For those who are light on their feet and need a powerful machine to get the work done on the go, the Asus ZenBook UX303LA is a laptop you must consider.
Asus ZenBook UX303LA Review: A Well-Rounded Notebook
The new addition to the long line of superior notebooks, the Asus ZenBook UX303LA comes with the best attributes of its predecessors, along with improved innards. Offering high mobility, supreme build quality, and the power of the 5th generation Broadwell processor from Intel, the exterior as well as the interior of the ZenBook UX303LA-R40079G has been shaped to perfection. Read our full review below.
Design and Build
Although the missing touchscreen of the ZenBook UX303LA deprives it of the “ultrabook” title, it is nothing short of a mobility marvel. Weighing in at just 1.44Kg and a precise thickness of 18mm, the slim profile of the ZenBook UX303LA gives it a cutting-edge appeal.
The elegantly colorful combination of silver, black and dark grey is what graces the chassis of the notebook, with the iconic spindle finish and the Asus logo at the centre of the lid. The keyboard deck and the bottom have also been constructed out of the same robust aluminium, minus the sand blasted finish.
The hinges add to the overall sturdiness of the notebook, while being smooth enough to help you lift the lid with a single hand. In terms of Input/Output, the ZenBook UX303LA comes with 3 x USB 3.0 ports, SD Card Reader, mini-DisplayPort, combo audio jack and an HDMI port as well.
There is no visible or technical difference between the display provided with the ZenBook UX303LA and that of its predecessor. The 13.3 inch FHD screen is fitted with an IPS display panel with a native resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. The display comes with a matte finish to avoid the glare and reflections, along with a pixel density of 166 PPI.
The brightness measurement of the ZenBook UX303LA was noted to be 339 cd/m2, which is quite decent, while the black level score of 0.55 cd/m2 and color contrast ratio of 622:1 are just about average, considering that it boasts the latest IPS display technology. However, the matte finish, along with the reasonably bright display makes the ZenBook UX303LA perfect for outdoor use.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The ZenBook has never been flagged for a mediocre keyboard, so it is understandable that Asus has made no changes to their virtually perfect Chiclet-style keyboard. Compromising the numpad results in a full-sized keyboard, with large keys that offer crisp strokes and high responsiveness. The beautiful backlight illumination of the keyboard ensures that you can work even in the most low-light conditions.
While the short travel is good for casual typing, it does not quite come close to the flawless keyboard of the ThinkPad or the EliteBook. The touchpad has been crafted out of glass, which is not only a great aesthetic element, but wonderfully responsive as well. The size of 4.1 x 2.8 inch is ample enough for multi-touch gestures, pinch zoom, two finger scrolling and integrated click buttons make it minimalist an beautiful.
Under the Hood
The ZenBook UX303LA has been equipped with the Intel Core i5-5200U processor, based on the 5th generation Broadwell architecture. The processor runs at a clock speed of 2.2GHz, which can be overclocked to 2.7GHz with the Intel Turbo Boost technology. Tests report that the Broadwell architecture-based processors not only increase the battery life, but also offer 15% better performance compared to the Haswell architecture-based processors.
Adding the power of speed with portability, the ZenBook UX303LA comes fitted with a 256GB Solid State Drive from SanDisk, making the perfect companion for speeding up the tasks. There is also an extra Msata-SSD slot added to the notebook, so you can upgrade the storage capacity if required. With 4GB of RAM soldered to the motherboard, you get an extra RAM slot, which has been filled by another 4GB of RAM to help you fly through the processes.
Unlike its older brethren, the ZenBook UX303LA does not come with a dedicated graphics card, apart from the on-board Intel HD Graphics 5500 GPU. While not the most graphically capable GPU, the 5500 operates at 950MHz and supports DirectX 11.2, giving it some graphical power, thanks to the dual channel RAM. However, expect nothing more than some casual gaming on the ZenBook UX303LA, with support for newer gaming titles at low settings.
• Premium design and build quality at an affordable price.
• Quiet and cool, despite being almost entirely built out of aluminium.
• Bright IPS display panel with anti-glare layer for outdoor use.
• Dedicated SSD storage for super fast transfers and boot up.
• A few different configurations are available in Australia
• Low contrast of the display results in bluish tint instead of blacks.
The Final Verdict
It is quite apparent from all angles that the Asus ZenBook UX303LA is just short of being the perfect notebook available in its price range. Whether it is the lightweight and robust build quality, cutting-edge design and high quality specs, or the lightning fast transfer speeds of its SSD storage – the ZenBook UX303LA is right on the money.
One flaw of the ZenBook UX303LA is its low contrast ratio, which is surprising since is equipped with a state of the art IPS display panel. For those who are looking for a notebook for graphic designing and visual editing, the UX303LA may not be the best choice. However, for those who are light on their feet and need a powerful machine to get the work done on the go, the Asus ZenBook UX303LA is a notebook you must consider.