Notebookcheck

Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4141H Subnotebook Review

Sebastian Jentsch (translated by Liala Stieglitz), 10/23/2014

Play it again. Handy, slim, rigid, and strong. The former UX31LN/A excelled in these properties. Does its successor inherit these assets, and can it perhaps even add a few plus points?

Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4141H: Old technology in a new outfit
Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4141H: Old technology in a new outfit

For the original German review, see here.

Asus goes into the second round. Subsequent to the disappearance of the successful 13-inch Zenbooks UX32LN-R4053H (840M), UX32LN-R4029H (840M), and UX32LA-R3025H (IGP) after only six months in the market, their successor, Zenbook UX303LN is at the start. The extremely short commercial presence of the UX32 models is puzzling because they were slim, solid subnotebooks that Asus offered as both entry-level (HD, IGP, matte TN) and high-end (FHD, 840M, matte IPS) models. The successor, now available, is also equipped with a Haswell chip as well as a GeForce 840M. Why the first generation was not maintained defies explanation because as the saying goes: "Never change a winning team".

Most 13 to 14-inch competitors do not feature a dedicated graphics card. Acer's Aspire S3-392G (GT 735M) from early 2014 has been discontinued in Germany. However, Lenovo's IdeaPad U430 Touch (GT 730M, 800 Euros;~$1013) from late summer 2013, which combines a rigid, quality aluminum unibody with a graphics card, is still available.

Only IGP devices are found in the below 1200 Euros (~$1520) range, some even with a matte screen. For example, Apple's MacBook Pro Retina 13, that can also render games satisfactorily owing to the HD Graphics 5100. Gigabyte has the 14-inch P34G v2 with a GeForce GTX 860M for slightly more. It is a handy gaming laptop that most definitely cannot pass as an ultrabook in terms of ergonomics and dimensions. However, our non-touch review sample is not one either.

1200 Euros (~$1520) or less:

·         Apple MacBook Pro Retina 13 (HD Graphics 5100, 1200 Euros; ~$1520))

·         Toshiba Portégé Z30-A-12U (matte TFT, 1000 Euros; ~$1266)

·         Samsung ATIV Book 9 Style (matte TFT, 1000 Euros; ~$1266)

·         Lenovo IdeaPad U430 Touch (GT 730M, 800 Euros; ~$1013)

1250 Euros (~$1583) or more

·         Dell XPS 13 (1300 Euros; ~$1646)

·         HP Spectre 13-3010eg (touch, 1350 Euros; ~$1710)

·         Gigabyte P34G v2 (matte, GTX 860M, 1250 Euros; ~$1583)

Case

The casing of the Zenbook UX32LN/LA has been adopted entirely; the modifications that have been made in appearance are minimal and virtually invisible. We only discovered that one USB port has been moved from the right to the left, and that the microphones are now on the very front underside (two small holes). The underside is no longer brushed (textured), but is painted like the C-cover (work area). The stability and build quality is absolutely identical to that of the Zenbook UX32LN/LA, and therefore we will not go into details about it here. The base is milled from one piece of light metal, and has a plastic inlay (components' carrier). The base plate made of thin aluminum is screwed to the bottom tray.

Connectivity

The interfaces have been positioned appropriately in the rear areas of the sides, which largely prevents interfering with an external mouse when used.

Front
Front
Rear
Rear
Left: 2x USB 3.0, SD card reader
Left: 2x USB 3.0, SD card reader
Right: combo audio jack, HDMI, USB 3.0, mini-DisplayPort, power socket
Right: combo audio jack, HDMI, USB 3.0, mini-DisplayPort, power socket

Communication

Intel's Wireless AC 7260 adapter takes care of wireless data communication. The utilization of two frequency bands enables a higher data throughput. The Wi-Fi range was not really convincing in the author's personal set up (Fritz!Box 7490 AC). Notebookcheck.com could no longer open at a distance of 40 meters (~131 ft) outside the building (one exterior wall; 0/5 bars). More than half the review samples still manage a limited connection. The usual browsing speed was achieved at a 15 meter (~49 ft) distance (2 - 3 of 5 bars). As expected, the Ethernet dongle is only a USB 2.0 economy version with 100 MB. That is, however, better than nothing when only a cable is available.

Accessories

The box contains a leather case, a 65-Watt power adapter, a quick start guide, warranty information, a cable tie, and two dongles. The latter supply the device with VGA and RJ45. The casing's slim build does not allow incorporating these ports on the sides. The software bundle, comprised of various apps and utilities, is extensive. However, we did not really find anything useful among them. The preloaded trial version of MacAfee's Internet Security virus scanner even slowed down connected USB sticks and hard drives.

Maintenance

The maintenance and upgrade options of the UX303LN are praiseworthy. Eleven screws have to be loosened before the underside can be removed, among them 9 tiny Torx T6. Subsequently, all possibilities except for a CPU / GPU exchange (soldered) are open to the user. The working memory can be replaced with a maximum of up to 12 GB, just like the M.2 Wi-Fi module. The half-size mSATA slot labeled with "SSD" is new. Unfortunately, there are only a few and small upgrade modules for this construction size. More details about maintenance can be seen in the image gallery on the right.

Warranty

Asus includes a 24-month warranty ex-factory. Various retailers offer warranty extensions. An upgrade to a total of three years with the same services, costs approximately 80 Euros (~$101).

Leather case
Leather case
Documents
Documents
Dongles
Dongles
65 W power supply
65 W power supply
Maintenance
Maintenance

Regrettably, the webcam only provides very faded colors, a poor focus, and blurry backgrounds. Although the colors still look fairly natural, the inferior quality is not of much use even in daylight. In addition, photos taken in poor light conditions exhibit a strong noise. Thus, the camera is only suitable for video chats, but not for snapshots.

Webcam shot with 1280 x 720 pixels
Webcam shot with 1280 x 720 pixels
Strong fading in colorful areas
Strong fading in colorful areas
Poor focus
Poor focus
Blurry backgrounds
Blurry backgrounds

Input Devices

Following the motto "Never change a winning team", Asus adopts the input devices of the UX32LN/LA. The layout has not been modified, and only the dedicated key for opening the webcam (V-key) has disappeared. Probably it was hit unintentionally too many times. The keyboard still yields slightly, particularly in the area to the right. Nevertheless, the stroke can be described as firm. All details can be found in the review of the UX32LN.

The keys feature a medium drop and clear pressure point
The keys feature a medium drop and clear pressure point
A firm and cushioned stroke - but yields on the right
A firm and cushioned stroke - but yields on the right
Diagonal: 12.5 cm; width: 10.5 cm; height: 7.3 cm
Diagonal: 12.5 cm; width: 10.5 cm; height: 7.3 cm

Display

Asus has installed a 13.3-inch IPS screen with the standard 1920x1080 pixels (Chi Mei CMN N133HSE-EA3 / CMN1361). The screen is matte with a pixel density of 166 ppi. Asus also lists a 13.3-inch QHD (3200x1800 pixels) multi-touch screen on its website. However, only the present FHD version is found in the market to date. The Chi Mei TFT seems to be very similar to the FHD screen in the UX32LN-R4053H based on its model name and measured rates. The average brightness of 339 cd/m² (UX32LN: 357 cd/m²) is available even in battery mode, providing Intel's HD energy saving feature, and consequently the ambient light sensor, has been disabled.

315
cd/m²
331
cd/m²
325
cd/m²
343
cd/m²
344
cd/m²
345
cd/m²
346
cd/m²
343
cd/m²
357
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 357 cd/m² Average: 338.8 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 88 %
Center on Battery: 344 cd/m²
Contrast: 625:1 (Black: 0.55 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 5.45 | - Ø
ΔE Greyscale 4.53 | - Ø
97.4% sRGB (Argyll) 64% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll)
Gamma: 2.27
Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4141H
GeForce 840M, 4510U, SanDisk SD6SB1M256G1002
Lenovo IdeaPad U430 Touch 59372369
GeForce GT 730M, 4200U, Seagate ST500LX005-1CW162 500 GB + 16 GB Flash
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 13 inch 2013-10
Iris Graphics 5100, 4258U, Apple SSD SM0256F
Dell XPS 13-9333
HD Graphics 4400, 4200U, Liteonit LMT-128M6M
Response Times
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
33
Response Time Black / White *
26.2
PWM Frequency
Screen
-52%
8%
2%
Brightness
339
196
-42%
300
-12%
441
30%
Brightness Distribution
88
85
-3%
84
-5%
92
5%
Black Level *
0.55
0.5
9%
0.42
24%
0.655
-19%
Contrast
625
426
-32%
779
25%
687
10%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
5.45
10.84
-99%
4.53
17%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
4.53
11.39
-151%
5.32
-17%
Gamma
2.27 106%
2.23 108%
2.35 102%
CCT
7458 87%
14005 46%
6224 104%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
64
36
-44%
55.66
-13%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
97.4
Total Average (Program / Settings)
-52% / -52%
8% / 8%
2% / 2%

* ... smaller is better

The black level of 0.55 cd/m² and contrast ratio of 622:1 are not the best rates possible for screens based on IPS technology. The UX32LN achieved 1089:1, and the MacBook Pro Retina 13 still managed 900:1. Nevertheless, the image impression is sufficiently rich and vivid. Rivals in the same price range (XPS 13) are roughly on par, and the low-cost IdeaPad U430 Touch only has 426:1.

We measured the IPS screen in the state of delivery using CalMAN and a spectrophotometer, and detected a low grayscale DeltaE of 4.53. That is almost ideal; a rate of less than three would be the target range, which means that an untrained eye would not be able to discern any difference between the sRGB color space and the actual, displayed color. The ColorChecker DeltaE of 5.45 is also good. However, the screen exhibits a light bluish cast as can be seen in the first CalMAN Grayscale screenshot. Asus installs a color profile on the UX303 ex-factory under which we performed the measurements.

The bluish cast disappeared after calibration using our self-created profile, and the DeltaE dropped to exemplary 2.63 (CalMAN Grayscale calibrated). Our UX303 nevertheless cannot compete with the excellent results of the MacBook Pro Retina 13. The ColorChecker DeltaE was still 4.34, even after calibration. The coverage of the extended AdobeRGB1998 color space is 64%, which is better than all other competitors. sRGB is also quite good with a coverage of 97%.

CalMAN Grayscale default state
CalMAN Grayscale default state
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps default state
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps default state
CalMAN ColorChecker default state
CalMAN ColorChecker default state
CalMAN Grayscale calibrated
CalMAN Grayscale calibrated
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps calibrated
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps calibrated
CalMAN ColorChecker calibrated
CalMAN ColorChecker calibrated
AdobeRGB 64%
AdobeRGB 64%
sRGB 97% (Correction 20.5.2015 due to a wrong sRGB-reference-profile)
sRGB 97% (Correction 20.5.2015 due to a wrong sRGB-reference-profile)

The screen's outdoor suitability is very good. It would be possible to work in shaded surroundings even with minimum brightness. The brightness sensor and energy saving feature of Intel's graphics reduce the brightness in low light or darkness. We disabled the sensor for the pictures and screen assessments, which is why 344 cd/m² (center) were also achieved in battery mode.

Outdoors, cloudy, from the right
Outdoors, cloudy, from the right
Outdoor, maximum brightness (344 cd/m²)
Outdoor, maximum brightness (344 cd/m²)
Outdoor, minimum brightness
Outdoor, minimum brightness

No matter from which angle we look at the screen, the underlying IPS technology always ensures a true and high-contrast image. Cheaper, but also technically inferior TN screens are being increasingly forced into the low-cost sector. We could only determine a light clouding on a black screen at the lower edge despite the high brightness. Users are unlikely to notice this in everyday use.

Viewing angles: Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4141H
Viewing angles: Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4141H

Performance

The UX303LN is a powerful subnotebook with Intel's Core i7-4510U (2 x 2.0 GHz; max. Turbo: 3.1 GHz), GeForce 840M, and SanDisk SSD (SD6SB1M256G1002 256 GB). This type of ULV processor (TDP: 15 W) is also found in 15 or 17-inch laptops nowadays because manufacturers often prefer energy saving CPUs over standard voltage models (37 47 Watts). A Kingston SSD (SVP200S37A256G, 256 GB) was installed in the former UX32LN.

Our review sample is priced at1099 Euros (~$1391). Alternative configurations with an i5-4210U processor cost 1000 Euros (~$1266). Under the name UX303LA, the review sample costs just under 900 Euros (~$1140) without an 840M graphics card, but with a 256 GB SSD and an i5. The cheapest model that starts at 700 Euros (~$886) is available with an i5, a 500 GB HDD and an HD+ screen.

System info: CPU-Z CPU
System info: CPU-Z Cache
System info: CPU-Z Mainboard
System info: CPU-Z Memory
System info: GPU-Z Geforce 840M
HD-Tune 397 MB/s
Crystal Disk Mark 409 MB/s
System information: Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4141H

Processor

Cinebench R15 Multi @2.8 GHz stable
Cinebench R15 Multi @2.8 GHz stable
Cinebench R15 Single @2.8 GHz stable
Cinebench R15 Single @2.8 GHz stable

The Turbo can theoretically clock up to 3.1 GHz (single core), but we cannot confirm this based in our tests. Cinebench R15 operated with consistent 2.8 GHz in both single and multi-core mode. This was also observed in battery mode where the i7-4510U achieved the same scores in the Cinebench multi-core test (high-performance).

The clock rate decreased gradually in battery mode (energy saving mode), and consequently the computing performance also declined. The CPU recurrently dropped to 800 MHz during permanent Cinebench multi-load operation. The length of these drops increased and the SoC ran stably with 800 MHz after three minutes. The UX303 is very impressive when compared with the competition. Core i5 devices lag behind by approximately 20%, and other Core i7 based models are on par with it (Portégé Z30-A-12U). 

Cinebench R11.5
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4141H
1.37 Points ∼5%
Lenovo IdeaPad U430 Touch 59372369
1.11 Points ∼4% -19%
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 13 inch 2013-10
1.21 Points ∼4% -12%
Dell XPS 13-9333
1.12 Points ∼4% -18%
Toshiba Portege Z30-A-12U
1.31 Points ∼5% -4%
Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus
1.14 Points ∼4% -17%
HP Spectre 13-3010eg
1.31 Points ∼5% -4%
Gigabyte P34G v2
1.54 Points ∼6% +12%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4141H
3 Points ∼4%
Lenovo IdeaPad U430 Touch 59372369
2.44 Points ∼3% -19%
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 13 inch 2013-10
2.92 Points ∼4% -3%
Dell XPS 13-9333
2.49 Points ∼3% -17%
Toshiba Portege Z30-A-12U
2.88 Points ∼4% -4%
Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus
2.49 Points ∼3% -17%
HP Spectre 13-3010eg
2.82 Points ∼4% -6%
Gigabyte P34G v2
6.96 Points ∼10% +132%

Legend

 
Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4141H Intel Core i7-4510U, NVIDIA GeForce 840M, SanDisk SD6SB1M256G1002
 
Lenovo IdeaPad U430 Touch 59372369 Intel Core i5-4200U, NVIDIA GeForce GT 730M, Seagate ST500LX005-1CW162 500 GB + 16 GB Flash
 
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 13 inch 2013-10 Intel Core i5-4258U, Intel Iris Graphics 5100, Apple SSD SM0256F
 
Dell XPS 13-9333 Intel Core i5-4200U, Intel HD Graphics 4400, Liteonit LMT-128M6M
 
Toshiba Portege Z30-A-12U Intel Core i7-4500U, Intel HD Graphics 4400, Toshiba HG5d THNSNH256GMCT
 
Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus Intel Core i5-4200U, Intel HD Graphics 4400, Samsung MZNTD128HAGM
 
HP Spectre 13-3010eg Intel Core i7-4500U, Intel HD Graphics 4400, Sandisk X110 SD6SN1M-256G-1006
 
Gigabyte P34G v2 Intel Core i7-4700HQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M, Liteonit LMT-128M6M
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
6568
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
8931
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
4447
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
42.5 fps
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
3 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.37 Points
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
99.6 %
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
57.61 fps
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
249 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
119 Points
Help

System Performance

Despite its SSD, the 840M and the fast Core i7, the review sample does not take the lead in application performance. Toshiba's Portégé Z30-A-12U with its Toshiba SSD (HG5d THNSNH256GMCT) has a big advantage here (Work Score).

PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4141H
3559 Points ∼58%
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 13 inch 2013-10
3269 Points ∼53% -8%
Gigabyte P34G v2
4233 Points ∼69% +19%
Work Score Accelerated (sort by value)
Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4141H
2482 Points ∼48%
Toshiba Portege Z30-A-12U
5221 Points ∼100% +110%
Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus
4154 Points ∼80% +67%
HP Spectre 13-3010eg
3783 Points ∼72% +52%
Creative Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4141H
3177 Points ∼37%
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 13 inch 2013-10
2733 Points ∼32% -14%
Gigabyte P34G v2
4079 Points ∼48% +28%
Creative Score Accelerated (sort by value)
Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4141H
1713 Points ∼29%
Toshiba Portege Z30-A-12U
2930 Points ∼49% +71%
Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus
2425 Points ∼41% +42%
HP Spectre 13-3010eg
3181 Points ∼53% +86%
PCMark 7 Score
5068 points
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated
2039 points
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
2927 points
PCMark 8 Creative Score Accelerated
1713 points
PCMark 8 Creative Score Accelerated v2
3177 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated
2482 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
3559 points
Help

Storage Devices

What is the reason for this "inferiority" in the system benchmark? A look at the PCMark 8 Storage score reveals a very high score that is backed by the strong ratings in CrystalDiskMark 3.0 and AS SSD. Thus, it is not due to an allegedly slow SanDisk SSD. Quite contrary, the competitors equipped with an SSD, i.e. Dell XPS 13Samsung ATIV Book 9 PlusHP Spectre 13-3010eg and Gigabyte P34G v2, all received roughly 10% lower score in the storage tests.

Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4141HLenovo IdeaPad U430 Touch 59372369Dell XPS 13Samsung ATIV Book 9 PlusHP Spectre 13-3010egGigabyte P34G v2
PCMark 8
Storage Score
4895
4898
0%
4871
0%
4930
1%
AS SSD
-6%
-12%
-17%
-6%
Score Write
289
337
17%
205
-29%
274
-5%
345
19%
Score Read
399
373
-7%
386
-3%
361
-10%
374
-6%
4K Write
83.22
57.58
-31%
78.51
-6%
51.7
-38%
58.04
-30%
4K Read
29.76
29.32
-1%
27.17
-9%
24.94
-16%
27.9
-6%
CrystalDiskMark 3.0
-88%
-9%
-15%
-14%
-13%
Write 4k
100.7
0.679
-99%
74.89
-26%
94.12
-7%
61.63
-39%
65.83
-35%
Read 4k
34.64
0.372
-99%
32.27
-7%
30.44
-12%
29.02
-16%
29.92
-14%
Write Seq
436.6
117
-73%
318.7
-27%
135
-69%
380.1
-13%
321.3
-26%
Read Seq
409
75.92
-81%
510
25%
524.9
28%
464
13%
500.4
22%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
-88% / -88%
-8% / -7%
-9% / -12%
-10% / -14%
-6% / -8%
SanDisk SD6SB1M256G1002
Transfer Rate Minimum: 397.7 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 421.5 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 412.1 MB/s
Access Time: 0.1 ms
Burst Rate: 92.1 MB/s
CPU Usage: 2.3 %

Graphics Card

Geforce 840M Furmark solo @1124 MHz
Geforce 840M Furmark solo @1124 MHz
Battery mode: 840M Furmark+Prime95 @640 MHz
Battery mode: 840M Furmark+Prime95 @640 MHz

The GeForce 840M is a mid-range GPU that is often used in entry-level multimedia devices. It has approximately 60% higher computing performance than the integrated HD 4400, as can be seen in the following 3DMark 11 chart. The GPU core can run up to 1124 MHz with Turboin load. This was the case in both games and in the FurMark GPU stress test. The performance was reduced to 640 MHz in battery mode, even when there was no simultaneous CPU load (e.g. via Prime95 in the stress test). The OpenGL test of Cinebench R15 finished with 28 fps in battery mode (AC mode: 57 fps). The 840M was enforced in the Optimus driver for this benchmark.

3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU (sort by value)
Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4141H
2317 Points ∼5%
Dell XPS 13-9333
789 Points ∼2% -66%
Toshiba Portege Z30-A-12U
910 Points ∼2% -61%
Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus
827 Points ∼2% -64%
HP Spectre 13-3010eg
868 Points ∼2% -63%
Gigabyte P34G v2
4902 Points ∼10% +112%
3DMark - 1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics (sort by value)
Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4141H
8425 Points ∼5%
Toshiba Portege Z30-A-12U
6185 Points ∼4% -27%
Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus
5659 Points ∼3% -33%
HP Spectre 13-3010eg
6002 Points ∼4% -29%
Gigabyte P34G v2
28586 Points ∼17% +239%
3DMark 11 Performance
2378 points
3DMark Ice Storm Standard Score
51903 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
5919 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
1317 points
Help

Gaming Performance

We have extensively examined the gaming power of the 840M in many laptops in the past, and information about the tested tracks can be found in the data sheet. The GeForce achieved its normal level in the UX303, as the UX32LN presented in Thief. Some up-to-date games can even be played smoothly in the native FHD resolution. This does not apply to demanding games (Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor, Thief) that already fail in medium settings.

Thief
1366x768 High Preset AA:FXAA & Low SS AF:4x (sort by value)
Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4141H
GeForce 840M
17.3 fps ∼13%
Gigabyte P34G v2
GeForce GTX 860M
44.8 fps ∼34% +159%
Asus Zenbook UX32LN-R4029H
GeForce 840M
17.7 fps ∼13% +2%
Acer Aspire S3-392G
GeForce GT 735M
11.9 fps ∼9% -31%
1366x768 Normal Preset AA:FX (sort by value)
Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4141H
GeForce 840M
21.4 fps ∼16%
Gigabyte P34G v2
GeForce GTX 860M
50.1 fps ∼38% +134%
Asus Zenbook UX32LN-R4029H
GeForce 840M
22.3 fps ∼17% +4%
Acer Aspire S3-392G
GeForce GT 735M
14.7 fps ∼11% -31%
low med. high ultra
Dead Space 3 (2013) 129645230.7fps
Thief (2014) 33.821.417.38.5fps
Sims 4 (2014) 10558.73122.2fps
Fifa 15 (2014) 89.867.342.6fps
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (2014) 37.2721.713.12fps

Emissions

Dual-fan design
Dual-fan design
Air outlet under the hinge
Air outlet under the hinge

System Noise

Two fans are installed for cooling the UX303LN. Asus used this dual-fan design in its UX32LN (840M-version). The advantage here is that one fan can sometimes be disabled because the waste heat of the CPU and GPU are separated. Our UX303LN even turned off both fans while idling, and we were then faced with an absolutely silent device (29.5 dB(A) base noise measuring room).

Both fans were active in simple load (3DMark 2006), but they spun slowly with just 34.3 dB(A). The stress test produced 38.2 dB(A). The position of the vent will certainly prove beneficial for the emissions. The openings are on the rear and discharge toward the hinge.

The UX32LN-R4029H also deactivated its fans while idling. However, the noise was considerably louder in both simple load (39.5 dB(A)) and in the stress test (43 dB(A)). The other competitors are also louder in load scenarios.

Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4141HLenovo IdeaPad U430 Touch 59372369Apple MacBook Pro Retina 13 inch 2013-10Dell XPS 13-9333Gigabyte P34G v2Asus Zenbook UX32LN-R4029H
Noise
-4%
-4%
-1%
-22%
-5%
Idle Minimum *
29.5
31.2
-6%
27.4
7%
29.1
1%
29
2%
29.3
1%
Idle Average *
29.5
31.2
-6%
27.4
7%
29.2
1%
34.8
-18%
29.3
1%
Idle Maximum *
29.5
32.7
-11%
27.4
7%
29.3
1%
38.6
-31%
29.3
1%
Load Average *
34.3
34.3
-0%
42.5
-24%
31.6
8%
45
-31%
39.5
-15%
Load Maximum *
38.2
36.6
4%
44.7
-17%
44.6
-17%
50
-31%
42.8
-12%

* ... smaller is better

Noise Level

Idle
29.5 / 29.5 / 29.5 dB(A)
Load
34.3 / 38.2 dB(A)
 
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   Voltcraft sl-320 (15 cm distance)

Temperature

Stress test Prime95+Furmark CPU@2.1 GHz 96 degrees Celsius
Stress test Prime95+Furmark [email protected] GHz 96 degrees Celsius

The advantages gained in noise development are lost again in waste heat. The 13-inch UX303 is slightly warmer than the former UX32LN particularly during load. However, the temperature difference of only a few degrees is small, and could be a measuring accuracy issue. When looking at the competition, we see that our review sample looks very good, especially when the second heat source, the GeForce 840M is considered. Only Apple's MacBook Pro Retina 13 has lower surface temperatures in total.

We performed the stress test for over two hours, and recorded a stable clock slightly above the nominal range of 2.1 GHz. The clock was 2.8 GHz for a short time at the start of the test. There were no stress after-effects on the performance. The subsequently performed 3DMark 11 delivered identical results as in a cold start.

Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4141HLenovo IdeaPad U430 Touch 59372369Apple MacBook Pro Retina 13 inch 2013-10Dell XPS 13-9333Gigabyte P34G v2Asus Zenbook UX32LN-R4029H
Heat
-15%
7%
-9%
-38%
0%
Maximum Upper Side *
55.7
49.4
11%
43
23%
44.2
21%
50
10%
48.2
13%
Maximum Bottom *
51
53.2
-4%
40
22%
48.4
5%
58.5
-15%
41.6
18%
Idle Upper Side *
26.6
35.2
-32%
29
-9%
32.6
-23%
42.6
-60%
31.1
-17%
Idle Bottom *
26.2
35.3
-35%
28
-7%
35.8
-37%
49.3
-88%
29.5
-13%

* ... smaller is better

Max. Load
 51.8 °C48.5 °C55.7 °C 
 33.3 °C48.7 °C42 °C 
 32.3 °C33 °C33.2 °C 
Maximum: 55.7 °C
Average: 42.1 °C
46.8 °C47.8 °C51 °C
40 °C41.1 °C35.7 °C
35.4 °C34.8 °C33.4 °C
Maximum: 51 °C
Average: 40.7 °C
Power Supply (max.)  42.8 °C | Room Temperature 22.2 °C | Voltcraft IR-360

Speakers

The speakers are located under the wrist rest's right and left. Although the opening seems tiny, the sound is acceptable. The buyer should not expect real depths and good-sounding bass despite the Bang & Olufsen branding. The little sound box at least manages a high volume without scratching the membrane. A hint of treble is reproduced, but like in most laptop speakers the focus is on the mids.

While the inferior webcam takes the cake, the integrated stereo microphone serves with a top-notch, low-noise recording. We experienced a virtually crystal clear voice recording in the default settings at a distance of 50 to 100 centimeters (~19 to 39 inches).

Two speakers on the underside's right and left
Two speakers on the underside's right and left
Sound box: high volume without bass and without scratching
Sound box: high volume without bass and without scratching
ICEpower & Bang & Olufsen
ICEpower & Bang & Olufsen

Energy Management

65-watt power supply; 19 V; 3.42 A
65-watt power supply; 19 V; 3.42 A

Power Consumption

Long battery runtimes indicate a very low power consumption in the category comparison. Is this true? It was not so for the UX32LN that ranged on the same level due to virtually identical hardware, but consumed approximately 8 Watts more in the stress test. The other competitors do not look good either, because Asus has somehow managed to keep the UX303LN's idle power consumption far below average despite its high brightness.

The small 65-Watt power supply needs almost 3:30 hours for recharging a fully drained battery (device idling).

Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4141HLenovo IdeaPad U430 Touch 59372369Apple MacBook Pro Retina 13 inch 2013-10Dell XPS 13-9333Gigabyte P34G v2Asus Zenbook UX32LN-R4029H
Power Consumption
-26%
-12%
-130%
-2%
Idle Minimum *
3.8
6.7
-76%
2.8
26%
8.8
-132%
3.4
11%
Idle Average *
7.2
10.3
-43%
8.8
-22%
13.6
-89%
7.4
-3%
Idle Maximum *
8.4
10.6
-26%
9
-7%
21.6
-157%
8.9
-6%
Load Average *
41.6
40.7
2%
58
-39%
83.8
-101%
39.7
5%
Load Maximum *
51.9
45.5
12%
60.6
-17%
141.5
-173%
59.6
-15%

* ... smaller is better

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.1 / 0.2 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 3.8 / 7.2 / 8.4 Watt
Load midlight 41.6 / 51.9 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Voltcraft VC 960

Battery Runtime

The battery is removable. (50 Wh, LiPo Battery Pack C31N1339)
The battery is removable. (50 Wh, LiPo Battery Pack C31N1339)

The battery life is on a record-breaking level. 13 hours while idling is naturally insignificant to the user; who would want to sit in front of the device without Wi-Fi, using the lowest brightness while at most typing in Word? The achieved 9:40 hours in the Wi-Fi browsing test is a more real-world rate. The brightness was dimmed to 140 cd/m² in energy saving mode for this test (ambient light sensor off, dimmed 6 levels). The UX32LN (50 Wh) is far from that (-36%) although it has the same capacity. The other competitors are also defeated, and only Apple's MacBook Pro Retina 13 (72 Wh) can match that.

Rendering an H.264 trailer in Full HD was possible for 7:46 hours. The brightness was also set to 140 cd/m² here, and flight mode was enabled.

Asus Zenbook UX32LN
Battery Runtime
-13%
20%
31%
-29%
-36%
Reader / Idle
779
703
-10%
1535
97%
987
27%
466
-40%
Load
117
133
14%
99
-15%
217
85%
124
6%
WiFi
580
329
-43%
569
-2%
465
-20%
271
-53%
371
-36%
H.264
466
467
0%
Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
12h 59min
WiFi Surfing
9h 40min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
7h 46min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 57min

Verdict

Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4141H
Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4141H

Asus has once again tied up a round bundle that can thrill subnotebook fans with high demand on appearance. The casing milled from one piece of light metal feels good, and is still comfortable to carry around with a weight of 1.43 kilograms (~3.15 lb). Although the matte, FHD IPS screen cannot deliver awe-inspiring contrasts, it has a great brightness and very good color accuracy (calibrated).

An important USP of the UX303 is certainly Nvidia's GeForce 840M that makes the device fit for up-to-date top games. Despite its second heat source, the waste heat and noise emissions stay low and are even better than other competitors without a dedicated graphics card in some cases. Non-gamers can simply take the UX303LA version with integrated graphics.

The UX303LN achieves runtime of almost ten hours owing to its extremely economic idle phases, and easily outruns most of the competition from the 900 to 1200 Euro (~$1140 to $1520) price range. There is also the very good maintainability because the base plate can simply be removed after loosening the small screws - there are no hooks or buttons. A minor drawback is the poor webcam, which, however the very low-noise microphone compensates.

Very nice: Even buyers on a tight budget can take delight in a high-quality casing and decent input devices in the basic configurations (HDD, i5, HD+). However, we cannot say whether the screen with 1600x900 pixels can also achieve the high standard.

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In Review: Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4141H. Test model courtesy of Asus Germany
In Review: Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4141H. Test model courtesy of Asus Germany

Specifications

Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4141H
Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce 840M - 2048 MB, Core: 1029 MHz, Memory: 900 MHz, DDR3, 64 bit bus, ForceWare 333.02, Optimus mit HD Graphics 4400
Memory
8192 MB 
, DDR3L 1600 MHz SDRAM, onBoard memory 4 GB, 4 GB in slot
Display
13.3 inch 16:9, 1920x1080 pixel, Chi Mei CMN N133HSE-EA3 / CMN1361, IPS, glossy: no
Storage
SanDisk SD6SB1M256G1002, 256 GB 
, 2 partitions, 200 GB free
Soundcard
Intel Lynx Point-LP - High Definition Audio Controller
Connections
3 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 VGA, 1 HDMI, 1 DisplayPort, Audio Connections: microphone, Card Reader: SD, SDHC, Sensors: ambient light, VGA D-sub and RJ45 via dongle
Networking
10/100 MBit Lan Adapter (10/100MBit), Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7260 (a/b/g/n/ac)
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 20 x 323 x 223 ( = 0.79 x 12.72 x 8.78 in)
Battery
50 Wh Lithium-Polymer, 3 cells
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 8.1 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: HD webcam 1280x720
Additional features
Speakers: integrated stereo speakers and microphone, Bang & Olufsen ICEpower & SonicMaster sound enhancement, Keyboard: chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, power adapter: 19 V DC, 3.42 A, 65 W, Intel anti-theft, LoJack, , 24 Months Warranty
Weight
1.438 kg ( = 50.72 oz / 3.17 pounds), Power Supply: 214 g ( = 7.55 oz / 0.47 pounds)

 

Only just three quarters of a year in the German market,...
Only just three quarters of a year in the German market,...
...and Asus replaces the UX32LN / UX32LA premium subnotebooks...
...and Asus replaces the UX32LN / UX32LA premium subnotebooks...
...with a new Zenbook: Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4141H
...with a new Zenbook: Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4141H
The 13-inch laptop barely differs from its precursor technically:...
The 13-inch laptop barely differs from its precursor technically:...
...Intel's Haswell platform and a GeForce 840M are again used.
...Intel's Haswell platform and a GeForce 840M are again used.
The chassis' looks have hardly been modified, unlike its content (interfaces, motherboard layout)
The chassis' looks have hardly been modified, unlike its content (interfaces, motherboard layout)
The base is still comprised of light metal (upper and under side)...
The base is still comprised of light metal (upper and under side)...
...and a basic construction of plastic is found underneath that,...
...and a basic construction of plastic is found underneath that,...
...which carries the components alongside the motherboard.
...which carries the components alongside the motherboard.
Core i7 4510U, SSD and Nvida GeForce 840M ensure strong, all-round qualities.
Core i7 4510U, SSD and Nvida GeForce 840M ensure strong, all-round qualities.
The cooling nevertheless remains restrained and consistent.
The cooling nevertheless remains restrained and consistent.
We measured a maximum of 38 dB(A) in the stress test.
We measured a maximum of 38 dB(A) in the stress test.
The interface positioning has changed.
The interface positioning has changed.
One USB 3.0 port has moved from the right to the left.
One USB 3.0 port has moved from the right to the left.
Less is more: only one tiny LED indicates the SSD status.
Less is more: only one tiny LED indicates the SSD status.
The brightness sensor is beside the webcam.
The brightness sensor is beside the webcam.
A rubber lip frames the lid and closes flush almost everywhere on the base.
A rubber lip frames the lid and closes flush almost everywhere on the base.
The input devices quite pleased us with their size,...
The input devices quite pleased us with their size,...
...lettering, and pressure point.
...lettering, and pressure point.
A minor weakness is the keyboard bed's slightly yielding right half.
A minor weakness is the keyboard bed's slightly yielding right half.
A Zenbook must naturally be wrapped up elegantly.
A Zenbook must naturally be wrapped up elegantly.
In einem aufwendigen Karton befindet sich als Zubehör ein Leder-Case ...
In einem aufwendigen Karton befindet sich als Zubehör ein Leder-Case ...
...that has been tailored perfectly for the UX303.
...that has been tailored perfectly for the UX303.
The case's quality is very good.
The case's quality is very good.
The small power supply features a glossy finish.
The small power supply features a glossy finish.
Its 214 grams supply 65 watts.
Its 214 grams supply 65 watts.
Other accessories are manuals, warranty information, a cable tie, and two dongles.
Other accessories are manuals, warranty information, a cable tie, and two dongles.
The keyboard has a backlight (off)
The keyboard has a backlight (off)
Backlight on, level 1
Backlight on, level 1
Backlight on, level 2
Backlight on, level 2
Backlight on, level 3
Backlight on, level 3
The power button is part of the keyboard.
The power button is part of the keyboard.
The flight mode key is illuminated.
The flight mode key is illuminated.
The 1920 x 1080 pixel, non-glare IPS screen...
The 1920 x 1080 pixel, non-glare IPS screen...
...will find many friends owing to its high brightness and very accurate colors.
...will find many friends owing to its high brightness and very accurate colors.
Though the viewing angles are very good,...
Though the viewing angles are very good,...
...the contrast of 622:1 is only middling.
...the contrast of 622:1 is only middling.
Maintenance made easy: User who remove nine Torx T6 screws, and...
Maintenance made easy: User who remove nine Torx T6 screws, and...
...two Philips screws under the stoppers,...
...two Philips screws under the stoppers,...
...will find a maintenance-friendly UX303.
...will find a maintenance-friendly UX303.
The pliable base plate is made of aluminum.
The pliable base plate is made of aluminum.
An mSATA module can be inserted here, but only half-size.
An mSATA module can be inserted here, but only half-size.
The default storage device is a 2.5-inch SATA drive.
The default storage device is a 2.5-inch SATA drive.
New: the microphones are now located in the front area.
New: the microphones are now located in the front area.
One working memory module is inserted, and the other onboard (4 GB each).
One working memory module is inserted, and the other onboard (4 GB each).
The Wi-Fi module in the M.2 slot.
The Wi-Fi module in the M.2 slot.
The battery can also be unscrewed.
The battery can also be unscrewed.
The speakers are easy to remove (glued).
The speakers are easy to remove (glued).
A dream for outdoor users: the bright IPS screen.
A dream for outdoor users: the bright IPS screen.

Similar Laptops

Devices with the same GPU and/or Screen Size

Asus Zenbook UX303LN Subnotebook Review
GeForce 840M, Core i7 5500U, 1.45 kg

Devices with Same Screen Size and/or Weight

Asus X302UV-FN016T Subnotebook Review
GeForce 920MX, Core i5 6200U, 13.3", 1.59 kg
Asus Zenbook UX305CA-FB055T Subnotebook Review
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Asus Zenbook UX305UA-FC040T Subnotebook Review
HD Graphics 520, Core i7 6500U, 13.3", 1.45 kg
Asus Zenbook UX303UA-R4051T Subnotebook Review
HD Graphics 520, Core i7 6500U, 13.3", 1.417 kg
Asus Zenbook UX303UA-FN121T Subnotebook Review
HD Graphics 520, Core i5 6200U, 13.3", 1.45 kg
Asus Zenbook UX303UB-DH74T Notebook Review
GeForce 940M, Core i7 6500U, 13.3", 1.52 kg

Links

  • Manufacturer's information

Compare Prices

Pro

+High-quality, stiff aluminum chassis
+High-capacity SSD
+Matte TFT, stable viewing angles
+High brightness, outdoor-suitable
+Input devices' feedback
+Low noise level
+Casual gaming
+Maintenance options
+Empty, internal mSATA slot
+Low-noise microphone
 

Cons

-Poor webcam
-Slightly spongy keyboard

Shortcut

What we like

Asus covers the entire price range of 700 to 1200 Euros with low-end to high-end configurations. Thus, everyone can buy a UX to fit their needs. The matte and bright screen is a joy, and the chassis' good feel evokes owner's pride.

What we'd like to see

There is not much, but maybe a docking port for professional users.

What surprises us

The UX303 is not really new. Asus simply adopts the precursor's assets and make a few modifications in details.

The competition

Less than 1200 Euros:

Apple MacBook Pro Retina 13

Toshiba Portégé Z30-A-12U 

Samsung ATIV Book 9 Style 

Lenovo IdeaPad U430 Touch

More than 1250 Euros:

Dell XPS 13 

HP Spectre 13-3010eg 

Gigabyte P34G v2 

HP Spectre 13

Rating

Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4141H - 10/17/2014 v4(old)
Sebastian Jentsch

Chassis
90 /  98 → 92%
Keyboard
84%
Pointing Device
87%
Connectivity
68 / 81 → 84%
Weight
70 / 78 → 81%
Battery
89%
Display
88%
Games Performance
80 / 68 → 100%
Application Performance
81 / 87 → 93%
Temperature
82 / 91 → 90%
Noise
94%
Audio
69 / 91 → 76%
Camera
35 / 85 → 41%
Average
78%
85%
Subnotebook - Weighted Average
> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4141H Subnotebook Review
Sebastian Jentsch, 2014-10-23 (Update: 2016-02-18)