Ultrabook reviews, guides and comparisons

Asus Zenbook UX305 / UX305FA review – the fanless ultraportable

Asus Zenbook UX305 / UX305FA review – the fanless ultraportable
By Andrei Girbea - @ andreigirbea , last updated on September 3, 2015
Summary: If you're looking for a sleek and well built 13 inch ultraportable for light everyday activities, the Asus Zenbook UX305 could be the one for you. It's extremely competitive priced, as it starts at $699 for a solid configuration, it's very sleek, packs an excellent display and run's completely quiet, since there's no fan or spinning HDD inside. But there are a few aspects of this Zenbook that could still steer you away, as you'll find from the review.
Rating: 4 / 5   Price range: $699-$999

THE GOOD

beautiful and sturdy built, packs a great matte display, fanless hardware, fast enough for basic everyday use, EXCELLENT price

THE BAD

the keyboard is not backlit, can get hot, somewhat slow Wi-Fi when not in close proximity of a router, only average battery life

This is my detailed review of the Asus Zenbook UX305 series (UX305FA model), one of the few available ultraportables built on Intel’s Core M platform that you can buy at the time of this article

There are several reasons why this laptop should spark your interest: it has a slim, light and sexy metallic body, a matte high resolution display, fanless hardware inside and an attractive price. But it does have its share of quirks as well, as you’ll find from the post.

There is one thing I must stress from the beginning though, which should majorly impact your decision of buying a Zenbook UX305 or not. This is not as  powerful as a regular ultrabook, but it can cope well with everyday activities. It can handle videos, browsing, Office use, music. On the other hand, it won’t play well with demanding software and chores and it’s not going to be as responsive as a Broadwell U or a Haswell U machine. If you’re fine with these particular aspects, then the UX305 could be what you’re looking for. Otherwise, look elsewhere.

Update: Asus just announced that the UX305FA model with the Core M-5Y10 processor, 8 GB of RAM, 256 GB SSD and a FHD matte panel is available for only $699 in the United States, which makes it much more affordable than any other similar devices. For that kind of money, if you only need a computer for light daily tasks, you’ll hardly find something better than this Zenbook UX305 right now.

Update2: An updated version of the UX305FA is in the works right now, called the Zenbook UX305CA, which bundles a Skylake Core M hardware platform and promises to improve performance and battery life.

Disclaimer: This review is based on my experience with a pre-production version of the Zenbook UX305 and a follow-up with a final-retail model, identical to the ones in stores. I’ve used both for a total of about 10 days. I’ve received both of them from Asus for the purpose of this review and were sent back afterwards.

Asus Zenbook UX305 video review

The specs sheet for the Asus Zenbook UX305

Asus Zenbook UX305FA
Screen 13.3 inch, 3200 x 1800 px resolution, IPS, matte, non-touch
Processor Intel Broadwell Y Core M-5Y10 CPU
Graphics integrated Intel 5300 HD
Memory 8 GB LPDDR3
Storage 256 GB M.2 NGFF SSD
onnectivity Wireless N, Bluetooth, LAN (with adapter)
Ports 3xUSB 3.0, micro-HDMI, SD card reader, headphone jack
Battery 45 Wh
Operating system Windows 8.1
Size 324 x 226 x 12.3 mm (12.7” x 8.9” x 0.48”)
Weight 1.23 (2.7 lbs)
Extras the keyboard is not backlit, available in two colors: Obsidian Stone or Ceramic Alloy

Design and exterior

This Zenbook UX305 is one of the most slender laptops you can buy right now, with its 12.3 mm body. It only weighs around 1.23 kilos (but to be fair, it is actually heavier than you’d expect at first sight) and is fairly compact as well, nearly as compact as the Dell XPS 13 (the 2014 model), as you can see from the narrow lateral bezel around the display.

But despite these, the build quality is spectacular and the laptop feels strong as a brick. Metal is used for the entire case, even for the underbelly. The hood sports the shiny Asus logo and the characteristic ripple pattern we’ve seen on all the other Zenbooks, while the interior is made from a simpler, smoother material. Our version comes in the darker Obsidian Stone color, but Asus will also offer a lighter model in Ceramic Alloy, which should look spectacular, but might scratch and dent easier than this one that’s closer to the natural color of brushed aluminum.

Metal is used for the screen’s hinge as well and in fact the only plastic you’ll find on this thing is the bezel around the display. And even that part looks and feels premium. As a side note, I did notice that the plastic bezel was a bit too tight on the screen on one of the models I’ve tested, which caused a bit of light bleeding on the panel’s lower edge.

Anyway, there’s very little anyone could complain about when it comes to the UX305’s looks and build quality. Except for those stickers on the interior, which I for one would peel off the moment I’d take this out of the box.

But this laptop is not just beautiful, it’s practical as well. Four large rubber feet are placed on the belly, making sure it sits firmly on your desk. The palm-rest is spacious and allows for a comfortable typing position, enhanced by the laptop’s low front profile, the chamfered edges and the fact that the whole body elevates on the two small feet placed on the lid cover’s lower end, as you can see in the video.

On the sides you’ll find a decent selection of ports, with 3 USB 3.0 slots, an SD card-reader, micro-HDMI video output, a headphone/microphone jack and some status LEDs. Asus includes an USB to LAN adapter in the pack, but it would have been nice if they included a micro-HDMI to HDMI adapter as well. They don’t, so you’ll just have to buy it yourselves. There is however a protective sleeve included.

As a side note, there’s no USB 2.0 slot on this machine, which might be problematic if you have some older accessories that are not compatible with the newer standard. There’s also no DP port, thus driving a high-resolution external monitor at 60 Hz could be problematic.

Keyboard and trackpad

You probably noticed already that the keyboard and the trackpad occupy most of the laptop’s interior.

The typing experience is fairly good, although not spectacular. As expected on such a thin laptop, Asus had to sacrifice key travel to some extent, but even so the stroke seems deeper to me than on some of the other ultraportables I’ve tested lately, including the XPS 13 2015. The layout is standard, except for the tiny Arrow keys and the Power button integrated as the top-right key, which I ended up hitting from time to time when actually aiming for delete. That’s annoying, since it puts the computer to sleep.

However, what will probably bother you most when it comes to this keyboard is the lack of backlighting, which should be a must on higher end laptops these days.

Decent keyboard, but a glitchy clickpad

Decent keyboard and clickpad

Moving on, the trackpad is spacious, smooth and nicely separated from the palm-rest by a chamfered contour. It’s a clickpad, a bit stiff to press and quite noisy. The latter is especially annoying, since even the gentlest of taps cause the whole ensemble to rattle.

The sample I initially reviewed had a flawed trackpad, with a jumpy cursor and difficulties in registering gentle taps. The retail version provided a far better experience though, and that’s what you should expect from the UX305s you’ll be able to find in stores.

Swipes and taps worked fine, even when requiring extreme precision, I no longer encountered fake or palm-clicks and gestures were handled properly as well (Back and Forward are not supported). On top of these, the surface worked fine when keeping one finger down on the click area and swiping around with another, something other trackpads available on Windows machines struggle with.

However, this is an Asus Touchpad, thus you’ll be stuck with Asus’s drivers and their Smart Gesture app, which from what I can tell, does not allow fine tuning. Cursor velocity and tap speed were the ones I would have wanted to tweak a bit more. In fact, these and the surface’s overall feel left me with mixed feeling about this implementation. It’s definitely not bad, but it’s not very good either.

Screen

The UX305 is only bundled with matte non-touch displays, which is actually a huge thing, especially since the vast majority of portable laptops available these days pack glossy touchscreens. As a result, the Zenbook can be comfortably actually used outside in bright light and doesn’t have to deal with reflections and glare.

On top of that, the panel’s overall quality is solid, as you can conclude from the numbers below.

  • Panel HardwareID: Samsung SDC374A;
  • Coverage: 99% sRGB, 73% NTSC, 77% AdobeRGB;
  • measured gamma: 2.2;
  • max brightness in the middle of the screen: 338 cd/m2 on power;
  • contrast at max brightness: 330:1;
  • white point: 7000 K;
  • black on max brightness: 1.03 cd/m2;
  • average DeltaE: 1.76 uncalibrated, 1.69 calibrated .

Our versions came with the higher end 3200 x 1800 px IPS panel, and Asus also offers a 1080p option on the lower end models. Regardless, I appreciated the brightness, the sharpness and the excellent viewing angles, the gamma and the White Point. The contrast is rather poor though, mostly because blacks are not deep enough. But the colors are accurate according to my tools, although Yellows and Blues still seem a bit muddy, but are definitely not as skewed as on the Asus UX303LN or the other devices that rely on QHD+ Samsung made panels (like the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro).

Of course, not all apps scale properly on a high-resolution display, as you can see in the video, but that’s something I can live with. If you don’t, you can go for the lower res panel instead, which should help boost battery life and to some point, performance as well, since the laptop will have less pixels to push.

I should also mention that out of the box, you’ll notice some annoying brightness adjustments when switching between Dark and Light content. You’ll definitely want to switch that OFF from the Intel HD Graphics Control Panel >> Power >> On Battery and Disable the Display Power Saving Technology (and in fact the other options in here as well).

I can’t share anything about the FHD panel’s quality, since I’ve yet to test it. I’d expect it to be at least decent though. If any of you happen to own an UX305 with a FHD panel and a colorimeter, please get in touch with your results, I’d love to feature them here.

Hardware, performance and upgrade options

Speaking of performance, you should know that our test unit comes with an Intel Core M 5Y10 processor (stepping E0 according to HWInfo, not F0 as some forums were rumoring), 8 GB of RAM and a fast 256 GB M.2 SSD (Sandisk SD7SN3Q256G1002), which is the beefiest configuration Asus will offer for this series.

The memory is soldered on the motherboard, so you’ll be stuck with what you’re choosing from the beginning (either 4 or 8 GB), but you can upgrade the storage if you want to, with compatible M.2 NGFF 80 mm sticks. For that you’ll need to pry open the back panel, hold in place by a dozen of Torx and Philips screws. It’s not complicated, just be aware there are two extra screws hidden behind the laptop’s rear rubber feet.

As I said in the beginning and as we’ve seen in our other reviews, the Core M platform is generally not very fast, which was to be expected, since it is a Broadwell Y architecture with a low TDP. The Core M 5Y10 processor is a base model in this line, with a 4.5W TDP, so we shouldn’t expect much from it. And it can’t deliver much either.

As long as you’ll stick to basic activities like browsing with only several tabs opened, watching video content (both streamed or from the computer), editing documents, listening to music, chatting with your friends, etc, you’re going to be fine. However, you might still encounter hiccups when switching between the apps, so try to keep multitasking at bare minimum.

On top of that, there’s still a general impression of sluggishness, a lack of instant response, even when performing the most basic of chores, like launching a browser or opening a new Explorer window. I’m probably biased here, since I’m used to much faster computers and my tolerance for delays is basically NILL, but I still had to mention this, so you don’t build up false expectations.

I’d also have to note that the overall browsing experience in Chrome is still not as smooth as in Firefox, and especially in IE. Watching Youtube clips in CHrome and even loading normal websites still pushes the CPU to higher loads than in those other two browsers, which also translates in poorer efficiency. My initial Chrome experience with the pre-production UX305 was appalling. That was no longer the case with the final retail unit, which still struggled here and there though, so I’d say Core M is still not properly optimized for Chrome and sticking with Internet Explorer or even Firefox leads to a more enjoyable experience.

I also ran a couple on benchmarks and put the UX305 to stress with Prime 95 and Furmark. The results are listed below, and then you can read some of my conclusions after using these devices.

  • 3DMark 11: P672;
  • 3DMark 13:  Ice Storm – 26714, Cloud Gate – 2889, Sky Diver – 1432, Fire Strike – 390;
  • PCMark 08: Home Conventional – 1734;
  • CineBench 11.5: OpenGL 15.04 fps, CPU 1.69 pts, CPU Single Core 0.96 pts;
  • CineBench R15: OpenGL 18.24 fps, CPU 151 pts, CPU Single Core 82 pts.
  • x264 Benchmark 4.0: Pass 1 – 69.98 fps, Pass 2 – 12.59 fps.

 

As long as you keep the computer on the Balanced Mode, it tends to run at the maximum Turbo Boost frequency of 2.0 GHz in everyday use, when required of course. On PowerSaver the frequency is more frequently capped and the laptop becomes slower, so I ended up not using this mode much, plus I haven’t noticed any massive boost in energy efficiency that would justify the diminished speed.

That aside, the processor tends to run at its core 4.5 W TDP most of the time, but HWInfo records spikes of up to 6 W in some tests and situations. Under continuous heavy load and under stress, the package keeps its Core wattage of 4.5 W.

I initially put the pre-production model to stress with Prime95 and Furmark.

  • Stressing the CPU only with Prime 95 makes it stabilize at about 1.150 GHz and reach average temperatures of about 75 C;
  • Stressing the GPU only with Furmark leads to an average clock speed of about 300 Mhz;
  • Stressing both leads makes the CPU stabilize at around 580 MHz and the graphics at about 225 Mhz, with CPU temperatures of 75 C as well.

In other words, under intense heavy load that UX305 model overheated and throttled. That was however visible only in benchmarks, both when stress testing the computer, but also when running some tests several times in a row. In everyday use though, I could barely see any signs of throttling.

The retail model no longer displayed any diminished performance in benchmarks, not even when running Cinebench R15 for between 5 to 10 times in a row. I didn’t get to run Prime95 and Furmark on this version, but I did not notice any signs of throttling in actual use, even when trying more demanding tasks, like games.

The Core M 5Y10 processor is bundled with Intel’s HD 5300 graphics, a mid to low-end integrated solution. As a result, it’s not capable of handling the latest titles, but it can cope well with some older games. I’ve tried a few, and Intel also compiled a list of games that are playable on this chip, available over here.

13 x 7 Low
Dirt 3 23 fps
Tomb Raider
23 fps
NFS Most Wanted 14 fps
Bioshock Infinite 16 fps

I also tried Age of Empire 2 HD and got around 30-35 fps at the screen’s native QHD+ res. In conclusion, this is clearly not a computer for games, but it can still handle well-enough some older titles.

Noise, Heat, Connectivity, speakers and others

Ok, so far we only know that the UX305 is not very powerful, which was in fact expected from a base Core M configuration. We also know that it’s fanless, thus absolutely quiet in every situation, which I for one really appreciate, as I tend to work long hours into the night. BTW, for a detailed list of all the available fanless laptops, follow this link.

On the other hand, having no fans leads to a rather limited passive-cooling solution, and that’s why the laptop’s back tends to get warm easily, even when performing the lightest of activities. Run some videos and a heavier browsing session and the back (but also the area above the keyboard, on the interior) will jump to 35 degrees Celsius or more, which is barely comfortable anymore for lap use.

But while somewhat annoying, that’s just something you’ll have to live with in a fanless computer that’s as slim as this one, and on top of that, has a metallic body (which spreads the heat easier than a plastic shell). As a good news though, the palm-rest and the lower-part of the keyboard only get warm even under heavy load, so unless you actually use the laptop on your lap, the UX305’s case temperatures should not affect you that much in everyday use.

In fact, it’s worth noting that the UX305, with it’s fanless cooling, is more or less on par when it comes to case temperatures with some of the Broadwell U fan cooled laptops, like the Dell XPS 13 2015 and the Acer Aspire S7 393.

temperatures-dailyusei temperatures-load*Daily Use – 1080p Youtube clip in IE for 30 minutes
*Load – playing Need for Speed Most Wanted for 30 minutes

Connectivity wise, there’s Wireless N and Bluetooth on the Zenbook UX305, plus Fast Ethernet with the USB to LAN dongle included in the pack. Not much to comment on the latter two, but I will say Asus went with the Intel 7265 NGW wireless chip on this thing and it’s a decent performer. However, the Intel chip is not very fast. The UX305 was able to reach speeds of around 100 Mbps right next to my router, which is close to the other laptops I’ve tested lately. At 30 feet with 3 walls in between though, the speed drops under 30 Mbps, despite the fact that the signal strength remains at 5 bars.

Now, truth be told, this hasn’t drag me down during my tests and the laptop handled well even tasks like streaming a 4K Youtube clip, with no buffering at all. But if you want to download stuff of the Internet and have a fast connection in your house, the UX305’s Wi-Fi might not deliver the speeds you might expect.

That aside, the speakers on this mini laptop are decent. They are placed on the belly, like on all the Zenbooks launched in the last years and aren’t spectacularly loud or capable of pushing great quality sound. In fact, they are rather muted and lack the volume to fill up a larger room. But they don’t distort, cause no vibrations in the body and overall sound well enough for a laptop as thin as this one.

Last but not least there’s the webcam, placed on top of the display (with a microphone pin positioned just above the F1 key, on the main frame). It’s decent, grainy in most conditions, but will do fine for occasional Skype or Hangout calls.

Battery life

Asus put a fairly large battery on the UX305. In fact, having a look at the internals, you’ll notice that the 45 Wh battery occupies most of space inside the case. Even so, the Core M platform is not as efficient I was hoping.

Asus advertises up to 10 hours of use on this laptop, and you’ll get them if it sits idle. In everyday use though, expect between 5 to 8 hours on a charge. Check out the numbers below (screen at 40% = ~120 nits).

  • 3.5 W (~13 h of use) – idle, Power Saving Mode, screen at 0%, Wi-Fi OFF;
  • 6.5 W (~7 h of use) – very light browsing and text editing in Google Drive, Balanced Mode, screen at 40%, Wi-Fi ON;
  • 7.5 W (~6 h of use) – 1080p fullscreen video on Youtube in Internet Explorer, Balanced Mode, screen at 40%, Wi-Fi ON;
  • 9 W (~5 h of use) – 1080p fullscreen .mkv video in VLC Player, Balanced Mode, screen at 40%, Wi-Fi ON;
  • 9 W (~5 h of use) – medium browsing in Internet Explorer, Balanced Mode, screen at 40%, Wi-Fi ON;
  • 10 W (~4 h 15 min of use) – 1080p fullscreen video on Youtube in Chrome, Balanced Mode, screen at 40%, Wi-Fi ON.
Expect 4 to 6 hours of battery life from the Zenbook UX305

Expect 5 to 8 hours of battery life from the Zenbook UX305

The laptop is bundled with a compact 20W power brick with a long enough cable. It charges with a maximum rate of 20 W per hour, so a full recharge will take around 2 hours and 30 minutes, as it trickles at the end.

Price and availability

Update: As of Mid-February the base version of the UX305FA is available in the US. It sells for only $699 and includes the Core M-5Y10 processor, 8 GB of RAM, a 256 GB SSD and the FHD matte non-touch display, which makes it a darn good deal if you ask me. Follow this link for more details. You’ll find there both a version sold by Asus and also a Signature Edition without any bloatware, available from Microsoft Store.

The higher resolution screen models will be available later this year, for $999 and up.

The Asus Zenbook UX305FA is also available in Europe, starting at roughly 700 euro for a configuration that includes the Core M 5Y10 processor, 4 GB of RAM, a 128 GB SSD and a 1920 x 1080 px matte non-touch display. Remember, the RAM is soldered on the motherboard, so if you choose this version, you’ll be stuck with only 4 GB of memory for good.

The version we tested here sells for closer to 1000 euro, with the same processor, but 8 GB of RAM, 256 GB SSD storage space and the 3200 x 1800 px IPS screen, while the 8 GB RAM/ 256 GB SSD / FHD screen models sell for around 900 euro.

I’ve also seen mentions of some Core M 5Y71 configurations available in Asia, but I can’t tell whether those will make their way to Europe and America anytime soon.

Expect to pay between $700 and $1100 for a Zenbook UX305 at launch

Expect to pay between $700 and $1000 for a Zenbook UX305 at launch

Wrap-up

Ok, so at the end of the day, if you want a compact and light 13-inch laptop that runs completely quiet, offers a nice display and enough horsepower for daily chores, the Zenbook UX305 could be the right device for you, especially since it retails for a lot less than anything similar.

The major selling points are the fanless experience, the slim body, the solid craftsmanship and the matte screen. On the other hand, the overall performance, the non-backlit keyboard and the only average battery life might be enough to steer you towards something else. Still, $699 won’t buy you another modern configuration with 8 GB of RAM, 256 GB SSD and an IPS display in such a sleek body and that’s why this package is a great deal, if you’re fine with the laptop’s and the hardware platform’s limitations.

That’s why the above mentioned Zenbook UX305 configuration scores a 4 out of 5 from us and a Recommended Buy Award.

Whether the more premium-priced options are worth your hard earned buck or not, that’s up to you to decide. On one hand those are a lot closer in price to some of the Haswell and Broadwell U ultrabooks, but at the same time keep the same core strengths, and especially the fanless platform.

If you're after a thin and light ultraportable and only plan to use it lightly, the Zenbook UX305FA could be the right pick for you

If you’re after a thin and light ultraportable and only plan to use it lightly, the Zenbook UX305FA could be the right pick for you

Overall, I believe the UX305 is a better deal than the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro or the New Apple MacBook, as it sells for a lot less than those and is only marginally slower. However, make sure you understand exactly what this thing is, what it can and it cannot accomplish. As I stressed in the beginning, it can be a good everyday laptop for the average user that does not need blistering fast performance or incredibly advanced features, but the border between such a Core M laptop and the other ULV powered ultrabooks available these days is so blurred that it’s hard to say for sure whether you, as the buyer, will be happier with something like this Zenbook, or some of the faster, but fan-cooled options.

If you do need the speed though, or some of the other things you’re not going to get with the UX305, like a touchscreen, longer battery life or maybe a backlit keyboard, check out my selection of recommended 13 inch ultra-portables, or better yet, my full list of Broadwell U machines. You could also consider the Asus Transformer Book Chi T300, the detachable kin of this Zenbook.

Anyway, that wraps it up for now. Let me know what you think about the Asus Zenbook UX305FA in the comment sections below and if you have any questions or things to add to the post, do it, I’m around to reply and help out if needed.

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.

112 Comments

  1. Chris

    December 20, 2014 at 10:03 am

    Hi, Andrei.

    Great review, as always. This looks a nice laptop if you don’t do heavy tasks on your pc, but i have to say battery life looks disappointing.

    I would like to ask: the broadwell U models have been advertised to be fanless as well or is this a feature just of the weak core M models?

    Cheers!

    • Andrei Girbea

      December 21, 2014 at 10:04 pm

      Broadwell U shouldn’t be fanless from what I know, but we’ll have to wait and see for sure. CES in early january will shed more light on the platform

    • DavidC1

      December 26, 2014 at 10:10 pm

      If they can’t make 4-6W CPU fanless in all devices, I doubt they can do it with a 15W one, which is what the Us are.

  2. QLDC

    December 20, 2014 at 11:22 am

    Hello Andrea , thanks for your great test !

    I think the model with 1080p screen may be a better choice, I’m not sure it’s usefull to have more than 4 Go Ram on that configuration however.

    Some buyers have already received their notebook in France, it’ll be interesting to see the differences between the two models in term of performance and autonomy and also to know their feelings about the screen quality. (I think the plateform and drivers should be the same than in your pre prod unit, and that the only difference should be the screen)

    ps: typo : wifi n instead of wifi ac

  3. Harrison

    December 21, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    As always a very thorough & well written piece Andrei. Thank You for the information.

    I was really waiting out for this hardware for ages; literally checking online news for any updates daily, but now I am having second thoughts. I had my mind set on this Ultrabook, as a fanless, sleek ultrabook seemed perfect but it seems it comes at some big costs. I was prepared to deal with performance factor but really with the drawbacks of battery and trackpad, the package is less enticing.

    I really wanted to love this computer but I need better, I am considering UX303 series now but ultimately not sure if I should wait for Broadwell-U and CES 2015.

    In General I spend most of time on Chrome and battery is key for me the longer the better…

    What would be a good recommendation for an Ultrabook with this in mind?
    It must however have FHD Display, Matte Screen, 8 Hour Battery (Light Usage), 8GB Ram & Not Macbook.

    Also would anyone know if you could get a configuration of the UX305 with FHD Display and 8GB of Ram?

    Any suggestions really ashamed that this Ultrabook wasn’t just a tad better and I would have bought it hands down…

    • Andrei Girbea

      December 23, 2014 at 1:14 pm

      That Matte screen and the 8h battery life narrow down your options. I’d probably look at the Lenovo ThinkPad X240 and the HP/Dell business ultrabooks. Most other devices come with glossy touchscreens these days. If you can wait 2-3 months though, you should. That’s what I’d do.

      • Ben Sisko

        January 14, 2015 at 5:41 pm

        Same situation here…really wanted the UX303, but reading this I’m even more happy I went for the UX303LN just a month ago.

  4. Giuseppe

    December 21, 2014 at 10:38 pm

    Hi Andrei,
    I am a little bit confused about this new Asus ultrabook which, in my opinion, will be released too close to the UX303. Considering the UX305 and the UX303, the former seems to me more portable while the latter has better specs, as far as I can see. Since I need to buy an ultrabook, which is your suggestion? Are they a good choice (if yes, which is the best) or should I consider a Lenovo Yoga?

    Thanks in advance!
    Giuseppe

    • Andrei Girbea

      December 23, 2014 at 1:21 pm

      UX305 – fanless, casual use (low performance – Core M), matte non-touch screen, good price
      UX303LA – Core U Haswell, no dedicated graphics, fairly good price, upgrade-friendly
      UX303LN – Nvidia 840M graphics – good for games, problematic display (skewed colors).

      None of these are 2-in-1s. If you do want that, then look at those Yogas or the Asus Transformer Book TP300 or the Dell Inspiron 13 7000 lines.

  5. Haxxa

    December 22, 2014 at 11:18 am

    As always a very thorough & well written piece Andrei. Thank You for the information.

    I was really waiting out for this hardware for ages; literally checking online news for any updates daily, but now I am having second thoughts. I had my mind set on this Ultrabook, as a fanless, sleek ultrabook seemed perfect but it seems it comes at some big costs. I was prepared to deal with performance factor but really with the drawbacks of battery and trackpad, the package is less enticing.

    I really wanted to love this computer but I need better, I am considering UX303 series now but ultimately not sure if I should wait for Broadwell-U and CES 2015.

    In General I spend most of time on Chrome and battery is key for me the longer the better…

    What would be a good recommendation for an Ultrabook with this in mind?
    It must however have FHD Display, Matte Screen, 8 Hour Battery (Light Usage), 8GB Ram & Not Macbook.

    Also would anyone know if you could get a configuration of the UX305 with FHD Display and 8GB of Ram?

    Any suggestions really ashamed that this Ultrabook wasn’t just a tad better and I would have bought it hands down….

  6. Javad

    December 24, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    Great job like always,
    I am so pleased by your reviews and I’m wondering whether it’s possible for you to take a look at surface pro III as it’s as much as powerful of these days ultrabook and by offering more portability and of course a practical tablet form or at least it seems like this.
    So I’ll be really, really appreciated if you da a review for it.

  7. Enrique

    December 26, 2014 at 5:43 am

    Hi Andrei
    Fantastic review and very useful. I was tracking the UX305 for some months and it was a cold shower to learn it is not what I need (I will probably buy it for my son that does not need much for classroom notes etc).
    Apologies if my question is not correct….I am looking for a high-end powerfull ultrabook, long battery life, 250SSD with budget around 2000EUR Can you give me 5 top options? Friends recommend Acer

    • Andrei Girbea

      January 3, 2015 at 10:38 am

      The most powerful options right now are:
      1. Asus Zenbook UX301LA with 28W processor (i7-4558U)
      2. Dell XPS 13 with 28W processor

      All the others. The Acer Aspire S7, Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro, Toshiba Kirabook 2014, HP Spectre 13 3000 are all good buys.

      Keep in mind though that a new harware platform is just around the corner, so if you’re looking for the fastest ultraportable, it’s probably wise to wait a few months for the new devices to get in stores.

  8. Cheng

    December 26, 2014 at 9:38 pm

    Hi, will the asus ux305 comes with a m5y70? Because I think the m5y10 is really slow for that resolution.

    • Andrei Girbea

      January 3, 2015 at 10:40 am

      I’m not aware of any version with the CoreM 5y70 processor and I doubt there’s going to be one.

      • Waiting...

        January 17, 2015 at 10:34 am

        I’ve seen reference to a 5y71 model in a report from CES.

  9. Threndil

    January 25, 2015 at 2:31 am

    Hello, thanks for the test. I have a question :

    I am a student, and Im using Microsoft Word a LOT ! Do you think this processor is enough ?

    Thanks !

    • Andrei Girbea

      January 25, 2015 at 10:10 pm

      It should, but if you do you open large text files with plenty of images and pages, you might encounter delays and lag when opening those. Once loaded, everything should be alright.

  10. mitsuba

    January 31, 2015 at 11:05 pm

    THANKS TO YOU VERY MUCH. YOU ARE THE BEST. MITSUBA. GREEK

  11. Rayenz

    February 5, 2015 at 2:42 pm

    Oh Wow… People keep bitching about the “awful battery life” and forget that it’s a crazy huge Resolution! When Andrei tested the Dell XPS 13, it was a “fantaastiic” battery, well you can get same results and maybe even better if you’d take a FHD non-Touch Asus, like the Dell was.
    This PC was mainly made to last long on a single charge, ultra-portable, stylish and cheap, alot like the t100 t300 series, and in my opinion asus achieved it.

  12. William G

    February 11, 2015 at 10:22 pm

    Hi, great review! There is just one thing I am curious about. I love the aesthetics of this ux305 however I am very interested to know how would its performance compare to my current ultrabook which has an i3-3217u @1.80Ghz. Does it have less performance, same, or more. I am interested in graphics specifically, my i3 has the intel hd 4000 and as I understand the M processor has the intel hd 5300. Does this perform better all round in games? I can play half life 2 smooth on my i3 but very interested in broadwell anyway. Is it worth upgrading?

  13. Santiago

    February 17, 2015 at 9:12 pm

    Hi Andrei, thanks for the review. For $699 I am considering this laptop and the FHD Dell 13 7000. Basically I still consider the Dell 2 in 1 for its touchscreen. All in all, which one would you choose?

    Besides the hardware comparison, would you take the ghost touches issue into consideration?

    Thanks

    • Andrei Girbea

      February 18, 2015 at 10:50 am

      what do you want to do on the laptop? Is the Core M CPU inside the Zenbook good enough for your needs? If yes and you want the extra ram and the SSD, while can live without the touchscreen, I’d get the Zenbook. The Dell offers more ports, the 2-in-1 form factor and the touchscreen, plus a faster processor but also less RAM and just an SHDD.

      I wouldn’t worry about the ghost touches that much. Yes, they can be an issue, but from what I’ve read they are only an isolated occurrence and you might not get them. Just make sure you buy from a source that allows 30 days returns in case something goes wrong.

  14. Zarhock

    February 18, 2015 at 5:06 pm

    I can get it for $583usd tax included since I am in Canada (they sell it at $699cad), and have a student discount with Microsoft Store Canada. Do you think this is worth it? I enjoy doing some video editing, watching HD movies and playing video games now and then, and I am afraid this won’t be powerful enough.

    • Andrei Girbea

      February 18, 2015 at 6:20 pm

      It won’t cope with Video editing or games, but will handle HD movies fine. Still, that’s a great price for the whole package.

  15. Tobbe

    February 18, 2015 at 6:13 pm

    I’m curious about the performance of this computer. You say

    “This is not a powerful ultrabook and I can’t stress this enough. In fact, it’s a computer I’d only recommend for basic everyday activities. It can handle video playing, light browsing, editing documents, listening to music and so on, but don’t push it too much or it will choke.”

    This is basically what everyone is also saying about $200 laptops with BayTrail CPUs (like the N2840) and 2 GB of ram.

    How would you say the Core-M in this laptop compares to the N2840?

    • Andrei Girbea

      February 18, 2015 at 8:35 pm

      If we’re to look at benchmarks, this Core M processor is at least two times faster then the N2840. That will translate in a faster everyday experience, but even so don’t expect that much. 10 tabs at once in Firefox and IE with some music running in the background or a Youtube clip is doable, maybe even having Word or Excell on top of those. But don’t expect to be able to run more complex software smoothly and don’t expect it to perform like a Core U device, not even as a Core i3.

      Anyway, I should put up together a comparison between Core M and Baytrail-M , so people would know what to expect from this hardware.

      • Tobbe

        February 18, 2015 at 8:49 pm

        Yes, please do put up a comparison of some sort :)

        BTW, as I type this I have 12 tabs open on my Samsung ARM chromebook from 2012 and while it’s not fast, it’s certainly usable :)

        • Andrei Girbea

          February 18, 2015 at 9:03 pm

          “usable” is a highly subjective affirmation. I admit I’m very short tempered when it comes to computers and every bit of lag and stuttering is unusable to me. That’s why others might find devices like this Zenbook faster than I.

          ChromeOS is however a different story altogether. I have the Acer C720 and it can run 10+ tabs without a fuss. It’s a Celeron based version, thus faster than yours. I don’t have any experience with Samsung’s ARM versions, so I can’t say how the UX305 is going to compare to that.

  16. pp

    February 22, 2015 at 12:16 pm

    tks for this review!!
    indeed i need to replace my ux31a with the best and most powerfull asus ux serie. is it the ux303ln or this new ux305? asus hotline answer is: “ux305 is newer so should be faster”… !!
    also wanted to understand how to upgrade the internal hard drive (only 256go)? is it a second hard drive or do we replace the existing one? which kind of hard drive is it?
    tks in advance!

    • Andrei Girbea

      February 22, 2015 at 4:58 pm

      Read the review, it will answer your questions. And no, the UX305 is not the most powerful Zenbook. The UX301LA hold that title, of the UX303LN if you need the dedicated graphics

  17. Ty

    February 23, 2015 at 3:40 am

    Will League of Legends be playable on low settings on this machine?

    • Andrei Girbea

      February 23, 2015 at 11:02 am

      I never played LOL, but I’m inclined to say no, based on how the other games performed.

  18. Chris

    February 24, 2015 at 5:43 pm

    Hi, if you were deciding between a mid-range Dell XPS 13, i5-5200U, 8 GB of RAM, 256 GB SSD, QHD+ touchscreen (probably $1299 or so), and price was not the ultimate issue, would you go with the UX305 or the Dell XPS?

    I plan to use this as my primary work computer. I’m a heavy Word user, and PDF, and also word comparison document user. I do not care about video editing, games, or anything else. I might watch an occasional video but mostly, it’s Word & PDFs. Will the Zenbook UX305 be sufficient, or it’s worth it to play the extra for the Dell XPS?

    thanks

    • Andrei Girbea

      February 24, 2015 at 9:50 pm

      Since the Core M 5Y10 is available for $699, I’d say it’s clearly a better deal than the $1299 Dell XPS. It should handle Office and PDF files well, although you’d want to keep multitasking to a bare minimum.

      the XPS is clearly the faster device of the two, but I don’t think it’s worth paying almost twice for it.

      • KM

        February 27, 2015 at 12:31 pm

        Thanks, Andrei for your honest opinion/ suggestion!

        I bought this for my wife, who mostly uses MS OFfice and PDF files for her work. We got it for $595 after educational discount from MS Store (online). I think for the price of < $600, this is a steal deal, based on the work load that the laptop is going to see. She loves the fact it has an extra USB 3.0 (Dell has 2 x 3.0), and light weight.

        My first choice was Dell XPS13 9373; it looks beautiful, performs powerful and all, but she absolutely refused to spend ~ $1170 (i5/ 8GB/ 256GB; after educational discount from MS store) on a laptop for daily use.

        The Asus is on its way, let's hope it meets her satisfaction.

    • KM

      February 27, 2015 at 12:24 pm

      That’s the same question I was going to ask, thanks for posting it.

  19. James Monroe

    February 25, 2015 at 4:16 am

    Hello Andrei Girbea:

    I am planning to purchase a portable SSD laptop mainly to use for work which includes working on multiple excel spreadsheets containing huge number of rows (over 20,000) and advanced formulas. I usually have 5-10 spreadsheets open at once. I really like this Zenbook UX305 because of its specs and an attractive price of $700. However, I am wondering if it will be able to handle my needs working with the spreadsheets as I mentioned above. My other choice is Dell XPS13 which I think can handle the spreadsheets due to a more powerful processor however, it’s also $300-$400 more.

    I would appreciate if someone can tell me if Zenbook UX305 will be sufficient for my needs. Thanks.

    • Andrei Girbea

      February 25, 2015 at 2:53 pm

      HI James. I’d probably not get the UX305 in this case. Something with an i5 CPU and 8 GB of RAM would be faster, and even so, loading those files at start might take a while.

      However, I’m not very familiar with such huge excels, thus the UX305 might actually handle them better than I give it credit for. You can try to get one from a solid source like Amazon or Micrososft Store and then return/replace it with the XPS in case it’s not good enough. However, from what I’ve seen the UX305 is no longer in stock for $699, but for $799, which gets it a lot closer to the XPS 13 (you can buy one for around $850 with Student Discounts from Microsoft Store).

  20. Mark D

    February 25, 2015 at 6:01 pm

    Hey Andrei,

    Thanks for this great review! It is really helpful.

    I have a question, and would appreciate your help:
    I am in the market for an ultrabook. I first decided to buy Macbook Air, but UX 305 looks like a great deal. My main concern is its Core-M processor. I am a graduate student who is mostly using statistical computing softwares (such as R, STATA, etc.) and document preparation software (such as LATEX). Would UX305 be a good choice for me? I wonder whether a Core-M device can handle these tasks.

    And also, do you have any idea that the next generation MB Air will use the same processor as UX 305?

    Thanks.

    • Andrei Girbea

      February 25, 2015 at 6:11 pm

      Hi Mark. I’m not familiar with those pieces of software, so can’t tell how well they are going to run on this Core M platform.

      Also not sure about the MB Air. There’s a fair chance the Retina MBA 12 will be powered by Core M, but we’ll have to wait and see.

    • Ben Sisko

      February 27, 2015 at 11:29 pm

      LaTeX should be no problem, if you don’t compile every minute.

      How long do your statistical problems run? Seconds, minutes, hours?

      • Mark D

        March 11, 2015 at 12:01 am

        Thanks Andrei and thanks Ben.

        As to Ben’s question, my stat programs run usually 5-10 secs. I hope it will not be a problem with UX 305.

        Actually, I was waiting for new Mac, but as it was announced yesterdat, it is well above my budget ($1000) (also single port doesn’t make sense).

        Now, I am in between two ultrabooks: Asus UX305 and MBA 13. Andrei, which one should I buy?

        I like the specs and price of UX305, but I am just worried about Win OS. I have been a Win OS user for five years, and I restore the system almost every year due to some ridiculous crashes. That is why I am thinking about MBA 13, although the price is higher.

        I would appreciate your suggestions.

        • Andrei Girbea

          March 12, 2015 at 12:12 pm

          Different kinds of laptops imo. The UX305 is not as powerful, but somewhat thinner and lighter, plus has a better screen (matte) and fanless hardware.

          The MBA 13 is built on U series hardware, thus is faster, lasts longer on a charge, but is significantly more expensive for a similar config. For everyday use, I think the UX305 is a better deal, but don’t expect it to be very fast with multitasking.

          • Tobbe

            March 12, 2015 at 12:22 pm

            I read somewhere that todays Core-M laptops are comparable in performance to a top-of-the-line laptop from 2012.

            So if whatever you want to do is working fine on an older computer, it will still work at least as good on for example the UX305

        • Ben Sisko

          March 12, 2015 at 6:39 pm

          Your stats programmes shouldn’t be much of a problem then. At least if you don’t mind some extra seconds, depending on the hardware your current 5-10 seconds are measured on.

  21. PK

    March 9, 2015 at 9:53 pm

    I use my laptop for MS office, web browsing, watching HD videos/movies, listening to music, and MATLAB (mostly programs that run for a short amount of time)

    Would you recommend the Zenbook UX305?(microsoftstore.com/store/msusa/en_US/pdp/ASUS-Zenbook-UX305FA-USM1-Signature-Edition-Laptop/productID.313303100)

    If not, which of the following two laptops would you pick:
    1)microsoftstore.com/store/msusa/en_US/pdp/ASUS-Transformer-Book-Flip-TP300LA-Signature-Edition-Laptop/productID.308008300
    2)lenovo.com/us/en/laptops/lenovo/flex-series/flex-2-14/?sb=:000001C9:0001207C:&cid=us:cse:OAB9Cs:ca|Dealnews|59423168&CA_6C15C=600003960000015454

    • Andrei Girbea

      March 12, 2015 at 12:06 pm

      Matlab might kill the UX305 for you, but everything else should run fine. Can’t say for sure though, I haven’t used Matlab in many years. Still, if you don’t mind waiting and those projects are indeed small, it might be the better pick anyway.

      • Ben Sisko

        March 12, 2015 at 6:41 pm

        Same as in the last comment applies here for Matlab.

  22. Spede

    March 13, 2015 at 12:07 am

    In France for 700€ we get HALF the specs… what the hell, man?

    Normally for a thing that costs 700USD we can get the *exact same* for 700€. See, we already lose here, because with the conversion rate the laptop could actually be cheaper than 700€.
    But I’m not complaining about that. This is the price of welfare.

    The issue here is that not only do we lose on the conversion rate, which is basically the norm, but we get WORSE specs for that money!
    That’s insane. No way I’d buy that laptop here with such price.

    • Chris

      March 13, 2015 at 9:53 am

      Yes, same here (Greece). 700 dollars would be 800 euro here, not even 700 euros (still more than 700 euros) but with worse specs. Outrageous.

      • Ben Sisko

        March 13, 2015 at 2:37 pm

        Just saying, those comparisons usually ignore that US prices are usually stated before tax, European usually are after tax. Didn’t check how it is here.

        • Andrei Girbea

          March 14, 2015 at 9:15 am

          yes, the US prices mentioned here are before TAX.

    • Bernard

      March 22, 2015 at 8:25 am

      Same in the Netherlands, Half the specs and totally overpriced euro 750,00 for a brown choclate machine which looks like a toy.

  23. David

    March 13, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    I am french, they apply the exchange rate 1 to 1 between Euro and Dollar, and they add 19,6 % VAT on it that’s simple.
    So to do that without increasing the price they drop by half RAM to 4Gb end SSD storage to 128 Gb…
    But I found and buy today the best model just below 900€ so maybe for 550 you’ll find something on e-merchant discounters.

  24. doron

    March 31, 2015 at 7:08 am

    hey andrei, great review, i need a computer with a very bright screen for my eyes problem.
    is this one has it, or can you advise me about a model with brigther one.
    i had the lenovo u430p and it was too dark for me.

    thanks for your help

    • Andrei Girbea

      April 1, 2015 at 5:36 am

      Depends on what you mean by bright. This has a 300+ nits screen according to some reviews that use better tools to measure brightness than I can afford.

      Other modern laptops with bright screens are the Acer aspire s7-393 , dell xps 13 2015, macbook air 2015, samsung ativ Book plus 2015 and most other premium devices available these days

  25. eddy

    April 2, 2015 at 2:10 am

    quick question for you. I have not owned a laptop out side of work since my college one died in 2012. How would this laptop do with importing photos off a sd card? Maybe some quick touch ups and stuff like that but not heavy duty photo editing. On the fence between this and the xps13 just don’t want to spend the extra cash for a smaller sdd if the performance when it comes to moving photos around and small edits is not huge.

    Thanks for the help!

    • Andrei Girbea

      April 2, 2015 at 7:56 am

      Should be OK. You might notice some sluggishness when the files will be copied/imported, but otherwise it should handle this well enough. You’d better not use heavy image processing programs like Photoshop, and if you do want to use Photoshop, stick to an older version, like CS2 or something, and stay away from the more recent builds.

      • Richard Hyde

        October 1, 2015 at 7:21 am

        Dear Andrei,

        It’s October 1, 2015. In the $700 (plus or minus) dollar range which laptop would you recommend now? What’s the most bang for the buck? Also what’s does the -ASM1 mean on the Asus?

        Thanks for all your help.

        • Andrei Girbea

          October 1, 2015 at 11:17 am

          That a configuration series, their laptops are usually available in different configurations and each have a code like that one. Hard to say what’s the best laptop in that budget if you’re not telling me what you want from a laptop and what screen size you’re looking at.

  26. Amitav Pradhan

    April 6, 2015 at 8:06 pm

    I am unable to use company provide Windows to Go device on this laptop. Is this laptop compatible with the WTG device? I am getting the “system_thread_exception_not_handled (ndis.sys)” error. Please advise.

  27. DJ Caulkins

    May 5, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    I have read the review – it is FANTASTIC! Thank you!!!! It looks as if this computer would work well for a student who uses it largely for Word, Excel, and Power Point.

    However, you briefly mention gaming but I am not sure to what games you are referring — would it work for Minecraft, Civilization 5 through Steam, SuperHero.com, and SWTOR (online Star Wars game) — I don’t know how memory intensive those are and those are really the only four games that are played? This is much more in the price range that I want to spend — but if they wouldn’t work I guess I would look at the XPS13 – Thanks so much!!!

    • Andrei Girbea

      May 5, 2015 at 9:12 pm

      Minecraft yes, for sure. Civ 5, yes… as logn as you cram down some of the details. Not sure about the others, haven’t checked them out.

      Still, this is not something made for gaming. You buy it for the excellent price and the fanless platform, not the performance

      • DJ Caulkins

        May 6, 2015 at 2:52 pm

        Thank you so much! Then a could of final questions – do you think (I understand this is opinion)that it would be worth spending more money to get the XPS13FA? I do not want to buy a huge gaming laptop – I really want a small portable ultrabook because the vast majority will be word etc. However, for the occasional game – would there be drastically improved performance from the XPS13FA over the UX305 or without going to a dedicated graphics card will the performance on games be the same?

        I really appreciate your help!!! THANK YOU!!!

        • Andrei Girbea

          May 6, 2015 at 4:35 pm

          Yes, a Core powered device will be more powerful that a Core M machine in any situation. Unless you want to use the computer for basic activities (light browsing, email, office), the UX305 and other Core M devices will feel underpowered.

          Still, if possible, you could just give the UX305 a try and return it if it’s not what you want. An XPS 13 with i5 / 8 GB RAM / 256 GB SSD is nearly twice as expensive as the Zenbook and I can’t be the judge of whether it’s worth that much or not.

  28. James

    June 3, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    Please don’t buy this laptop!

    Got my first unit home, an discovered that the output to my AOC monitor for dual-screen use was very blurred/fuzzy. No tweaks to any settings anywhere made a difference, so I took it back, tested it in the shop – same problem on another monitor.

    Shop brought out a second unit, brand new, to test – same problem! Neither the shop nor ASUS could help. With my AOC monitor and my littles ASUS X205T I get a lovely crisp HDMI output. It seems there’s something wrong with the UX305 graphics module / HDMI driver. If you use a second display for anything then this laptop is not for you!

    • Andrei Girbea

      June 3, 2015 at 6:13 pm

      Hmmm, did you use the same microHDMI to HDMI connector in both cases? The hardware on this thing is pretty standard so I don’t see how there could by something wrong with it.

      • James

        June 3, 2015 at 6:18 pm

        Yes. Same cable, same monitor, tested twice with different monitors and still get the problem. Also tested my AOC monitor with the Zenbook and two different cables – same problem. In all cases no problem with my X205T

  29. mahoganyminerva

    June 22, 2015 at 2:40 am

    Will there be a problem if softwares like Photoshop and SPSS are installed on this laptop? :) Thanks!

  30. Felicia Hartini

    June 27, 2015 at 7:17 am

    Hey! So umh I’m looking for an ultrabook, for college purposes and light gaming (Warcraft, dota, league of legends, etc). I’m expecting the system will be running with i3/i4/i5 4th/5th gen, with maximum weight of 1.5 kg. I have a very tight budget about $800-$1000. Any recommendation? And last but not least will the m5y71 able to beat the “I” processor in any sort of way?

    • Andrei Girbea

      June 29, 2015 at 11:03 am

      I would stay away from Core M if you want performance and especially gaming. The Core M 5y71 has one major strong point: it’s fanless. Performance wise, it’s worse than Broadwell i3 and it’s not very efficient either.

      You haven’t said anything about a screen size but if you want to play those games flawlessly, you’re going to need some sort of dedicated graphics. You could also go for something like the Intel COre i5-5200U processor, but it will struggle in certain scenarios unless you lower the resolution to 13 x 7.

  31. Shivani

    June 29, 2015 at 2:14 am

    Hi
    I am a grad student who uses a laptop mainly for browsing, microsoft office, MATLAB, virtualization software and presentations. I need a lightweight laptop to carry around easily and so, am considering the zenbook ux305, mainly because it is reasonably priced and lightweight. Do you think it is a decent choice or do I look for a laptop with a better processor ?

    Thanks

    • Andrei Girbea

      June 29, 2015 at 11:23 am

      No, look for something with at least a Core i5 processor and preferably 8 GB of RAM. the Core M platform is not meant for serious work.

  32. Gracie Zorua

    August 5, 2015 at 7:32 am

    There seems to be three versions/configurations of this ultrabook (as far as I’ve been able to tell) — the USM1, ASM1, and RBM1-GD. I know that the USM1 is the signature version/Microsoft version of the ASM1, but can anyone explain what the RBM1-GD is? Also if there is any difference between the UX305 and UX305FA.

    • Andrei Girbea

      August 12, 2015 at 12:58 pm

      The RBM1-GD is the golden version from what I can tell, while the other two are the Darker color.

      The UX305 is a series name, with models like the UX305FA (with Core M) or the UX305LA (with Broadwell U hardware).

  33. HP

    August 6, 2015 at 12:37 pm

    Any news on the 5Y71 in this machine?

    • Andrei Girbea

      August 12, 2015 at 1:11 pm

      There are models with the Core M 5y71 CPU shipping in the States (and perhaps other regions as well). For instance, the Core M 5y71, 8 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD model ships for $999 in the US. I haven’t reviewed one though.

  34. Tim

    August 13, 2015 at 8:09 pm

    Hi,Andrei!I’d like to increase my RAM(i’ve got 4 GB).How many days(approximately)it will take authorised servise center to change onboard RAM for the better one?

    • Andrei Girbea

      August 13, 2015 at 9:05 pm

      There’s no way to upgrade the RAM on this computer.

  35. Rebecca

    August 27, 2015 at 4:18 am

    I am a business student and im looking into the UX305. first, is there a technical difference between the USM1, ASM1, and RBM1? im not sure what they mean.
    Second, Would this laptop handle having 1-3 browser tabs open and a word or excel page open at the same time? i really only use the laptop for taking notes,browsing and netflix. not usually at the same time.

    • User

      August 27, 2015 at 11:48 am

      I always reconfirm the spec instead of following the SKU numbers. The SKU numbers are difficult to remember or keep track off.

      This notebook is quite a bit more powerful than is given credit. You can do all of what you have mentioned several times over and all at the same time and the laptop would still be able to handle it.

  36. sam

    August 27, 2015 at 9:55 pm

    20 W per hour are you fucking retarded? W = J/s fucktard

  37. Barrpeople

    September 4, 2015 at 1:47 pm

    Three questions:
    1): If I wanted to upgrade my 128 Gb to 256 Gb you mentioned that this can be done. I have found that San Disk do not retail their 256 Gb M.2 SSD (SD7SN3Q-256G-1002) and see that it is not available in the UK via normal sources. Can you advise a suitable OEM part that is compatible with the Sandisk M.2 80mm stick and where can I get it?
    2): Will the existing BIOS accept a 256 Gb SDD without upgrade ?
    3): When finally the battery fails can it be replaced or is this glued in place?
    I would appreciate some help without having to remove the back cover just yet.
    Kind regards.

    • Andrei Girbea

      September 4, 2015 at 2:43 pm

      1. Any M.2 SATA SSD shoudl work.
      2. I can’t tell for sure, but I don’t see why not
      3. TO be frank, I don’t remember exactly, but I think it’s screwed in place, not glued. So it should be replaceable, as long as you want a compatible one.

      • barrpeople

        September 4, 2015 at 5:44 pm

        Thank you Andrei for your quick response .. I just wanted confirmation, they were my thoughts too with the exception that I had no battery knowledge for the ASUS.
        Depending on price the additional 128 Gb might be a worthwhile upgrade.
        I liked your site and analysis of the Zen and I think it is a most worthwhile notebook especially for students and excellent size and weight for University lecture rooms.
        Not sure about this, but I think ASUS is phasing it out .. not that many about for sale at £650.
        Kind regards

        • Andrei Girbea

          September 4, 2015 at 8:48 pm

          There’s an update in the works with Skylake Core M hardware, the Zenbook UX305CA. I think it should hit the stores in October/November.

  38. John S

    September 14, 2015 at 2:55 pm

    I have tested a few fanless designed and the one common flaw with smaller notebook designs with fanless is a case of heat buildup. Sometimes this buildup actually is enough for the CPU to begin to under clock itself to cool off. If your finding that streaming video is fine at first then becomes stuttering and freezes after a while. You may be experiencing this. I have a Stream 11 which I found out that the passive heat sink was not even contacting the CPU surface. The thermo tape did not even show a indication it was making contact. This also was proven as temp monitor showed rapid rise to 80C or higher and a clock reduction from 2.55Ghz burst to around 1.5Ghz or less. This is a pretty dramatic drop in performance. Given these are barely making the grade at max speed. A degrading effect of 1Ghz is a lot. This heat sink on the Asus looks better but still lacks anyway to move air over heat sink. Many small notebooks do not even have vents. I think this is rather bad design and its may be great to say its fanless. But if it affects performance its not so great.

    • Andrei Girbea

      September 15, 2015 at 7:05 am

      I agree and I wonder how that’s going to change with the Skylake COre M update and the 2nd generation of these fanless designs

  39. Janice

    October 11, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    Hey hi Andrei,

    Just wanna ask if ASUS ZENBOOK UX305 with just Intel® Core™ M 5Y10C Processor, 4GB RAM and 128GB SSD be gud enough for storage of abt 10,000 pics? and would it be able to link up WIFI (5G – Fibre Broadband)?

    Let’s say.. If I were to use it to check out stock mkt’s price movements, will it lag?? and if I were to watch online movie for a few hrs, does it mean the laptop will be super overheat?

    As my bro’s ASUS S56C is unable to connect for 5G WIFI broadband services..

    Thanks!!

    • Andrei Girbea

      October 11, 2015 at 2:16 pm

      Not sure about the Wi-Fi compatibility, but should be able to handle all those other tasks fine

  40. Janice

    October 11, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    Thanks Andrei for the super fast response! ;)

  41. ayala

    October 13, 2015 at 10:00 am

    hi Andrei
    thank you for your great review!
    I am starting my first year of collage in a week and looking for a computer for school – mainly words doc, youtube and browsing the internet. the Asus Zenbook UX305LA looks very good but it cost 749$, should I but it or pot the extra 50$ for the dell xps13 (non-tuch, 799$)?.

    also from the reviews it is hard for me to understand if I really need such a good(but expensive) computers – if I am not playing games or editing videos etc – maybe a cheaper one will be as good for me? – can you recommend one for me? my main points are – light, matte-screen and good battery life.
    thank you!
    ayala

    • Andrei Girbea

      October 13, 2015 at 1:49 pm

      Are there similar specs on the UX305LA and the XPS 13? The Asus should be more affordable. Another option to consider is the Asus UX305FA, cheaper, but not as powerful as either of the other two.

  42. Simon

    October 14, 2015 at 7:03 pm

    Hey Andrei,

    I really appreciate your review, which is very helpfull. I wanted to buy a ux305la with an i7. However, I was concered with the HD 5500 Graphics because I also want to use it a little bit for gaming. So, by coincidence I looked up the ux303lb. It has a GeForce 940M, which from what I can say has more performance and in your review you also write that it is suited for gaming. Both ultrabooks got here in Germany the same price (even though the 303lb is older). Maybe you can give a recommendation? Thanks a lot my friend,
    Simon

    • Andrei Girbea

      October 14, 2015 at 8:05 pm

      WEll, the UX303LB gets the dedicated graphics, more RAM (up to 12 GB) and a backlit keyboard, among others, but it is heavier and packs a smaller battery. If you plan to play some games, I’d choose it over the UX305LA. Just make sure you get the version with the 1920 x 1080 px screen, as the 3200 x 1800 px panel has known and severe color reproduction issues.

  43. katie

    October 27, 2015 at 10:53 pm

    Is a hard case (shell) necessary? We bought this computer for our HS daughter. If a case would be a good idea, please advise as to which one. Amazon is of no help here. Thank you!

  44. Enok

    October 30, 2015 at 1:08 am

    Hey sorry for leaving a comment here. I didn’t know how to reach you for questions

    What do you think its better?

    Dell xps 13 9350 (i5/8/QHD sold by Microsoft) – 999
    or
    Surface pro 4 (i5/4) -999

    please let me know. Thank you!

    This is going to be my secondary laptop (My main is macbook pro 15 retina)

    • Andrei Girbea

      October 30, 2015 at 12:50 pm

      That Surface is without a keyboard folio, right? So it’s not really a laptop. If you want to whole laptop experience, the XPS 13 is the better pick in this budget.

  45. hector

    November 13, 2015 at 8:53 am

    I bought a UX 305F 5 month ago.
    – installed ubuntu 14 (without problems)
    – I program, write, watch videos ..

    This notebook is perfect, unless you want to edit videos or maybe play certain games.

  46. C G S

    November 23, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    I learnt that there is ASUS Ultrabook UX 305 FA with Intel core M SY 10 processor, 4GB RAM & 128 GB SSD. The main point here is that it has ‘touch screen’ and is available at Melbourne Austarlia.
    Is the touch screen available in this model?
    Thanks.

    • Andrei Girbea

      November 23, 2015 at 2:46 pm

      The UX305FA does not come with a touchscreen

  47. Prashanth

    November 26, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    Hi Andrei,

    I am from Asia and right now I have two available models which suits my budget. Could you help me to find out which one is best ? I have highlighted difference between the two models below.

    ASUS UX305FA-FC086H/BLK FC199H/GOLD
    Intel Core M-5Y10(0.8 Ghz) ~ 2.0 Ghz 4M
    8GB DDr3 RAM (1600Mhz)

    ASUS UX305FA-FC031H
    Intel Core M-5Y71(1.2 Ghz) ~ 2.9 Ghz 4M
    4GB DDr3 RAM (MAX 10GB)

    I intend to use it for documentation, PDF reading, Music, light browsing and for watching offline videos/Movies.

    • Prashanth

      November 26, 2015 at 2:46 pm

      I may not even use it for much of multitasking. Waiting for your suggestion.

      Thanks in advance
      Prashanth

    • Andrei Girbea

      November 26, 2015 at 4:08 pm

      Hmmm, tough call. It would be great if you could fins the model with the Core M 5y71 processor and 8 GB of RAM.

      If you can’t, I for one would go for the later of the two, the one with the Core M 5y71 cpu if the price difference between the two models is small.

      • Prashanth

        November 26, 2015 at 4:36 pm

        Hi Andrei,

        The model with 8GB ram is available but it’ll surpass my budget.I may go for the second one as you had suggested. Just curious to know, does those variations in the first two models I had highlighted, really makes a difference for task I do?

  48. DD

    January 22, 2016 at 10:25 am

    Thanks for the review
    I bought this laptop 3 months ago and I was happy with it..until I needed to use one of the bioinformatics programs ..but the display resolution was very disappointing!!!
    Do u have any solution to this problem plzz??

    • Andrei Girbea

      January 22, 2016 at 1:03 pm

      What’s wrong with the display resolution? Can you be more specific?

  49. Rob

    May 29, 2016 at 11:52 pm

    Hello,

    I have had my Asus Zenbook UX305FA (with 8GB RAM and 128GB SSD) for almost three months and overall I am very happy with it but there are certain things that are not ideal. By the way, I find the above review very good and agree pretty much with everything that I had tried.

    First what I love about this machine:
    – It’s slick design and lightness make it ideal to slide into my backback and take it with me when before I would not consider bringing a laptop. On occasions I pulled the laptop out of my bag in a shop or a bank and quickly did what I had to do almost as if I was holding a tablet

    – The screen quality is fantastic and being non-reflective it works really well. The screen size at 13 inches is perfect for me.

    – I have a fast 100MB/s internet and I found performance more than sufficient for browsing and streaming. Occassionally, streaming does stop but not enough for me to get bothered and we also need to remember that it depends on the source of the stream

    – A major plus is the speed with which it powers up – we are talking literally 10 seconds and it’s up. That makes my life so much easier

    Issues that I found:
    – I have the 128GB version and 70GB was pretty much full very fast with system and a few apps and it was easy for me to add 30GB of some music and videos. Usable storage is only 110GB, so Im close to the limit much sooner than I would hope – Im considering an upgrade – either that or I need to carry external drive which I dont want to do

    – Despite advertised 10 hrs, I get typically 5 hours of usage that does include streaming. Running powercfg /batteryreport /output “C:\battery_report.html” shows about 5:40 hrs of expected usage. That is actually a bit of a problem. I was hoping for about 7 hrs given advertised 10 hrs. I will buy a power bank to support me when on my travels. The point is – I thought I didn’t have to do that. Incidently, I have seen many reviews of power banks for USB devices, but only sketchy ones of the power banks for laptops. (*)

    – I do not know if this is just my machine but running it on battery power for a day, usually means once/day or maybe once/two days, I the display goes dark and half a second later it returns with a message “Display driver stopped working but recovered” – First few times I ignored but it is a reasonably significant nuisance. Asus support asked me to send in the laptop but not having a laptop for several days is major inconvenience for me and interestingly I found other people in the internet suffering from the same issue (Asus claimed they do not know of this being a common problem). Of course, I tried updating all the drivers but still the problem re-occurs now and again.

    – the keyboard is not ideal but ok for me – it reminds of the new Macbook 12 inches which I really don’t like (very shallow – no spring in key presses). Asus keyboard only reminds of the Macbook 12″ version because it is deeper which makes all the difference

    – I have had issues with the Tuchpad – several times the cursor just stopped moving and I had to reinstall Touchpad drivers. Would have preferred not to do that

    – Also the Touchpad is more temperamental than one would hope and clicks are quite noisy – for me these are slight inconvenience

    – Another thing with the Touchpad is that using it for a bit even with fairly clean hands it looks a bit smudged – I don’t know what Apple cover their Touchpads with but I do not see that on their products. It is just a minor point, possibly a bit pedantic but still …

    – When the battery gets to 5% the machine powers off. It does not go to sleep, it powers off and it is impossible to get it back without charging. Not sure if the 5% is set somewhere but effectively it’s like haveing 95% battery.

    – Speakers are not great – OK, to listen to in a quiet place and good enough if you just want to listen to music yourself but you cannot expect too much in such a small space in such a slim design.

    It seems like I wrote a lot of negatives, but actually, overall I love this laptop because it is just so convenient, especially in comparison to the heavy machine I had before.

    Im definitely sticking with it and I cannot imagine upgrading in the future to anything other than a similar ultraslim laptop. Hopefully with these inconveniencies eliminated.

    Ok, so I wrote more than I intended to – sorry :-)

    Best regards

    (*) It’s a side issue but I would be interested in a review of at least the 4 power banks below (lightest, capacity 18000-30000mAh, all with 2 USB charging ports, plus two have LCD with remaining charge):
    1. RAVPower 23,000mAh Portable Charger Power Bank External Battery Pack
    2. ElectriQ Universal Laptop & USB Power Bank, 30,000mAh
    3. Poweradd Pilot Pro2 23000mAh Portable Power Bank
    4. AUKEY 18000mAh Multi-voltage

    In particular their own re-charging times are hard to find. Im looking pretty much for the lightest power banks capable of charing laptop with minimum 18,000mAh. Anything above 30,000mAh is problematic when taking on board airplanes.

    • Andrei Girbea

      May 30, 2016 at 8:41 am

      Hi Rob, thanks for the detailed feedback, this is going to help other readers for sure!

      I don’t have any experience with those power banks you mentioned. You should check out the reviews on Amazon.com and you can also ask your own questions there and owners might answer.

  50. Awarru

    June 14, 2016 at 2:57 am

    The USB3 hub will default back to USB 2.0 if a device only capable of USB2 is plugged in so the comment above about only having USB3 ports is moot.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *