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Asus Zenbook UX303LA vs UX303LN – which one to get?

By Andrei Girbea - @ andreigirbea , last updated on September 9, 2017

If you’ve been following ultrabooks in these last years, Asus’s Zenbooks should definitely sound familiar. The UX303 is their flagship line for the second part of 2014 and probably for the first half of 2015 as well and there will be at least two different models in this series, based on what we know right now, the UX303LA and the UX303LN.

We’ve seen a similar approach from Asus in the past, with the UX32A and UX32V in 2012 and then the more recent UX302LA/LG and UX32LA/LN. The LA appendix is reserved for the lower-end version in a series, while the LN (or LG on other Zenbooks) points towards the higher end models, with dedicated graphics and sometimes a few extra features. The same stands for the UX303 line.

Now, I did review the Zenbook UX303LN a few weeks ago and I actually like it a lot. Check out the detailed post for more details. I haven’t reviewed the UX303LA and I probably never will, but in many, many ways, the UX303LA and the UX303LN are identical. They share the same body and platform, same keyboard and trackpad, same ports and connectivity options, same battery, etc. The minor differences are visible in the specs comparison below, and we’ll get in depth with them in the next sections of this post.

The Zenbook UX303 family has at least two members: the UX303LA and the UX303LN

The Zenbook UX303 family has at least two members: the UX303LA and the UX303LN

Asus Zenbook UX303LAAsus Zenbook UX303LN
Screen13.3 inch, either TN 1600 x 900 px non-glare or IPS 1920 x 1080 px touchscreen13.3 inch, either IPS 1920 x 1080 px non-glare or IGZO IPS 3200 x 1800 PX touchscreen
ProcessorIntel Core i3-4010U, i5-4210U, Core i7-4510UIntel Core i5-4210U, Core i7-4510U
VideoIntel 4400 HDIntel 4400 HD + Nvidia GT 840M 2GB
Memoryup to 12 GB DDR3up to 12 GB DDR3
Storage2.5 inch 7 mm bay – up to 256 GB SSD2.5 inch 7 mm bay – up to 256 GB SSD
ConnectivityWireless AC, Bluetooth, LAN (adapter)Wireless AC, Bluetooth, LAN (adapter)
Ports3xUSB 3.0, SD card reader, HDMI, miniDP, VGA and RJ45 (with adapters)3xUSB 3.0, SD card reader, HDMI, miniDP, VGA and RJ45 (with adapters)
Battery3 Cell 50 Wh3 Cell 50 Wh
OSWindows 8.1 /ProWindows 8.1 /Pro
Size323 x 223 x 20 cm323 x 223 x 20 cm
Weightabout 1.45 kg (3.3 pounds)about 1.45 kg (3.3 pounds)
Pricetop version ~ $1200; starts at $649 (latest discounts)top version ~ $1300; starts at $849 (latest discounts)

The official specs sheets are available on Asus’s website, and the available configurations that I’m aware of are listed below (these might differ from region to region though). I also added my video review of the UX303LN, in case you’re interested in more details about this series.

The Zenbook UX303LA:

  • Intel Core i3-4010U, Intel HD 4400, 1TB 2.5″ 5400R SATA, 4 GB RAM, 1600 x 900 px  TN anti-glare non-touch display, Windows 8.1 – roughly 650 euro;
  • Intel Core i5-4210U, Intel HD 4400, 128 GB SSD, 6 GB RAM, 1600 x 900 px  TN anti-glare non-touch display, Windows 8.1 – roughly 750 euro;
  • Intel Core i7-4510U, Intel HD 4400, 256 GB SSD, 8 GB RAM, 1600 x 900 px  TN anti-glare non-touch display, Windows 8.1 – roughly 1000 euro;
  • Intel Core i7-4510U, Intel HD 4400, 256 GB SSD, 12 GB RAM, 1920 x 1080 px  IPS  touchscreen, backlit keyboard, Windows 8.1 – roughly 1150 euro.

The Zenbook UX303LN:

  • Intel Core i5-4210U, Nvidia 840M, 1TB 2.5 5400R SATA+16G MSSD, 6 GB RAM, 1920 x 1080 px IPS Anti-glare non-touch display, Windows 8.1 – roughly 800 euro;
  • Intel Core i7-4510U, Nvidia 840M, 256 GB SSD, 8 GB RAM, 1920 x 1080 px IPS Anti-glare non-touch display, Windows 8.1 – roughly 1100 euro;
  • Intel Core i7-4510U, Nvidia 840M, 256 GB SSD, 12 GB RAM, 3200 x 1800 px IPS glare touchscreen, Windows 8.1 Pro – roughly 1250 euro.

Configurations available in US stores right now:

  • UX303LA-DB51T$899 (potential discounts available via this link) – FHD touchscreen, Intel Core i5-4210U CPU, 8 GB of RAM, 128 GB SSD, Windows 8.1;
  • UX303LN-DB71T$1299 (potential discounts available via this link) – quad-HD touchscreen, Intel Core i7-4510U CPU, 12 GB of RAM, 256 GB SSD, Nvidia 840M graphics, Windows 8.1..

From what I know right now, the base versions of the UX303LA might lack a backlit keyboard, while the top UX303LA configuration and all the UX303LNs it by default.

Also, it’s worth noting that all these come with 4 GB of RAM soldered on the MB and an extra DIMM that can take an up to 8 GB memory module. All configurations house an M.2 connector that can accommodate an mSATA like half-size pen-SSD. The connector is only occupied in the base UX303LN configuration, by the 16 GB caching SSD. On all the others, it is free and easily accessible, as you can see in here.

Last but not least, you might notice that the UX303LA is not considerably cheaper than the UX303LN. In fact, the gap is roughly 50 to 100 euro, base on configuration, so unless you really don’t care about graphics performance or want a particular setup that’s only available for the LA (like the i7+ FHD touchscreen, for instance), I’d say the UX303LN is going to be the better buy here in most cases.

However, I do expect the UX303LA to become more affordable in the next months, while the UX303LN is already aggressively priced and will probably not see that many discounts. So in time, with proper price-cuts, the UX303LA could be worth considering as well. Just keep an eye on the available deals and choose what best fits your needs.

The major differences

First of all, there’s the screen. The UX303LA is going to be available with a 1600 x 900 px resolution non-touch non-glare TN panel for the Core i3 and i5 configurations, while some Core i5 and i7 bundles will get a 1920 x 1080 px touchscreen with an IPS panel. The UX303LN on the other hand gets a non-glare non-touch 1920 x 1080 px IPS panel for most of the available configurations, and a higher density 3200 x 1800 px IGZO IPS panel for the top one, which is identical to the one I had on my review unit.

It’s worth noting that the 3200 x 1800 px panel suffers from severely skewed colors (mostly yellows, but the others as well) and that could only be addressed with a BIOS update, but Asus have yet to deliver it, although many, many months have passed since they started selling this machine. So if you want a laptop that’s color accurate, you’d have to look otherwise. The FHD panels do not suffer from the same issues.

Now, it seems that the UX303LA is not going to get the FHD non-glare panel, while the UX303LN will not get the FHD touchscreen, which kind of limits your options somewhat. For example, if you wanted a touchscreen on the LN, you’d have to go for high-resolution panel as well, which leads to potential issues (Windows scaling problems, lower efficiency). Even so, the LN is one of the very few modern ultrabooks bundled with a matte panel and this alone could be enough to draw attention.

The other major difference is the lack of the dedicated graphics chip on the UX303LA, as already mentioned several times above. In its absence, the LA relies solely on the integrated Intel HD 4400 chip, which is not that bad, but it’s not really meant for gaming. Even so, you can run even some of the latest titles in 13 x 7 with very low details, but don’t expect to get playable framerates each time. 2-3 year old games though should run fine in these conditions. I did test a few games on the Intel HD 4400 chip a while ago and the results are available here, if you’re interested.

The UX303LN on the other hand is a lot more capable when it comes to games, both at 13 x 7 and at 19 x 10 resolutions, as you can see from here. On the other hand, the LN will also run hotter than the LA and will probably not last as much on a charge, but that majorly depends on what exactly you’ll be doing on it and whether the Nvidia chip kicks ON or not (the UX303LN disables the dedicated chip automatically when performing low end tasks, in order to preserve battery life).

Wrap-up

If you want a sleek 13 inch laptop with beefy hardware and dedicated graphics able to handle games fairly well, the Asus Zenbook UX303LN does not have a match right now. In fact, all the available gaming ultrabooks that could stand next to this Zenbook performance-wise are bulkier and larger, while other 13 inchers, like the Asus UX302LG for instance, don’t pack the same kind of firepower. But the UX303LN is not just about muscles and a pretty face, it checks most of the right boxes for a modern computer and it’s properly priced.

The UX303LA is a snipped version of the LN, without the graphics and with some different screen options. But it’s not a lot cheaper than the UX303LN, so imh, the 50 to 100 euro (or US dollars) you’ll be saving for the LA over a similarly configured LN at launch are not worth what you’ll be loosing. Take a good look at the available configurations in your country and do that math yourself. In time though, when the UX303LA will get discounted (and I’m confident it will fairly quickly), choosing between these two will make more sense. For now though, the UX303LN offers more for the money.

On top of that, the UX303LA has a to face a lot of potential rivals, and good ones, like the HP Spectre 13T-3000, the Dell XPS 13, the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro, the Acer Aspire S7-392 or the Sony Vaio Pro 13, to name just a few, which are closely priced these days to Asus’s option. And that means that some of you will probably like more one of these, or maybe some of the other top 13 inch ultrabooks of the moment over this Zenbook.

The UX303LN is an unbeatable device, but the UX303LA needs to get cheaper before it becomes competitive

The UX303LN is an unbeatable device, but the UX303LA needs to get cheaper before it becomes competitive

Anyway, this wraps it up for now. Hopefully this quick comparison between the Asus Zenbook UX303LA and the UX303LN helped you understand the exact differences between the two members of the same series and helped you decide if either one of them is the right pick for you. The comments section is of course open, so if you have anything to add or any questions, just shoot, I’ll be around to reply.

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Andrei Girbea, Editor-in-Chief of Ultrabookreview.com. I've been covering mobile computers since the 2000s and you'll mostly find reviews and thorough guides written by me here on the site.

149 Comments

  1. francesco

    June 2, 2015 at 9:53 am

    on amazon i see thr ux303ln r4290h intel core i7 5500u 8gb ram 256gb ssd abd with nvidia gt840 2gb at 956 euros !!….is it a good price? and…the problem cited above with the colors exists on all the ln models? is it a problem or a feature? finally….can the r4290h read my sdxc cards or only sd and sdhc ones? and at about 1000 eur is there an ultrabook without ssd but with instant on feature so i can get a model with more gb on hard disk but rapid as well ?…are lenovo model also good ones?

  2. Jay

    June 6, 2015 at 4:31 pm

    I am buying an Ultrabook to mainly connect to my 27″ 2600×1440, will an Ultrabook without a dedicated card be able to provide the necessary resolution to the monitor?
    I tried the UX 303 LA, it was perfect except the colour problem, as you know/ mentioned.
    Thanks,
    Jay

    • Andrei Girbea

      June 7, 2015 at 8:34 am

      Any laptop with a miniDP, Thunderbolt or DisplayPort should drive such a monitor at 60 Hz easily. There’s no need for dedicated graphics

  3. juan

    June 9, 2015 at 6:54 pm

    i buy a ux303 ln 4290 ,,supposed it s touchscreen but,,,,,not working!!! any idea?? excuse my english… thanks in advance.

    • Andrei Girbea

      June 9, 2015 at 9:13 pm

      The UX303LN does not have a touchscreen from what I know

    • sepehr

      June 10, 2015 at 11:04 am

      It depends on the country from which you buy the laptop, mine is ux303ln-dq124p and the LCD is touch.

  4. Ovidiu

    June 22, 2015 at 8:22 am

    Hello Andrei.

    I am looking to buy an Asus Zenbook UX303LB, but I want the IPS non-glare display FHD 1920 x 1080 pixeli. I have talked to someone on PCgarage.ro and they said that the display is an TN not IPS . You can see the product at this link pcgarage.ro/ultrabook/asus/133-quot-zenbook-ux303lb-fhd-procesor-intel-core-i7-5500u-24ghz-broadwell-8gb-256gb-ssd-geforce-940m-2gb-win-81-smoky-brown/.

    The same product is listed on emag.ro but whit a touch display. emag.ro/laptop-asus-zenbook-cu-procesor-intelr-coretm-i7-5500u-2-4ghz-haswelltm-13-3-qhd-8gb-256gb-ssd-nvidia-geforce-940m-2gb-microsoft-windows-8-1-brown-ux303lb-r4015h/pd/DDH4RMBBM/

    Do you have any idea about this , I am looking for an IPS FHD non glare display for photo editing and some light video editing.
    And also do you think that this ultrabook is powerful enough for photo editing?

    Thank you!

    • Andrei Girbea

      June 22, 2015 at 9:30 am

      Hi Ovidiu.

      First of all, both versions use IPS panels. I’d definitely get the FHD model, because the QHD+ panel has color problems which rules it out for photo editing

      Second, the UX303LB is a capable machine, but the graphics will show their strength in games and not when it comes to photo editing, so you could look for options with the i7-5500U processor, 8-16 GB of RAM and no dedicated graphics instead. Most 13 inchers are limited to 8 GB of RAM though, but you could try to find the UX303LA, which is just like the UX303LN/LB, without the graphics.

      • ovidiu

        June 22, 2015 at 7:11 pm

        Asus Romania confirmed that the FHD sisplay is a IPS display, so you are right about that.

        The GPU can be use in video editing, and some photo editing software are using a little GPU power but just a little like Lightroom an Photoshop.

        Thank you for the information, I will let you know the feedback on the Asus UX303LB ultrabook.

        Nice day!

  5. Brian

    October 21, 2015 at 8:07 am

    i ran cpuz on mine and it came up as a UX303LAB

    cant find any manual or anthing on the asus website for this one… odd

  6. Olivia

    October 26, 2015 at 8:05 pm

    Thanks for this great article! I’m looking at purchasing the Zen book wondering about whether to get a model with the i5 chip (more affordable) or i7 (about $1000 more). I tend to hold onto my computers as long as possible, so I want to buy something that still going to be decently fast 4 to 5 years in the future. However, I know a lot of people get ripped off buying computers that are way more powerful than they need. I mostly do Internet browsing, word processing, and I use a speech recognition software called Dragon Naturally Speaking that requires a lot of memory. No gaming, photo editing or any other graphics stuff. What would you recommend?

    • Andrei Girbea

      October 27, 2015 at 8:09 am

      The i5 should be OK for your needs, but if you plan to keep the laptop for a long time, it’s probably smarter to get the i7 and the maximum amount of RAM. I’d reckon the difference between the two is $100, nu $1000, right?

  7. Travis

    November 27, 2015 at 10:45 pm

    Hi Andrei, I came by your site roughly 6 or so months ago when I learned “ultrabooks” was a term to describe what I was after haha. Needless to say, it’s the best site out there I’ve found that answers all my questions in layman’s terms…of course, it also raises quite a few questions as well…the more I dive into ultrabook comparisons. If you could offer me a little individualized help, that’d be much appreciated, and I’ll be sure to purchase through one of your affiliate links if applicable.

    My current laptop is the the asus q550lf (laptoping.com/specs/product/asus-q550lf-bsi7t21/)

    Intel i7-4500U
    CPU @ 1.80GHz, 2401 Mhz,
    2 Core, 4 Logical Processor (hyper-threaded)
    8gb Ram
    aftermarket ssd (250gb)
    Nvidia 745m + Intel HD 4400 (I’d like to have a dedicated gpu)
    1920 x 1080 display (an “awesome” display isn’t required by me)
    15.6″
    ~6lbs
    Touchscreen (I never use it and have it turned off)
    Backlit Keyboard (I rarely use it..but I still like the convenience when I need it)
    Optical Drive (rarely use/not required)

    Side note: I like 2 in 1’s for what they are, but whether it is/not, not a deal breaker

    **I’ve had it for sometime now. Still runs great and is honestly perfect for what I need it for. However, I do light gaming once in awhile (Halo Online atm). Runs well enough for it.

    My only issue being, the size/weight. I want something more portable, preferably:
    13.3″ display (- 14″ if it has a decent drop in weight from ~6lbs)

    Now for budget:

    Ideally, I’m looking for a “budget” ultrabook. That crams what I already have (more the better of course) but into a ~13.3″ chassis, etc (I don’t think that’ll be too hard). This would be more a supplemental ultrabook and one to travel a bit better with. Likely buy used, off of ebay. So you can assume conservatively $100 – $150 off, of course that depends on the model, release date, etc….honestly, I think $600 (+$100 taxes, shipping, etc.,) is what I’d be looking at.

    I’m an Asus person, and have really only ever purchased Asus laptops (to a fault likely haha). I’ve looked at the Asus’s you have on here, as well as the Lenovo’s, like the Yoga 2 pro, Y50’s etc. I really have always just preferred Asus builds, outside of where they decide to stick the fan vents lol.

    So what would you say? If I picked one of the 303’s (but not limited to that line or even Asus); what would be the lowest priced 1 w/ comparable specs, your recommendation, etc., etc., would be awesome. Hopefully gave you enough info, and I promise to respond back if you do haha. I’d be rude if I didn’t.

    Thank in advance,

    ~Travis

    • Andrei Girbea

      November 28, 2015 at 6:40 pm

      Hi Travis.

      You don’t have many options with similar graphics power in the 13-14 inch segment. I’d aim for something with an Nvidia 940M graphics chip, whioch is going to be a little faster than the 745M you now have on that Asus, but not by much. And these are outside your budget by a long term.

      My favorite 13-incher with dedicated graphics is the Asus UX303 series. There’s the older UX303LN, the Broadwell UX303LB and the Skylake UX303UB. Perhaps you can find the UX303LN used in your budget, but I’m not so sure it’s a good buy, I’ve seen many reliability problems reported for this series and it would be wise to get something new, with warranty, and pamper it :)

      Then there are the Lenovo Yoga 3 14, the Lenovo ThinkPad 14 or ThinkPad 460, with similar graphics. But again, outside your budget.

      So, you either up your budget, or you’ll have to go for a 15-incher to get the dedicated graphics.

      If you’re willing to cut that of the list, something like the Dell Inspiron 13 7000 series or the Asus Zenbook UX305LA could be great picks for you.

      • Travis

        November 29, 2015 at 4:52 am

        Hey, idiot me didn’t tick the “notify” box on comments. I actually sent you an email, so please disregard it then haha. And I very much appreciate the reply. I don’t often come by many sites where the author is so engaged w/ their readers. Awesome.

        I know. I pamper my electronics, but I’m still worried about the ux303ln issues. The problem is I know I take good care of my stuff, so I’d hope I’d be the exception. Yeah, I’m really trying to go smaller size-wise. I know I could get “more” in a 15″ but that’s what I have now. Let me ask you this…

        Asus UX303LN-DB71T (i7-4510/12gb ram) vs. Asus UX305LA (i5-5200U/8gb). Which would you pick? Or maybe you’d go with an M-5Y10 processor? I realize we have different needs, etc., etc., but generally speaking…which one?

        And thanks again. Very much appreciate it.

        • Travis

          November 29, 2015 at 4:58 am

          And let me add this…for the price of the UX303LN-DB71T…let’s say priced used at ~$650, is there anything I could really get better for the price? Better in terms of performance and w/ dedicated graphics?

          • Andrei Girbea

            November 29, 2015 at 10:07 am

            Not in the 13 or 14 inch segment.

        • Andrei Girbea

          November 29, 2015 at 10:07 am

          The UX305LA lacks the dedicated graphics, so I’d guess that’s not an option. And no, the Core M hardware is clearly not an option unless you want a computer for basic use.

          One thing to keep in mind about the UX303LN are the skewed colors. You might want to read about this. The yellows are mustardy green on its screen and there’s no way to address that, so if you need accurate colors, you’ll have to look elsewhere.

          • Travis

            November 29, 2015 at 6:58 pm

            Appreciate that again. Per the color/resolution issue, I’m referencing this reddit post as a possible fix, at least to some extent hopefully.

            reddit.com/r/UltraBooks/comments/2eujwn/if_youre_considering_the_asus_ux303ln/

            And it looks like there’s some updates/executables to run to help w/ the issue. I haven’t done a whole lot of research into the efficacy, safety, etc, of the downloads (I don’t run anything without knowing the source, files, etc.,), but there may be something there. And if you still have one for yourself (not sure if you ever get to keep the testers), but it may help you out as well if you still run on yours/variations of the ux303.

          • Andrei Girbea

            November 29, 2015 at 8:45 pm

            I don’t keep the review units, no, so I don’t have this around to test the solution. This might work, I wasn’t aware of the fix. Go through the post on the forum and see what others have to say.

  8. Travis

    November 29, 2015 at 8:35 pm

    Sorry, I’m blowing up your comment section lol. But let me ask this pertaining to the ux303(ln) and the hinge issue. Outside of maybe limiting the open/close of the screen, not picking it up by the screen, etc…is there anything I could purchase additionally that would better protect it from damage? I’d assume 100% NO, but maybe there’s something that could be done internally/externally to prevent it from weakening to the point of breaking. Not holding my breath on this question lol.

    • Andrei Girbea

      November 29, 2015 at 9:26 pm

      Well, not really. I’d be careful about never pulling the screen on and off from the corners; grab it from the middle instead. Also about not pushing it too hard on the back, beyond the hinge’s maximum opening angle.

      I can’t really explain why that hinge shatters. I’ve been in contact with a few users who went through that problem and everyone said they took really good care of the laptop and the hinge just broke out of the blue. That for me is hard to understand, so either they were not completely honest, or there’s just something wrong with the mechanism.

      • Travis

        November 30, 2015 at 4:11 pm

        Yeah, that’s what I was thinking…per the hinge issue. To be honest, it sucks that a seemingly ~great ultrabook (ux303ln/12gb) considering the price, is plagued with an issue like this. And price, as in today’s market price…lowest I found is a newegg refurb for $640 (free shipping)…if I went that route, I’m debating if purchasing an extended 1 or 2 year warranty would be a viable option. I still have a bit more reading on the warranty topic to determine what’s what with newegg and/or Asus in the seemingly likely event it could happen to me. Well, you’ve certainly gained a reader in me. I just subscribed. Thanks again! You really helped me out a lot.

  9. Travis

    December 8, 2015 at 11:38 pm

    Update.

    Alright Andrei, I actually ended up with 2 asus ux303’s. A ux303LN(-DB71T) and a ux303LB. One i7-5500, the other, an i7-4510u. The i7-4510u was refurbished, while the other was not. I got considerably good deals on both. I can tell you without doubt, that the hinge is still an issue. It’s far more loose on the non-refurb (ux303LB), than it is on the refurbished. But there is a video on tightening it up a bit, that I’ll try, regardless if it voids the warranty. Frankly, the Asus horror stories are enough to keep be from bothering with it all.

    The video is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EAP-NwyE4H4

    The yellows are definitely like “mustard”. I just wish I had one QHD (which I do), and an FHD to test out the difference.

  10. eduardo

    August 22, 2016 at 11:51 pm

    Hi and thanks for your reviews! Do you know how to know which of the actual Zenbooks will come with an IPS display? I guess the MODEL NUMBER should have a clue. Thanks!

  11. Jack

    October 15, 2017 at 10:56 pm

    Be aware of buying any ux303 series zenbook .Week and poorly designed hinges
    will crack after few months of use.

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