After spending a lot of time with many Ryzen 5000-H laptops over the past few weeks, it’s time to change pace. Still, we’re stuck with AMD laptops, this time with their Ryzen 5000 U Lucienne and Cezanne platforms.
The ZenBook 13 UM325 is one of the first Ultrabooks to be equipped with AMD Ryzen U hardware starting in 2021 and is available in two configurations. It’s largely identical to the Intel-based ZenBook 13 but has two key features: It only comes with a beautiful OLED screen and is powered by AMD hardware.
The UM325 is also available in two versions: UM325UA based on AMD Lucienne processors (Ryzen 5 5500U, Ryzen 7 5700U) and the UM325SA series based on AMD Cezanne APUs (Ryzen 5 5600U, Ryzen 7 5800U). We will explain the differences in this article.
Our research unit is just the low-end Lucienne configuration, which is based on a 5-5500U Ryzen processor, 16GB of RAM, and a fast 512GB SSD, but we’ll upgrade when we have time to switch to the UM325SA variants as well.
|Asus ZenBook 14 UM325UA|
|Screen||13.3 inches, 1920 x 1080 px, OLED, glossy, non-contact, Samsung ATNA33XC11-0 panel|
|Processor||AMD Lucien Risen 5 5500U Processor, 6C/12T|
|Video||Drum Vega, 7 CE, 1.8 GHz|
|Memory||16GB LPDDR4x 3733MHz (soldered)|
|Storage||512GB M.2 PCIe x4 SSD (SK Hynix HFM512GD3JX013N)|
|Link||Wireless 6 (Intel AX200), Bluetooth 5.0|
|Ports||1x USB-A 3.2 gen1, 2x USB-C gen2 with data, DP and charging, HDMI 2.0b, microSD card reader|
|Battery||67 W, charger 65 W|
|Size||304 mm or 11.96 inches (W) x 203 mm or 7.99 inches (D) x 13.9 mm or 0.55 inches (H)|
|Weight||1.14 kg (2.5 lb) + 21 kg (0.45 lb) charger and cable, EU version|
|By the way..,||White backlit keyboard, numeric keypad, HD IR camera, no audio jack|
The ZenBook 13 UM325 2021 is identical to the existing UX325 variants, built to Intel specifications.
This means that metal is used for the entire structure, with a textured surface on the lid and a smooth, matte surface on the inside. Asus has chosen a dark grey color scheme that looks pleasant and professional and offers good protection against stains on the palms. In addition, fingerprints can be easily removed from the clean exterior.
This ZenBook 13 is compact and light without sacrificing functionality. This tried-and-true version weighs just under 1.2kg, and its design allows an Ergolift hinge mechanism to lift the chin well out of sight of the screen.
This feature is available on all ZenBooks and allows the laptop’s main body to be practically lifted up on small rubber feet at the bottom of the screen, creating a slightly tilted typing posture and allowing air to circulate better underneath. However, this only allows the screen to be tilted about 155 degrees and is not completely flat, and the hot air outlet is located between the hinges and directly below the screen (more on this in the next section).
In terms of build quality, the entire ZenBook series is rugged and reliable according to MIL-STD 810H, and Asus seems to have strengthened the chassis slightly over the 2020 models, as it no longer creaks when you lift the laptop and put your hands on the armrest.
You can always lift the screen yourself; the rubber feet on the bottom provide a good grip on the table, and I still find the lips and beveled metal edges a bit too rough for my taste; they sometimes dig into my wrists. On the other hand, the armrest is spacious because it accommodates the large glass flap in the middle. However, this comes at the expense of the typing experience on this 13-inch ZenBook series, as you’ll see in a moment.
Inputs/outputs are aligned on the sides, with USB-C and an HDMI port on the left edge and USB-A and a microSD card reader on the left edge. There is still no audio jack in this series, but there is a 3.5mm USB-C plug, USB-to-LAN adapter, and a protective case. There’s also no Thunderbolt support in this AMD variant, which is exclusive to Intel variants, but the USB sticks support data transfer (up to 10Gbps), charging, and video over DP.
As I mentioned in my previous reviews of the ZenBook 13 series, it’s mostly the typing experience that sets this size apart from its 14-inch counterpart.
And that’s because the smaller design with a spacious armrest left just enough room for a cramped keyboard. In addition, while the 14-inch ZenBooks have a basic set of 16 x 15 mm keys, this 13-inch variant has only 16 x 13 mm keys, limiting the vertical layout and making it particularly difficult to use for people with large hands. So while the UX/UM425 is currently one of my favorite printers, I could not achieve the same speed and accuracy with this model 13.
But it’s not badly written once you get used to it. I like the feedback and responsiveness, but I can’t get used to the shorter keys.
In addition to the layout and feedback, the keyboard is also backlit, with bright white LEDs and a dedicated Caps Lock indicator. Again, the lighting is bright and visible but not quite even, and the light passes under the hoods. Finally, I should mention that you can easily turn the lighting back on by hovering your finger over the click pad when it’s turned off.
Down below, in the middle of the chassis, Asus has implemented the same spacious glass control panel with precision drivers and a NumberPad secondary feature that is available in the latest ZenBooks. It is flexible, reliable, and durable, with good gesture support and palm movement.
As for biometrics, the Zenbook UM325 does not have a finger sensor but is equipped with an IR camera on the top of the screen.
As far as I know, Asus has decided to offer only the ZenBook 13 UM325 with an OLED panel.
Samsung has created an excellent OLED screen with excellent contrast, rich colors, and maximum brightness. However, I’m not the biggest fan of OLED panels on laptops because of the static Windows interfaces, and I think it’s important to understand the properties of OLED and what to do to avoid burn-in in the long run: basically, never use it at high brightness and make sure the included screen saver is always active.
This is what we got during our tests with the X-Rite i1 Display Pro matrix:
- Panel HardwareID: Samsung SDC4158 (ATNA33XC11-0)
- Coverage: 100% sRGB, 97.9% AdobeRGB, 99.7% DCI-P3
- Measured range: 2.24
- Maximum brightness in the center of the screen: 422.23 cd/m2 per power unit
- Minimum brightness in the center of the screen: 7.24 cd/m2 at mains voltage
- Contrast at maximum brightness: 1:1
- White dot: 6400 K
- Black at maximum brightness: 0 cd/m2
- PWM: No.
During our tests, the panel was perfectly calibrated (it is Pantone-certified), even (with a small DeltaE deviation to the left), and according to official literature, it has the TÜV Rheinland Eye Care certification, which means that it emits a blue light that is significantly less harmful than a traditional LCD.
And here’s a side-by-side comparison of the OLED panel (right) and the optional 400-nit IPS panel in the ZenBook UX325 (left).
OLED is a nicer panel, but it’s not as bright as IPS, especially if you plan to use your laptop in bright environments. Also, remember that the OLED panel is glossy, reflecting everything around it, but cannot be touched. In comparison, the IPS screen on the Intel model is matte and cheaper because you pay a small extra for the OLED.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide if you want OLED panels on your laptop or not. As for me, I would appreciate being able to choose between the two options for this series.
Our test model is a variant of the ZenBook 13 UM325, powered by the AMD Ryzen 5 5500U 6C processor with Vega 7 graphics, paired with 16GB of LPDDR4x 3733MHz RAM and 512GB of fast SSD storage.
AMD provided this retail unit for this test and tested it with software that was available at the end of February 2021. (BIOS 203, MyAsus app 188.8.131.52).
The ZenBook 13 UM325 is based on the AMD Ryzen 5000U hardware platform, with options ranging from our research unit’s 6C/12T Ryzen 5-5500U processor to the 8C/16T Ryzen 7-5800U.
But there’s a catch. While the name may suggest otherwise, there are two main types of Ryzen 5000 processors:
- based on the Lucienne Zen2+ architecture, such as the Ryzen 5 5500U and Ryzen 7 5700U available in the ZenBook 13 UM325UA configurations;
- based on the Cezanne Zen3 architecture, such as the Ryzen 5600U and Ryzen 7 5800U available in the UM325SA models.
The former is basically reworked Renoir 4000 processors with minor improvements, as explained here, while the latter is an updated architecture with improved IPC and overall performance.
For now, our review is only focused on the Ryzen 5-5500U variant. As soon as we have the opportunity also to test Cézanne’s models, we will make an update. So the Ryzen 5 5500U is actually an upgraded Ryzen 5 4600U from 2020 and delivers similar performance. The main difference is the addition of a Vega 7 CU iGPU that works up to 1.8 GHz, compared to the Ryzen 5 4600H’s 6 CU iGPU.
Besides the CPU and GPU, the ZenBook 13 UM425 is equipped with 16GB LPDDR4x 3733MHz RAM and an SSD. Our device is shipped from the factory with fast travel from SK Hynix.
Except for the SSD, everything is soldered to the motherboard. Asus has placed it behind the radiator, keeping it cool. Our tests found no performance issues, even though the laptop sits right next to the CPU, which is the hottest part of the laptop.
On the software side, the ZenBook benefits from the standard MyAsus application to manage power profiles, battery and screen settings, updates, etc., while audio is managed with AudioWizard.
You can choose from three power/temperature profiles:
- Power – allows the processor to operate at 15+W under a sustained load, causing the fans to rise to 36-38dB ;
- Standard – allows the processor to operate at 12+W under sustained load, with fans up to 35dB ;
- Whisper – limits CPU power to 7+W in favor of lower fan noise, up to 30dB.
The standard profile allows the fan to run mostly idle for light use and quiet operation under heavy load. As a result, the laptop lends itself well to daily multitasking, streaming video, text editing, and the like on Standard; it is a bit slow when multitasking on Whisper, so I wouldn’t use this profile often.
We first test CPU performance for more complex tasks by running the Cinebench R15 benchmark 15 or more times per cycle with a 2-3 second delay between runs in performance mode.
The Ryzen 5 processor runs at high power and spins a few times, then stabilizes at a constant power of about 15W, a clock speed of ~2.6GHz, and a temperature of 72-75 degrees Celsius. In this test, the fan rises to about 36-37 dB at head height, and the laptop delivers a value of ~1000. Overall, this is a hardware implementation of Ryzen with performance limitations, but the scores are still competitive! Given how the platform adapts to the increase in power, I wouldn’t expect more than a 10% gain on an implementation running permanently at 25W.
We also tested the laptop in standard and silent mode. The default limit for the Ryzen 5 processor is ~12W, with quieter fans and lower temperatures, while Whisper lowers the limit to 7W. Finally, the laptop consumes only ~15 watts when turned off in power mode. All these results are shown in the table below.
In this test, the Ryzen 5 5500U of this notebook is quite powerful, with 15W support in performance mode.
We then revised our results by skipping the longer and more difficult Cinebench R20 test and the dreaded Prime 95 test.
Moreover, 3DMark Voltage runs the same test 20 times per cycle, looking for fluctuations and performance drops overtime under a combined CPU+GPU load, and this laptop failed by a wide margin. This suggests that power decreases as heat increases, which makes sense given that the platform operates at a higher power for a certain amount of time and then stabilizes at a sustained combined power of about 15 W, which overlaps with the CPU/GPU frequencies.
Following are some test results for this configuration Ryzen 5 5500U + Vega 7.
- 3DMark 13 – Shot: 3341 (graphics – 3667, CPU – 15080, combo – 1179)
- 3DMark 13 – Night Raid: 13196 (Graphics – 14798, CPU – 8180)
- 3DMark 13 – Time Spy: 1251 (Graphics – 1106, CPU – 4904)
- 3DMark 13 – Wildlife: 7062
- Uniengine Overlay – Environment 1080p: 1989
- Engine Overlay – 1080p Extreme : 634
- PassMark10 : Evaluation: 4613 (CPU: 13895, 3D graphics: 2424, HDD: 22688)
- PCMark 10 : 5094 (E – 9154, P – 7567, DCC – 5180)
- GeekBench 5.3.1 64-bit : Mononuclear: 1087, multi-core: 5232
- CineBench R15 (best mileage): Processor 1146 kb, single-core 174 kb
- CineBench R20 (best mileage): CPU 2351 kb, single-core CPU 457 kb
- CineBench R23 (best mileage): Processor 6037 kb, single-core processor 1168 kb
- x265 HD Benchmark 64-bit: 55.19 fps
- Blender 2.90 – BMW Autostadium – Calculation Processor: 6m 3
- Blender 2.90 – Cool Scene – Computer Processor: 17m 23s.
Take them for what they are; at this point, we have no points of comparison. Note that we have been using the first BIOS and driver versions available since February 2021, and some aspects may change due to future software updates. Asus might even decide to increase the power profile to around 19W as they use on Intel’s Tiger-Lake UX325. We will do an update when we have peace of mind in the future.
We also ran a few DX11, DX12, and Vulkan games with performance profiles, FHD resolution, and low/low graphics settings. Here’s what we got:
|Ryzen 5 5500U + Vega||M325 – R5 5500H 15W||UX425 – i7-1165G7 19W||IdeaPad 5 – R5-4600U 25W||IdeaPad 7 – R7-4800U 26W||UM425 – R7-4700U 13W|
|BioShock Infinite (DX 11, low preset)||70 frames per second (52 frames per second – 1% drop)||70 frames per second (40 frames per second is 1% too low)||63 frames per second (50 frames per second is 1% less)||81 frames per second (58 frames per second – 1% drop)||66 frames per second (50 frames per second is 1% less)|
|Dota 2 (DX 11, best-preset appearance)||49 frames per second (33 frames per second – 1% drop)||56 fps (44 fps – 1% low)||–||53 frames per second (40 frames per second is 1% less)||39 frames per second (28 frames per second is 1% less)|
|Far Cry 5 (DX 11, low preset, no AA)||23 frames per second (18 frames per second, or 1% less)||26 frames per second (18 frames per second is 1% less)||21 frames per second (18 frames per second is 1% less)||28 frames per second (24 frames per second is 1% less)||21 frames per second (17 frames per second is 1% less)|
|Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor (DX 11, lowest preset)||48 frames per second (38 frames per second is 1% too much)||65 frames per second (47 frames per second – 1% drop)||41 frames per second (30 frames per second is 1% less)||33 frames per second (24 frames per second is 1% less)||45 frames per second (36 frames per second is 1% less)|
|CBC: Most popular (DX 11, lowest preset)||60 frames per second (49 frames per second – 1% reduction)||60 frames per second (46 frames per second – 1% reduction)||33 frames per second (20 frames per second is 1% less)||60 frames per second (46 frames per second – 1% reduction)||56 frames per second (34 frames per second – 1% drop)|
|Shadow of the Tomb Raider (Volcano, lowest preset, no AA)||26 frames per second (15 frames per second, or 1% less)||28 frames per second (16 frames per second, or 1% less)||28 frames per second (20 frames per second is 1% less)||38 frames per second (22 frames per second – 1% drop)||27 frames per second (16 frames per second is 1% less)|
|Strange Brigade (Volcano, low preset)||36 frames per second (31 frames per second – 1% drop)||44 frames per second (28 frames per second is 1% less)||33 frames per second (27 frames per second – 1% drop)||41 frames per second (36 frames per second – 1% drop)||37 frames per second (32 frames per second – 1% drop)|
|Witch 3: Wild Hunt (DX 11, low preset, hair work off)||22 frames per second (12 frames per second is 1% less)||–||21 frames per second (16 frames per second is 1% less)||28 frames per second (22 frames per second – 1% drop)||21 frames per second (14 frames per second – 1% drop)|
- Dota 2, NFS – recording with MSI Afterburner in game mode
- Games BioShock, Far Cry 5, Middle Earth, Strange Brigade, Tomb Raider – recorded with reference utilities enabled
Performance is again affected by power limitations, both in terms of power and standard.
Here are some logs with power profiles, and you can see that the GPU can’t operate at 1.8 GHz, which affects the results. In this test, it always outperforms the 25W Ryzen 5 4600U in the IdeaPad 5.
The fps is even more limited in the default profile if, for some reason, you plan to run games in this mode. But, again, I don’t understand why you have to do this.
However, when it comes to gaming, the Intel Tiger Lake-based ZenBook UX325 has the advantage over this AMD variant, which I think will also keep the UM325SA configuration built on Cezanne hardware.
The ZenBook 13 UM325 is a versatile and multi-purpose ultrabook, even in this basic configuration. AMD’s platform is particularly adept at multi-threading, for example. B. Lucienne loses out to Intel’s Tiger Lake models for random workloads or lightweight video editing in IPC, single-core, and GPU performance. We were wondering how Cézanne’s models compare. Let’s see; this is a topic we will cover in future articles.
Asus uses a simple thermal module here with a heat pipe and fan, the same one we’ve seen on most of their previous ZenBook, VivoBook, and ExpertBook series.
In addition, the software is designed to minimize fan noise. As a result, the fan is idle most of the time during light daily use and only runs at around 35 dB in multitasking mode, while at head height, it rises to around 36-37 dB during games and other combined CPU+GPU loads.
The internal temperature is maintained at a certain level, but this is mainly because the equipment has performance limits when loaded, resulting in the performance mentioned above degradation.
Our Zephyrus UM325 was cool under daily use (and remember, this is mostly passive cooling) and moderately warm under heavy load. We measured temperatures at the 40° on the hottest parts of the keyboard, the 50° at the bottom, and also the 50° at the chin of the screen, right next to the exhaust. The thick chin sucks up most of the waste heat, and the panel itself only reaches a temperature in the forties, which should remain flat for a long time. Still, I’m not a fan of this design!
*Daily use – streaming Netflix on EDGE for 30 minutes, balanced mode, fan 0-35 dB
*Games – Power Mode – playing Far Cry 5 for 30 minutes, fan 37-38 dB.
The notebook is equipped with the latest generation WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.9 with the Intel AX200 module for networking. It worked well with our installation, although tests suggested otherwise, and that’s because our connection was temporarily limited at the time.
The audio system is powered by a set of stereo speakers that send sound through the rear grilles. They are identical to the other ZenBook 13/14 models of this generation. The angular shape of the D-panel means that the sound bounces off the table without distortion, and I couldn’t detect any vibrations in the armrest at higher volumes.
Unlike other ZenBooks reviewed recently, the DTS Audio music profile positively affects this device, providing a richer and cleaner sound. However, the average volume was only about 76-78 dB at head height in our tests. The sound quality is still average in this class, good for movies and music, but certainly not impressive.
The same goes for the HD camera, located at the top of the screen. It’s good for occasional calls, but the quality is always poor.
The ZenBook 13 UM325 features a 67-watt battery, larger than that of a conventional 13-inch laptop. Moreover, thanks to the efficient implementation of AMD hardware and even an OLED display, this notebook will survive certain load times.
Here’s what we got: The screen’s brightness is set to about 120 nits (~60 brightness).
- 8W (8+ hours of use) – Google Drive text editing, default mode + best battery mode, 60% screen, Wi-Fi ON
- 6.5 W (10 hours of use) – Fullscreen 1080p YouTube video in Edge mode, default mode + better battery, 60% screen, Wi-Fi ON
- 6.2W (10+ hours of use) – Netflix full screen in Edge mode, default mode + best battery, 60% screen, Wi-Fi ON
- 10W (6-7 hours of operation) – Edge view, Standard + Best performance, 60% screen, Wi-Fi ON.
I might have expected a higher price for an OLED screen, where the display and editing of text are done primarily on a white background, but I was wrong. This OLED panel is effective at low to medium brightness levels, not as effective as the 1W IPS panel in the Intel options, but close enough.
The notebook comes with a compact 65W charger that connects via USB-C. It’s designed in one piece, with a compact brick and a long, thick cord. It takes about 2 hours to charge fully, but it can be filled to 60% in about 50 minutes with a quick charge.
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