Sometimes a laptop comes along and feels like a premium product without the premium price. A good example is the Asus ZenBook 13. The UX333 model offers excellent build quality, reliable performance and a superior display at an affordable price.
Asus has released a newer version, the UX334, which adds its proprietary ScreenPad 2.0 technology. However, we are not the biggest fans of the LCD-based touchpad. Instead, we prefer the UX333 with its simpler numeric keypad embedded in the touchpad. We also love the slightly smaller frame of the UX333.
In the meantime, HP's Envy 13 also wants to offer a premium product at a less affordable price. It does just that and receives a solid rating and recommendation. But does it offer enough to take on the ZenBook 13? We compared these two laptops in a direct comparison to find out which one is ahead.
Dan Baker / Digital Trends
In terms of aesthetics, both laptops are far more eye-catching than the usual budget options.
The ZenBook 13 has the high-end royal blue color scheme with breathtaking gold decoration and the legendary ZenBook swirl on the lid, which decorates its more expensive cousins. The Envy 13 is also an eye-catcher with a choice of natural silver and light gold colors to match its modern chassis, which is angled in the right places. However, color improvements are available on request.
In terms of design, the biggest difference between these two is their relative bezel sizes. The bezels of the ZenBook 13 are much smaller, fall into the “tiny bezels” category and are thinner than those of the Envy 13.
The ZenBook 13 measures 11.89 x 7.44 x 0.67 inches while the Envy 13 measures 12.07 x 7.66 x 0.67 inches. The Envy 13 isn't exactly huge, but the case of the ZenBook 13 is significantly smaller. Both are almost equally heavy at 2.88 pounds (envy) compared to 2.62 pounds (ZenBook).
The ZenBook 13 also benefits from Asus' commitment to quality. It has been tested for robustness in accordance with MIL-STD-810g military standards and has no bend or bend in the lid, keyboard deck or case base. The Envy 13 has a little more compliance in the lid and keyboard deck, which means that while you don't have to worry about it falling apart, it doesn't exude the same confidence as the Asus model.
The input options between these two laptops are similar. Both have keyboards with good travel and fast, precise keys. Both have Microsoft Precision touchpad drivers to properly support Windows 10 multi-touch gestures. Interestingly, both also have hinges that support the keyboards at an angle to increase comfort and airflow.
Where the laptops differ is the ZenBook 13's LED inlay, which offers a useful virtual numeric keypad. If you enter a lot of numbers, the inlay is a useful feature.
After all, both laptops have a better legacy than future peripheral support. The ZenBook 13 has a USB-A 2.0 port, a USB-A 3.1 port, a USB-C 3.1 Gen2 port and a full-size HDMI port. The Envy 13 has a Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) port and two USB-A ports. Both have microSD card readers, wireless AC (Wi-Fi 5) and Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity.
Winner: Asus ZenBook 13. It just has a more robust design, better connectivity and a practical virtual numeric keypad.
Mark Coppock / Digital Trends
The ZenBook 13 is available with the 8th generation Intel Core i5-8265U quad-core "Whiskey Lake" CPU, which is surprisingly fast and very efficient. For the Envy 13, you can configure it with the newer 10th generation Core i7-1065G7 or the Core i7-10510U, giving HP the upper hand over performance, as both are an excellent choice for anyone with typical productivity tasks.
While the ZenBook 13 has a variant with the entry-level Nvidia GeForce MX150 GPU, it is only available in the USA with an integrated Intel UHD 620. This gives the Envy 13 an advantage with its GeForce MX250 GPU. The newer GPU does not offer a significant increase in performance, but still offers a better gaming platform for beginners – at least at 1080p if details are rejected.
Next, the ZenBook 13 has a surprisingly good 13.3-inch IPS Full HD panel (1920 x 1080) with an exceptional contrast of 1360: 1, above-average AdobeRGB colors of 77% and an excellent color accuracy of 1 , 68 You won't usually find such a good display on an inexpensive laptop.
The Envy 13 has a 4K (3,840 x 2,160) micro edge with WLED backlight and multi-touch option, which we found to be bright and with average (but still respectable) colors and contrasts. A Full HD option is also available for longer battery life. You can't go wrong with the displays of these two laptops.
Winner: HP Envy 13. The discrete GPU option is more readily available.
Dan Baker / Digital Trends
The ZenBook 13 is smaller than the Envy 13, but a little thicker. However, it is neither difficult to carry nor to sit in tight spaces.
Thanks to its efficient CPU and full HD display, the ZenBook 13 is an outstanding battery-powered device. However, the comparison with the Envy 13 is difficult because we tested the HP laptop with a power-hungry 4K display. The Envy 13 has a 52-watt-hour battery compared to the 50-watt-hour version of the ZenBook 13. We therefore suspect that they work similarly with the same Core i5 and Full HD panel.
Winner: It's a tie. These are two very portable laptops. However, if battery life matters, choose a lower resolution display.
The HP Envy 13 wins
Mark Coppock / Digital Trends
The ZenBook currently costs $ 13,895 for an 8th generation Core i5-8265U, 8 GB of RAM, and a 256 GB SSD. The Envy 13 is sold at a similar price for a nearly identical configuration that includes newer 10th generation CPUs. It is often offered for sale, which makes it a great buy.
The ZenBook 13 is built a little more solidly and has a nice LED number pad in the touchpad. However, the Envy 13 can be configured with faster components and a higher resolution display. This flexibility gives HP a slim profit, especially if you can pick it up during the sale.