After the previous launches of Zenbook models that came with Core M processors, ASUS launched its new Zenbook UX305UA that comes with a a faster 6th Gen Core i5 and i7 processors with a different hard drive, a bigger battery, and an active cooling fan. These changes have also bumped the price up by $50. So, price for the Zenbook UX305UA starts from $750. It is also available in India with starting price for Rs 73,000 approx.
Overall, this laptop is a direct competitor to Dell’s XPS 13. Here is our review for Zenbook UX305UA.
At first look, the Zenbook UX305UA looks similar to its predecessors in terms of looks and thickness. It has the same overall, simple design language, with predominate use of metal bound together by some plastics components, such as the display hinge and bezels. However, the bezels are again on the thick side, which gives the Zenbook an old-school look.
After the close inspection, we found that the UX305UA is just over a tenth of an inch thicker than its predecessors. Weight has increased, too, with the new UX305UA ballooning up to 3.2 pounds. That’s about a half-pound more than a Dell XPS 13 (without touchscreen) and about eight-tenths of a pound heavier than the previous Zenbooks.
Despite its recent weight gain, the Zenbook retains its usual strengths and weaknesses. Its matte silver metal exterior is elegant, though not eye-catching, and holds up well to use. The chassis feels durable, without a hint of flex in any body panel.
Zenbook UX305UA has two USB 3.0 ports speed transfers up to ten times faster than older USB 2.0 connections, and deliver more power for faster charging. And ZenBook UX305UA goes still further, with ASUS USB Charger+ technology built into one port to charge connected devices up to 50% faster – even when ZenBook is asleep or switched off.
Keyboard and Touch-Pad
The keyboard is excellent for a 13-inch ultrabook, with a spacious layout, full-sized keys, and no oddities to trip up our muscle memory. Key travel is excellent and keys bottom out with a responsive, satisfying action, which makes touch typing very easy.
However, like its predecessors, the UX305UA does not have a backlit keyboard. That’s a more significant flaw here than it was with the thinner Zenbook, as the UX305UA is more expensive and competes directly with mid-range ultrabooks, almost all of which have backlit keyboard.
The touch-pad on UX305UA is spacious, responsiveness, and easily handles Windows 10 multi-touch gestures. It doesn’t feel as smooth as a MacBook, but it’s close, and it’s certainly better than average among systems in its price range. It may even beat the XPS 13, which has excellent touch-pad feel, but a smaller touch-pad surface.
Unlike its predecessors, the Zenbook UX305UA has a 1080p non-glossy and non-touch display. As per the Digital Trends, the screen can produce 95 percent of the sRGB color gamut, and 71 percent of the AdobRGB gamut. These numbers are middling. They easily beat alternatives like the LG Gram 14, but come in a bit behind Dell’s XPS 13, which hit 97 percent of sRGB and 73 percent of AdobeRGB.
Contrast fares better. Laptop measured a maximum ratio of 820:1 at maximum brightness. That beats the Dell XPS 13’s ratio of 680:1, and nearly matches the more expensive Razer Blade Stealth, which produced a ratio of 840:1.
Graphics and Audio
The Zenbook UX305UA is equipped with an Intel HD Graphics 520. This is the most common of the current Intel HD incarnations, but quite far from the most powerful.
The laptop scored 821 on The 3DMark Fire Strike score. However, the score essentially ties other Core i5-6200U notebooks. You’ll find no advantage over other ultrabooks here.
As for the audio, a pair of speakers are hidden underneath the Zenbook UX305UA, which means sound is easily muffled by the surface it’s placed on. When they’re unobstructed the speakers sound strong, and even produce a slight hint of bass. The positioning makes them unreliable; depending on the situation, they can sound strong and clear, or weak and muddy.
The Asus Zenbook UX305UA is powered by Intel Core i5-6200U processor. This is arguably the most mainstream of the current mobile dual-core chips from Intel, and we’ve seen it in numerous systems already.
The Zenbook UX305UA’s Geekbench multi-core score of 6,045 is a tad bit higher than the Dell XPS 13 with Core i5 processor, which scored 5,960.
The UX305UA comes with Micon SSD storage drive connected over the SATA3 interface. SATA drive performance is often limited by the interface’s capability, and the UX305UA is no different. The Micron solid state drive is certainly snappy enough for day-to-day use. It isn’t the best choice if file transfer speed is trait you care about, but most users will find it adequate.
As far as heating is concerned, Zenbook UX305UA had a maximum external temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit at full system load. At idle, the UX305UA averaged 85 degrees. These numbers are again on par with the Dell XPS 13.
Plumping up this Zenbook isn’t just needed to stuff in quicker hardware. Asus has also crammed in a bigger battery. The UX305UA has a 54 watt-hour battery. This is very close to the Dell XPS 13, which has a 56 watt-hour battery.
However, at full system load and web browsing benchmark loop, the Zenbook UX305UA lasted for about five and a half hours. Its lesser than its predecessors, however, we think the trade-off between performance and portability is a good compromise. As shown earlier, the new model is substantially quicker than the older Zenbooks.
The Zenbook also compares well against its rivals. While the Dell XPS 13 lasted much longer, the Razer Blade Stealth and Lenovo ThinkPad 13 – both with smaller batteries – can’t touch the UX305UA.
Also, on moderate web browsing test, which is not as strenuous, extended the UX305UA’s battery life to almost nine hours. A full charge should last most users an entire workday.
The Asus Zenbook UX305UA is a great laptop and comes at a great value. Competitors that sell for $750 often make do with a Core i3 processor, rather than the UX305UA’s Core i5 and have performance that suffers for it. Many also have just 4 GB of RAM or a 128 GB hard drive, while the UX305UA has 8 GB of RAM, and a 256 GB hard drive. Even the display is solid.
The Zenbook UX305UA good to great in every area, with no serious weaknesses and an incredible price. This is the ultrabook to buy if you have about $750 to spend.