The biggest upgrade is to the internals, where you can now get up to an 11th-gen Core i7 processor with Iris Xe integrated graphics. If you need more oomph you can throw in an Nvidia MX450 – the company’s most powerful portable laptop GPU to date. They can be paired with up to 16GB DDR4X RAM, and up to 1TB SSD M.2 storage, including the option for a 32GB+1TB Intel Optane card to improve boot times and responsiveness.
The 11th-gen upgrade has been applied across the board by Asus, with the new ZenBook S and Flip S, along with the business-focused ExpertBook B9, all getting refreshed versions with the new Intel silicone.
The ScreenPad – a dedicated 5.65in touchscreen built into the touchpad, like a mini version of the ZenBook Pro Duo – has had an upgrade too. The awfully named ScreenXpert 2.0 interface has been redesigned to look and feel more like a smartphone, which should reduce the learning curve. You’ll even be able to pair a phone with the laptop and use the ScreenPad to make calls, which really hammers it home.
Creatives will also appreciate the adoption of the new Thunderbolt 4 format on the laptops twin USB-C ports, which are also used for charging. A single USB 3.2 Type-A port joins them, along with a headphone jack, HDMI 2.0, and MicroSD card slot - a solid improvement on what was already arguably the strongest port setup in any ultrabook on the market.
The webcam remains above the display – a welcome position as we all make a lot more video calls than before – and has IR support for Windows Hello login. A built-in noise-cancelling algorithm is designed to strip background audio out during video calls, though the brief demo Asus offered did make the resulting voice sound a little artificial.
Interestingly Asus has also announced an ‘ultralight’ version of the ZenBook 14 that drops the ScreenPad and as a result brings its weight down below a kilo, but this model doesn’t look to be coming to the UK sadly. You'll have to brace yourself to lug around that extra 200g, I'm afraid.
The new ZenBook 14 UX435 will be available in the UK from November, with prices starting from £1,399. There’ll be two colours available: Pine Grey and Lilac Mist.
If you don't fancy waiting that long, check out our best laptop chart for our latest recommendations - including another Asus model, the ZenBook S13.