Reviewing the ASUS ZenBook UX305UA - An ultrabook that's worth its price
A few weeks ago, we started testing a great ultrabook from ASUS, called the ZenBook UX305UA. It is the successor to the acclaimed ASUS ZenBook UX305 and it will replace the older model in shops worldwide. We are dealing with an ultrabook that has an affordable price, beautiful design, good hardware and a build quality that's better than the average you get at a similar price point. If you're curious to see more details about it, and see whether it's worth buying, read this detailed product review:
Unboxing the ASUS ZenBook UX305UA
The ASUS ZenBook UX305UA comes packaged inside a beautiful black box, with a simple and elegant design. On it, you will see printed an image of the ASUS ZenBook UX305UA and the ASUS logo.
Inside the box, you will find the ASUS ZenBook UX305UA ultrabook, wrapped in a protective plastic, a power adapter, a USB to Ethernet adapter (there's no Ethernet port on the ultrabook so this adapter is going to be useful when there's no WiFi available near you), a protective travel pouch, a velcro cable management strap and a cleaning cloth. Last but not least, you'll also get the usual documents: the user guide and the warranty of the ultrabook.
Where To Buy
The ASUS ZenBook UX305UA ultrabook is available in multiple hardware configurations. The processor it runs on can be an Intel Core i7 6500U, an Intel Core i5 6200U or an Intel Core i3 6100U. As you see, all the processor models that are available for the ASUS ZenBook UX305UA are part of the Skylake family, the latest iteration of the Intel computing technology. The ASUS ZenBook UX305UA that we tested had the more powerful Intel Core i7 6500U processor , running at a base frequency of 2.5 GHz and a maximum turbo frequency of 3.1 GHz.
The processor does its job alongside 4 or 8GB of DDR3 RAM memory running at 1600 MHz, depending on the variant you own. We tested a unit with 8GB of RAM memory.
It's worth noting that both the processor and the RAM memory you get on the ASUS ZenBook UX305UA are soldered on the motherboard, so you should consider carefully what you buy from the start, because you won't be able to upgrade the processor or the RAM memory afterwards.
There is no dedicated video card installed on the ASUS ZenBook UX305UA, as the graphics are handled by the processor, through its built-in Intel HD Graphics 520 chip. Although it can't compete with discrete video cards, the Intel HD Graphics 520 supports 4K resolutions and offers support for DirectX 12.
The ASUS ZenBook UX305UA ultrabook offers a 13.3" screen with a 16:9 image aspect ratio, and can have a Full HD resolution of 1920x1080 pixels or a QHD+ resolution of 3200x1800 pixels, depending on the model that you buy. Both display variants are using an IPS panel, which means that you get wide viewing angles, good contrast and natural colors. The model that we reviewed had the screen with the higher resolution - 3200x1080 pixels.
You also have multiple choices when it comes to the storage you get. The ASUS ZenBook UX305UA that we tested had a 512 GB solid state drive manufactured by Hynix that is theoretically capable to read data at speeds of up to 530 MB/s and write data at speeds of up to 370 MB/s. However, if you want to spend less on this ultrabook, you can buy it with less storage space. There are two other variants with solid state drives of lesser capacity: 256 GB and 128 GB.
The sound is delivered by built-in stereo speakers and features the Bang & Olufsen ICEpower technology. The ultrabook also offers a microphone and 1 megapixel HD webcam that records at 720p.
In terms of networking options, you get a wireless integrated network card that is capable of connecting both to 2.4GHz and 5GHz wireless networks, using the 802.11n and 802.11ac standards. The ultrabook also offers Bluetooth 4.0 support. If you need to use a wired LAN connection, although there is no Ethernet port on the ASUS ZenBook UX305UA, you can use the USB to Ethernet adapter bundled by ASUS in the standard package.
As for the other connectivity options, you get 1 COMBO audio jack (you can use it to plug in both a set of headphones or an external microphone), 2 USB 3.0 ports, 1 USB 2.0 port, 1 micro HDMI port and a card reader.
The ASUS ZenBook UX305UA includes a built-in polymer battery capable of delivering 56 Wh rs of energy. The ultrabook has a 324 mm (12.8 in) width, 226 mm (8.9 in) depth and is just 16 mm (0.6 in) thick. It weighs 1.3 kg (2.86 pounds), which is similar to other ultraportable devices.
In terms of the operating system used by the ASUS ZenBook UX305UA, the model we received in tests came Windows 10 Pro. However, you can also buy it with Windows 10 Home if that's what you want.
The full list of detailed specifications can be found on the ASUS official website, here: ASUS ZenBook UX305UA Specifications.
Using the ASUS ZenBook UX305UA
Just like its older brother, the ZenBook UX305, the new model has an aluminum chassis and doesn't compromise when it comes to robustness. It's an ultrabook, that's true, but even if it's so light and thin, it's a device that feels durable and won't break down easily.
The top side of the ASUS ZenBook UX305UA uses the same brushed finish with concentric circles that's become somewhat of a trademark for all of ASUS' devices.
The bottom of the ultrabook, on the other side, is simple and plain and, besides the speaker grilles, there's nothing here except a few screws, four rubber feet and a long vent area.
Open the ultrabook and you'll be greeted by a matte screen that, as far as we can tell, offers a good colors, a great contrast ratio and a pretty high brightness. The latter makes it easy to see even in bright light environments, although you might struggle a bit to understand what's on it when in direct sunlight.
The keyboard is the one other very important part from a usability point of view. Luckily, the keyboard on this device is amazingly responsive, with normal size keys and good spacing between them. We write a lot, obviously, and the ASUS ZenBook UX305UA is a device on which you can do that without getting tired very fast. What we didn't like about it though, was that it's not as solid or stable as we'd wished. Press the keys from the middle of the keyboard and the keyboard will sink in, then come back. Considering how solid and stable the metal case is, we really didn't expect for the keyboard to be so different. And there's one more small inconvenient about it: it's not illuminated.
We also loved the touchpad, which is very large and feels very good to use. Also its precision is quite good.
The audio on the ASUS ZenBook UX305UA is powered by Bang & Olufsen, and the results are good, although not extraordinary. The sound is clear and without distortions, but the volume is low and, because the speakers are faced down, the volume depends a lot on the surface you place the ultrabook on.
From a performance point of view, the ASUS ZenBook UX305UA that we tested fared amazingly well during our day to day activities. Writing, browsing the web, having chats and video calls on Skype, are all things you can do on this ultrabook without encountering lags or performance hiccups.
The battery is also good, as it managed to give us around 5 to 6 hours or autonomy on a charge. That's an average result for an ultrabook, but don't forget that we're still talking about the variant with the most powerful processor of the lot. If you're going for a variant that runs on a Intel Core i3, you'll get longer battery life, although not as much performance.
Read the next page of this review to find out what apps are bundled with the ASUS ZenBook UX305UA, see what it scored in our benchmarks and check our final verdict.