When Apple launched the 12-inch MacBook in 2015, it instantly became a benchmark for ultra-light computers, surpassed in portability by only a few models.
The thinking behind Asus’ new ultraportable, the ZenBook 3, seems to have been approximately this: Let’s make a laptop that’s even thinner and lighter than the MacBook, but more powerful and with a slightly larger screen.
Amazingly, the company’s done it. The ZenBook 3 is a 12.5-inch computer that’s only 11.9mm thin (0.47 inches), weighing just 910g (2 pounds). For comparison, the Apple MacBook has a 12-inch screen, is 0.52 inches tall at its thickest point, and weighs 2.03 pounds.
Asus is well-aware of the similarities between the two machines. In its press release, the company pointed out that despite its compactness, the ZenBook 3 still has a backlit keyboard with a 19.8mm key pitch, comparable to most desktop keyboards (the Apple MacBook’s keyboard has a a butterfly mechanism, and is significantly thinner than regular keyboards). Asus says it managed to make the ZenBook 3 this compact by using an extremely thin, 3mm fan, and an “aerospace-grade aluminum alloy” as material for the case.
Inside, the ZenBook 3 can be had with an Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, up to a 1TB SSD, a configuration that’ll cost $1,999. If that’s too much, you can also configure the device with an Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD for $999.
Other specs of not are a Harman Kardon branded quad-speaker, a fingerprint sensor and (ouch) a single USB Type-C port for charging and connectivity.
The ZenBook 3 is available in a rose gold, blue or gray finish.