Asus has a power packed a 13-inch laptop in the Zenbook UX305LA, which is slim and ultra portable adding to the growing list of ultra-portable mid-range laptops running Windows OS. The most noticeable aspects of the laptop are the matte IPS display and the all-aluminum design of the laptop, which gives it premium appearance and also makes it sturdy and durable.
The Zenbook UX305LA carries many aspects of the earlier model Zenbook UX305FA like the design, keyboard, trackpad, etc. mostly on the exteriors. Compared to the previous model it is a bit heavier and thicker because of the bigger battery and 5th Gen Intel Core i5 processor. The Zenbook UX305LA will be available in a variety of configurations sporting various Processors, Storage, and the Display options.
On the design front, the Zenbook UX305LA is a simple, elegant laptop with nothing much happening on the hood, the other Zenbook laptops have patterns on the hood. The plain and simple metallic finish on the hood gives it the feel of an Apple Macbook or the Dell XPS 13 on first glance. The Logo on the back of the display is the only thing giving it the Asus feel, the options available are Aurora Metallic, Obsidian Stone which will not be sporting a rippled pattern. The all metal aluminum body makes it a lot sturdy and at the same time keeping it sleek and weight under control.
The keyboard is quite spacious and the palm rest is comfortable giving proper rest for long duration of typing. One thing which is a shocker for me and a let down for this laptop is the lack of back-lit keyboard which is a major problem for users who have a lot of typing to do and when the lights are dimmed down it becomes a nightmare and a guessing game while typing, it cannot be expected with a laptop in this price range.
The laptop comes with Broadwell U platform inside which gives it better ventilation with a fan to keep it cool even while using the device to its might. The exhaust is located behind the hinge, and the intake vents are on the belly. There are 3x USB 3.0 slots and a card reader with the SD card going only half way, so there is nothing to worry if you are not able to push it all in. One thing which will be disappointing to many is the lack of full-sized HDMI port, and instead, a micro-HDMI connector has been provided.
It is a 13.3 inch IPS full HD display having a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels with a matte display. The display is not touch-enabled, but the color reproduction of the display is quite stunning, some complained of the color calibration being haywire, and little set up brings the best out the 13.3-inch display. The viewing angles are great, and the brightness and contrast are optimum, there is a sensor to automatically adjust the brightness similar to ones on your smartphone which was useful to bring down the strain on your eyes and save battery life and time as well.
The display cannot be pushed back beyond 130 degrees which is a problem while using the laptop on your lap or other surfaces, it is apt for a desk but can be a problem when used elsewhere.
Hardware and Performance:
The Zenbook UX305LA comes with Intel Broadwell U hardware inside and the configuration given is ideal for a mid-range Laptop. There are many options available which can be configured depending on your requirement. Asus is offering the Core i5-5200U processor, and there are other options like i3 and i7 processor. The Core i5 processor felt sufficient for more than average daily usage. There is a 4GB RAM available which cannot be upgraded as it is soldered to the motherboard. The storage can be upgraded with options like 128GB, 512GB, and 1TB SSD.
Now coming to the important part, how does it fare in day to day use and while performing some heavy functions?. For everyday use, the laptop does everything that is needed, boots up quickly for a Windows 8.1 running device, does not lag much and heating is pretty much under control. Video playback is good and does not heat up much even while watching FullHD content for extended periods of time.If you are looking for some heavy gaming, look elsewhere as there is just Intel HD 5500 graphics given which will help in games like Need For Speed, Dota 2, etc. Along with Windows 8 OS
If you are looking for some heavy gaming, look elsewhere as there is just Intel HD 5500 graphics given which will help in games like Need For Speed, Dota 2, etc. Along with Windows 8 OS upgradeable to Windows 10OS you will be getting a lot of Bloatware, The company has included some Asus apps which are quite useless I must say, the company has also included Microsoft Edge browser and Cortana which were newly announced when the laptop was first announced. You get 16GB of cloud storage through Asus WebStorage, which is free for three years.
The laptop does not heat up much on regular daily usage like browsing, watching videos, music running in the background, etc. But the laptop was heating up a little during gaming and while doing some multitasking like watching videos and browsing at the same time. The fan in the laptop kicked in when the device heated up a little mainly in the keyboard region before anywhere else.
The sound from the fan is not that loud either unlike some other laptops. I could see considerable heating while playing games and the laptop managed to control the heating while performing most other functions. The battery life of the device is decent; we got close to 10 hours of battery life where the company mentioned 12 hours of battery life of daily working (whatever that is). It comes with a 56Wh battery and a 45W power adapter which takes around 2 hours and 30 minutes to charge the laptop to full.
The first thing which comes to mind looking at the device is the simple, neat finish on the back of the display and the matte finish on the display. Both these give a premium look and feel to the laptop, the things which take it away is the lack of touchscreen and the most basic thing, the lack of backlit keyboard. These are some of the basic things which many look for in compact laptops with Windows offering many touch-related options from the Windows 8 to Windows 10 OS.
The Zenbook UX305LA laptop is a compact and powerful sporting the 5th-generation Intel Core i5-5200U clocking at 2.2GHz and can be boosted up to 2.7GHz. If you are in need for more power, you can opt for the Core i7 processor and have more SSD storage as well. It performs well and looks decent, with premium looking finish and the matte display which is seen in some top end laptops. The lack of a full-size HDMI port is a thing to look at; you can buy an adapter if it is a must-have feature, which does not cost much.
If you are in for a Compact or ultraportable mid-range laptop, the Zenbook UX305LA is a good choice for you having the premium look and finish along with decent performance.
Pros and Cons of Zenbook UX305LA:
- Premium design
- Compact and sturdy all metal build
- Good performance
- Matte finish on display with great color reproduction and visibility
- Decent 10 hours of battery life on a single charge
- Broadwell U hardware
- Aggressive pricing
- No Touchscreen
- Lack of back lit keyboard
- Fixed 4GB RAM
- No full-size HDMI port