I would point out three things an Ultrabook will need to deliver on:a thin, long battery life, easy-to-carry design; and lastly sufficient power to manage your business and home needs. With a thundering applause,The Asus ZenBook UX305 has done a clean job on all three dimensions sporting a slick half-inch-thick aluminum body, battery life exceeding 9 hours as well as a solid Intel Core M CPU.
All these come at the cost of just $699 — at least this is less compared to it costlier competition it gets from HP and Dell. Additionally, you get to enjoy the services of a 256GB SSD, as compared to other laptops in this category which basically start with 128GB- which is on a downside. We wouldn’t say the UX305 is perfect, but then there is the strong general conviction that it is the best Ultrabook value yet.
I will say the UX305’s design is simple and effective; I couldn’t lay my hands on any flamboyant yet needless protrusion, with its curves and lines flowing from edge to edge all spiced with an adorable fluidity. The device is finished in dark obsidian stone, as the UX305 fervently maintains the ZenBook culture by featuring an admirable aluminum body as well as a sensitively thin waistline.
Going interior, we see that the aluminum deck is improved further by a black Chiclet-style keyboard and spacious one-piece touchpad. With the presence of its fanless design, it was possible for the bottom of the UX305 to realize a thoroughly smooth and unbroken feel, with just the exception of the stereo speaker grilles on either as well as four rubber feet.
Coming at a dimension of 12.7 x 8.9 x 0.48 inches and 2.64 pounds, it is obvious that the UX305 is much reduced in thickness than the HP EliteBook Folio 1020 (12.2 x 8.2 x 0.62 inches and 2.68 pounds) as well as the already svelte Dell XPS 13 (12 x 7.9 x 0.33-0.6 inches and 2.6 pounds) and, also worth admiring here is that the UX305 comes with a larger footprint than both ( not too noticeable).
With its matte screen, the UX305 subscribes to the glossy trend of most laptops these days. This brings out colors that looks with seeming less saturation when you infer to competition. With this, you get a bright display with close to 180-degree viewing angles as well as advanced outdoor visibility. If you are someone who is more immersed in looking at spreadsheets and Word documents than pictures or movies, the UX305’s matte screen is exceeds being just more practical, also looking looks better too.
The UX305 presents stereo speakers most distinctive with the assistance from from Bang & Olufsen. On a sad note however, the audio didn’t really measure up to the quality which I really anticipated though.
The UX305 comes paired with Asus’ AudioWizard software, this which offers things like Music Mode, Gaming Mode and Movie Mode. But then after I tried my hands on each preset, the audio quality didn’t promise much improvement from my initial testing.
The UX305 is also presented with Smart Audio software, this brings in a customizable 10-channel equalizer and options for recording adjustment and microphones. I really have this preference for the EQ in Smart Audio to AudioWizard’s preset so as to get the most out of the UX305’s speakers.
Ports and Webcam
If you look at this device as a small machine, then you certainly would be surprised at how the UX305 has an impressive number of ports. Featured on this are three USB 3.0 ports (one more than both the XPS 13 and the EliteBook), a micro HDMI port, an SD card reader, a combo headphone/mic jack as well as a DC-in port.
The 720p webcam takes videos at a rate of 30 frames per second, but then the general quality was simply something to forget, I was not impressed at how the camera struggles with white balance.
Seeing a sub-1-GHz CPU — 0.8 GHz, so as to add more precision — can be jolting initially. But then after smoothly streaming a 1080p movie with 10 Chrome tabs and several spreadsheets and pen in the background, the UX305 announced its capacity of handling a typical workload without any minimal hitches. The UX305 presents a low-power Intel Core M-5Y10 CPU, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB solid-state drive.
One added contribution from the Core-M processor is giving Asus the capacity to create a completely fanless system. The implication of this was that even under load, my movie suffered no interruptions from the sound of whirring blades trying to cool the system — an this is one pertinent discomfort I had come across annoyance I had to put up with when using other Ultrabooks.
Well armed with integrated Intel HD 5300 graphics, the UX305 handled casual games such as Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft at 1920 x 1080 and medium graphics, with relative ease boasting with stable frame rates and smooth animations. All smiles? Wait, when I played more demanding and draining games, such as StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, the Asus happened to encounter setbacks staying above 30 fps at similar graphics settings.
Well, The UX305 nearly lived up to Asus’ assertion of 10 hours of battery life.
On steady Web surfing over Wi-Fi at 100 nits, I documented that the UX305 was able to stay a little above 9 hours..
If I compare I will say this is not as impressive as the $899 nontouch Dell XPS 13’s whopping battery life which could lays a little above 11 hours even close to 3 hours longer than HP’s EliteBook Folio 1020 (6:49) and then comparing further 2 hours longer than the ultraportable average of 7:27.
Software and Warranty
Asus has done well to keep the UX305’s desktop clean, and it’s nicely free of bloat relatively.
By defaults it is preloaded with a few third-party apps, among which is Flipboard, Line. In its convention, there’s a trial for Microsoft Office. The most relieving piece of software is Asus’ WebStorage, which provides as much as 16GB of cloud storage for three years all at no cost on all new UX305 machines.
The UX305 is presented with a standard one-year warranty as well as a year of Asus Accidental Damage protection. What this does is offer one claim to fix damage from spills, power drops and surges.
Honestly, in all humility, it is almost impossible to find a more well-rounded Ultrabook for the money. Presenting its Intel Core M CPU, 8GB of RAM and 256GB SSD, the $699 ZenBook UX305 is one convincing deal. The only demerits to point are the quiet speakers as well as the defeciency of a keyboard backlight.
Well if you have more money to spend, I wouldn’t point blame to anyone for choosing the $899 Dell XPS 13, with its increased battery life as well an Infinity display. But as regards my finances, I’d take home the sleek and sexy UX305, with the knowledge that I’d have double the storage — and two extra Benjamins to keep me company.