ASUS Zenbook UX305FA-USM1 Review

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March 6, 2015
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If you only look at the price of ASUS Zenbook UX305FA-USM1 you might be shocked. How can a small 13.3″ laptop cost so much? Well, a closer look at the specifications definitely explains why. The laptop is full of premium features which many users should find very useful. So let’s see what’s included in the ASUS and if it really could be worth your money!

Performance

ASUS Zenbook UX305FA-USM1 has an ultra-low voltage processor called Intel Core M-5Y10c. It was released in late 2014, with a dual-core setup and clock rate at 2.0GHz with turbo frequency (however just 0.8GHz base speed). But despite the lowish frequency, it still does well in performance tests, being comparable to some ULV Core i3 models. As a result, there’s enough power for basic and advanced programs alike.

8GB memory is available, a satisfactory amount for power users. It’s not noted anywhere, but I think there’s just one memory slot in the system all in all. So adding more memory is likely not possible, but the current eight gigabytes will be plenty for most.

The storage of this ASUS differs from your average laptop: there’s no hard drive, but an SSD instead. It’s 256GB big, so a lot more space is offered than in many Chromebook’s solid state drives for example. Compared to common hard drives, this SSD features superior read and write rates, so user experience should be smooth as silk.

Display and graphics

ASUS Zenbook UX305FA-USM1’s non-touch display is golden. It’s compact 13.3″, good for on-the-go computing, with a nice 1920×1080 resolution. This will be good news for techies who usually only accept a Full HD display. As the operating system is Windows 8.1 (64-bit), you can’t use its touch features, but honestly you won’t lose anything. Using the Microsoft’s latest with keyboard and mouse works no problem.

As a side note, panel type of the screen is IPS (In-Plane Switching). It’s considered to be higher quality than common TN (Twisted Nematic) screens, showing accurate colors and having wide viewing angles.

There’s an Intel HD Graphics 5300 graphics engine installed. Energy consumption is much smaller than in other Intel HDs, and the performance is similar to the HD 4000 model. As such, don’t expect the latest FPS games run smoothly. With Battlefield 4, you’ll most likely end up with ~20FPS on low settings. Minecraft, WoW and older titles will work much better than that.

Connections

ASUS Zenbook UX305FA-USM1 has three USB 3.0 ports – which is definitely better than the often-seen setup of one USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0s. There’s also a micro HDMI output which you can use to plug in a HDTV or other monitor with a special cable or an adapter.

Not surprisingly, the small laptop lacks a dedicated Ethernet port. There’s however an USB-Ethernet adapter included. In addition, wireless is excellent: a dual-band 802.11 a/g/n WiFi card with Bluetooth 4.0 support is available.

The ASUS has no optical drive, but you are welcome to plug an USB-connecting external DVD drive if you work with discs. You can also use the SD/SDHC media card reader found on the laptop.

There’s a 720p HD webcam so video chats should work well with this computer.

What other things to keep in mind?

ASUS Zenbook UX305FA-USM1 is an excellent companion for somebody on the move. It weighs only 2.65 pounds, only half from what typical 15 inches laptops do. The included battery should give you around 7 hours operating time, contributing to great portability.

A bit strange thing for this expensive notebook, there’s no backlit keyboard. Not that I personally mind but can understand that many regard this as a disadvantage.

As the laptop is a so-called signature edition it has no bloatware or trialware installed. Thus, the start up times are faster and you don’t have to remove the useless software at all.

Summing it up

ASUS Zenbook UX305FA-USM1 is a notebook for someone who can appreciate premium features of a modern laptop. The Full HD IPS display should be very pleasant to look at, while the small size and battery life suggest an excellent portability. The performance itself should be good enough for most users to be satisfied. The user experience is smooth thanks to plenty of RAM, a fast SSD and no bloatware installed. This all costs quite a lot of money, and with the current price the ASUS is indeed bit on the expensive side. But if you have the funds, or are able to catch it on discount, you should receive an outstanding, compact laptop for sure.


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