This laptop is apparently selling so well that Asus did not have a review unit to spare. But this is not surprising, as the ZenBook UX305 is, by far, the most affordable ultrabook here at $999.
At this price, you would expect some compromises. Yet, except for having a meagre 4GB of memory, this laptop has few flaws.
It may not be the best in class, but it provides great value.
Here are my initial impressions of a prototype unit that has a mismash of hardware that you will not find on retail models.
This ZenBook looks like a typical ultrabook, which means it looks very much like an Apple MacBook Air. It even has the chamfered edges found on some Apple devices.
However, the ZenBook is both lighter (1.2kg) and thinner (12.3mm) than the Air.
Unique to the ZenBook is the polished, concentric finish of its lid. Rounded corners ensure that they will not cut into your palms.
The keyboard is comfortable to type on and offers decent key travel. However, there is no backlight. The touchpad is large and supports multi-touch gestures.
The display on my prototype unit has a high 3,200 x 1,800-pixel screen resolution. The retail version has 1,920 x 1,080 pixels. Personally, I think 1,920 x 1,080 pixels is sufficient for most users.
This matte in-plane switching display has good viewing angles. It is not a touchscreen, though.
A minor criticism of the ZenBook is its small 128GB solid-state drive, which leaves just under 100GB of free disk space.
The company bundles additional Web storage (16GB) via its own cloud storage service, but you are probably better off using more popular third-party alternatives such as OneDrive and Dropbox.
Ports and connectivity
Despite its slim profile, the ZenBook has three USB 3.0 ports and an SD card reader.
It uses a micro-HDMI port for video output, though an adaptor is bundled. There is also a USB-to-Ethernet adaptor for those who prefer wired connections.
Intel's Core M processor powers this laptop. This chip does not require a fan as it consumes less power than the standard Intel Core processor.
Asus rates the battery life at 10 hours. I did not test this claim as this is a prototype.
Compared with the latest fifth-generation Intel Core processor, the Core M is not as fast, but it feels good enough for everyday computing.
This article was first published on Apr 22, 2015.
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