BERLIN — Every PC maker copied Apple’s MacBook Air and now they’re back at it again with clones of Apple’s 12-inch MacBook.
Asus’s new ZenBook 3, unveiled at IFA 2016, is the most blatant copycat of them all. It looks virtually identical to Apple’s MacBook, except for the fact it runs Windows 10 and not OS X (soon to be called macOS).
The ZenBook 3 was on display at Microsoft’s booth so I decided to do a quick examination and see how deep the copying went.
Let’s just say it’s pretty damn similar…on the outside.
The aluminum ZenBook weighs two pounds — same as the MacBook and has the same two-port combination of a single USB-C port and 3.5mm headphone jack (Asus just switched them to different sides).
It’s a little wider with its slightly larger 12.5-inch full HD display (16:9 aspect ratio) and the MacBook tapers to a thinner wedge at its thinnest point.
Both laptops are made of aluminum and both feel really solid. They both have keyboards that run edge-to-edge and large trackpads and speakers above the keyboard.
The metal lid has a different finish on the ZenBook 3. But even the beveled metal hinge and the four little stoppers on the bottom of the laptop look identical to the MacBook’s.
I’m not a fan of copying, but at the same time, how else do you make a laptop this thin and light? Just like how all smartphones look the same and all laptops look like the MacBook Air, all ultra-portable laptops are going to look just like the MacBook.
The big differences will be internal, such as the the ZenBook 3’s fingerprint sensor on its trackpad, faster , battery life and pricing.
I will give the ZenBook 3 props for its keyboard, which is definitely not as flat as the MacBook’s. There’s just enough travel in the keys for a good typing experience.