Post updated March 25th, 2015 at 06:38 pm
Just yesterday, ASUS officially launched its latest iteration of the ZenBook series, the ZenBook UX305. This new laptop receives several hardware changes from its predecessor, the ZenBook UX32VD. Boasting speed, slimness and aesthetics, the ZenBook UX305 is indeed pretty on the eyes, so we were more than happy to take a quick look at the new ZenBook.
The ASUS ZenBook UX305 comes in two variants – UX305FA-FC031H and the UX305FA-FC075H. The FC075H model is the lower-end variant of the two, running on an Intel Core M-5Y10 800MHz dual-core processor with 4MB cache, and up to 2.00GHz in Turbo Boost. It has an upgradeable 4GB DDR3 RAM on board with a 128GB SSD on board. The ZenBook UX305 features a 13.3-inch Full HD IPS display.
The ZenBook does not have a discrete graphics card like its predecessor, which has a GeForce GT620M. However, the integrated Intel HD Graphics 5300 card should be enough for day-to-day usage, and supports HDMI1.4a and is able to connect up to three displays. In terms of connectivity, the UX305 features a 2-in-1 card reader and Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n/ac. Not only that, the webcam on the device is a HD 720p CMOS camera for video calls.
The UX305FA-FC031H, on the other hand, has a faster processor and more storage compared to the UX305FA-FC075H. It runs on Intel’s Core M-5Y71 chip, which is a dual-core 1.2GHz processor with Turbo Boost speeds up to 2.9GHz. Besides that, it has double the storage with a 256GB SSD, which definitely helps.
In terms of design, the ZenBook UX305 is only 12.3mm thin at its thickest point and weighs a mere 1.2kg. The laptop features the ZenBook’s signature spun-metal hairline design on the lid, matched with what the company calls ‘diamond-cut’ edges on the sides. It is very welcoming to see that the small magnet placed at the lid is retained to prevent the laptop from accidentally opening. The lid is also etched outwards to allow easier opening of the laptop.
One of the first things you’ll notice when using the laptop is how sharp the display is. The IPS display has remarkable colour reproduction with a warmer tone, unlike its predecessor, and has excellent viewing angles.
Typing on the keyboard feels nice as each button is well spaced out. One thing that stands out was that it was too clicky, making typing on the UX305 much louder than normal laptops. The trackpad feels nice on the click but the surface can be a bit rough, which could be ASUS’ way of giving a more precise feel when using it.
The ports are also well positioned throughout the sides of the laptop. On the left, you will find two USB3.0 ports and one SD card reader. On the right, there’s the power jack, one USB3.0 port, a micro HDMI port, headphone jack and the LED notifications for battery and processing information.
The new ZenBook’s speakers are located at the bottom of the laptop, one on each side. They utilise the SonicMaster audio technology from ASUS, coupled with Bang & Olufsen’s proprietary ICEpower audio technology. We played a few songs on the laptop and we found that while it has crisp and clear trebles, but lacks in bass which sometimes makes the audio coming from the laptop a little too sharp.
On the back of the laptop there are two small plastic bumps that gives the laptop elevation when the display is pushed further backwards. Flip the laptop over and you will see the round and big rubber paddings, as well as the stereo speakers.
The power adapter has also changed where it is now smaller and slimmer, thanks to the less power-intensive Core M processor. The plug is still detachable but the surface of the power adapter is replaced with a matte surface and not the spun-metal hairline design found on the laptop.
The ASUS ZenBook UX305 runs on Window 8.1 and is capable of the Windows 10 upgrade when it gets released later this year. The retail price is actually pretty reasonable, especially when you consider the retail prices of other Intel Core M-running laptops. The UX305 will also come with complimentary USB to Ethernet adapter and a microHDMI to VGA adapter. It is now available in Malaysia with a standard 2-year global warranty and will cost RM2,399 for the FC075H model while the FC031H model will set you back RM2,999.