ASUS ZenBook UX305LA Review – We Love this Slim and Svelte Notebook
While ASUS pitches the ZenBook UX305LA as Fast, Slim, and Beautiful (and we agree), we’d like to add “Value for Money”. Because “everything” comes together in a solid package – user comfort due to its thin (1.49cm) and light (1.3kg) and sturdy (aluminum) body; full-sized, well-spaced, comfy keyboard (no weirdly shaped keys); generous and responsive touchpad (something Windows notebooks aren’t famous for); a cocktail of impressive specs (Intel Core i7-5500u, 8GB RAM, fast and spacious 512GB SSD hard drive); and an anti-glare 13.3-inch detail-crisp QHD+ display (so you can work even outdoors), all in a Windows 10 notebook that doesn’t make you live or die on a single USB port (it has, instead, 3 ports). If you doubt you’ll find an ultrabook under P60,000 that blends power, portability, and style, then check out our review of the P59,988 ZenBook UX305LA.
The ASUS ZenBook line up follow the familiar clamshell laptop-only approach: the displays don’t pull out or flip all the way back. Instead, the ZenBook series, and in particular, the UX305LA, excels in being what it is – a great notebook. Let’s get deeper into the features we love about it and some of its quirks.
The Surely Good
Thin, light, stylish, and sturdy. Your eyes see a slim notebook but it’s really your handling (lifting it with one hand, opening the lid and closing it back, typing on it) that convinces you of the obvious. Barely any flexing on the center of the keyboard. You can lift the UX305LA, with one hand, gripping one corner beside the touchpad and you can tell the device won’t flex. There’s a good heft when carrying the notebook with one hand. These are small tactile things that, taken together, tell you it’s a good notebook.
Awesome QHD+ display for a 13-incher, crisp details, natural colors, viewing angles are great, and that matte screen means outdoor visibility is heightened. We really like this anti-glare feature: it’s a plus for showing videos and visual material to clients and for sinking into video marathons or just plain working outdoors (writing, browsing, reading, or Photoshopping) so you can enjoy the fresh air.
Generously sized and very responsive touchpad. That much touchpad space allows for comfortable gestures, and the click through is satisfyingly clicky and deep enough, without that plasticky-cheap feel. No separate left and right bottom keys on the trackpad – that they’re there is only indicated by a faint but visible vertical line (this is not a complaint). In fact, we have no complaints about the touchpad, there’s no jumping-around cursor or lags or moments when you swipe or tap and nothing happens. This is one of the best Windows touchpads we’ve used.
A multitasking beast. The recipe of i7 processor, 8GB RAM, and 512GB SSD make for a very responsive ultraportable that can take so many apps running at once – we’ve not experienced catastrophic hangs and stutters – and have a ton of space for videos and photos and files. 20 tabs in Chrome while editing on Word with Photoshop open? No problem. Might as well watch a video while you’re at it. Everything is smooth, fluid, and you feel like you deserve a laptop this fast and furiously beautiful.
Comfy to use full-sized keyboard has the right mix of travel and depth, without being too hard-rubbery-clicky. Keys are spaced out well. Typing is both comfortable and quiet. There’s none of that shallow typing feel you get with the new MacBook.
Good battery life despite having an i7, 8GB RAM, QHD+ display combo – a solid 6 hours as per our abuse of browsing, document editing, light image tweaking, and a few YouTube vids.
All the ports you need. While the new MacBook and other ultraportables want you to live or die on one USB port, the ASUS ZenBook UX305LA has 3 USB ports, and this reduces workflow annoyances. A photographer, for example, can plug in his SD card while having an external drive and two USB flash drives plugged in.
The edges near the left and right palm rests are round, so they don’t dig into your palms.
The Maybe Bad
Keyboard is not backlit. My wife and I are the type who turn backlighting off anyway (we are distracted by them), so we didn’t find it lacking. Some might.
The power button is on the keyboard’s top right corner, where the Delete key often is, and takes some getting used to, at first, but it’s not a problem.
Speakers can sound a little mum in a noisy room. But if you’re in a shared work setting or outdoors in a cafe, you’ll need a pair of earphones anyway.
Left underside can get a bit warm when so many apps are open and left running for a long time. On a desk, that’s not a problem. On our laps, we used our u-shaped neck pillow as leg heat shield. Works great. Also, when the underside gets warm, it won’t slow down or suffer lags.
Display does not bend all the way until it’s flat on the table (see image above). Such extended display bending usually offers glare reduction, but the UX305LA already has a matte screen to reduce glare. Also, the screen has excellent side and vertical viewing angles. So the fixed maximum lean back of the UX305LA is not a problem.
No touchscreen. We never missed the touch screen. The trackpad is so good.
Not a gaming laptop. But that’s too much to ask for. This notebook was designed to be slim, light, sturdy, but powerful. You can still play some games but you’d need to reduce the frame rates. Again, not a complaint.
Any pre-installed bloatware, like McAfee, can be ignored or uninstalled.
ASUS ZenBook UX305LA Intel Core i7 Variant Full Specs
- Windows 10 64Bit
- Matte Finish 13.3” IPS QHD+ 3200×1800 Non-Touch
- Intel® Core™ i7-5500U Processor, 2.4GHz (4M Cache, up to
- SATA3 512GB M.2 SSD
- 8GB LPDDR3 1600 MHz SDRAM (Non-Removable)
- Intel® HD Graphics 5500
- 2 -in-1 card reader ( SD/ SDXC)
- HD Web Camera
- 802.11 ac/n/g Wi-Fi / Bluetooth
- 1 x COMBO audio jack
- 2 x USB 3.0 ports
- 1 x USB 2.0 port
- 1 x micro HDMI
- 1X AC adapter plug
- Built-in Speakers And Microphone
- Battery: 3Cells 56 Whrs
- Power Adapter Output: 19 V DC, A, 45 W
- Power Adapter Input: 100 -240 V AC, 50/60 Hz universal
- Dimensions: 324 x 226 x 14.9 mm (WxDxH)
- Weight: 1.3kg
- Colors: Black, Aurora Gold
- Price at launch: Php 65,995.00
- Current Price at Villman: Php 59,988.00
Because of the overall user experience, we’re giving the UX305LA 5 STARS: it’s indeed Fast, Slim, Beautiful, and is a Solid Purchase.
It’s perfect for those of us who want notebooks with Core i7/8GB RAM/512GB SSD specs but don’t want the thickness, heavy bodies, plasticky builds, or the super expensive price tags of other brands. While other ultrabooks scream into the P80,000 price range – the Dell XPS 13 is P82,980 and the Lenovo Yoga 900 is P78,984, both of which only have 256GB SSD hard drives – the ZenBook UX305LA is only P59,998. Meanwhile, Acer’s own premium thin and light, the Acer Aspire S 13, only has 4GB RAM and a Full HD display and yet has nearly the same price as the UX305LA: P54,996.
This ultraportable may not be for gaming or super heavy graphic and video work, but for some of us who need the reliability of Alt-Tabbing between a 20-tabbed Chrome browser and four MS Excel sheets for work, without crashing, without stutter or slow down, and on a slim body whose weight your back won’t curse you for lugging to and from the office, the UX305LA is highly recommended.
We’re not all fans of MacBooks, so if you’re looking for a bang-for-your-buck super bringable thin and light but powerful notebook with a great display, keyboard, and touchpad, 6 hours of solid battery life, with all the ports you need, this is it.
How else to say it: we love the ASUS ZenBook UX305LA.
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