel Core i3-8145U processor options and opting to have up to 16GB 2133MHz LPDDR3 RAM. It also comes with Nvidia GeForce MX150 discrete graphics.

AsusAsus ZenBook 14 initial review A 14-inch screen in the body of a 13-inch laptop image 3

On the storage side of things you can start small at 256GB of SSD storage but go to 512GB and 1TB PCIe x2 SSD + SATA SSD options.

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A 47Wh Li-polymer battery promises up to 10 hours battery life - plenty to keep you going throughout the working day - and we're keen to see how this claim lives up to real life battery performance when we get one in for testing.

First Impressions

With similar specs to the Dell XPS 13 and the MacBook Air, the ZenBook 14 looks to be a good performer from Asus that takes some of the best bits from the ZenBook S and ZenBook Pro models from 2018.

We look forward to testing it more when we get one for review, but our initial feeling is that this will be a nice solid performer for those wanting a no fuss approach to Windows computing in 2019.

The ZenBook 14 will be available to buy Q1 2019 with pricing and configurations varying per region. Pricing in the US is expected to start around $749.

Writing by Stuart Miles.