The ZenBook line up from Asus has become synonymous with professional laptops, and they get better with every iteration. Now powered with the latest Skylake processors from Intel, the Asus ZenBook UX305UA is ready to enter the major leagues. The ZenBook UX305UA is powered with lightning fast SSD storage and a modern IPS display. While managing to keep the users happy with an impressive battery life, Asus continues on its quest to create the perfect light weight 13-inch laptop in a crowded market.
Design and Build
Asus UX305UA has not received any major design overhaul, and continues to blend into the dozens of ZenBooks that have come before it. The aluminium unibody design with a slim chassis looks incredible as always, with a weight of 1.3Kg. While the metallic chassis offers immense protection and stability to the entire system, there is no maintenance hatch to peak into the components easily.
When it comes to the ZenBook line up, the build quality has tremendously improved over the years, and the UX305UA leaves no room for complaints either. The screen bezel and keyboard deck are non-metallic, which helps keep the laptop’s weight down, but does not feel cheap at all. The slim 16mm chassis somewhat restricts the number of connectivity options available for the notebook, with two USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 port, Micro HDMI port, and a combo audio jack.
The reviewed version of the ZenBook UX305UA came equipped with a 13.3-inch IPS display panel with a Full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. IPS technology has a good reputation in terms of brightness and high color contrast, which is reflected in the 351 cd/m2 brightness measurement and 895:1 color contrast ratio of the Asus UX305UA.
While some amount of screen flickering was noticed, the display was evenly bright, the colours felt vibrant with deep blacks throughout. When put to the test on the sRGB color spectrum, the notebook scored a 93 percent coverage ratio, and 60 percent coverage on the AdobeRGB color spectrum. The high brightness measurement and anti-glare finish on the display makes it a perfect device for use outdoors, while the IPS panel fares well to provide viewing angle stability.
Keyboard and Touchpad
Asus brings its iconic chiclet style keyboard to the UX305UA, which leaves very little room for complains, except one major issue. The keyboard comes with no backlight, which is a disappointing factor considering the sub premium price tag. The tactical keys are full sized and well-spaced with sharp pressure points that the typist will absolutely love. The arrow keys have been compromised in size to make room for larger keys, which is a common sight with most current generation notebooks.
The ClickPad on the ZenBook UX305UA comes with a diagonal measurement of 12.4 cm, with multi touch gesture support and sensitivity all around the surface. Instead of the traditional right and left mouse buttons under the touchpad, there is just one single button under the surface which automatically detects left and right clicks. The smooth matte surface feels good on the fingers and is inset just by a millimetre from the surface to make it easily distinguishable.
Under the Hood
The Asus ZenBook UX305UA is powered by the latest Intel Core i5-6200U dual-core processor based on the latest Skylake micro-architecture. Regarded as one of the best CPUs from the ULV series chipsets from Intel, the processor runs at a base clock speed on 2.3GHz, with overclocking capability on Intel’s Turbo Boost technology that revs it up to 2.8GHz. The higher performance of the 6th generation processor is better on multithread applications, while improving battery life as well.
The i5 CPU is supported by a 128GB mSATA Solid State Drive from Hynix, which sends processes and tasks flying. The 8GB LPDDR3 SDRAM is soldered to the motherboard of the ZenBook UX305UA, and should be ample enough to keep the machine pumping even under pressure. The Intel HD Graphics 520 on-board GPU efficiently uses the dual-channel RAM to run at 950MHz, clearly outshining the HD Graphics 5500 by miles.
• Highly stable and premium quality chassis.
• Full HD resolution display with IPS technology for rich contrast
• Fast SSD storage to speed up booting time and other processes.
• Powerful i5 Skylake processor which cultivates a good battery life
• Competitive price
• Plenty of options/configurations to choose from
• No backlight available for the keyboard
• Few connectivity options
• Limited choice of colours in Australia
The Final Verdict
Asus created the ZenBook series of ultra-portable notebooks to have some stake in the market rules by Apple and Dell. In just a few years, the ZenBook lineup has improved with each iteration and easily qualifies as a market leading series of sub-notebooks that offer quality and power at a fair price.
The Asus UX305UA ZenBook has perfected its design and build quality in every way, with a few shortcomings in terms of connectivity and keyboard. The i5 processor pumps power through the notebook, while keeping it relatively cool and maintaining a decent battery life as well. For every business and professional user with portability and power in mind, the Asus ZenBook UX305UA is a device worth looking into.
Review date: April 22, 2016
Price at the time of review: $1279
Note: The specific model we reviewed is Asus ZenBook UX305UA-FC030T (i5, 8gb ram, 128gb ssd). There are other configurations available (i7 processor, more ram, bigger ssd, qhd display).