5 Of The Best Asus Laptops 2018 (With College & Under $500 Picks)

It’s no joke spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars for a laptop you barely know about while browsing online.

Many users will automatically pick the cheapest or most expensive option and hope for the best, but that’s often the worst way to laptop shop.

When picking a new laptop — no matter what your budget — you want excellent build quality coupled with useful features and high end specs.

After spending an entire week of research, comparison, and evaluation, we’ve found the 5 best Asus laptops currently available in 2018.

Update (Q4 2018)

We’ve since updated this article as of Q4 2018 for the best Chromebook, Vivobook, Zenbook, ultra slim, and gaming offerings from Asus. In particular, we currently recommend these models:

  • Asus Chromebook Flip
  • Asus Zenbook Ultra Slim
  • Asus Vivobook S15
  • Asus Zenbook Flip 14”
  • Asus Rog Strix Scar Edition

Picking The Best Asus Laptop On The Market

Below we cover two Asus laptops that we considered as the best in their respective price range. Each of those options outclass their competitors for the best overall price.

Outside of budget, we also looked at the best notebooks to pick for college students who need all day battery life as well as gamers who want the best graphics card.

Finally, we landed on the best overall Asus laptop that packs the most useful features into the most portable form.

Check our buying guideline below if you need more insights on what you should look into, or you can skip to the product reviews right away.

Verdict: Editor’s Choice

Asus ZenBook Ultra Slim

In 2018, the absolute best Asus laptop overall is easily the ZenBook Flip Ultra Slim. This stellar machine gives you extremely fast speeds and tons of storage space in an extremely thin package.

If you love have a touch screen a hybrid 2-in-1 design, you won’t be disappointed with this model. It even manages to boast a dedicated graphics card, making it the ideal choice for absolutely any user.

Asus C302CA Chromebook Flip – Best Asus Laptop Under $500

  • Very lightweight
  • High battery life
  • Excellent display quality
  • No Windows 10
  • Low storage space

Should this be your choice?

Looking for a lightweight, inexpensive laptop with plenty of features that will stand up to constant usage without breaking? This should easily be your top choice if you’d like to try Chrome OS over Windows 10.

If you want a really great laptop that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, consider going with a Chromebook instead.

Many users find they don’t even miss Windows when they switch. With so many apps available from Google and all the functionality of Chrome, you can do nearly anything with the C302CA.

There are two big draws here that offer bang for buck.

The first is the high quality screen, which gives you crystal clear and crisp video streaming. The Corning Gorilla Glass display is a beauty to hold, and it can take a beating without breaking.

Second, this model is incredibly sturdy for a thin Chromebook, with an entirely metal chassis.

Due to the extremely portable nature of this particular device, there is one downside to be aware of ahead of time.

You don’t get an HDMI port and instead this model includes two USB-C ports. That means you’ll likely need to get an adapter if you plan on hooking up to external devices.

That issue aside, you won’t find a better Chromebook out there than the Asus C302CA Flip.

Are you set on sticking with Windows 10 rather than making the switch to Chrome? For just slightly over $500, we highly recommend the VivoBook F510UA instead.

While that model loses the flip feature, you still get plenty of speed, much more hard drive space, and an overall thin and light laptop.

Hardware specifications for Asus C302CA Chromebook Flip
ProcessorIntel Core M3 (2.20 GHz)
RAM4GB DDR3 RAM
Storage64GB eMMC
GraphicsIntel HD Graphics 515
Display12.5-Inch Full HD Corning Gorilla Glass Touch Screen Display, 1920 x 1080 Pixels Resolution
Operating SystemChrome OS
Battery Life10 hours
Weight2.65 lbs

Asus ZenBook Ultra Slim – Best Asus Laptop Under $1,000

  • Very high end processor
  • Plenty of storage space
  • Lightweight
  • No touch screen display
  • No dedicated graphics card

Should this be your choice?

Prefer the traditional clamshell design over a touch screen, but still want absolutely top-notch quality and speed? This should easily be your pick if you’ve got the money to spend.

When you reach the upper price ranges, you don’t want to make any performance sacrifices. With the Asus ZenBook Ultra Slim, you don’t have to give up an ounce of power while still getting a very thin, portable laptop.

You get a little bit of everything with this laptop while staying well below the $1,000 mark.

Speed will not be an issue, no matter what kind of programs you run, with a screaming fast 8th gen i7 processor.

With both an SSD and a secondary HDD, you don’t lose any storage space but still get rapid boot up times.

8GB is more than enough memory for most users, but if you use extremely high software, this model can be manually upgraded to 16GB.

There’s really only one downside here, and that’s the lack of dedicated graphics card. The ZenBook Ultra Slim simply isn’t meant for gaming.

If you are interested in running the latest AAA titles, check out the Rog Strix GL703GS model listed below.

While this pick has a high quality display, it isn’t a touch screen unit. Want to get touch functionality?

While you take a hit on the processor speed, you can add a touch screen for the same price with the ZenBook UX303UA.

Hardware specifications for Asus ZenBook Ultra Slim
ProcessorIntel Core i7-8550U (8MB Cache, 1.8 – 4.0 GHz)
RAM8GB DDR4 RAM
Storage128GB SSD + 1TB HDD
GraphicsIntel HD Graphics 620
Display14-inch FHD IPS Display, 1920 x 1080 Pixels Resolution
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home 64 Bit
Battery Life8 hours
Weight3.1 lbs

Asus VivoBook S15 – Best Asus Laptop For College

  • Lightweight
  • Great specs
  • Color options
  • No dedicated graphics card
  • No touch screen display

Should this be your choice?

Heading off to a new semester of college and need a lightweight, powerful machine with all-day battery life? This should absolutely be your top pick!

When finding the perfect laptop for college, you should be looking at three features in particular. You want something that will:

  • Hold a charge all day
  • Give you great speed
  • Be light enough to carry between classes
 

The VivoBook S15 checks all those boxes, and then adds in a few extras for good measure. Notably, this model features a backlit keyboard for working on papers late at night.

The best part is probably the nano edge display, however. This design provides a full viewing area with a crisp resolution for school projects, streaming videos, or casual gaming.

There’s another consideration here that makes the S15 attractive to students.

Besides the standard gunmetal grey, there are several color options to show off your personality to the rest of the class. Colors include striking aquamarine, icicle gold, bright yellow, and cherry red options

Some students prefer 2-in-1 hybrid models with touch screens rather than the clamshell design.

If you need that sort of functionality for your class load, the VivoBook Flip 14 will probably be your best bet instead.

Hardware specifications for Asus VivoBook S15
ProcessorIntel Core i5-8250U Processor (up to 3.4Ghz)
RAM8GB DDR4 RAM
Storage256GB SSD
GraphicsIntel UHD graphics 620
Display15.6-Inch FHD Nano Edge Display, 1920 x 1080 Pixels Resolution
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home 64 Bit
Battery Life8 hours
Weight3.5 lbs

Asus ZenBook Flip Ultra-Slim – Best Overall Asus Laptop

  • Cutting edge specs
  • Hybrid touch screen design
  • Comes with stylus
  • High price

Should this be your choice?

Are performance and functionality your main concerns over sticking to a budget? If you want the absolute best machine available from Asus in 2018, this should be your pick.

The ZenBook Flip Ultra edition offers absolutely everything you could want from a laptop in 2018. You get the best specs, the best features, and the best design.

This model boasts the engineering feat of fitting a 14 inch screen into a 13 inch chassis. The end result is an extremely thin, extremely light machine that doesn’t give up much viewing area.

An 8th gen i7 processor is a must-have feature if you demand performance, as is a full 16GB of physical memory. You get both here, along with a spacious solid state drive for very fast boot speeds.

Although this isn’t strictly speaking a gaming rig, it does still have a dedicated graphics card. That means you can either run games or use high end CAD style software without any problem.

Even with the high specs, Asus still managed to include the hybrid 2-in-1 design, and you even get a stylus right out of the box.

Other than the high price, there really aren’t any downsides to this model.

The only reason to look elsewhere is if you want a larger screen. If you prefer something bigger, check out the VivoBook Pro 17 inch version instead.

Hardware specifications for Asus ZenBook Flip Ultra-Slim
ProcessorIntel Core i7-8550U (8MB Cache, Up to 4.0GHz)
RAM16GB DDR4 RAM
Storage512GB SSD
GraphicsNvidia MX150
Display14-Inch Full HD Nano Edge Touch Screen Display, 1920 x 1080 Pixels Resolution
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home 64 Bit
Battery Life8 hours
Weight3.3 lbs

Asus Rog Strix Scar Edition GL703GS – Best Asus Gaming Laptop

  • Top of the line GPU and CPU
  • Huge storage capacity
  • Large display
  • Heavier model
  • No optical drive

Should this be your choice?

Want to get the absolute best gaming rig available in a portable version? If you demand high end graphics at all times, this should be your top pick.

Asus may not be MSI or Alienware, but the company still pumps out some very high gaming machines if you know where to look.

Right now, the absolute best of the best is the Rog Strix Scar Edition. If you want a bleeding edge gaming experience, this is the way to go.

With this combination of hardware, you can run absolutely any game — no matter how new — on ultra settings without breaking a sweat.

There are absolutely no trade offs in terms of speed or storage space. With both a huge SSD and an even bigger hybrid SSHD, you won’t ever run out of room for installing Steam or Battle.net games.

Between the high end video card, cutting edge CPU, and 16GB of RAM, this is the epitome of a VR-ready machine.

Besides the high end price, the only negative here is the weight. At 6.5 pounds, this model is more than twice as heavy as most of our other Asus contenders.

Want something a bit lighter?

The graphics card downgrades to a GTX 1050 Ti, but you lose more than a pound of weight by going with the Rog Strix GL503GE. You won’t be able to run games at ultra settings as often, but the lower weight may be worth the trade off.

Hardware specifications for Asus Rog Strix Scar Edition GL703GS
ProcessorIntel Core i7-8750H (Six Core, 9MB Cache,  2.2 – 4.1GHz)
RAM16GB DDR4 RAM
Storage500GB SSD + 1TB SSHD
GraphicsNvidia GTX 1070 (8GB)
Display17.3-Inch Full HD Display, 1920 x 1080 Pixels Resolution
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home 64 Bit
Battery Life5 hours
Weight6.5 lbs

What Main Features Should I Compare With Asus Laptops?

The hardware specifications of every laptop are not the most important thing you need to look at. In fact, this is what manufacturers want you to see.

Most laptops have the same specs (or very similar to each other) and It all boils down to the following items that really counts when buying a laptop:

Quality of Screen

If you think CPU is the most important thing, you’re wrong. The quality of a laptop’s screen is what defines how your experience will turn out.

So if the laptop has a bad screen quality, so will your experience be subpar.

What’s best for you, then?

If you value graphics over performance, an IPS panel is perfect for you. They have the best color reproduction.

On the flip side, go with a TN panel laptop if you want performance since TN panels are known to have fast responses compared to IPS panels.

Keyboard and Touchpad

This is one of the things that a lot of consumers usually overlook.

Most laptop consumers go with specs and performance right away without considering the keyboard.

In fact, a lot of bad reviews point to an uncomfortable keyboard. Others say that it takes a few days or weeks to get used to the keyboard.

When inspecting a laptop, it’s important you find firm keypads that don’t easily rattle or feel too squishy.

The keys should be big enough for you to make typing comfortable, and be on the lookout for overly cramped keyboard design.

The touchpad should also be very responsive. Spending a lot of money on a laptop should not be just about performance — it should be comfortable to use.

What Are Some Frequently Overlooked Specs To Consider?

Always buy a laptop with better battery life whenever the option is available.

On average, a laptop that you can use for at least 5 hours straight is ideal, but 8 to 10 hours is better.

Anything lower than that should be avoided, except for gaming laptops, since they can’t go that long due to their power hungry GPUs.

Next up, consider if you want an SSD or an HDD.

An average person will be fine with an SSD, as they give faster speeds. However, if you are into storing movies and large files, then you’ll likely need more space and a 1TB secondary HDD should be consider.

The issue here is speed versus storage capacity. An Intel Core i3 laptop with an SSD is expected to be faster than an Intel Core i7 with 1TB HDD, for instance.

Finding The Perfect Laptop To Fit Your Needs

Whether you need a budget Chromebook, a hybrid device with all day battery life, or a cutting edge gaming machine, one of these 5 best Asus laptops will fit your criteria.

What did you think of our picks, and are you planning on buying any of these models? Sound off with your thoughts below, and let us know if we missed any killer Asus laptops that should have made the list!

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