We review the ASUS UX305LA!
Whenever people ask for a notebook that’s powerful, portable and pretty, Apple’s latest iteration of their MacBook is usually the default answer for many. But not everybody likes working with Apple’s OS and many people, us included, like using Windows for better or for worse.
That’s where the ASUS Zenbook UX305LA comes in. Built as a direct competitor to the Macbook, the newest iteration of the UX305 ditches the mediocre Core M processor it initially had with a more powerful Core i7 processor. Does the UX305LA have what it takes to match up against the 2016 Macbook?
ASUS UX305LA specs:
- Intel Core i7 5500U Processor
- 8GB of DDR3 RAM
- 13.3-inch QHD+ display, 3200 x 1800 resolution
- 512GB SSD storage
- 3 x USB 3.0 ports, SD card slot, micro HDMI ports
- Windows 10
- 324 x 226 x 14.9 mm (WxDxH)
Same beautiful design as the first version
If you’ve seen the previous iteration of the UX305 before, the UX305LA looks exactly the same. It still made from lovely aluminum, is incredibly lightweight at just 1.3 kilos and is no thicker than 14.9mm. The eye-catching concentric Zen-inspired design is still there, still begging to be made into a conversation piece whenever the notebook leaves your bag.
Once you pick up the notebook you’ll see just how well made it is, and everything just screams premium. Opening the lid, you’ll see the rather roomy keyboard and the 13.3-inch quad HD display. While the design does takes a lot of inspiration from Apple’s playbook, it’s hard to deny how handsome the notebook is. Because of its size and its thinness, you can pretty much stuff it in any decent-sized bag – it even fits our skinny leather messenger bag.
Unlike Apple’s Macbook, the UX305LA has plenty of USB ports to plug in your devices to. A total of three ports (one on the right, two on the left) gives you plenty of connections to plug in your phone, mouse or whatever external device you need. There’s also an SD card reader on the left and a micro-HDMI port on the right if you need it.
The UX305LA might be thin, but it has an awesome chicklet-style keyboard that’s simply a pleasure to type on. We were pleasantly surprised with the notebook’s keyboard, considering its overall thickness. The keys have enough travel and is comfortable to type on for long durations without inducing fatigue.
The UX305LA has a 13.3-inch quad HD display, which is a huge bump from the full HD display in the previous generation. We’re absolutely in love with the display of the notebook, as it has good color reproduction and contrast levels. Even better, ASUS has treated the display with a matte coating that eliminates glare even under intense sunlight.
The speakers for the notebook are hidden in the hinge and produce okay-ish sound if you’re in a quiet room.
It’s not packing Skylake, but it’s still plenty fast
Internally the UX305LA runs Intel’s previous generation Intel Core i7-5500U Broadwell processor, though it can be had in either Core i3 or Core i5 variants as well. That’s paired with 8GB of DDR3 memory, along with 512GB of SSD storage. You can opt for a smaller 128GB or 256GB of SSD storage if you have a tight budget.
While the i7 Broadwell processor isn’t the top of the line tech now that Skylake is around, it still gives the UX305LA more grunt than the previous Core M processor that its predecessor shipped with. In graphical benchmarks, the UX305LA managed to score decent marks, despite not having a discrete video card. It can handle photo and video editing in a pinch, though its limited storage space and lack of discrete video card may be limiting factors.
Good battery life for an ultrabook
With a Core i7 processor and a QHD display, does the UX305LA reach the optimistic 11-hour mark that ASUS promises on a single charge? Well, the short answer is no. The best that we could do was probably 6 hours with WiFi on, using basic browsing and typing stories while on the go. Still, 6 hours is 6 hours – that’s more than enough time to get through a particularly busy workday.
Verdict: A definite Macbook Killer, with a cheaper price point
Fast, light, beautiful. ASUS set out to make a Macbook killer with the new version of the UX305, and they’ve succeded. While it’s a little bit slower than the just refreshed Macbook armed with Intel’s Skylake processor, it’s cheaper too – you can expect to pay around 65K for one. In contrast, you’ll be paying around 80K for a top of the line Core M equipped Macbook – there isn’t local availability for the newest Macbook yet.
65K or 80K. You decide.