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Computing

HP Envy 13 vs. Asus ZenBook 13 UX333

The HP Envy 13 and Asus ZenBook 13 UX333 want to do the same thing: Deliver excellent performance, build quality, and battery life for around $1,000. They hit a sweet spot between price and performance, packing the specs of an ultrabook like Dell’s XPS 13 for a slightly lower price. Between them, though, which should you choose?

Asus has moved on from the ZenBook 13 UX333, focusing on newer models like the 14-inch UX425. HP, on the other hand, is sticking with the Envy 13, updating the range for 2021 with Intel’s latest mobile processors. The Envy 13 is a better option based solely on performance, but more than specs separate these two machines.

Design

Dan Baker/Digital Trends

When considering their aesthetics, both laptops are far more striking than the usual budget options.

The ZenBook 13 has the high-end Royal Blue color scheme with stunning gold trim and iconic ZenBook swirl on the lid that adorns its more expensive cousins. The Envy 13 is also a looker, with a choice of Natural Silver and Pale Gold colors to customize its modern chassis that’s angled in all the right places, though color upgrades are available if desired.

Design-wise, the biggest difference between these two is their relative bezel sizes. The ZenBook 13’s bezels are much smaller, falling into the “tiny bezel” category and making it thinner than the Envy 13.

The ZenBook 13 dimensions come in at 11.89 x 7.44 x 0.67 inches, while the Envy 13 is 12.07 x 7.66 x 0.67 inches. The Envy 13 isn’t exactly huge, but the ZenBook 13’s chassis is notably smaller. Both are almost equally heavy at 2.88 pounds (Envy) versus 2.62 pounds (ZenBook).

The ZenBook 13 also benefits from Asus’s commitment to build quality. Tested to MIL-STD-810g military standards for robustness, it exhibits no bending or flexing in the lid, keyboard deck, or chassis bottom. The Envy 13 has a bit more give in the lid and keyboard deck, meaning that while you won’t worry about it falling apart, it doesn’t exude quite the same confidence as the Asus model.

Input options are similar between these two laptops. Both have keyboards with good travel and snappy, precise keys, and both have Microsoft Precision touchpad drivers for flawless Windows 10 multitouch gesture support. Interestingly, both also have hinges that prop up the keyboards at an angle for increased comfort and airflow.

Where the laptops differ is in the ZenBook 13’s LED inlay that provides a useful virtual numeric keypad. If you enter a lot of numbers, then you’ll find the inlay to be a helpful feature.

Finally, both laptops have a better legacy than future peripheral support. The ZenBook 13 has a USB-A 2.0 port, two USB-A 3.2 ports, a USB-C 3.2 port, and a full-size HDMI port. The Envy 13 has one Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C) port and two USB-A ports. Both have MicroSD card readers, a microphone/headphone combo jack, Wireless AC (Wi-Fi 6), and Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity.

Performance

Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The ZenBook 13 comes with up to an i7-10510U processor, an eight-core part that can turbo up to 4.9GHz. Although a solid processor for a 13-inch laptop, the Envy 13 features one of Intel’s newer Tiger Lake processors — in particular, the i7-1165G7. Beyond the CPU, you can configure both laptops with up to 16GB of RAM and up to a 1TB PCIe SSD. HP offers the Envy 13 with up to 32GB of Intel Optane memory, too.

The machines split when it comes to graphics. For the ZenBook 13, you have the choice between Intel’s onboard UHD 620 graphics or Nvidia’s MX250 mobile GPU. You can configure the Envy 13 slightly higher with a Nvidia MX450, but you shouldn’t need to. The 1165G7 comes with Intel’s new Iris Xe integrated graphics. A dedicated GPU is better, but Iris Xe still provides solid performance for light gaming.

Next, the ZenBook 13 has a surprisingly good 13.3-inch IPS Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) panel with exceptional contrast at 1,360:1, higher-than-average AdobeRGB colors at 77%, and excellent color accuracy at 1.68. You don’t typically find such a good display on a budget-priced laptop.

The Envy 13 has a 4K (3,840 x 2,160) micro-edge, WLED-backlit, multi-touch option that we found to be bright and of average (but still respectable) colors and contrast. There’s also a Full HD option available for better battery life — you can’t go wrong with the displays on either of these laptops.

There’s a clear winner outside of the display, though. Almost by default, the Envy 13 is a better option. You can configure it with a slightly better GPU and it features one of Intel’s latest mobile processors.

Portability

asus zenbook 13 ux333fa
Dan Baker/Digital Trends

While the ZenBook 13 is smaller than the Envy 13, it’s slightly thicker. However, neither are difficult to carry or fit into tight spaces.

The ZenBook 13 is an outstanding performer in battery thanks to its efficient CPU and Full HD display. Comparing it to the Envy 13 is difficult, however, given we tested HP’s laptop packing a power-hungry 4K display. The Envy 13 has a 51 watt-hour battery compared to the ZenBook 13’s 50 watt-hour version, and so we suspect that they’d perform similarly with the same Core i5 and Full HD panel.

The HP Envy 13 ekes out a win

Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The Envy 13 starts at $800 with an i5-1135G7, a 256GB SSD, and 16GB of RAM (oddly, some more expensive configurations only come with 8GB). The ZenBook 13 UX333 is, well, unavailable as of early 2021.

That doesn’t make too much of a difference because the Envy 13 is a better option simply because it has newer hardware, and it’s still fairly inexpensive. Asus’ ZenBook 13 UX325 — a similar, more readily available variant of the ZenBook 13 — runs $900 for an i7-1065G7, 8GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD. Configured similarly, the Envy 13 is only $80 more.

If you like the specs of the Envy 13 and the look of the ZenBook 13, you may want to consider the slightly larger ZenBook 14 UX435. It comes with a Tiger Lake processor and a dedicated GPU option, though it’s slightly more expensive than the Envy 13.

Editors’ Choice




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Categories
Computing

Acer Swift 3 13 vs. Asus ZenBook 13 UX333

The sweet spot for a 13-inch laptop is between $500 and $1,000. In that price range, you’re getting a notebook with the latest hardware, far more capable than low-spec Windows machines and Chromebooks, but not quite on the level of high-end options like the MacBook Pro. There are two laptops that stand out for this price bracket: The Acer Swift 3 and Asus ZenBook 13 UX333.

We’ve compared the two spec for spec, covering design, pricing, performance, and more. Asus has a newer ZenBook 13 available, too, which we’ll bring in for reference at a few points.

Pricing and availability

Acer offers two versions of its Swift 3 laptop, one with a 16:9 screen and another with a 3:2 screen. The hardware inside is identical, sporting Intel 11th-gen processors. The 16:9 version starts at $699.99, while the 3:2 version starts at $799.99.

The ZenBook 13 UX333 is just over two years old at this point, released in 2019. Originally, it came with an eighth-gen Intel processor, but now has a 10th-gen one. Availability is limited given the laptop’s age, but if you can find one in stock, it’ll run you about $1,000.

However, Asus offers a newer, similar laptop: The ZenBook 13 UX325. It comes with one of Intel’s latest 11th-gen processors and starts at $750.

Design

asus zenbook 13 ux333fa
Dan Baker/Digital Trends

Asus’s latest member of its ZenBook 13 300-series inherits a high-end royal Blue color scheme with striking gold trim and iconic ZenBook swirl on the lid from its more expensive siblings.

Good looks isn’t all that the ZenBook 13 inherited. It’s also tested to MIL-STD-810g military standards for robustness, and it feels like it too, with no bending or flexing in the lid, keyboard deck, or bottom of the chassis.

It comes with some unique design features. First, it has an ErgoLift vent that props up a snappy and precise keyboard (with some funky key layout issues that you’ll have to get used to), and a Microsoft Precision touchpad that’s augmented by an LED inlay that provides a useful virtual numeric keypad. The Swift 3 doesn’t have any nifty technology in its equally snappy and precise keyboard and excellent touchpad, and so the Asus scores points for its extra design touches.

The Swift 3 still puts up a fight, though. The base model is just another silver, aluminum laptop, but Acer offers blue and orange variants, too, at least in some regions. We found the blue variant available in Ireland and available but out of stock in the U.K. The vast majority of models available are silver, which looks nice, but not as nice as the ZenBook 13.

The Swift 3 wins when it comes to weight, at least by a little. Both the 16:9 and 3:2 variants of the Swift 3 — more on that next — clock in at 2.65 pounds, while the ZenBook 13 is 2.8 pounds. You won’t feel that difference, but the Swift 3 is technically lighter. It’s slightly thinner, too: 0.7 inches thick compared to 0.63.

Connectivity is another area where the machines differ. The ZenBook 13 comes with a USB-A 2.0 port, USB-C 3.2 port, and a USB-A 3.2 port, along with an HDMI connection and a microSD card slot. The Swift 3 mirrors the connectivity minus a microSD card slot on the 16:9 model. The 3:2 model ditches the USB-A 2.0 port in favor of a second USB-A 3.2 port.

Both machines are built well and look nice, but it’s clear the ZenBook 13 is the winner here. The Swift 3 is negligibly thinner and lighter, but that’s not enough to close the gap between the two in terms of design. Plus, the overlay keypad is legitimately useful on the ZenBook 13.

Performance

Acer Swift 3 13
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The Swift 3 is a clear winner in this round, simply because it packs newer, better hardware than the ZenBook 13. Between both versions of the screen, the Swift 3 comes stocked with an 11th-gen Intel i7-1165G7, featuring Intel’s integrated Iris Xe graphics. Intel’s 11th-gen mobile chips are excellent, and the bundled Iris Xe graphics can even handle some light gaming. Acer pairs the processor with 8GB of LPDDR4X memory, and either a 256GB or 512GB SSD.

Unfortunately, the ZenBook 13 UX333 tops out with 10th-gen Intel processors, in particular the quad-core i7-10510U. The processor comes with Intel UHD 620 graphics, but there are also models with up to an Nvidia MX250. For storage and memory, Asus reaches slightly higher, offering up to 16GB of RAM and a 1TB NVMe SSD.

The UX333 is being replaced by the UX325, which is still a ZenBook 13 laptop. This model matches the latest Swift 3 with a 1165G7 processor, complete with Iris Xe graphics. It’s slightly lighter, too (around 2.4 pounds). We’re covering the UX333 in this comparison, but the UX325 is better in almost every way.

Overall, the specs are what we’d expect for a 13-inch notebook in this price range. A solid quad-core processor, decent onboard graphics, and a limited amount of ultra-fast storage is the name of the game, and both the ZenBook 3 and Swift 3 hit the mark. The Swift 3 has better hardware, but there are 13-inch ZenBook options that match Acer’s latest offering.

The two machines differ when it comes to the screen. Both laptops come with a Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) screen with IPS-like viewing angles. However, Acer offers a version of the Swift 3 with a 3:2 aspect ratio like the Surface Laptop 3, with a larger overall resolution (2,256 x 1,504). Although 16:9 is the standard, 3:2 laptops work surprisingly well for work, as do 16:10 ones like Dell’s latest XPS 15.

Portability

asus zenbook 13 ux333fa
Dan Baker/Digital Trends

Neither of these laptops is a burden to carry around, despite some minor differences in size and weight. If you tried the two machines and couldn’t directly compare them, it would be very difficult to tell the difference.

Battery life is where the difference lies. The ZenBook 13 lasted significantly longer in all of our battery tests, including almost two hours longer on our aggressive Basemark web benchmark, almost five hours longer when browsing the web, and two hours longer when playing our test video. The ZenBook 13 will definitely get you through a full working day, whereas the Swift 3 probably won’t — and that’s a big difference.

The ZenBook 13 lasts a lot longer on a charge, letting you leave your power adapter behind.

Two ultrabooks, but only one winner

asus zenbook 13 ux333fa
Dan Baker/Digital Trends

There’s really no contest between the Swift 3 and ZenBook 13 UX333 in 2021. The Swift 3 has newer hardware, two different display options, and a slightly smaller and lighter overall build. The ZenBook 13 is the better-looking machine, but it doesn’t come with the latest hardware.

That’s against the UX333, however. Against a newer ZenBook 13 like the UX325, the Swift 3 lags slightly behind. In terms of performance, the UX325 and Swift 3 should perform almost identically. Asus’ design wins, though. Between the lifted hinge, virtual number pad, and beautiful color scheme, the UX325 puts the parts inside to better use.

Editors’ Choice




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