Zebronics has recently ventured into the laptop space and seems ready to compete with established laptop brands with its Pro series Z and Y devices. The Series Z includes devices featuring 12th Gen Intel Core processors from i3 to i7. These are not the latest or the most powerful currently in the market, but almost two years old processors, which make them affordable. ZEB-NBC 4S that we received is the mid-spec model with an Intel Core i5-1235U processor. The device is supposedly the first laptop from an Indian brand to feature Dolby Atmos certified speakers.
Zebronics Pro Series Z (ZEB-NBC 4S) review
Ambition Gen Z
The first thing you notice about this laptop is how solid the build quality is, with a sleek and well-designed metal shell. The top cover feels surprisingly classy with a sturdy matte-finished metal panel and shiny CNC-milled corners. In fact, the design seems inspired by devices from some top brands. Tapering edges provide a slim appearance, and at 1.76 kg, the device is not as hefty as large pro laptops. The back also looks premium with a neat design and linear grille. The laptop is available in Midnight Blue, Space Grey and Blue (light blue).
The ZEB-NBC 4S offers a full array of ports. While two USB 3.2 gen 1 Type-A, two USB 3.2 gen 1 Type-C, one of which supports power delivery, and one HDMI port line up on the left side, one USB 2.0 Type-A, an RJ45 ethernet port, and a microSD card slot adorn the right along with a 3.5mm headphone jack and a Kensington lock.
The lid opens 180 degrees, and the polycarbonate hinges appear smooth, sturdy, and well-damped. A protruding flat lip makes opening the lid quite effortless. The appearance is quite premium even after you open the lid.
Display, Keyboard, and Trackpad
The 15.6-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS display provides the typical 16:9 aspect ratio and has an anti-reflective finish. The camera on top has a sliding shutter to avoid prying eyes. The large trackpad hides a square fingerprint scanner at the top right corner and the round power button appears neat at the top centre of the shoulder area. Keys on the large keyboard are widely spaced and offer much relief.
Coming to the tactile feel, the keyboard doesn’t provide the same confidence as the other parts. The keys appear flimsy, and the keystrokes are somewhat lifeless. On the other hand, the trackpad and fingerprint sensor are quite responsive.
Equipped with an Intel Core i5-1235U processor with a maximum clock frequency of 4.4GHz with Intel Turbo Boost and a maximum TDP of 15W, the laptop can be bought off the shelf with 8GB or 16GB RAM installed and accepts up to 64GB of 3200 MHz DDR4 sticks distributed in two slots. It uses Intel UHD onboard graphics with 8GB of memory. The laptop is shipped with a 512GB M.2 SATA SSD, which can be expanded to up to 1TB.
For conferencing and chats, you get a 2MP webcam. The device’s claim to fame is the speakers with dual drivers that support Dolby Atmos. The bundled 65W compact Type-C adapter is optimal for travelling.
The ZEB-NBC 4S boots up in around 20 seconds, and the laptop handles everyday tasks with flair. However, creative applications like Photoshop and Indesign suffer much. The display is not optimal for such colour-critical work. We found that it can reproduce 55% sRGB, 37.8% Adobe RGB and 39% DCI P3 colour gamut, which is rather poor for any serious work involving colour.
How about the Dolby Atmos speakers? This is one area where the laptop scores over many others in the market. The speakers provide a perceptible surround experience with rich volume. olby Access software comes preloaded, which allows you to tweak the sound the way you want, and the options include custom equaliser modes in addition to pre-set ones. Within the limitations of a laptop, the audio is quite enjoyable with a sharp metallic sound signature.
The battery life is quite good, and the included charger tops up the device fast enough. The collapsible RJ45 port appeared to have some trouble keeping the cable connected, but this is a small compromise to make.
The Zebronics ZEB-NBC 4S is the brand’s first attempt at a laptop, and the ‘Pro’ nomenclature only denotes the top spec devices in their line-up, and not the user it targets. There are quite a few stuff that you would like about this laptop including build quality and sound output, but this is certainly not meant for serious professionals. The MRP nearly gave us a heart attack but the MOP we have mentioned in this review makes it a sensible choice for students and casual users.
With this bold attempt, Zebronics earns itself a place in affordable laptop space.
|Intel Core i5-1235U
|15.6-inch FHD IPS Display
|USB3.2 x2 | USB 2.0 | Type C port x2 | mSD slot | 3.5mm HP | HDMI | RJ45
|8GB / 16GB
|512GB M.2 SATA SSD
|Windows 11 Home