Asus Zenbook UX305 / UX305FA review – the fanless ultraportable

114 Comments

  1. 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.

  2. 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).

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. sam

    August 27, 2015 at 9:55 pm

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

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. Janice

    October 11, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    Thanks Andrei for the super fast response! ;)

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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!

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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?

  18. 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?

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. Dominic Walker

    December 3, 2016 at 8:44 am

    Hi,
    I can't find the ux305 to buy anywhere in the UK. Do you know if there is much difference between the ux305, ux305ca, and ux305FA? Or what the current model is this series?
    Many thanks

  22. Sukruti

    March 29, 2017 at 4:06 pm

    Hi Andrei,

    Thanks for this helpful review. I am looking for fanless laptops/ultrabooks with SSD storage and matte display. Can you please tell me of all such models you are aware of?

    Thanks a lot in advance!

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