Asus Zenbook UX305UA review – a solid Skylake ultraportable for limited budgets


  1. Nakz

    February 19, 2016 at 10:50 am

    would you recommend this over the xps 13? I can get the xps 13 (i5 6200u, 256gb ssd, 8 gb ram, fhd matte) for 1300€ or the ux 305 (i7 6500u, 8gb ram, 256 ssd) for 1099€. Also i dont understand why the battery lasts longer watching a video (1080p mkv) than browsing.

    • Andrei Girbea

      February 22, 2016 at 2:06 pm

      Well, you’d have to be the judge of that, based on how much you want to spend and what matters for you in a laptop. The XPS is smaller and slightly lighter, gets a backlit keyboard, somwhat better keyboard imo, the UX305 is cheaper and gets a better trackpad and slightly larger battery.

      • nakz

        February 22, 2016 at 2:36 pm

        I finally bought the ux305, I’ve been using it since Saturday and I’m really liking it. Thanks for the review!

  2. john

    February 20, 2016 at 4:00 pm

    hi andrei would you recommend the UX305 over the HP envy 13 (i5 6200u, 8 gb ram, 256 gb ssd, fhd) i can get the hp for 1000€ while the ux305 (i7 6500u, 8 gb ram, 256gb ssd, fhd) for 1100€.

    • Andrei Girbea

      February 22, 2016 at 2:11 pm

      The Envy gets a smaller battery and isn’t as sturdier built as the Zenbook, but on the other hand gets a backlit keyboard and improved IO. Tough to say which one is the better pick, you’ll make compromises with each of them, it’s up to you to choose which are the ones you can live with. Personally, the lack of a backlit keyboard on the Asus is a deal-breaker for me.

    • nakz

      February 22, 2016 at 2:39 pm

      i would suggest the asus. When i bought the UX305 i saw the envy, its beautiful but the bezels looks bigger than the ones in the UX305. The keyboard travel is shorter also. The good: backlight and the function keys always on.

  3. Kala

    February 21, 2016 at 8:48 am

    It would be very usefull to know the difference in battery life between FHD, QHD and Touch display in various type of use like you have tested in this article.
    Personally when I travel, I have bad quality generator electricity availabe only 5hrs per 24hrs, which mean no electricity during a day time.

    • Andrei Girbea

      February 22, 2016 at 2:15 pm

      Well, from my experience, there’s not a big difference between a touch and a non-touch panel, given they are both similar in terms of resolution and panel type. higher-density panels require a bit more energy, but the difference is 1-2 W between a FHD normal gamut panel and a UHD wide-gamut one. There are exceptions.

  4. kalahukassa

    February 22, 2016 at 9:37 am

    Thanks again for the review,
    Im still on the way to replace my old Lifebook P770 and Latitude E6400 with one new ultra portable workhorse and your articles are doing great job what other sites and articles doesnt do.
    Seems that “perfect” choice for laptop is hard to find.
    All laptops lack one or two of most important qualities, size, too wide bezel, small battery capacity or small hard disk, no back lit kb etc.
    Often no 512MB or 1TB M.2 SSD available and it need to be replaced by the consumer.
    So my question is do you know does this laptop, also another reviewed laptops host M.2 2280 Single or Double side sticks (S1-S3 and D1-D5), or do the expansion slot accommodate narrower nor shorter length of sticks?
    In other words, is it safe to just buy SM950 Pro and it will replace the original just like ATA and SATA drives do?

    • Andrei Girbea

      February 22, 2016 at 2:24 pm

      Not sure if I got right what you were asking, but this laptop comes with an M.2 2280 SSD. In theory, a shorter stick should fit, but you wouldn’t be able to fix it with a screw and I can’t tell for sure if it’s compatible. Also, the 950 Pro is an NVMe drive, while this laptop only works with SATA M.2 drives from what I know, so the 950 shouldn’t be compatible.

  5. kudos

    February 22, 2016 at 10:24 pm

    Hi Andrei thanks for your review ! Are the hinge and the fan noise the same as they are on the UX305LA or are they worse ? Thanks for your help !

    • Andrei Girbea

      February 23, 2016 at 10:22 am

      Yes, pretty much the same from what I can tell, although I don’t have the ux305LA around to do a side by side noise comparison.

  6. nakz

    February 24, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    andrei one question, does it damage or affects battery life if i leave the laptop plugged in even if it reaches 100%?

  7. Adrian

    February 26, 2016 at 5:50 pm

    Hi.After spending a lot of time I’ve decided to go for Asus UX305UA.And when I was sooo ready to order I bumbed into UX305CA model.And again I have no idea what to do.I “studied” your post about Asus going skylake and it so confusing with them changing FA to UA to LA to CA, or however it was going ;)
    Anyway,my question is what is main difference between 305UA and 305 CA?Price-wise there is not that much differences so where is the catch?Which one has better battery(seems like UA) and most important – which runs quieter? I got confused when I was reading that review,that suddenly fanless ultrabook which supposed to be 305UA has one,and it’s not that quiet as it should be ;)
    I don’t play games and I’m looking for nice ultrabook but since I can’t afford to get Dell XPS 13 I guess I will stick to one of those ASUS 305.Question is which one?

    Thanks for help :)

    • Andrei Girbea

      February 27, 2016 at 6:55 pm

      The UX305CA is the fanless one, built on Skylake Core M hardware. It’s also a bit thinner and lighter than the UX305UA, which is built on Core U Skylake processors.

      The Core M version is going to be slower than the Core U models, but quieter.

  8. radpilot

    February 27, 2016 at 9:17 am

    Backlit keyboards should be standard in 2016 and with this price.
    What the heck ASUS?

  9. john

    March 10, 2016 at 8:26 pm

    Hello Andrei,

    What would you recommend for a small 11-12 inch 2-in-1 machine solely for note taking – a digital pen is definitely a plus, but not absolutely required. Nothing fancy 128GB of SSD would be sufficient. No need for a super-fast CPU or GPU as the most it’ll do is some light browsing and some office documents. A normal Windows OS is a must – i.e. Windows 8 or 10.

    Thank you!

    • Andrei Girbea

      March 13, 2016 at 3:47 pm

      I’d go for the Surface Pros, but not sure if they’re withing your budget.

      • john

        March 13, 2016 at 7:34 pm

        Any cheaper options?

  10. Mark

    April 6, 2016 at 1:32 pm

    I see from other website that the machine’s hinge have some problems. is it true based on your observation?

    • Andrei Girbea

      April 13, 2016 at 10:18 am

      I know the UX303 lines have had problems with their hinges in the past, but I wasn’t aware of the UX305 series also suffering from defective hinges

  11. Deepika

    April 6, 2016 at 8:58 pm

    Hi, do we know when this will be made available in US, north america?

    • Richard Brock

      April 26, 2016 at 6:27 pm

      It is available now, at least on Amazon it is.

      • Deepika

        June 7, 2016 at 3:01 pm

        I tried going on the Asus website to see if I can get it from there, but it wasnt showing up there?

  12. Eugene

    April 15, 2016 at 10:46 am

    Good to know about that fan. I hate cooling fans. Got a zenbook prime with touchscreen. That fan wont stop even when using notebook fancontroll. And tuning the settings. Its a i5 3337u cpu. Seriously nice looker this Zenbook. But performancewise meh..i keep it underperformed at 0.77 GHz. And even then the turbo funtion behaves erratic, thus heating up the processor fast. And asus built in a very poor cooling system that cannot keep the cpu cool for very long. Seriously asus… Make damn sure you put in a adequate cooling system that can keep the cpu cool enough before the fan needs to kick in. Test the damn apparatus before selling it for 1000-1300$. A-holes!

  13. Nakz

    April 27, 2016 at 10:54 pm

    hi andrei im having trouble with my ux305ua, since a couple of weeks ago i cant close the lid of the laptop because then it wont wake up from sleep. Everything is working, i hear the CPU fan, and the keyboard lights (caps, airplane mode and power) are working but the screen is off. I tried everything but no luck. Do you know what could it be?

    • Andrei Girbea

      April 28, 2016 at 7:50 am

      Hmm, weird. I can’t troubleshoot this issue over the Internet, so you might want to hit the forums on and see if others ran into similar issues, or contact Asus support

      • Patrik

        June 8, 2016 at 12:08 am

        Any update about this? I just bought a brand new UX305UA and I have exactly the same problem. Perhaps a BIOS update will fix it?

      • jrak

        June 11, 2016 at 1:57 pm

        I am having the same problem. Out of the box, it was okay. When Windows updated itself to the new build, the problem began. Temporary fix: change the settings from sleep to hibernate when the cover is closed. Asus technical support has not been able to provide me with a solution. They recommended updating the bios, but I have the latest bios. They recommended updating the Intel Management Engine Interface device driver (using an updated version from the website), but every time I’ve tried, the old driver kept appearing. Now they are recommending a Windows reset which is a real pain. If that does not work, I have to return the computer.

      • Nakz

        June 11, 2016 at 4:54 pm

        Nope, i am in the latest insider build and still no fix. I updated the intel Engine(…) and still no luck. I tried a couple more things like turning off the fastboot, etc (basically everything i found on the internet) without any luck.

      • jrak

        June 15, 2016 at 3:35 pm

        I noticed that in the uninstall or change program window, it appears that the latest version of the Intel Management Engine Interface is installed. But in the device manager, it shows the old version of the driver. I’m not sure what that means, but that could be the source of the problem. I sent the installation logs to Asus tech support, but I have the sense that they won’t look at them.

      • PMShodan

        June 16, 2016 at 7:17 pm

        Exactly the same problem on my new UX305UA since Windows 10 updated to Build 1511 :-(

      • Andy

        August 6, 2016 at 12:09 pm

        This is a Windows 10 problem, google it, you have to change a driver on your laptop

    • Andrew Davies

      June 17, 2016 at 4:21 am

      I’m having the same problem. I thought i narrowed it down to the intel graphics driver – i re-installed the original version form the Asus website and the problem went away. Just the other day it started doing it again so i re-installed old driver again (I hadn’t upgraded it) but problem wont go away now. I’m getting very irritated by this now….Its done it from day one. I nearly RMA’d the unit but was happy to live with the older driver fix but now I stuck again.

    • Andrew

      June 17, 2016 at 6:24 am

      Right I’ve fixed it – mine anyway. I went back to my original hunch being a video driver issue. I completely uninstalled the intel drivers (vid/audio) and tested sleep – worked perfectly. Graphics were all screwy but it would sleep and wake every time. I then downloaded the oldest version of the video drivers on the asus website

      installed them and sleep/wake now works fine. Note I also left the winstat option checked too.

      Good luck.


      • Tetsu

        June 25, 2016 at 3:29 pm

        I had a same problem and I’ve fixed it. Thanks Andrew!!
        Installer detected newer version of the video driver and deleted it before installing the oldest version.
        Good luck.

      • Jrak

        July 27, 2016 at 3:50 am

        Andrew, Your solution worked for me. In looking at the properties of the video driver, I noticed that the version on my laptop was installed after I received the computer. This must have happened when Microsoft automatically installed a new build of Windows shortly after I received the laptop. I downloaded and installed the older version of the video driver from the Asus website and the problem resolved itself. (During the installation, I received a warning the I was replacing a new driver with an older version. I proceeded nevertheless.) I suspect that the problem will reemerge when Window does another update, so I’ll need see if automatic driver updates can disabled. Based on what I’ve read, Intel video drivers are tweaked by manufacturers to work with their computer models and problems can occur when generic drivers are downloaded from Intel’s website. If that’s the case, then Microsoft’s automatic updates of Windows can cause systems to fail or have problems. One would like to think that Asus support would know this or that they would be updating their drivers as Intel updates the generic version. But apparently not.

  14. Keely

    April 27, 2016 at 11:23 pm

    Hi, do you know if the other ASUS Zenbooks (specifically the 303UA suffer the same fan noise problems? I love the sound of the 305UA but wonder if the fan is a deal breaker. Not sure I’m keen on going to the Core M processor and compromising speed for quietness though.

    • Andrei Girbea

      April 28, 2016 at 7:52 am

      Well, the UX305UA is not that noisy, just to make things clear. But given how other laptops are able to run on fanless cooling for longer, like the XPS 13, I think there’s room for Asus to make adjustments here, hence my complains. The UX303UA is a little thicker than the UX305UA, so there’s a chance they did a better job with that one, but there’s no way to be sure without testing it. And I can’t get my hands on one right now.

    • Adrian

      April 28, 2016 at 5:39 pm

      Hi Keely. I had exactly the same problem. Really wanted to pick the right laptop beetwen 305 UA and 305CA to aviod fan noise issues. I’ve read a lot of reviews everywhere, and still wasn’t sure what to do. On Amazon only few of them mention something about fan being a bit noisy. I found one store that I could return laptop if I don’t like within 2 weeks. So I decided to give a shot and try Zenbook 305UA…

      I haven’t notice when 2 weeks past and I wasn’t bothered at all by any of noise that it could attract my attention, in the way that I would be annoyed. Maybe sometimes “it kicks” but I don’t even notice, hard to explain (since I do know “it kicks”) but you can barley hear it. Maybe I haven’t perform any demanding tasks yet, but since you are wondering about getting the Core M, I guess you are not thinking about gaming or doing any “crazy” stuff on it.

      Summing up, I have it almost a month and I couldn’t be more happy it.

      Ps. Thanks Andrei :) Your website was a bless for me during a research while getting a new laptop. It’s still is. If I wouldn’t bump on it, probalby I would be still searching for a right laptop for me ;) Unfortunatley I couldn’t use Amazon to get one, since they don’t deliver to my country, but I will recommend you to all of my friends in they are in need ;)

  15. luis

    April 28, 2016 at 11:31 am

    Hi Nakz. I know it’s not ideal, but it’s a workaround.
    Today’s laptops, with SSDs, boot fastly. You can try to at least hybernate your laptop instead of puting it at sleep (I assume that with sleep you’re talking about suspending it).

  16. Marc Junuel

    May 4, 2016 at 4:40 pm

    Hi! At the moment, the UX305 UA is not available in my country. Stores only offer the UX305 LA with the 5th gen intel. Should I wait for the UA model? Is there a big difference between them?

    Also, I checked the review of LA on this website to compare it with the UA. The battery life on different loads when they are compared are inconsistent. At different loads, either UA or LA can last longer than the other. I think I need help understanding how this happened?

    Thank you. Hoping for a reply.

    • Andrei Girbea

      May 5, 2016 at 2:54 pm

      The real benefits of the UA is the improved graphics performance and HEVC hardware decoding. Other than that, the hardware is mostly the same. Battery life results should be consistent, but results might be influenced by drivers. Also, keep in mind I’ve reviewed a pre-production versions of the LA and this might have caused some of the differences.

  17. Rayz

    June 22, 2016 at 6:34 am

    Will it lag while playing game such as Dota 2 and GTA V?

    • Sheldon

      July 18, 2016 at 8:50 am

      No for DOTA 2 (medium settings)but Yes to GTA V (all settings). Talking about fps here.
      You need to specify on the term lag. Do you mean latency between your network and you game, latency between your inputs and display or general frames per second. If you need to play GTA 5 without “lag”, consider getting a gaming notebook. Do you research before buying a laptop (or by posting up a very broad comment).

  18. mal

    July 29, 2016 at 2:33 am

    I have had a nightmare with laptops in the last year. Started with a 303la which I loved, ran quiet and cool, unfortunately the hinge collapsed after a month. Retailer swapped it for another which failed to boot up out of the box. Moved on to a HP Spectre 360 and had endless problems with black screen due to graphics drivers collapsing. Back to the retailer and came out with a Dell xp 13, nice machine but offensively noisy,fan would start up whenever using and charging at the same time,by the time I took it back it was coming on frequently, sometimes after only a few minutes light use.
    I have now come full circle and am looking at the 305ca and hoping the hinges have been strengthened.

    • Andrei Girbea

      July 29, 2016 at 10:30 am

      You should also known that Asus are going to renew their ultrabook lines in the next few weeks, maybe months. The UX305 will be replaced by the UX306 and UX330, the UX303 by the UX310. Might be worth waiting for those, if possible.

  19. Golda

    August 14, 2016 at 3:31 am

    hi! I’m planning to buy a laptop is this good for engineering softwares?
    how about the video card of this laptop? I’m sorry I’ve been relying on google searches and I want a lightweight and fast laptop for engineering. Big help for the reply, thank you!

    • Andrei Girbea

      August 15, 2016 at 2:14 pm

      What kind of software would you run on this laptop?

    • Nakz

      August 15, 2016 at 2:32 pm

      hi golda, I’m a engineering student who just finished the degree and will start a msc this October. I used matlab, Catia, solid works, latex, office software, etc without any problem. Don’t expect to play games at max settings, but for homework, video stream, internet, matlab and so on its perfect. Lightweight, powerful, good battery, good keyboard and trackpad, good screen, good ssd speed… for me it’s just perfect. (I have the i7 6500u, 8gb ram, 256gb ssd).

  20. Ken Barson

    August 16, 2016 at 8:33 pm

    How will the gaming experience be if I tried to run Fallout 4, assuming I’m running the most basic version without any mods or whatnot. That said, how would it run with mods added?

    • Andrei Girbea

      August 17, 2016 at 7:40 am

      Never tried Fallout 4 on this kind of hardware, perhaps someone else can pitch in

  21. Nakz

    September 4, 2016 at 7:07 pm

    Hey, to everyone having the problem of the laptop not waking up from sleep (black screen after sleep mode), I installed the W10 anniversary update and now the problem is fixed.

  22. Himel Das Gupta

    September 8, 2016 at 2:35 pm

    Does the asus logo has backlight?

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