Hi. We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. We do not collect your personal data.  I agree  Find out more  About cookies

Asus Zenbooks UX303UB, UX303UA, UX305UA and UX305CA released, with Skylake onboard

By Andrei Girbea , last updated on February 17, 2016

Most manufacturers will update their existing ultrabooks to Skylake this Fall and word on the street is they’ll have them in stores around October-November.

Asus have yet to release any official details on their plans, but I do know they are working on a few different devices, both in the Zenbook and the Transformer Book families. I’ll tell you a few things about some of these models in the following rows.

I can’t comment on performance and how exactly these Skylake versions will fare against the Broadwell variants just yet, but I do expect a significant performance boost over the Haswell versions (roughly 25% improvements in CPU benchmarks and a much bigger difference in anything graphics related), corroborated with a slight bump in efficiency, translated in longer runtimes.

Asus Zenbook UX303UB

The Zenbook UX303LN has been an great option for those looking at a sleek 13-incher with dedicated graphics in the last year and a half. It was briefly followed by a Zenbook UX303LB series, with Broadwell processors and the end of 2015 brought the new iteration, the Zenbook UX303UB.

This one pairs an Intel Core i7-6500U processor with up to 12 GB of RAM, SSD storage (on a 2.5″ bay that’s easy to upgrade if needed) and an Nvidia 940M graphics chip, while retaining the same chassis and the screen from its predecessors. That’s something to keep in mind, since the 3200 x 1800 px display is known for its colors issues and the hinge mechanism has proven fragile over the time, and those are the main reasons I personally would have expected a completely revamped design. My detailed review of the Zenbook UX303LN tells you more about these aspects, as well as all the other things you should know before buying one of these UX303s.

Performance wise, the Zenbook UX303UB is going to be a solid multimedia machine, capable of dealing with most everyday activities and work-related activities as well. The screen however kills it for photographers/videographers and anyone else who would require a color-accurate panel.

The UX303UB carries on from the popular UX303LN, but it's less impressive today than it was back in 2013, when this line was initially revealed

The UX303UB carries on from the popular UX303LN, but it’s less impressive today than it was back in 2013, when this line was initially revealed

Many of you would be interested in this one’s gaming abilities and it will be able to run some games, but don’t expect it to handle the latest titles smoothly. The Nvidia 940M is a low to mid-level dedicated chip at best and only a minor update of the Nvidia 840M chip used on the original UX303. In other words, while games have come a long way in the last two years, this Zenbook has stalled and is only a minorly improved version of the model launched in 2013, at least when it comes to the graphics chip inside. Thus if you need a truly capable gaming ultraportable, you’ll have to look elsewhere.

Regardless, the Zenbook UX303UB is expected to make its debut in stores around October, with an MSRP of $1299 in the US and about 1300 EUR over here across the pond, for configurations with the Core i7 Skylake CPU, 12 GB of RAM, 256 or 512 GB SSDs and the Nvidia graphics. Follow this link for more details and potential discounts. Cheaper versions might be available in some regions and personally I would aim for the model with a FullHD display, which is imo better suited for such a device.

The Zenbook UX303UA is similar to the UX303UB in most ways, except for the fact that it comes with a touchscreen and does not get the dedicated Nvidia graphics. On the other hand, it’s much more affordable, with a Core i5-6200U configuration with 8 GB of RAM and a 256 GB SSD selling for under $900 these days. Follow this link for more details.

Asus Zenbook UX305UA

Update: My full review of the Zenbook UX305UA is available over here.

A few months ago Asus announced a brand new Broadwell-U machine, the Zenbook UX305LA, which we already analysed in this post. It is mostly built on the UX305FA’s chassis and inherits most of its traits (including the matte display and the non-backlit keyboard), but ccomes with a slightly thicker body in order to accommodate the more powerful hardware and a bigger battery. This model has been available in stores around Europe and some parts of Asia for the last month and has recently made its way to the US as well.

The Zenbook UX305UA will replace the UX305LA series in the months to come and the Skylake internals are going to be the only difference between the two.

The Zenbook UX305UA will be available with either Intel Core i5-6200U or Core i7-6500U processors, 4 or 8 GB of RAM (non upgradeable), M.2 SSD storage and a matte non-touch 13.3-inch FHD IPS display. I expect competitive configurations with the Core i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage to sell for around $900 at launch, which is going to be about $100 more expensive than the existing Broadwell model.

The Zenbook UX305FA puts Skylake hardware in a sleek and affordable package

The Zenbook UX305FA puts Skylake hardware in a sleek and affordable package

There’s no word on an updated Zenbook UX303LA so far, but I’d expect Asus to bump that model to Skylake as well, in order to have a premium 13-incher with updated hardware and a touchscreen in their offer as well, since the UX305UA is only going to be available with the matte non-touch screen.

Asus Zenbook UX305CA

This one is the updated version of the popular Zenbook UX305FA series and it’s going to be built on a Skylake-Y platform, or in other words the updated Core M hardware.

The UX305FA has been a great buy in the last months, mostly because it is a fanless, sleek and nicely built 13-inch ultrabook, but especially because it had a great price: $699 (and even less) for a configuration that includes a Core M-5Y10c processor, 8 GB of RAM, 256 GB SSD, 1080P matte display. We reviewed the UX305FA a while ago and this post is going to tell you all there is to know about it.

The Zenbook UX305CA promises to address the two issues I had with its predecessor: everyday performance and battery life, but how are these going to translate in everyday use, that remain to be seen once the final products become available and we get to test them.

For now, we do know that Asus will offer at least two UX305CA versions, a base model with a Core M 6Y30 processor, 4 (or 8 GB in some regions) of RAM, a 128 GB (or 256 GB) SSD and a 1920 x 1080 px display, that should sell for around 799 Euro (or $799 in the US), and higher end version with a Core M 6Y54 processor, 8 GB of RAM, a 256 GB (or 512 GB) SSD and the 3200 x 1800 px display, expected to go for roughly 1G.

The Zenbook UX305CA promises to address the poor performance and subpar battery life with the upgrade to Skylake Core M hardware

The Zenbook UX305CA promises to address the poor performance and subpar battery life with the upgrade to Skylake Core M hardware

You might wonder why there are two options for the RAM and storage on these models? Well, that’s because the European versions of the previous model, the UX305FA, were not as good as their American counterparts. In other words, while the base model in the US came with 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB SSD for $699, the base model in Europe came with only 4 GB of RAM and a 128 GB SSD for 699 euro, which made this laptop far less attractive over here, across the pond.

There’s no way to know whether Asus will take the same approach for the Skylake update, but there’s a chance they will. We’ll see.

Asus Transformer Book Flip series

Last but not least Asus are going to work on updating their Transformer Boom Flip series to Skylake, and that includes the 13-inch TP300 and the 15-6-inch TP500 models.  I’d expect to see the new models in store around October/November as well, with Core i5/i7 processors and various amounts of storage and RAM, plus optional Nvidia GT 900 dedicated graphics chips.

If you don’t know what to expect from the Flips, they are affordable 2-in-1 convertibles with a Yoga-like form factor. Check out my review of the TP300 over here and of the TP500 via this other link for more details on these two models.

Wrap-up

Long story short, Asus will update most of their important series to Skylake in the following months, while gradually rolling down the curtains on their Haswell and Broadwell versions. The new models should translate in slight bumps in performance and battery life over their predecessors and should be the go-to options if you’re looking for a brand new machine this year, unless you can find the older models with some hard-to-pass-by discounts.

But while the UX305CA and the UX305UA are recent models that should be able to face the competition with success, especially with the help of Asus’s aggressive pricing policy, I do feel the Zenbook UX303UB and the Transformer Book Flips need a major rehauling in the near future if they’re to remains competitive. Hopefully we’ll start seeing some brand new designs at the beginning of 2016.

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.

104 Comments

  1. Jack Hix

    August 27, 2015 at 9:03 pm

    Any word on the inclusion of USB-C ports or memory expansion options (e.g. 16 GB DIMM support)?

    • Andrei Girbea

      August 27, 2015 at 9:54 pm

      There’s not going to be an USB-C port on these models, since they are going to be identical to their predecessors, and I don’t think they’ll be able to get 16 GB DIMMs either, but that’s yet to be confirmed.

      • Nox

        October 9, 2015 at 9:29 am

        On their official homepage they are talking about the usb charger+ technology as a feature for one of the usb slots

  2. Raphael

    August 28, 2015 at 11:38 pm

    Thank you Andrei for this information.

    You guys are the first to provide some good insights about the market that help buyers decide what and when to buy.

    Still hesitating to get a UX305LA or wait for a UX305UA. Beautiful machines. The notebook we were waiting for.

    Also curious to see how the new generation of Core M perform. Fanless looks exciting even if I think I need more power. Nothing is more frustrating than a PC struggling to run smoothly.

    If, as intel claims, Skylake provide a significant boost in graphics, it can be worth the wait. Even if I am very tempted to get a broadwell i5/8go/256go right now for 900€ (instead of 1000€). Same configuration can come just 100 more in skylake in one or two month, it’s worth the wait!

    Do you think UX305UA i5/8go/256go will be around 1000€ like the broadwell version (if it is 900 dollars) ?

    • Andrei Girbea

      August 29, 2015 at 9:38 am

      Yes, I’d expect it to match the UX305LA price wise. I’m looking forward to getting myself a fanless laptop too, but I don’t think the technology is powerful enough yet. IN two year’s time though… no more fans :)

      • Raphael

        September 8, 2015 at 8:48 am

        Totally agree with you and the timeline.

        Exciting times upon us :)

  3. Darin

    August 30, 2015 at 9:24 pm

    Hey, thanks for being such a great resource! This site has helped me so much with narrowing down what I want and understanding things better! The level of detail and consistency here is really really nice!

    I really like the UX305LA. Only two things bother me. Not having a backlit keyboard seems a bit dated. And it would’ve been nice, if they weren’t going to include a DisplayPort, to have a full sized HDMI connector. I wish the UX305UA would have addressed those problems… they seem like really simple things.

    I think if Asus made the matte screen available on more models things would be a bit easier for me as I do prefer that, but I know you can’t have everything (upgradable RAM/SSD/Battery even if it does require a little work I think would be nice if I’m asking for everything :p). Glass screens do look more vivid, but I think matte is way more practical which is a shame because they’re getting harder and harder to find.

  4. fokka

    September 7, 2015 at 8:49 pm

    i hope the 305ua also gets a backlit keyboard and will be available in an i5/8gb/512gb/1080p variant. i don’t need an i7 or a 1800p screen (like on the 305ca), but i want more than the 250gb of storage i am currently limited to and i also don’t want to miss a backlit keyboard. as every year, asus has the chance to make the perfect laptop, and as every year we will see if they really nail it this time.

    • Raphael

      September 8, 2015 at 8:51 am

      It won’t. It was shown at IFA and there is no backlit keyboard.

      I don’t think there will be a 512go ssd version. i5/8gb/256gb/1080p is the main config I think so no problem. But I do think there is the possibility to change the ssd with a bigger (and potentially better than stock one) M.2 SSD.

  5. ZOR

    September 19, 2015 at 10:24 am

    Hey, thank you for this review! I wonder if someone can tell me which device is better: the ASUS 303lb or the HP Spectre x360? I will use it mainly for writing, internet research and some photo editing. Sometimes I would like to play some games though, but this not that important. Thanks for your help!

    • Andrei Girbea

      September 19, 2015 at 2:20 pm

      If you’re not into games, I’d rather get the HP. It’s a 2-in-1, has a larger battery and a better keyboard.

  6. dan

    September 21, 2015 at 10:08 am

    And UX501???

  7. leeroy

    October 1, 2015 at 12:50 am

    they are selling the ux303ub at costco for sale

  8. Maged

    October 9, 2015 at 12:44 am

    Thanks Andrei for the wonderful article! I postponed my plan to buy a Zenbook UX305LA after reading your article to get the UX305UA instead because of the interesting refresh with the newer skylake CPU. I just wish to know if there’s any approximate date for its release since I’ll be staying in Switzerland until the 1st of December and I’m going to order it from USA Amazon (to have the English keyboard). I’m worried that I’ll return to my country, Egypt, without having the chance of getting it :(. Having it from USA to Egypt ‘ll make it far more expensive for me because of extra taxes so I hope I can catch the chance while I’m in Switzerland!

  9. Martin

    October 9, 2015 at 11:26 am

    3 new series all the same except of the exterior and all equally rubbish…. shame I had expected the skylake to shake things up a bit.
    Seems these guys can get off having tens of laptops that are all efectively the same thing.

    Give me an 14″ 32GB i7, with 360deg hinge and I’ll upgrade, till then stop wasting my time.

  10. Henrik

    October 13, 2015 at 8:12 pm

    Really interesting laptops, I’ve been putting off the purchase of my next laptop because I’m interested to see what the Skylake can bring. One question I’d like to get answered: Do you think these models come with a possibility to install some other OS than Windows 10? I don’t feel really comfortable with windows 10 yet, so I’d like to have something else eg. Win 8.1.

    • Andrei Girbea

      October 13, 2015 at 9:34 pm

      I don’t see why not, but they will probably ship with Windows 10 and if you want to replace it with Win 8.1 you’ll need to buy a different license, I don’t think Microsoft allows downgrades.

      Still, Win10 is actually pretty good, you should give it a try. That’s coming from someone who skipped the entire Win 8/8.1 line and is not upgrading from Win 7 directly to 10 on most devices and has yet to find anything annoying about Win 10.

      • Henrik

        October 14, 2015 at 5:36 am

        There are already product pages for ux303ua, ux303ub and ux305ca models on the Asus webpage. Only ux305ca has a support page up and there are only drivers for the win 10. I guess it’s safe to assume that the other two models are no different in that aspect (?)

  11. James Silver

    October 20, 2015 at 9:09 am

    Do you think this laptop could play dota2 1080p at 45-60fps .
    Thank you.

    • Andrei Girbea

      October 20, 2015 at 9:45 am

      Which one?

      • James

        October 21, 2015 at 3:31 am

        Ux303ub dota2 at 1080p? I’m thinking of buying this or surface book. I only play dota 2. If it can get around 45-60 it would be great.
        Thank you

        • Andrei Girbea

          October 21, 2015 at 8:55 pm

          To be frank I never tried Dota 2 on the Nvidia 940M. I expect it to run smoothly, but I can’t tell for sure if you would get 60 fps with High details or you’d have to trim them down.

  12. Svilen

    October 21, 2015 at 8:11 pm

    Andrei, thank you for this article. Can you just confirm a few things – I’ve been trying to figure it out and ASUS product support has been of no help.

    So the only difference between the 305LA/UA and the 303LA/UA is the touch-screen, correct? Both have active cooling, and the same hardware, right? The 305FA/CA are the only “weak” ones to avoid here, right?

    • Andrei Girbea

      October 21, 2015 at 9:00 pm

      There are a few differences between the UX303 and the UX305 series. First of all, all the UX305s have a matte non-touch display, while the others are mostly available with touchscreen. Then, the UX305s don’t have a backlit keyboard, while the UX303s do. Besides this, the XU305s have fewer ports and some of them miniaturized, but they are a bit slimmer, lighter and pack a slightly larger battery.

      • Svilen

        October 21, 2015 at 9:11 pm

        Thank you! But in terms of benchmark performance and productivity the the 305 and 303 should be exactly the same (apart from the previously mentioned FA/CA)

        • Andrei Girbea

          October 22, 2015 at 8:22 am

          yes, pretty much the same. However, the UX303 can take 12 GB of RAM and uses 2.5″ SSDs (cheaper), while the UX305 can only take 8 GB of RAM (soldered on the motherboard) and works with M.2 SATA SSDs.

  13. Rick

    November 12, 2015 at 3:15 am

    I like the look and feel of the ux305ca but I think I need the 4 core CPU. When’s the ux305ua going to ship?

  14. Matt

    November 18, 2015 at 4:40 pm

    Now that Asus is starting to release the Zenbook Skylake models, have there been any reports of the same color issues with the QHD screens? Are the colors still dull?

    This wasn’t an issue with the matte, 1920×1080 screens, right? I’m leaning toward the UX305CA, but I’m deciding between the base model for $699 or the OHM7 model that’s only available on the Asus site. That model has the QHD screen, which has me concerned, but it comes with a larger SSD. They also have the processors listed slightly different. Is there a major difference between the M3-6Y30 and the M7-6Y75?

    Thanks!

    • Andrei Girbea

      November 19, 2015 at 5:48 pm

      I doubt they changed the panels, but we’ll see. The FHD screens are OK, only the QHD+ have the pentile panel with skewed yellows.

      The m3 is a base-level Core M processor, while the m7 is the top of the line. There’s a difference in performance and price between the two. Both are fanless.

  15. dd

    November 22, 2015 at 8:16 pm

    The Microsoft store, in store only, just released the QHD version with the Skylake Core M, 8 gigs and 256 ssd for $799 less a 10% discount. This is $600 less than they XPS 13. I bought one today.

  16. dd

    November 22, 2015 at 8:18 pm

    The screen is beautiful.

  17. Harlee

    November 23, 2015 at 10:39 pm

    Any updates on how much of an improvement the UX305CA is over the UX305FA (Skylake m3-6Y30 vs Broadwell M-5Y10). Amazon is offering me the older UX305FA for $145 less than the UX035CA. I can’t decide. Help!

    • Andrei Girbea

      November 24, 2015 at 4:12 pm

      There’s a review on notebookcheck.net of the UX303CA, you should have a look. It’s not a major improvement from what I can tell.

  18. Kay

    November 24, 2015 at 3:27 pm

    I used the UX303LN (i7) for almost a year now and was mostly satisfied with it (expect the known issue with the hinge and some wifi instability). Due to a warranty case I get the chance to update my Laptop.
    Unfortunately the UX303UB with the i7 is not in stock right now in Germany, and won’t be for at least a couple of weeks.
    I use the laptop for college (office, internet, some photoshop) and light gaming.
    Do you think it is worth the wait for the i7 or should I just get the i5 version which is available now?

    • Andrei Girbea

      November 25, 2015 at 8:44 pm

      The i5 will do fine for your needs, I’d say the Skylake i5 should be on par with the Haswell i7. I’d go for it if the wait time for the i7 variant is very long.

      • Richie

        November 27, 2015 at 7:47 pm

        Do you know what the difference between UA and UB is? Does the new UX303 have a matte screen too? :)

        • Andrei Girbea

          November 28, 2015 at 6:33 pm

          The UX303UA gets a touchscreen and no dedicated graphics. The UX303UB gets a matte panel and dedicated graphics. There might be some exceptions though to the screens, Asus has a bunch of different configurations all over the world, it’s hard to keep track of all of them

  19. strongbad

    November 28, 2015 at 2:04 am

    Looking between these two

    UX305LA with i5 (Broadwell) $699
    or
    UX305CA-UHM1 with M (Skylake) $599?

    Main use is web browsing, office, and occasionally light gaming (League of Legends, CS:GO)

    Any advice? thanks

    • Andrei Girbea

      November 28, 2015 at 6:42 pm

      I’d reckon that UX305CA is with a Core m3? It might be too slow for what you need and because it will struggle with performance, it won’t be very efficient either. I’d get the UX305LA among the two, if you can live with a fan inside. The UX305CA gets the massive benefit of being passive cooled, but performance is sacrificed.

  20. Richie

    November 29, 2015 at 8:05 pm

    If you have the choice between the new UX303UB and the UX305UA, what would you get if you need it for school? Is the UX303 with 940m much more powerful as the UX305? Any advice for me?

    • Andrei Girbea

      November 29, 2015 at 9:23 pm

      DO you play games? if yes, then the UX303UB is the one to get. Otherwise, the UX305UA is a better deal for the money, since it’s much cheaper than the UX303UB. However, the UX305UA lacks a backlit keyboard and some of its ports are miniaturized, so you’ll need adapters.

      • Richie

        December 2, 2015 at 6:04 pm

        Well, not really. Would the UX305UA handle Premiere Pro for cutting 1080p Videos? Have you seen the titangold-version on the UX305? Is it relly gold or is it another color like the ‘black’ one? :)

      • Richie

        December 2, 2015 at 7:03 pm

        One last big question, would it worth waiting for newer versions of Skylake or so? I read at your Skylake article that edram is coming 2016 – worth waiting? Will it be included in this models? Anything new to expect from Asus (new Models)?

        Thanks for your answers!

        • Andrei Girbea

          December 2, 2015 at 7:17 pm

          Most Windows laptops will probably not get those processors. They will be present in the Macbook Pros and hopefully a few top-end Windows machines. Could be worth waiting if you have a big budget and actually care for the graphics performance. But I wouldn’t hold my breath for many options.

  21. Nick oliver

    December 7, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    Andrei, your site is much appreciated, it’s at the front. Like you I’ve stuck with windows 7 and ultralight, but now I have the $’for a new portable and am interested in skylake and win10. I’ve enjoyed a hassle-free Toshiba Portege z835 with every port you can think of crammed into 1.2 kg, only limitation the 128 Gb size of the SSD, and to some extent the RAM and the old chip. The temptation to bump it from 6 to 8 Gb and get a new 256Gb SSD (or 512 if it would fit) is very high. I still end up in places with no wifi, Ethernet only, from time to time. Am I silly to stick with a broadwell chip deal for the sake of Ethernet? An HP envy 6500u or top spec zenbook look tempting, but I want sub-1.35 kg full hdmi, full SD card reader ideally 512gb SSD, with skylake, and it doesn’t look like I can do that and get an Ethernet network adapter? The Toshiba z30s can still offer 4500 broadwell chips with crazy portability. I probably don’t need the skylake speed but the reviews suggest if I have the $, go skylake. I can wait 6 weeks, your thoughts?

    • Andrei Girbea

      December 10, 2015 at 6:40 am

      You can always get an USB to LAN adapter, that’s what I use for my laptop.

      Personally, I’s get the skylake over the Broadwell for the slight bump in battery life, DDR4 support, more efficient video playing, DX12 and the other improvements under the hood, as performance wise the two series are close.

      Toshiba should update their series to Skylake as well, you could contact them and ask when he new models will be available where you live.

      Lenovo also have some decent options in the thinkPad line, a bit thicker and heavier though. Or expensive, as the X1 carbon

  22. Christian

    December 7, 2015 at 10:54 pm

    The only ultrabook that I can find that suits my needs is the UX303LB, but I’m concerned about the color issue as I intend to use it for photo editing (while abroad).
    Is the color problem also expected on the 1080p display? I’m not interested in the 3200×1800, standard HD is more than sufficient.

    • Andrei Girbea

      December 10, 2015 at 6:41 am

      THe 1080p screen is pretty good. Bot a professional grade screen, but at least decent.

  23. JT

    December 28, 2015 at 2:50 am

    Hey Andrei, thanks for the review. I’m currently debating between the UB vs the UA. I bought the UB on Boxing Day but am debating on returning it for the UA version.

    UA – 256GB SSD, 8GB RAM, 6th gen i5, FHD touch display, Intel graphics
    UB – 512GB SSD, 12GB RAM, 6th gen i7, QHD touch display, GF940 dedicated graphics

    Reason is that I’ve read that the UB with the QHD and GF940M requires more battery power. Wondering if you have any thoughts on this?

    The price difference is +$350CDN for the UB model. I’d mainly be using it for business work, some illustrator and photoshop editing. Which one would you go with?

    • Andrei Girbea

      January 2, 2016 at 11:09 pm

      I wouldn’t keep the UB unless I would plan to play games. On top of that, the UB gets the 3200 x 1800 px screen with skewed colors (google it, you’ll find more on this topic), so it wouldn’t be a good pick for Photoshop or other software that requires color accuracy. In fewer words, I’d get the UA in your situation.

      • Rob

        May 1, 2016 at 7:08 pm

        I’ve seen reviews of the UB with a 940M and the 1080p FHD display. Are these international only models? I think the 940M w/FHD is the perfect pair.

        • Andrei Girbea

          May 3, 2016 at 2:22 pm

          Those are not available in the US, from what I know. They are however available in Europe and Asia

  24. Bob

    January 6, 2016 at 9:05 am

    Hi Andrel, I’ve been looking for the UX305UA for a while now, and I just can’t seem to find it. Has ASUS released it in the U.S, or am I going to have to wait just a little while longer? Thanks!

  25. Zenbook

    January 14, 2016 at 12:40 am

    What zenbook should I buy? Why?
    Offers that I can get in my country:

    ASUS UX303LB

    FHD, Intel Core i5-5200U, 6 GB RAM, HDD 500 GB, NVIDIA GeForce 940M – 2 GB, Windows 10

    ASUS UX305UA (Price of LB +25€)

    FHD, Intel Core i5-6200U, 4 GB RAM, SSD 128 GB, Intel HD Graphics 520, Windows 10

    Thank you very much!!

    • Andrei Girbea

      January 17, 2016 at 8:12 pm

      Do you play games? If yes, the LB is the one for you, but the HDD will have a negative impact on daily performance.

      If not, the UA will offer slightly longer battery life and a performance boost in everyday tasks (due to the faster CPU and the SSD). You should upgrade the RAM though and get at least 8 GB of memory in there.

  26. Uli

    January 18, 2016 at 8:47 pm

    Hey Andrei,

    I want to get a notebook for myself that offers a similar feel like a macbook air 13, but runs on windows 7 or 10. I would appreciate if some gaming like e.g. Civ5 Brave New World would be possible, but I will use my device mostly for surfing, office and some photoshop, illustrator and indesign. I definetly do not need a touchscreen and I’m ready to spend around 1000 Euros.

    As far as the body I’m flirting with the asus ux305ca models, but I fear that those Intel-M-Processors are a little weak, to stay with the machine for several years.

    As far as internals the ux303ub with an i5-6200u, 8gb ram, 256gb ssd and geforce 940m looks perfrect, but I fear it’s to chunky to give a macbook air feel.

    Therefore I’m currently considering either the ux305ua-fc001t with the i5-6200u, 8gb ram, 256gb ssd and intel hd graphics 520 (999 €) or the ux305la-fc044t with an i7-5500u, 8gb, 256gb ssd and intel hd graphics 5500.

    1. For some reason I’m finding conflicting information on the thickness and weight of the latter two models (ua/la). Is ~1.3 kg and 15mm correct? (I’ve found 1.2 kg, 1.45 kg, 12mm and 16mm as well)

    2. Do both models have the same weight and thickness?

    3. Do both models have full metal bodies or is there some plastic as well? Is the feel really compareable to a macbook air 13?

    4. Which setup offers the better overall system performance? Am I correct that the gpu is the bottle neck, so that I should go for the slightly better intel hd graphics 520 of the ua-model, although the processor is slower?

    5. What’s your overall recommendation?

    Unfortunately not a single shop in my city seems to have these asus notebooks in storage, so that I can’t check them out live, before ordering online.
    Thanks a lot for your answer, great site!

    • Andrei Girbea

      January 21, 2016 at 12:28 pm

      Hi Uli. The UX305LA/UA is 15 mm thick (without the rubber feet) and weighs 2.9 lbs (1.3 kilos). The UA and the LA have the same weight and physical dimensions from what I know.

      To be frank, I’m not 100% sure these are all metal, it’s been a while since I’ve had them on my desk. In my review of the UX305LA I’m mentioning that the only plastic element is the bezel around the screen though. Regardless, the build quality is not exactly on par with the Macs, as the metal sheets are slimmer and not as rigids as on the Airs, while the inner frame is made from plastic. In other words, these don’t get an aluminum unibody, but a plastic frame covered in thin sheets of metal. Hope this makes sense.

      If you want to run some games, I’d get the Core i5-6200U configuration with the newer graphics. The CPU is a bit slower than the Core i7-5500U in the other option, but you’re not going to notice this in everyday use, and the gains you’ll get from the updated graphics are noticeable in games.

      You could also consider the Dell XPS 13 9550 with the Core i5-6200U processor, 8 GB of RAM and FHD matte display, but the 256 GB SSD model is probably outside your budget. Could hunt for some deals though.

      • Uli

        January 21, 2016 at 2:52 pm

        Thnx alot for your reply! Yeah I’ve read about the Intel HD 520 graphics being quite a step forward, so I was right on that one. And yes, the Dell xps 13 would probably be the better solution. For now it doesn’t look like I’ll be able to affort that one though. Maybe, I should keep on saving for a short while :/

        I’ll decide soon. Thank you!

  27. Mac

    January 22, 2016 at 2:05 am

    Hi!
    I’m currently deciding between a zenbook ux303UA and a 305UA, As far as I can tell the performance should be similar as the specs are similar, i5, 256ssd, 8gb RAM, however I can’t make my mind up. I am worried about potential hinge issues on the 303 and I prefer the matte screen of the 305, however the 303 has a backlit keyboard and the 305 does not, and the 303 is more upgradeable. Any advice would be appreciated! Thanks

    • Andrei Girbea

      January 22, 2016 at 12:59 pm

      Well, you’d have to make some trade-offs with both of them. Also keep in mind the UX305 gets a slightly larger battery.

      Since you prefer the matte display, perhaps the UX305 is the one for you. 8 Gigs of RAM should be enough for daily use and the storage is upgradeable, although M.2 SSDs might be a bit more expensive than 2.5″ drives. Still, the lack of a backlit keyboard can be enough to steer you away.

      • Mac

        February 4, 2016 at 6:46 am

        Thanks Andrei, I decided to go with the ux305UA and after a week of use I am very happy with my decision. I have yet to operate it on any particular taxing tasks but so far it has performed excellently and very quickly. The lack of the backlit keyboard has turned out to be a non-issue.

        • Nakz

          February 9, 2016 at 7:40 pm

          hey Mac, can you answer me some questions pls?, I’m about to buy the UX305UA, but in some websites and users opinions I read the touchpad is not very good. Is the surface smooth to use, and what about the multigestures, do all the win10 gestures work on it (like 3 fingers to open cortana/action center, open task view, etc).
          Thanks a lot!

          • Andrei Girbea

            February 9, 2016 at 9:30 pm

            Hopefully Mac jumps in, but I’ll also have my review of the UX305UA up early next week, in case you think that might help. The trackpad is decent imo, but I’ve spent too little time with it to draw a conclusion. I also don’t use Win 10 gestures so I haven’t yet tried them out. Will do for the review.

          • Mac

            February 9, 2016 at 11:22 pm

            Hi Nakz, The trackpad is pretty good compared to other windows laptops I’ve tried, but don’t expect macbook levels of ease, Also the click is very loud, but I mostly tap so that’s fine.I don’t use huge amounts of gestures but when I do they seem to work fine. When I first got mine it scrolled way to quickly and jumpy, but if you got to mouse and trackpad settings and slide this little bar almost all the way down that fixes this issues, also I accidentally trigger zoom instead of scroll occasionally, but apparently this can also be turned off. all in all its a capable trackpad but not a stand out feature like a macbooks is. Hope this helped.

          • Svilen

            February 10, 2016 at 4:29 pm

            I can confirm about the trackpad – it is very smooth and pleasant to use, but the click is unbelievably loud!

  28. Claudiu

    January 26, 2016 at 7:47 pm

    Salutare :)
    What is the best ultrabook from these tree models?
    UX303UB, UX305UA or UX305CA.
    I want to buy a ultrabook and not decided yet.
    Looking for one great ultrabook asus or dell with win10.
    Ms

    • Mac

      January 26, 2016 at 8:51 pm

      It depends what your after? If a backlit keyboard is a must have, or you need an ultrabook for gaming the 303UB will be best for you, however after Andreis advice I recently went with the UX305UA, given it has a longer battery life than the 303 models, a matte display (in my configuration) apposed to touchscreen, which in my case I wanted so could use outside, and the 305UA has an i5 processor unlike the ux305ca which is core-M. So in conclusion if you game, I’d go ux303UB, If you want a powerful laptop for day today tasks and can live without a backlit keyboard, the ux305UA is for you.

  29. Nakz

    February 9, 2016 at 10:08 pm

    Hey Andrei, i dont know why but i cant answer your reply from above. But anyways, ill looking forward for your review!! Excellent webpage!!

    • Andrei Girbea

      February 9, 2016 at 10:24 pm

      Well, replies are only allowed 4 levels deep, otherwise would look bad on the site. I basically replied to a reply of a reply of a reply of a comment, if that makes sense, so you couldn’t reply anymore. Sry for the inconvenience.

      • Nakz

        February 9, 2016 at 11:14 pm

        not a problema at all.

  30. Nicole

    February 12, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    Hi Andrei,

    Great article. I’m looking for a light, durable laptop with good battery life for backpacking and living abroad that I won’t be too sad if broken or stolen. I will use it mostly for word processing, video conferencing, watching movies, light web dev, and maybe some light video/image processing. I was thinking of getting the 305CA. Do you think that’s a good choice.

    Also a little concerned with no backlit keyboard and no Ethernet port. Can you add a dongle to that?

    Thanks!
    Nicole

    • Andrei Girbea

      February 12, 2016 at 4:28 pm

      I don’t think dev and video/image processing is going to be a pleasant experience on that Core M. I’d get the UX305UA, with Core i5/i7 processors. That aside, nothing you can do about the lack of a backlit keyboard, either accept it or go for something else. An USB to LAN adapter is included in the pack with the UX305UA (probably the FA as well), so don’t have to worry about that.

  31. Nakz

    February 16, 2016 at 6:01 pm

    hi, Andrei. When will you have the review of the UX305UA? I can’t wait any more for the review lol

    • Andrei Girbea

      February 17, 2016 at 6:29 am

      Will be up in about an hour

      • Georgia Crowley

        February 18, 2016 at 4:05 pm

        I am desperate for the UX305UA in the UK. Any idea when it will be available here? :-/

        • Cliff

          March 8, 2016 at 11:38 pm

          Hi Georgia,

          Just bought one but change of mind. I wanted a ROG instead. Would you like to buy mine for AUD $1200? I haven’t switch the laptop, just received it yesterday so this is brand new.

          256SSD I7 6500

          • Georgia

            March 9, 2016 at 8:35 pm

            Thanks Cliff, but I’m in the UK, so would prefer a UK machine….

  32. Raia

    March 5, 2016 at 2:37 am

    Very interested in purchasing a new laptop and leaning heavily towards UX303UA! The laptop I have right now seems destined to have a hinge failure in less than a year. That being said, is the UX303UA using the same chassis as UX303UB, which you already mentioned may be prone to hinge failure as well? Above all else, I want a sturdy laptop, (no foreseeable physical malfunctions) with great battery life under $1000, that will be usable for the next 3 years or more. I also am looking forward to playing FFXIV on the new laptop, but I don’t want to pay the extra $400 to get UB just for that. Any recommendations? Even outside the Asus line-up is fine, but I’ve been researching and have heard great things about UX303UA.

    • Andrei Girbea

      March 7, 2016 at 5:32 pm

      The same from what I know. Are you looking for a 13-incher?

  33. Cliff

    March 8, 2016 at 11:34 pm

    Is it possible to install a graphic card on UX305UA so it becomes like UX303UB?

    • Andrei Girbea

      March 9, 2016 at 8:36 am

      No, you can’t upgrade either the CPU of the graphics on 99% of the available laptops

  34. Mohamad Al Karbi

    April 10, 2016 at 3:31 am

    UX303UB was the best for my needs and budget. My main issue was the resolutions. There are issues especially with Firefox – but I was able to override it!

  35. Brad

    June 5, 2016 at 8:22 pm

    Hi Andrei,

    Congrats on a great site. Very useful and informative for someone who hasn’t thought of buying a laptop for many years as I’ve been happy with my first gen i7 860 desktop machine.

    I’d narrowed my choice down to the UX303UB but the problems with hinges put me off. I need it to last for years (my desktop has done over 6.5 years of perfect service and still runs fine), and the hinge issue is problematic.

    I know I’m asking a bit of a crystal ball question here, but do you have any knowledge of when ASUS may release a successor to the UX303UB?

    • Andrei Girbea

      June 7, 2016 at 12:31 pm

      I haven’t head of one yet. The Zenbook 3, Zenbook UX330 and UX306 are the new ones that I’m aware of right now, and none replace the XU303UB. I’d reckon you really want the dedicated graphics in a small package with a decent price, since you’re looking at the UB?

  36. Brad

    June 7, 2016 at 1:11 pm

    Precisely! Portability is the main reason for the upgrade. Don’t want larger than 13″ and I don’t want to go backwards in terms of performance. My aging PC (1st gen i7 860, 8GB, 256 GB SSD, 9800 GT) still performs really well.

    I haven’t seen anything that really compares with the UX303UB in this price range. The hinge is such a damn shame ‘cos otherwise it’d be perfect for me. Even the screen issues don’t worry me because most of the time, it’d be used as a desktop running through my 46″ Samsung TV that I use as my monitor.

    • Andrei Girbea

      June 7, 2016 at 1:50 pm

      There’s nothing similar in that budget. You could maybe look at the Gigabyte P34W or an MSI GS40, but these are 14-inchers, bulkier and heavier, but faster. There’s also the new Blade 14, but much more expensive.

      The hinge is a known issue on the UX303s though and from what I’ve read, it even cracked for people who claim they’ve pampered their units. So if you plan to keep your machine for that long, it’s safer to stay away.

  37. Brad

    June 7, 2016 at 8:32 pm

    Thanks mate! Appreciate the guidance. I think I’ll sit on it for a while and keep an eye on your site for updates!

  38. Julie

    June 12, 2016 at 11:20 pm

    what are all your thoughts on this:
    The ASUS LiveUpdate client makes requests over plain, unencrypted HTTP to the ASUS update servers (liveupdate01.asus.com or dlcdnet.asus.com, depending on version) and interprets them as XML files (or obfuscated XML)

    I don’t know about you but I feel uncomfortable in the fact that liveUpdate delivers unencrypted HTTP

    Furthermore,

    ASUS’ LiveUpdate software is preinstalled on computers shipped by ASUS. It is responsible for delivering updates, new versions of the BIOS/UEFI Firmware and executables for use with ASUS software. Content is delivered via ZIP archives over plain HTTP, extracted into a temporary directory and an executable run as a user in the “Administrators” NT group (“Highest Permissions” task scheduler). There is no verification or authentication of source or content at any point in this process, allowing trivial escalation to NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM. I have a Asus Laptop that I bought back in 9/2015 and I’m worried.

    • Andrei Girbea

      June 13, 2016 at 10:41 am

      Personally, I uninstall LiveUpdate and pretty much all the OEM software (Splendid, WEbcloud, etc). I get updates manually or via Windows updates and I’ve been doing this for many many years without any problem. Yes, certain OEM programs can only be updated via the OEM’s isntaller, but since I uninstall most of that software anyway, that’s a non-issue for me.

      On the other hand, I haven’t heard of any attacks through LiveUpdate or other similar software, and I can’t say if it’s possible or not, that’s a bit out of my league. If that’s a concern though, I’d just uninstall LiveUpdate and cut off the issue from the roots

  39. marc

    July 2, 2016 at 4:55 am

    I’m trying to decide between:
    UX305UA-AS51
    UX303UA-DH51T
    UX305CA-EHM1
    UX305CA-DHM4T

    I’m struggling to see the differences between them, especially on power and speed. Would greatly appreciate your insight. Thanks!

    • Andrei Girbea

      July 3, 2016 at 7:54 pm

      UX305UA – slightly thicker, faster processor, has a fan inside
      UX305CA – thinner, slower processor, fanless

      For basic daily activities, the UX305CA is a decent pick, but I’d get something with 8 GB of RAM and at least a core m5 processor. If you want multitasking and maybe run some more demanding software or some games, the UX305UA is going to be the superior pick.

  40. Uli

    August 5, 2016 at 1:48 pm

    I’ve been considering this notebook before, but wasn’t satisfied with the overall specs – either too heavy or not powerful enough, depending on the model.

    Now I’m thinking about the new asus zenbook 3, that is about to come out, but the cheapest model has only 4 GB ram, which is not enough, and the middle model already costs 1500USD which will probably equal 1500€ in continental Europe (where I live).

    To be honest, the Samsung 900X3L would look like the perfect choice, but for some stupid reason Samsung doesn’t sell notebooks in Europe anymore. Do you have any idea, how I get my hands on one in Europe? If I order from the US (let’s say from ebay for example), will I have to pay taxes for importing? AND: Is it ok to just use an adapter? Will the Samsung 900X3L be able to handle the German electric current?

    Thanks, Uli

    • Andrei Girbea

      August 6, 2016 at 3:15 pm

      Not sure how things are in Germany, but I expect you’d have to pay import taxes and potentially VAT.

      The charger will work in Europe just fine, you will need an adapter though so you can stick it in the European wall plugs. Those are cheap though, 5-10 eur.

      If you can wait, I think Asus are going to offer more configurations for the Zenbook 3 than what they announced so far, so there might be some in between the $1000 and the $1500 ones. I don’t expect to see them in stores earlier than October though.

  41. Eduardo

    August 23, 2016 at 12:06 pm

    Hello and thank you for your reviews !!!!

    Do you know if ALL UX305UA variants will bring an IPS display? I’m seeing a lot of UX305UA variants and when I look for specifications in google they generaly dont mention about IPS…

    Thanks!!

    • Andrei Girbea

      August 23, 2016 at 7:27 pm

      The UX305UA is only available with IPS panels, according to the official page: asus.com/Notebooks/ASUS-ZenBook-UX305UA/specifications/ . That’s also in line with the reviews and what I know about it.

      • Eduardo

        August 23, 2016 at 10:13 pm

        I hope so, but you know, they not always put “IPS” in the specifications even though they may be. I’m about to but the UX303LB-R4109H I cross my finders; in the ASUS website they also say:

        13.3″ 16:9 QHD+( 3200 x 1800)/IPS FHD (1920×1080)

        If it’s not IPS then I will return it… thanks !

  42. carjo

    September 16, 2016 at 11:27 pm

    Hei i want to ask i want to buy a laptopbut have a difficut choice whether ux303ub or ux305ua which one is better ?

    • Andrei Girbea

      September 17, 2016 at 6:32 am

      DO you play games? if yes, then get the ux303UB with dedicated graphics, if not, then get the UX305 or better yet, the UX306

  43. Ingrid

    June 21, 2017 at 2:46 pm

    I am looking for a new laptop, but i cant seem to decide on one. I don't need it for much more than school work, but i do want a backlid keyboard, i7, able to multi task and it would be lovely if i could use it outside, it has to be able to last wuite some years, at least 5 if possible.
    I don't know if there are any of the new models that are a better fit and if the ux303ub would be to much?
    I hope you can help me :)

    • Andrei Girbea

      June 21, 2017 at 5:25 pm

      Hi, a UX330UB should do fine, but I'd rather get a newer generation laptop. If you're looking at Asus Zenbooks, then something like the UX330UA, the UX430UA or the UX410UA are good options. In case you need dedicated graphics (for gaming, mostly), there are UX430UQ and UX410UQ options with Nvidia 940MX chips.

      • Ingrid

        June 22, 2017 at 10:04 am

        Thank you very much!
        But whats the difference between UA and UQ?

        • Andrei Girbea

          June 22, 2017 at 11:56 am

          UQ gets a more powerful dedicated graphics chip from Nvidia, will benefit in games. UA gets normal Intel graphics that will handle everyday activities (movies, youtube, casual games) but would struggle with more complex games. If you're not a gamer, then the UA versions are the ones to look at.

Leave a Reply

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