Ultrabook reviews, guides and comparisons

Asus Zenbook UX301LA / UX301 review – not just a regular Haswell ultrabook

Asus Zenbook UX301LA / UX301 review – not just a regular Haswell ultrabook
By Andrei Girbea - @ andreigirbea , last updated on 19 Oct 2013
Summary: A sleek body covered in glass and metal, an awesome screen and a fast hardware platform. All these put together make the Asus Zenbook UX301, one of the most interesting premium ultrabooks of the moment.
Rating: 4 / 5   Price range: $1399 - $2199

THE GOOD

solid and nice looking body, decent keyboard and trackpad, awesome screen, great performances, good battery life, punchy speakers

THE BAD

some design quirks, expensive

In this article we’re going to talk about the Asus Zenbook UX301LA, or the so called Zenbook Infinity, Asus’s top of the line ultrabook available right now. It combines a sleek body made from glass and metal with a high-resolution touchscreen and a powerful Intel Haswell hardware platform.

In fact, the hardware is what really sets this laptop apart from the competition, as the top configuration bundles a 28 W Core i7 processor with Intel 5100 HD graphics, which is basically the fastest platform available for ultrabooks these days, at least in terms of RAW CPU performances.

An guess what, we have that top configuration for this review. But be warned: it is EXPENSIVE (but some discounts might be available via this link)!

However, if you’re looking for something more affordable, the Zenbook UX301 is going to start at about 1400 USD, which put it on par with most other premium ultrabooks available right now, like the Acer Aspire S7 or the Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus.

Asus Zenbook UX301LA video review

The specs sheet for the Asus Zenbook UX301

Asus Zenbook UX301LA-DE002P
Screen13.3 inch, 2560 x 1440 px resolution, IPS, touchscreen
ProcessorIntel Haswell Core i7-4558U CPU
ChipsetIntel HM87
VideoIntel 5100 HD Iris
Memory8 GB DDR3
Storage512 GB SSD RAID 0
ConnectivityWireless AC, Bluetooth 4.0, Lan (with adapter)
Ports2xUSB, SD card reader, micro HDMI, mini-DisplayPort
Baterry6 cell 4560 mAh 50 Wh
Operating systemWindows 8
Sizeabout 18 mm think, including the rubber feet; 15.5 x 325 x 222 mm
Weightabout 1.43 kg (3.1 pounds)
Extrasbacklit keyboard, USB to LAN and MiniDP to VGA adapters included

Design and exterior

With the Zenbook Infinity, Asus tries to get ahead of its competitors in a segment filled with beautiful and fast machines. For that, they changed the overall aspect from the previous Zenbooks, in order to make a better first impression with this new entry.

As a result, glass covers the lid, and that’s no ordinary glass, but Gorilla Glass 3, which should make the surface scratch proof. On the other hand, smudges and fingerprints are part of the menu with this finishing, especially on the Navy Blue version that we have here. These won’t show as easily on the white model.

Glass and metal are used for the exterior on the Asus Zenbook UX301

Glass and metal are used for the exterior on the Asus Zenbook UX301

Regardless, this Zenbook looks awesome in this dark Blue color, which is used not only for the lid, but for everything else, including the interior, the keyboard and the underbelly. Speaking about the interior, you should know that some sort of ceramic coated glass covers the palm rest and the area around the keys, while the frame, the sides and the bottom are made from solid pieces of metal. As a result, the lower body of this laptop feels very solid, while the lid still flexes to some extent when pressed. But overall, this is a fairly sturdy machine.

It’s well balanced too, as you can easily grab the screen with one hand and lift it, while the body stays mostly in place. In fact, the upper part of the laptop is milimetrically longer than the body below, so you can easily lift-up the screen.

The two-side hinge is identical to the one we’ve seen on the Zenbook UX302 and is redesigned from the older Zenbooks, but despite the narrow contact points, the hinge is actually sturdy and can hold the screen firmly in place, even when poking it.

When leaning the screen on the back, the entire laptop lifts on two small feet integrated within the rear part of the lid, leaving more space under the laptop, which translates in more air going towards the grills on the underbelly. Air is sucked through those grills and then blown out through the metallic mesh in the hinge, towards the user and towards the screen, which is not necessarily the best solution, as the lower part of the display gets quite hot and that might have a negative effect on the panel, long term.

And speaking of poor design choices, the laptop’s front lip is extremely sharp and it’s going to cut into your wrist when using it on a desk, despite the fairly large palm-rest. I’ve complained about that on the UX302 as well, but on the UX301 this front-edge is even sharper.

Moving on, the UX301 is not the lightest 13 inch ultrabook out there, tipping the scale at over 1.4 kilos, or about 3.1 pounds in our case. It’s not the slimmest either, although it stands less than 18 mm high in its thickest point, including the rubber feet (or about 15.5 – 16 without those). So there’s nothing major to complain about here.

When it comes to the ports around the sides, you’ll find only 2 USB 3.0 slots on the Zenbook UX301, the headphone jack, the micro HDMI and the Mini DisplayPort connectors. Also, the PSU is now placed on the left side of the laptop, something I for one appreciate, as it leaves more room on the right, where I usually have my mouse. And there’s a card-reader on the right-edge, which still can’t properly fit an SD card, as more than half is left sticking out of the slot. Last but not least, in order to boost the connectivity options even further, Asus does offer USB to Ethernet and mini DisplayPort to VGA adapters in the pack.

But let’s go ahead and power on this laptop. It boots from cold in a little over 10 seconds and then resumes from sleep in about 2 and the first thing you’ll notice when this one logs into Windows is the screen.

Screen

Asus put a 13.3 inch IPS panel on the Zenbook UX301, with a 2560 x 1440 px resolution and that makes it one of the sharpest screens available on ultrabooks in this class right now. However, high density panels are not a rarity these days, so luckily for Asus, this screen scores high results when it comes to brightness, contrast and color reproduction as well.

There's an awesome screen on this laptop

There’s an awesome screen on this laptop

 

In fact, this IGZO panel made by Sharp is so bright that it can be used outdoors as well, despite the glossy glass coating, a given with touchscreens. Oh, and one more thing, there’s no light bleeding with this panel, while all the Zenbooks I’ve ever tried in the pat suffered from this flaw, to some extent.

Anyway, long story short, you’ll really like this display. Too bad you’ll have to deal with those pesky font-scaling issues associated with Windows 8, as not all the applications and interface elements scale up properly, which results in tiny texts and buttons that you’ll have to deal with. Hopefully, that’s going to be addressed with Windows 8.1, but I wouldn’t hold my breath on it.

Keyboard and trackpad

For now, let me tell you a few things about the keyboard on this laptop. I have to admit that I was never a sucker for the keyboards Asus put on their Zenbooks, but this one is a long awaited upgrade. Yes, they keys travel is still fairly shallow, but that aside, the feedback is good and the keys are firm enough to register commands even when pressed on the sides or corners. The keyboard is of course backlit and sturdy, with very little flex, even in the middle.

The layout is fairly good as well, although the arrow keys are small and the Power Button is integrated within the keyboard in the Top Right corner, so you’ll end up hitting it by mistake more often than you’d want, in which case the laptop goes to Sleep, without any warning message. That’s annoying.

But there’s something that bothers me even more. The space key makes a squeaking sound when pressed, something I’ve also encountered with the Zenbook UX302 as well but let it slide, as I considered it an accidental flaw. Looks like it’s not though and this might not sound like such a big deal, but it really drove me crazy. Hear it for yourselves in the video review.

That aside, it’s worth mentioning that there’s a good trackpad on this laptop as well, with a smooth glass surface. The entire clickpad is nicely separated from the palm-rest and is accurate and most of the time reliable. Support for gestures is included too, as expected.

Not much to complain about te keyboard and trackpad

Not much to complain about te keyboard and trackpad

Hardware, performances and upgrade options

Alright, with those out of the way, let me tell you a couple of things about the goodies inside this ultrabook, which really set it apart from its competitors. We have the top UX301LA configuration here, with an Intel Core i7-4558U processor, 8 GB of RAM, Intel Iris 5100 graphics and a 512 GB SSD.

The Core i7 processor is more powerful than the Core i7-4500U Haswell CPU we’ve seen on ultrabooks in the last months. With a higher 28 W TDP, this CPU runs at 2.8 GHz by default and can go up to 3.3 GHz on a single process. And the speed gains are visible both in benchmarks and while performing everyday tasks, like archiving some files or exporting a video file.

The fast SSD has its role in this as well, as Asus put two 256 GB SSDs in RAID 0 on this laptop. As for the memory, unfortunately it is soldered on the motherboard and non-upgradeable, so you can only get 8 GB of RAM on this Zenbook. But choose carefully between the 4 or the 8 GB options, as you’re going to be stuck with what you’re getting from starters.

In fact, this Zenbook is not upgrade friendly. You can remove the bottom cover with the right screw-driver (Torx 5 screws, with two of them behind the back rubber feet), to have a peek at the internals. You’ll see the two fans, smaller than the ones on the UX302, the soldered memory, the removable Wireless module and the two SSDs, as this laptop bundles a RAID 0 solution.

You can remove those if you want to, although I don’t see exactly why. Still, it looks like Asus is using two Sandisk X110 SSDs, which are NGFF compliant, or in other words, support the standard many other producers adhered to lately and can be replaced, if needed.

Those aside, I did run a couple of benchmarks on this laptop, and the results can be found below:

  • 3DMark 11: P1294;
  • 3DMark 13:  Ice Storm – 40603, Cloud Gate – 5670, Fire Strike – 905, Fire Strike Extreme – 418 ;
  • PCMark 07: 5837;
  • Windows Rating: 5.8;
  • CineBench 11.5: OpenGL 22.34 fps, CPU 3.45 pts;
  • CineBench R15: OpenGL 27.02 fps, CPU 310 cb.

And I did run a couple of basic tests that I’m going to use as future reference for all my reviews:

  • Video Encoding * – 111 sec;
  • Archiving ** – 10 sec;

* a 2.30 minutes 1080 MOV imported in Movie maker, with the Edge Detection visual effect applied and then exported as “For High resolution displays”
** 220 MB worth of pictures archived using Windows 8 Send to Compressed Folder optio

Anyway, you should know that the UX301 Zenbook can easily handle everything you’re going to throw at it, from browsing to multimedia content and games. Speaking of those, you get Intel Iris 5100 graphics on this laptop and while this is still an embedded chip, it is 20 to 40% faster than the regular Intel HD 4400 chip we’ve seen on many other Haswell ultrabooks, visible both in benchmarks and while gaming. The results are below and in the included video.

1366 x 768 px low details
Dirt 348 fps
Grid 248 fps
Skyrim36 fps
NFS Most Wanted28 fps
Bioshock Infinite28 fps
Metro Last Light*17 fps
Crysis 319 fps

* MetroLLBenchmark, scene D6

Noise, Heat, Connectivity and others

Ok, we’ve established so far that the Zenbook UX301 is one of the most powerful 13 inch ultrabooks available these days. But what happens when you put fast hardware in a sleek body? Well, as expected, this laptop does get hot when pushed.

Everyday use temperatures

Everyday use temperatures

The area on top of the keyboard and the underbelly, around the air-sucking fans, plus the area just under the screen, reach quite high temperatures, but the palm rest or the keyboard stay merely warm. As for interior temperatures, HW Monitor shows the CPU passing 90 degrees Celsius while running games. Luckily though, these high temperatures don’t lead to throttling and have no direct impact over performances, although HW Info does suggest throttling when running games for a longer period of time, but the CPUs frequency only drops marginally to about 2.2 GHz, so that’s not something to complain about.

In everyday use, HW Monitor shows CPU temperatures of around 70 degrees, but at the same time the fans are most of the time inactive, so these numbers are not bad for a passive cooled device.

Gaming temperatures

Gaming temperatures

As for the noise, well, the two fans inside this unit will spin fast and fairly loud, once again, when pushing the laptop. My non-professional iPhone app measures about 44-45 db under load (running Cinebench 11.5) at 30 cm away from the laptop.  When using it lightly though, they’ll turn completely OFF, which makes the UX301 ultra-silent.

All those being said, there are only a few things left to talk about before drawing the line here. For instance, I should mention the good connectivity options, as the UX301 does support Wireless AC and Bluetooth 4.0 (Plus LAN, with the included adapter).

The Intel 7260 wireless module is a reliable performer, although the wireless range on this laptop is only average and could have been better.

Besides that, you should know that there’s a webcam with dual-array microphones on this ultrabook, decent for quick hangouts and video calls.

And you do get a good sound system as well, as the two speakers carved on the sides of the laptop deliver punchy and high-quality audio, but only if you take some time to tweak the output with the included Audio Wizard application.

Battery life

Back to more important aspects, let’s take a few second and talk about the battery life you’ll be getting with this Zenbook. There’s a 6 Cell 50 Wh battery on this laptop and with average use, that includes browsing, editing documents, listening some music, watching some clips, with the screen at 50% and Wi-Fi ON, that’s enough to keep it running for about 6 to 7 hours.

If you’ll use it lightly and dim the screen even more, you could easily get 8+ hours of life on a charge, but on the other hand, while running games, the UX301 will run out of juice much quicker (I’d reckon you’ll get up to 90 minutes of gaming).

6-7 hours of daily use, that's what you should expect from the Zenbook UX301LA

6-7 hours of daily use, that’s what you should expect from the Zenbook UX301LA

Prices and availability

There will be a couple of different configurations available for the Asus Zenbook UX301LA, starting at around $1400 dollars and going as high as $2200. Here are the options that I know of right now:

  • Zenbook UX301LA-C4003H - ~1300 euro - Intel Core i5-4200U, 4 GB RAM, 128 GB SSD, 1080P screen;
  • Zenbook UX301LA-DE017H - ~1400 euro - Intel Core i5-4200U, 4 GB RAM, 128 GB SSD, 1440P screen;
  • Zenbook UX301LA-DE027H - ~1550 euro - Intel Core i5-4200U, 8 GB RAM, 2×128 GB SSD RAID 0, 1440P screen;
  • Zenbook UX301LA-DE016P - ~1700 euro - Intel Core i7-4500U, 8 GB RAM, 2×128 GB SSD RAID 0, 1440P screen;
  • Zenbook UX301LA-DE002P - ~2100 euro - Intel Core i7-4558U, 8 GB RAM, 2×256 GB SSD RAID 0, 1440P screen;

Our test unit is exactly the last one in the list above, the most powerful configuration available for this laptop.

Just a quick note, these prices are estimations based on how much these configs are going to cost in my country. They may vary from region to region.

Some versions of this laptop have started to emerge in some parts of the world. In the US, I still haven’t found the base version, but the UX301LA-DH51T mid-version, with the Intel Core i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM and a 256 GB SSD is available for about $1800. However, you might find this version discounted over here, and some of the others that should hit the stores as well. Just a quick note, if you appreciate this post and all the others here on the site, buying from my links (like that one above) is a nice way to say thanks. You won’t be paying extra, but I’ll get a small commission from the sellers.

Wrap-up

OK, so wrapping up this review, there are for sure many things you will like about this ultrabook, like the sleek body, the awesome screen, the good keyboard and trackpad. However, you do get most of these, slightly better or worse, on other good ultrabooks available these days, like the Acer Aspire S7-392, the Sony Vaio Pro, the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro or the Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus.

The UX301LA is a great buy if power is your main concern; otherwise, you do have alternatives

The UX301LA is a great buy if power is your main concern; otherwise, you do have alternatives

On the Zenbook UX301 there’s the higher power hardware option, available on this top configuration. Is it worth paying around $2200 or over 2000 euros for it? Well, that’s up to you to decide.

On the other hand, the cheapest Asus UX301 starts at about 1300 euros over here, with a Full HD screen, a Core i5 processor, 4 GB of RAM and the 128 GB SSD, which is not cheap, but is more or less on par with the prices Acer, Samsung, or the others are asking for their similar ultrabooks.

But the Sony Vaio Pro on the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro are cheaper with a similar configuration.

Those being said, if you’re after performances (photo or video editing, programming), the UX301 with the Core i7-4558U should definitely be on your short-list. However, if you’re looking at a cheaper ultrabook, the UX301 is just one of the good options out there.

Is it better than the others? Well, you’ll find the answer to that question in the many comparisons that will be posted here on the site in the next days and weeks, so make sure to check them out in our Comparisons category.

Andrei Girbea, aka Mike, Editor-in-Chief and a huge fan of mobile computers. Since 2007, I've only owned smaller than 12.5" laptops and I've been testing tens, if not hundreds of mini laptops. You'll find mostly reviews and guides written by me here on the site.

101 Comments

  1. Andrew

    October 19, 2013 at 11:54 pm

    How much is the one with intel iris 5100 in us dollars?

    • Andrei Girbea

      October 20, 2013 at 9:42 am

      I’d reckon about $2200

      • Nathan

        November 9, 2013 at 11:38 am

        Can you buy it with Iris but 1080P screen?

  2. mark

    October 20, 2013 at 7:45 am

    i love ur reviews. very precise and intuitive. its a shame ultrabooks with high res screens cant play games even close to their native resolutions.

    would u by chance use dota2 and diablo 3 as benchmarks as well for ur next review. (hopefully the UX302)

    i would love to see a review on the new XPS15 with the dGPU and high res screen.

    keep up the good work, i always check ur site for updates!

    • Andrei Girbea

      October 20, 2013 at 9:43 am

      I don’t have any of those two games, but I’ll see what i can do about that .

      I’ll also try to get my hands on the XPS 15, but Dell’s are a bit difficult to find around here

  3. Simon Iversen

    October 20, 2013 at 11:30 am

    I’m going to buy a new laptop in the start of december and i really love the new design of the ASUS zenbooks.

    What would you recommend, the top configuration of the Zenbook UX302 or entry model of the Zenbook UX301 and why?

    • Andrei Girbea

      October 20, 2013 at 1:10 pm

      that’s not a fair comparison. on the top UX302 you get an Intel core i7 processor and dedicted graphics, plus more storage space, on the base UX301 you get an I5 processor, 4 GB of RAM and a 128 GB SSD, all in a sleeker, sturdier, lighter frame. Regardless, I’ll have a post thoroughly comparing these two, I’m sure you’ll find it useful, should be on the site in a few days

      • Simon Iversen

        October 20, 2013 at 1:26 pm

        I know hardware-wise the UX302 will outclass it, but im asking which you would pick up if you were in my situartion would you go down in hardware for the little bit more mobility?

        I will look forward for the comparison, but i guess it is going to be the top configuarations you will be comparing.

        • Andrei Girbea

          October 20, 2013 at 2:11 pm

          it really depends on what you’re going to do with these. if you don’t need to core i7 or the graphics, then don’t buy them. on the other hand, the ux301 is marginally lighter/smaller and the base version has the same screen as the ux302, so perhaps the base version of the ux302 would be the option for you. you’ll also save around 200 bucks :)

          • Andrew

            October 20, 2013 at 8:08 pm

            is the intel iris 5100 good for casual gaming? and can you try battlefield 3

          • Franck Pérez

            November 5, 2013 at 2:57 pm

            This Intel Iris 5100 isn’t Pro version. The Pro Version is the 5200 which is eDram cache. That make the 5200 much more faster than the 5100. but e need some one to tell me if I can play titles like Age of Empires Online, Diablo 3 or StarCraft 2 on this 5100 graphics, because I do want to buy the Zenbook Infinity

          • Andrei Girbea

            November 5, 2013 at 10:19 pm

            Starcraft 2 runs fine. 4 v 4 multiplayer games around min 20 however will see frame dropping under 40, in 13 x 7 low details. haven’t tried the others

  4. Marko

    October 20, 2013 at 11:45 pm

    Where can these be picked up? It seems these are being rolled out but the information available is incredibly poor. (EU)

    • Andrei Girbea

      October 24, 2013 at 11:10 am

      they are already available over here in Romania

  5. John

    October 22, 2013 at 1:15 am

    Thanks for the great review! Considering the screen resolution is so high, can you comment on how text and graphics look when browsing the web and when using Microsoft Word? Are they sharp or blurry?

    Is there any issue with low-resolution graphics on the web looking blurry when using the web?

    • Andrei Girbea

      October 24, 2013 at 11:21 am

      Fonts are very sharp, even when scaling up the settings at 175% (that’s how I used it). In this case though, yes, low-resolution images from various websites can look bad. For instance, the Logo on this site looks somewhat blurry

      • John

        October 25, 2013 at 4:00 am

        That’s great news about the fonts. With regards to the low-resolution images, do they only look blurry on screen or also when you print out webpages?

        • Andrei Girbea

          October 25, 2013 at 8:21 am

          haven’t tried printing them out. the look blury onscreen, kinda what happens on the Retina iPads as well

  6. Neil

    October 24, 2013 at 5:32 am

    Great review. Weird question: how do things look if you drop the resolution to something lower in Windows? Does it give you any control over how the scaling behaves?

    • Andrei Girbea

      October 24, 2013 at 11:29 am

      You can and it scales well in most cases. However, you’ll encounter occasional glitches and unscalled interface elements. Still, I’d rather keep it a native resolution and just scale up the fonts

  7. Alex

    October 24, 2013 at 7:50 pm

    You say the most this will cost (with maxed out specs) is $2200 but then you say the maxed out laptop you used for the review is 2100 euros which would be $2,900. Can you clarify which currency you’re in for saying the max price? Thanks!

    • Andrei Girbea

      October 24, 2013 at 8:00 pm

      Alex, US prices are usually Identical to those in Europe, except that you change USD into EUR. It’s called USD/EUR parity. So, if somthing costs let’s say 1K euros in Germany, it will usually cost around 1000 to 1100 USD in the US. See prices for the Macbooks for instance. That’s how things work with electronics

  8. Alex

    October 24, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    Oh ok, thanks for clarifying! So given that a maxed out new Macbook Pro Retina 13 has similar specs (except slightly better screen, 16GB of ram, non-Pro Iris graphics and no touch screen) for a similar price, would you say these 2 laptops are pretty comparable? If you wanted either would your choice come down to whether you wanted a Mac vs. PC? Also there’s no release date for this Asus laptop right?

    • Andrei Girbea

      October 25, 2013 at 8:19 am

      This Asus should be available by November.

      Yes, the two are comparable. With the UX301 you get the touchscreen, with the MBP you get the better keyboard and trackpad. The MBP will also last longer on a charge, but it’s heavier.

      So it’s not just the OSX vs Windows debate here, there are a few other minor details. I’ll try to have an article comparing the two units, somewhere in the next weeks

      • gadgetingadget

        October 27, 2013 at 9:01 am

        Have you ever considered doing a review of the new Macbook Pro (13 inch) that’s using windows instead of Mac OS X?

    • Brad Ackerman

      October 27, 2013 at 12:39 am

      For me it’s all about having 16 GB of RAM. If I wanted 8 GB I’d pick up an Ivy Bridge on closeout—maybe a Lenovo that still has the physical trackpad buttons. I want to be able to comfortably use the computer in a coach aircraft seat, so that rules out 15″ (plus my back wants as light as possible and no more than 2 kg). I do want to play games, but GT3 graphics (low- or high-dissipation) will do just fine for that.

      There are exactly two laptops matching these parameters; all announced but not yet shipping models fail with the RAM (mostly) or graphics (Dell Latitude 14 7000), so while I’d be willing to wait a few months, it wouldn’t make any difference. The available options are the Clevo W740SU and the Apple MacBook Pro 13″ (Retina). I’d get the Clevo in a second if the keyboard was adequate… but it’s not. I’d rather have the quad-core package, but I don’t want it badly enough to deal with that particular drawback.

      So while I may still end up going Linux as my primary desktop OS, it will be on Apple hardware, because they’re the only company that’s shown up to the dance.

  9. Michelle

    October 26, 2013 at 4:45 am

    Which configuration of the UX301la do you think is suited best for a student? I’m looking for portability, speed and a good battery life I suppose. Thanks!

    • Andrei Girbea

      October 28, 2013 at 3:21 pm

      Get the i5 with 8 GB of RAM and 128/256 GB SSD. the more storage space the better, with the 128 GB you’ll have to be more organized, as about 70 of those are actually available for your own content

  10. Clem

    October 26, 2013 at 7:19 am

    G’day mate.

    Fantastic review on the ux 301 mate. I’m considering purchasing this laptop but also considering the gigabyte u24T i7 given that the u24T comes with an videos grapics card. Would you be able to do the a review on the gigabyte U24T i7? As it’s hard to find a thorough review on U24T i7 the way you did to asus ux 301. Thanks heaps for ux 301 review I reallly enjoyed it.

    Cheers,

    Clem

    • Andrei Girbea

      October 28, 2013 at 3:22 pm

      i can’t promise, gigabyte laptops are not available in my country

  11. Clem

    October 28, 2013 at 7:19 am

    G’day.

    Fantastic review on this ultrabook, mate and I’ve enjoyed reading it. I was wondering would this ultrabook be comparable to gigabyte U24T-i7? I haven’t read any thorough review on gigabyte u24t-i7 the way you reviewed the Asus ux301. By any chance can you a review or compare the two ultrabooks at all.

    Cheers in andvance.

  12. KAI

    November 2, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    1. Would i7 4558u drain a lot more power during light to moderate usage compare to i5 4200u or i7 4500u? I want long battery life, and I need the 512G ssd.

    2. Would i be able to upgrade ssd myself later? Since NGFF ssd shouldnt be too hard to find in 2014, maybe i can install 2 after market 512G? And make it RAID0.

    3. how the 1440p looks at 100~125% scale? I have not seen the 1440p screen with my eyes, but i know the 1800p screen on yoga2pro is not usable below 150% scaling, it is not because the contents are too small but because the jagged edge on text and icon made it real ugly, it is a PenTile panel, there is nothing we can do about it. If it can only be used at 150-200%, then it is just a better looking 1600*900. I hope the 1440p on ux301 is usable at 100-125%, small is no problem as long as the image and text are clean and crisp, like something displayed on a 1080p smart phone, small but clear. I dont pay for ultra high res just for the look only, but also working real estate.

    • Andrei Girbea

      November 3, 2013 at 12:59 pm

      1. Yes, the 4558U drains more power than the i7 4500U. haven’t compared it to the i5, but since it drains more than the i7… See my UX302 vs UX301 comparison on the site, in the battery section.

      2. IN theory, yes. IN practice, id depends on what NGFF drives you’ll be able to find and your skills.

      3. Small, very small. I’ve used it at 175% , otherwise the content was too small for my eyes. The images were crips, but I admit I haven’t given it much attention, I’ve only used the laptop at 125% for 10-15 minutes before switching

      • Kai

        November 4, 2013 at 7:00 am

        1. i read your review, from of numbers shown, the marginal battery drain by 4558U is quite minimal under daily use conditions, therefore shouldn’t impact battery life significantly. am I getting the right idea?

        2. if 4558U isn’t gonna drain battery much fast than 4500U, i shall simply buy the top spec ux301 and avoid the trouble and additional cost.

        3. you don’t have to pay much attention to notice the display quality at 100-125%, anyway it was very clear to me that 100%-125% on Yoga 2 Pro is unusable within 5 seconds, I don’t have to guess what’s on the screen, but I sure don’t like to look at it and it wasn’t because of the size.

        well, I’m still looking for the “perfect ultrabook” for me, (thin, light, i5/i7 haswell, 8G Ram, 512G SSD, RBG panel 1080p or greater resolution with decent color accuracy, 6-7hrs of battery life under light-moderate conditions), and the UX301LA is the closest to my requirement so far, and the only other one is the rMBP 13 with all sorts of problems of its own(system freeze, boot camp problem, Image retention still exist), but i need one before thanksgiving, it seems my only option is the rMBP… sadly

        • Andrei Girbea

          November 4, 2013 at 11:21 am

          Yes, the differences are minimal from my tests.

          I haven’t got to test the Yoga 2 Pro so can’t say if the screen on the Asus is sharper or not. And like I said, I haven’t really used it much under 175%.

          About that “perfect ultrabook”, I don’t think there’s ever going to be such a thing, unfortunately. I haven’t yet tested the new rMBP but from I’ve seen in stores, you get a better keyboard and trackpad with it, but slightly bulkier body. And then you have all the internal differences. Have you looked at the Samsung ATIV 9 Plus and the Aspire S7 as well? Not saying they are better alternatives, just that they could be considered

          • KAI

            November 4, 2013 at 11:37 am

            Thank you!

            I have considered both book 9 plus and s7 392, actually i bought a s7-391 9 months ago for my mom. The problem is, first, both only offer up to 256G ssd, second, screen, book 9 plus use the same PenTile panel as yoga 2 pro, and s7-392’s screen, according to some reviews i read, is not nearly as bright as the one on 391.

  13. simon

    November 4, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    Any chance you’d put a Linux liveUSB (say, Ubuntu or Linux Mint for max compatibility’s sake) and test it out, see what works out of the box and what doesn’t?

    Thank you

    • Andrei Girbea

      November 4, 2013 at 4:32 pm

      I don’t have it around anymore, sry

      • simon

        November 4, 2013 at 5:35 pm

        Damn’. Thanks anyway!

      • simon

        November 8, 2013 at 8:55 am

        For those interested: thanks to French user Zebnastien, we know more about the UX301’s compatibility with Linux: http://forum.hardware.fr/hfr/OrdinateursPortables/Ultraportable/unique-zenbook-infinity-sujet_70318_19.htm#t1387356

        Quick translation:
        – Screen OK (Haven’t found font scaling, but resolution can be diminished).
        – Hardware OK (GPU, Wifi, Bluetooth, etc…)
        – Sleep OK.
        – Function keys OK, but not “Deactivate Wifi” and “Change brightness”.
        – Battery life does not seem bad.
        – Brightness does not seem to be changeable by any way.
        – Touchscreen not (yet) tested.

        The content of /sys/class/brightness are
        acpi_video0 intel_backlight

        Have a nice day!

  14. Mark_K

    November 4, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    Do you have any updates on the release of the white ones?

  15. Andy

    November 6, 2013 at 8:07 pm

    I’m looking for the white one and i can’y find it anywhere. :(

  16. stacey

    November 12, 2013 at 11:14 am

    Is the US version latest model touch screen UX301LA-XH72T? Is a different model number for white? Do you have a comparison of this model to the Samsung Ativ Book 9 NP940X3G-K04US & Lastly what would you say is the US 15″ comparable model ASUS UX51VZ-US71T, & Samsung? Thanks!

  17. Martin

    November 18, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    Could you include boot times in your reviews?

    • Andrei Girbea

      November 18, 2013 at 10:00 pm

      I’ll try, but do these matter? Most ultrabooks with SSD boot in about 10-15 seconds

  18. Jon

    November 23, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    Hey man, your reviews are spot on, thanks so much for your help. You ROCK.

    Two quick questions for you. As you probably know, the 301 is hard to find in the US–and the cheapest model…the C4003H literally has not yet been released. Any idea when it may come out, and where, in the US?

    And assuming that only the ASUS gods know the answer to that first question, what Zenbook is the next best thing? I cant afford to wait forever, and looking to maximize on battery life, not much of a gamer… THANKS SO MUCH!

    • Andrei Girbea

      November 25, 2013 at 1:01 pm

      I don’t have any contacts with ASUS US so can’t say when this is going to be available over there.

      The Next best thing would be the UX302LG, but again, it’s not available there. Besides that, you can look at the older Intel Ivy Bridge Zenbooks, althgouhg personally, I’d rather get a Haswell device from someone else (Sony, Acer, Lenovo, Samsung, etc)

  19. Mat

    November 27, 2013 at 3:32 am

    Stumbled upon this website and watched the review. Just wanted to thank you, you do a great job, keep up the good work it is much appreciated.

  20. Carl

    December 3, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    The above Asus Zenbook UX301LA have mini display port, thank God, which the other don’t (except Acer, although their port is called something else) that’s something that should be emphasized much more. Perfect connectivity for those who hook their laptop up to a high resolution external screen at work, in my case a Dell high resolution 27 inch. Because, who will constantly be working with that 13´inch screen? Few I guess, so you better look for good connections when its time to buy. The Samsung Ativ 13´lacks the mini display port, and there should really be much more complaints about it from reviewers that what I have actually seen being around.

    • Andrei Girbea

      December 3, 2013 at 3:08 pm

      You have a point, but, How many buyers actually use High-res displays? For 1080p, HDMI will do and pretty much all ultrabooks have HDMI. As UHD displays get more popular, yes, not having DP on such a device would become something to consider. Right now though, I don’t think it’s such a big deal. Yes, for some buyers, like you, who already use 1440p screens or anything above 1080p, this is an issue, but I don’t think there are many like you out there.

      Regardless, point taken, I’ll consider this aspect as well in my future reviews.

      • carl

        December 3, 2013 at 4:39 pm

        Tanks for the reply. I think many of the potential costumers of these high end ultrabooks will, as I am, use them for commercial purposes, and in that case you will sooner or later likely want to start using a high resolution external screen (and there are indeed complaints found on the internet when people realize that the max resolution with the HDMI cable is only 1900-1080). I was initially about to buy the Samsung Ativa but for the lack of the display port i now ordered the Asus Infinity instead. I do not really know if I would use it, but on that model I only miss the folding of the lid 180 degrees, which can be obtained on the Samsung and Acer ultrabooks.

        I also would like to add that I too think you are doing a great job.:)

  21. Carl

    December 3, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    As a matter of fact, if I were the reviewer, I would never issue a top score to a modern laptop that lacks a mini display port, as you the user likely always will hook up your small laptop to a bigger display when stationary, like at work.

  22. Carl

    December 4, 2013 at 10:51 pm

    I might add that I recieved a Asus Zenbook UX301L but I have already sent it back without turning it on. I instead ordered the slighthly older Asus Zenbook UX301L (which also carry a mini display port). Main reason is that I realized I prefered the older design,semi matte aluminium full body and the keyboard. Glass is not for me.

    • Andrei Girbea

      December 5, 2013 at 2:33 pm

      Yes, I’m not a big fan of the glass either. Looks sleek, but keeping it smudge free is a pain

  23. Sen Kimsin

    December 10, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    I really want to buy this ultrabook but I need to know how well it will work with Ubuntu OS. Any idea or link would be very helpful…

  24. Timothy Lee Russell

    December 13, 2013 at 7:05 am

    Thanks for the reviews. They helped a lot in my decision. I ended up getting the UX301LA 512GB model.

    It is an elegant and powerful machine.

    • stacey

      January 7, 2014 at 11:27 pm

      Hi Timothy,
      May I ask what you use it for?? Any Graphics/Photo/Video editing ie: Photoshop/Illustrator, Web Dev/Site Dreamweaver editing? If so how does it perform without dedicated graphics, I did see on ASUS’s website, that they are promoting it & more so the UX302LG for 3D editing, & Photoshop. Thanks for any info you can provide!
      Stacey

      • Timothy Lee Russell

        January 10, 2014 at 4:55 am

        I run Visual Studio and Sql Server mostly – multiple web browsers open with a lot of tabs. So I doubt I’m pushing the video much.

        It’s the fastest computer I’ve ever owned though and so light, I’ve stopped several times to make sure I had it in my pack.

        Also, I have everything I use on a regular basis installed and still have 350 GB free. The drive is big and really, really fast.

        Windows Experience from my machine right now:

        CPUScore : 7.5
        D3DScore : 6.1
        DiskScore : 8.3
        GraphicsScore : 5.9
        MemoryScore : 7.7
        TimeTaken : MostRecentAssessment
        WinSATAssessmentState : 1
        WinSPRLevel : 5.9
        PSComputerName : OBSCURED

        • stacey

          January 12, 2014 at 12:32 am

          Thanks Tim for the response!
          I’m not sure what that 5.9 on the Graphic Score means, but I would assume higher is better? If that is the case & you are not really using the Graphics card for anything intensive such as Photoshop, what would you think it would say if you were, while still doing all of the above you mentioned? Also if you were using these types of softwares, after seeing the 301LA’s performance, do you think you would still choose it over the the 302LG (dedicated graphics), & would you still choose 13″ over waiting for a haswell upgrade to the UX51vz?

          • Timothy Lee Russell

            January 13, 2014 at 10:52 pm

            For whatever reason, the windows experience scores are on a 1 to 7.9 scale (and deprecated in windows 8.1 – you have to run a Powershell command to get at them).

            Anyway, it’s only useful in a relative sense, I think. Andrei has some benchmarks somewhere on this site and I would pay attention to those instead.

            13″ seems like the perfect screen size for me (very portable but big enough to use if I don’t have an external monitor or two available).

          • Andrei Girbea

            January 14, 2014 at 10:49 am

            Stacey, As Timothy said as well, you shouldn’t care much about those ratings. Real life tests and even synthetic graphics benchmarks are far more trustful.

            If you’ve went through my UX301LA vs UX302LG comparison, you might have seen that the UX301LA is actually faster when it comes to editing videos. The same would apply to Photoshop renderings. And that’s because the CPU matter more than the GPU for these types of software. The UX302LG comes on top when it comes to games, because in this case, the graphics are a lot more important.

          • stacey

            January 14, 2014 at 10:53 pm

            Thank you both for your responses,
            I didn’t know that the CPU was more important than the GPU, per say. Still not sure on the screen size though & weather I should wait it out for a haswell upgrade to the UX51VZ, don’t suppose you have heard anything on an upgrade to the 15″ Andrei?

  25. Bachi

    December 19, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    Would also be glad to hear how the Zenbook behaves with Ubuntu. Would be cool if ultrabookreview.com could do some Linux testing on new notebooks (and if it’s only from a Live CD).

    • Chris Berkhout

      January 24, 2014 at 1:11 pm

      Yes, I’d love to know about Linux compatibility!

    • Erik

      March 6, 2014 at 5:15 am

      I would LOVE to see linux included. Not many people like windows 8. I found this web page by googling “Asus ux301L Linux” and it only came up because of these comments. I wont be using this site unless linux info is on here.

    • Christophe

      April 2, 2014 at 6:21 am

      I actually installed Ubuntu 13.04 on my Asus Zenbook UX301LAA. I installed i3 window manager too.

      I have some troubles with drivers and SSD compatibility.

      Main thing is that the SSD goes some time in readonly. I don’t know why. I have to reboot the machine.

  26. AK

    December 23, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    I’m considering the Zenbook UX301LA-DE002P. But, I was wondering about two things:

    Are the drives replaceable in this model? And if so, can you take them out of raid?

    Ideally, I’d like to used a single small ssd for the system drive, and a large (maybe 1tb) ssd for storage. Thanks.

  27. Chris eby

    January 4, 2014 at 5:16 am

    Does any one else have a comment or experience with the sharp front edge discussed in the review? Is the sharp edge a reason not to purchase this model?

    • Timothy Lee Russell

      January 10, 2014 at 4:21 am

      I use a wireless keyboard and mouse and run two external monitors using the display port plus a Toshiba Dynadock through usb so I don’t have my hands on the laptop usually.

      When I have used it undocked though, I didn’t notice the edge as being a problem. It is beveled similarly to a newer iPod. There is a tiny dip where the gorilla glass ends and the aluminum begins and then the edge which I suppose you could call stern but not punishing. The palm rest is wide enough to fit my hands easily so I didn’t find myself coming into contact with it that often. Also, it’s really thin, so if the heel of your palm is resting on the desk to use the trackpad, your hand arches over the edge easily. YMMV.

  28. Marius Dumitrescu

    January 9, 2014 at 8:18 am

    What about the problems it have in wirelles internet connection? ( a problem for most Asus notebooks!! )

    • Timothy Lee Russell

      January 10, 2014 at 4:25 am

      I haven’t had any wifi issues. It seems fine.

      I did have a problem with my bluetooth mouse disconnecting randomly but about 1000 screens deep in settings there is an option to keep the bluetooth adapter from shutting down during long periods of inactivity. Now it’s fine.

      • Jenny

        January 29, 2014 at 1:12 am

        RE: Timothy Lee Russell:

        I’m having problems with my bluetooth mouse disconnecting randomly as well! How did you fix this problem??

        • Timothy Lee Russell

          February 5, 2014 at 3:55 am

          Jenny,

          I fixed it by turning off the power saving feature in Win8->Bluetooth Settings->Hardware->(Select appropriate adapter)->Properties->Change settings->Power Management->Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power.

          Timothy

  29. omar

    February 28, 2014 at 4:20 am

    Hey, i just bought this and I think that I have a defective one. THe fans will never shut off they run at full blast all the time even with CPU at under 10% for just web browsing. They are SUPER loud, wth ASUS! Is there any way to fix this?

    • Andrei Girbea

      February 28, 2014 at 10:20 am

      Let me have a look at the forums and I’ll get back to you. What you can do is make sure you have the latest BIOS version installed and the latest Power 4 Gear

      • Torgeir Nørbech

        February 4, 2015 at 5:34 pm

        Any news regarding this issue? I have the same experience. Contacted ASUS, waiting for their response. Can also hear a subtle squeeking sound when putting my ear to the keyboard. I am loving it (the PC), but these two issues makes me uncomfortable.

        • Andrei Girbea

          February 4, 2015 at 8:32 pm

          WEll no, not really. If the latest BIOS doesn’t fix it, I don’t know what will. You could seek the Owner’s lounge on the notebookreview.com forums and ask there, maybe someone found a solution…

  30. lduvall

    March 26, 2014 at 2:22 am

    I got one of these for my spouse. I played with it and set it up, and asked her if she didn’t want it, let me know, because I like this machine! I also found a review early on by someone who had installed openSUSE as I recall. Fast, great screen, solid, decent keyboard. I like it, and i will be getting another one shortly, since my wife isn’t interested in giving me hers!

  31. jason

    April 7, 2014 at 5:21 pm

    Hi, I’m going to buy the UX301 soon, but the thing holding me back is which screen to get? Is the higher density screen worth it? Can you see a difference during normal usage?

    But the main issue I have, is has Windowns fixed the scaling issue yet? If it remains an issue, and there is no really noticable difference, then I am leaning toward buying the lower density screen.

    Any advice you can give will be appreciated. Thanks.

    • Andrei Girbea

      April 8, 2014 at 10:18 pm

      Win 8.1 deals handles scaling alright, I would say. there are still glitches here and there, but overall it provides a decent experience.

      However, imh, the way scaling works today means fuzzy content in most apps. That should be handled by ClearType, but many third party apps don’t handle it well or don’t use it at all. As a result, many third party apps either don’t scale well, or scale alright but display fuzzy, blurry content.

      That’s why I for one am holding back on these high density Windows devices. I’d love to replace the 1366 x 768 px panel I’m using everyday, more pixels could be great for browsing, photo editing, reading texts, etc. But only if the entire scaling process gets tweaked.

      • jason

        April 9, 2014 at 4:20 pm

        Excellent reply. Now I can move forward with a clear mind. I’ll buy the version with the lower density screen. Would rather everything worked smoothly.

        Keep up the great work Andrei. Best reviews I have found. Clear, concise and precise.

    • Timothy Lee Russell

      April 9, 2014 at 4:00 am

      If you can read text at the native resolution it gives you a lot of real estate which is nice but when I’m using the built in display I have to wear my glasses. Of course, my optometrist says I’m supposed to do that all the time anyway. What does he know?

      The rest of the time I have it hooked up to dual monitors and it’s a non-issue. I love this thing.

      • Andrei Girbea

        April 9, 2014 at 12:49 pm

        Yeah, but having it linked to an external monitor kind of defeats the purpose. The idea is to use the device’s 13 inch screen and its 2560 x 1440 px resolution. And my eyes are saying no way to this, unless I scale things up. And hence, the problems

      • Michael Milford

        May 8, 2014 at 3:48 am

        How have you got it hooked up to two external monitors out of interest? One to the minidisplay port and one to the miniHDMI?

  32. Peter

    June 3, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    Hi again :)

    For this model, how does the SD card fit? I want to get an additional storage for this (Looking into something like 128GB micro SD.) From your photo and review, it doesnt seem to fit all the way in? or does it? OR should i get a 256GB flashdrive instead? Thank you very much for your help and great review!!!

    Peter

    • Andrei Girbea

      June 3, 2014 at 4:36 pm

      it doesn’t fit all the way in, half of it remains hanging out.

  33. AutrePensee

    August 6, 2014 at 10:50 am

    Why is the ux301 so much more expensive than the newly released 303? Whats the selling point?

    I am looking for a 13+” light laptop with long battery life, very capable hardware for powerful programs and SSD (no more than 256Gb necessary) but no need for gaming, so no need for dedicated graphics.
    I am looking at both the 301 and 303 but the average battery life is bad news and i dont need touchscreen or the dedicated graphics card of the 303, while the 301 seems overpriced…

  34. Tommy Ng

    August 14, 2014 at 12:33 am

    Hey
    I’m thinking about getting either the ux301la, the ux303ln/la or the nx500 but can’t really make a decision
    I’m planning to use it mainly for coding, watching movies and maybe sometimes run a game or so
    However I don’t really know which would suit me the best
    I’ve read all your reviews on these 3 but I’m still kind of unsure which to take
    So I wanted to ask you for your opinion wether that much CPU/GPU power ist needed for coding etc

    • Andrei Girbea

      August 14, 2014 at 6:57 pm

      CPU and RAM are moistly required by programming software, but it really depends on what you’re actually using. Also, mixing the 15 incher with the 13 inchers is not necessarily a good idea. Start by asking yourself if you want a small and light, or a heavier and larger machine. And work you way from there.

  35. Alberto

    October 28, 2014 at 11:59 am

    Hi all,

    about ux301-la I’d like to know if I can connet to an external monitor via mini-hdmi and at what resolution.

    Thanks

    Alberto

    • Andrei Girbea

      October 28, 2014 at 2:13 pm

      That’s an HDMI 1.4 port on the UX301LA so it should support 4K resolution at 30 Hz or 2560 x 1440 px resolutions or lower at 60 Hz

  36. Alberto

    October 28, 2014 at 3:33 pm

    Thanks for no posting my comment.

    Alberto

    • Andrei Girbea

      October 28, 2014 at 4:12 pm

      Which comment? I can’t see anything from you. Please repost if possible.

  37. bill

    December 5, 2014 at 3:55 am

    Hello and thank you for your great review!
    I have two questions:

    1. Do you know if the model with the 1080p screen is having the same troubles with the yellows as in the 303?

    2. Do the glassed surfaces feel like the old macbooks (the white ones) to the touch?

    Regards,

    Bill

    • Andrei Girbea

      December 8, 2014 at 12:56 pm

      1. No, the 1080p screens use a different panel without the same colors’ issues
      2. More or less yes. They also feel similar to a modern tablet or smartphone screen.

  38. Javad

    December 31, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    Dear Andrei,
    Thanks for your great reviews
    Between this model and Zenbook UX303LN which one has the better battery life ?
    Is it worth to pay this much for this model instead of UX301 considering the better CPU that this model offers?

  39. Topped Dog

    February 16, 2015 at 9:40 pm

    Broadwell is out but the Haswell Intel Core i7-4558U still seems to be the highest performing CPU to be found in an Ultrabook. Yes, there are 28W Broadwell CPU’s like the Core i7-5557U, but there seems to be no computers released with them yet.

    Given you’ve seen so many Ultrabooks, Andrei, would you say the UX301LA (with the 4558U) is still the Ultrabook to buy if one wants to do photo and video editing?

    • Andrei Girbea

      February 17, 2015 at 9:36 am

      I’d say yes, although the i7-5500U is within 10% of the i7-5500 in terms of CPU power and nearly on par in terms of graphics. And the i7-5500U is available in a wider range of laptops, while going for the 45588U really limits those to the UX301LA and the XPS 13 2014 in some regions.

      Still, if you’re mainly interested in CPU performance, with little regards to battery life or heat, the UX301LA remains the top pick right now.

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