Hunting for a notebook

Love the packaging

What do you look out for when you’re looking for a new notebook computer? Though I’m quite at home with technology and am an avid follower of the scene, this question still caused me to stop and think for a bit.

What exactly was I looking for? Taking a step back, I began with why I was searching for a new one in the first place.

My existing notebooks were a 17-inch gaming notebook which I used for the office and a 13-inch Apple MacBook Air for travelling. One’s powerful but too heavy to lug around while the other is light but runs on a different operating system.

The gaming notebook is great for working on spreadsheets (which I don’t fancy), watching movies and playing games. While it’s a few years old, it still packs enough grunt to get everything done fast. The only negative was it’s weight, making it highly unportable.

On the other hand, the MacBook Air provided the portability, which is especially useful for my travel. I bought it after feeling the strain of carrying another notebook while on trips to the US. The Apple device is not as fast (it was bought in 2011) as the Windows-based notebook (which is designed with power in mind) but it was enough to get things done.

Why change

Toggling between the two computers involved backing up and copying my Outlook file whenever I have to travel, which was about once a month.

This means that I use a Windows computer most of the time. While I have no issue with macOS, it does take a bit of getting reacquainted every few weeks.

Outlook and Word also works differently on both platforms. The functionalities are generally the same but the little differences began to take its toll, particularly the cut-and-paste between documents and Outlook.

Since June, I’ve had to spend more time out of the office so I’m using the Mac a little more but what’s worst is the constant copying and backing up of files.

What I need

Having identified my painpoints, I have an idea of what I need:

  1. Powerful
  2. Portable
  3. Window-based
  4. Affordable
  5. Reliable brand
  6. X-factor

The research took longer than expected as I could not find one that matched all my requirements. How brands named and positioned their product lines also made the search a little challenging. I also turned to a well-known editor for his advice.

This is it

Just when I thought that nothing could match my criteria, I read about an upcoming notebook.

Asus had announced earlier in the year that it was coming up with its 30th anniversary edition. After pouring through the known specs in detail, I was quite certain that this was what I wanted.

The limited-edition Asus ZenBook Edition 30 was supposed to be launched in conjunction with an IT show in September. A quick check with Asus a day before the show revealed that the notebook’s already available in the store.

I drove to the nearest Asus store but could not find it on the display shelf. When queried, the salesperson pointed to an empty space on the shelf and said that was where the new notebook will be placed. He added that he could furnish me with the specs if I was interested to find out more.

Before I could educate the young man, his colleague said that the unit’s in the storeroom and she could get it for me after she’s done with a customer.

Ten minutes later, I became the proud owner of a brand new notebook.

Why I like this

My purchase was no impulse decision. Here are why I picked this over dozens of others:

  1. Powerful enough: It sports an 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8565U CPU supported by the NVIDIA GeForce MX250 GPU and 16GB of RAM — that’s enough horsepower for me.
  2. Portable enough: Weighing under 1.3kg, it comes with a 13.3-inch LED-backlit Full HD display with four-sided frameless NanoEdge design.
  3. Window-based: It runs of Windows 10 so I do not have to toggle between two operating sytems.
  4. Affordable enough: Priced at S$2,198, it’s a little ex for an average notebook but this is definitely not an average notebook.
  5. Reliable brand: HP, Dell, Lenovo, and Acer are some leading brands that I’ve used in the past. From my experience with my gaming notebook, Asus stands right up there with the best.
  6. X-factor: Now, this is where the Asus ZenBook Edition 30 is streets ahead of the rest. Imagine a notebook clad in pearl white leather and rose gold anodised diamond-cut edges and trim bar. The rose gold logo is futuristic and not so in-your-face. And it features a second screen on the mouse pad. While many have written this off as a gimick, I found it to be useful for viewing a messaging app or the Spotify playlist. Oh, the package also includes a matching mouse and leather notebook sleeve. Really nice touch.

After nearly three months of using the Asus ZenBook Edition 30, I simply love this. It’s everything I need and a little more.

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