Notebookcheck

Asus Zenbook UX305 Subnotebook Review

Sebastian Jentsch (translated by Justin Quam), 02/17/2015

Slimline. How much flatter does it get? The Core M is at its best, with 12 millimeters in an airless case. The performance lags behind the Haswell competitors, and the Zenbook inspires no wonder in terms of battery life. Still, input devices, workmanship, emissions, and (last but not least) the price argue in favor of purchase.

Asus Zenbook UX305FA - at 1,260 grams, it is lighter than the competition.
Asus Zenbook UX305FA - at 1,260 grams, it is lighter than the competition.

For the original German review, see here.

We can't call it an ultrabook; in the end, with our Zenbook UX305FA-FB003H test model, Asus decided on a plain and simple monitor panel. But the word "simple" definitely doesn't apply to the gigantic resolution of 3200x1800 pixels. 4K panels are nothing new, even if they're relatively rare in 13-inch sizes (most recently: Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro). 2560x1440 (3K) and, of course, 1920x1080 (FHD) are more common, which is practically standard in the price class above 700 Euros (~$800).       

One novelty is the price range. For 999 Euros (~$1140), the test configuration is equipped with 256 GB of SSD; for 899 Euros (~$1025), the UX305FA-FB006H (90NB06X1-M00060) version has the same 4K panel and 128 GB SSD. Since the flat system processor also has on-board RAM, these resolutions and storage space are also the only configuration variants of the UX305FA. The Full HD version (1920x1080) is also available from 799 Euros (~$911).

The competitors in the form of 13-inch subnotebooks with high resolutions distinguish themselves above all in one way: They are much more expensive than our 999-Euro (~$1140) test configuration Zenbook UX305 with 256 GB and QHD+. Apple's MacBook Pro Retina 13-inch (late 2013) is available from 1,100 Euros (~$1254). As ever, it's the gold standard in terms of case and input device quality. Toshiba's Portege Z30t with matte touch panel also includes a very good IPS panel and has business-class input devices. We chose these two models as direct competitors, which have a relatively affordable entry price in comparison with other similar 13-inch models.

Notably more expensive:

Case

Lighter than its predecessors, again with an aluminum unibody and highly stable considering the low height.
Lighter than its predecessors, again with an aluminum unibody and highly stable considering the low height.

12.3 mm (without stand feet) and 1,267 grams. These are the specs of a subnotebook chassis the likes of which you don't get to hold every day. Even so, it belongs to a mid-range class, which Asus makes clear with the entry-level configuration for 799 Euros (~$911). How does the manufacturer manage to put such a lightweight, high-quality case on the market for just 799 Euros (~$911)? The quantity is one part of the answer, and production of aluminum unibodies has definitely advanced since the first Zenbook, so that these can be manufactured for the mass market more cheaply today.

The base consists of an aluminum block; the keys stick out of it, and the ClickPad is inset. The feet sit on an aluminum plate that envelops the case from below. Asus decided on a simple arrangement with Torx screws, making it easy for users to open the UX305 in order to switch out the battery, WLAN, or SSD modules. This was also the case with earlier Zenbooks. 

The inner frame on which the main board lies consists of plastic. The combination of light plastic, a shell of aluminum, and a compact lithium-polymer battery with correspondingly low capacity, offers a lighter weight than the predecessor UX303 (1,438 grams) or the no longer available UX32LN (1,441 grams). The Zenbook UX302LG from late 2013 actually weighed 1,559 grams and was 21 mm tall. Here, Asus has presented a serious advance in slim subnotebooks. Intel's fanless Core M technology is no longer the only entrant here.

The reverse side of the lid is polished in a circle around the logo, and the surface holds up very well under light pressure. The resistance to twisting when the edges are contorted is unusually good, especially considering the thickness of just a few millimeters. This is also nice: when twisting or pressing the reverse side, no pressure points appear on the panel; the liquid crystal seems not to be sensitive to pressure (on the reverse side). 

The hinge sits tightly enough on the base and hardly lets the display rock. The lid opens to an angle of up to about 135 degrees. The base can be lifted up very easily at this angle, because the lid slides itself underneath it. To avoid scratches, Asus has included a small spacer on the underside of the lid. The lid can be comfortably opened with one hand, and thanks to the weight of the battery, the base remains on the table. The lid is lightly attached to the base with two magnets. This pull can easily be overcome with one hand, though.

A rubber lip runs around the case, offering a soft, scratch-free connection between base and lid. However, the keyboard is not hermetically closed off; a narrow gap remains to the right and left of the keyboard and the lid has a slight bulge (on both sides).

Asus UX305 aluminum case with plastic inlay.
Asus UX305 aluminum case with plastic inlay.
For comparison, UX303LN, likewise inlay made out of plastic (1.44 kg, 13.3-inch).
For comparison, UX303LN, likewise inlay made out of plastic (1.44 kg, 13.3-inch).
For comparison, Asus NX500 with stronger aluminum frame (2.25 kg, 15.6-inch).
For comparison, Asus NX500 with stronger aluminum frame (2.25 kg, 15.6-inch).

Connectivity

The low design height doesn't prevent Asus from building in fully functional USB 3.0 ports. This is just as standard in this price class as HDMI (though this comes in the micro variant). At 1280x720 pixels, the webcam's resolution is merely sufficient. Still, we wouldn't make a fuss over it, if photos were are least reliably clear. The focus of the object is indeed good, but surfaces have grainy edges; in terms of color, they are pale and not well differentiated. Asus had to rummage pretty far back in the drawer here.

Things look different with the microphone, which presents no problems with Skype chats. We're not sure if this involves a dual array; Asus provides no information here. The one opening adjacent to the webcam suggests mono, though. In any case, recording works very well; we can stand 0.5 to 3 meters away from the device and speech playback is clear and noiseless. The tone can be quite echoey, though, which also indicates mono input.

Webcam: 1280x720 pixels.
Webcam: 1280x720 pixels.
Dull colors in artificial light in Fotobox.
Dull colors in artificial light in Fotobox.
Grainy pictures in daylight, good focus.
Grainy pictures in daylight, good focus.
Left side: 2 x USB 3.0, card reader
Left side: 2 x USB 3.0, card reader
Right side: Status LED - Operation - Battery Strength, headphones/microphone 3.5 mm jack, Micro HDMI, USB 3.0, AC
Right side: Status LED - Operation - Battery Strength, headphones/microphone 3.5 mm jack, Micro HDMI, USB 3.0, AC
Front: no ports
Front: no ports
Back: no ports
Back: no ports
45-Watt power cord
45-Watt power cord
Slim case
Slim case
Quick instructions and cable tie
Quick instructions and cable tie
USB-to-GBE/LAN adapter
USB-to-GBE/LAN adapter
Simple warranty
Simple warranty

Communication

The UX305 has an Intel Dual Band Wireless AC 7265 at its disposal for wireless connection to our WLAN router (Fritz!Box 7490). Theoretically, Wireless AC should double the data flow rate as opposed to Wireless N, since it uses two channels. In the author's individual setting, the Intel chip has rather wide coverage. We were able to surf on notebookcheck.com at the usual speed over a short distance (15 meters / ~50 feet, outside of the building, 4/5 bars). The signal does not break up at distances up to 45 meters (~150 feet). We were able to reach the 45-meter checkpoint with two bars and load notebookcheck with acceptable delays. The predecessor model Zenbook UX303LN didn't make it to 45 meters (Intel Dual Band Wireless AC 7260). 

An Ethernet adaptor is not integrated; fortunately, the included USB-to-Ethernet dongle can also be used as a Gigabit adaptor. Until now, the RJ45 dongles provided by Asus were always 10/100 Mbit LAN adaptors (for example, UX303LN). Bluetooth is likewise included. Asus does not offer a 3G variant with modem and SIM-card slot. 

Accessories

The accessories consist of a 45-Watt power adapter, the USB-to-Ethernet dongle, a cable tie, the warranty information, and a slim case with Asus branding.

Maintenance

The underside of the UX305 is secured with small screws (Torx/Phillips), two of which are under the rear feet. When these are removed, the following can be accessed by removing the back plate: WLAN module (M.2), SDD (M.2), cooling ribs (in order to clean them), CMOS battery and screwed-in battery. The 8 GB RAM is onboard. 

Warranty 

The warranty out of the factory adds up to 24 months. Asus will pick up the Zenbook and return it, covering the cost (Collect & Return). The manufacturer only offers warranty extensions for its products with one-year warranties.

Input Devices

Keyboard

Asus puts a chiclet keyboard on the flat keys. The keys are recessed so that they cannot impact the panel while the lid is closed. The stroke is naturally quite brief, but the writer will appreciate the sharp pressure point. Writers who type softly but quickly on the keys will get a firm stroke.  The surface has some give, especially in the middle, if the keys are hammered down with force, and the underside of the UX305 presses toward the tabletop. The keys are of an appropriate size and have an excellent layout with offset arrow keys, large Space, Enter, and Shift keys, and FN keys for the usual additional functions (brightness, flight mode, etc.). As is usual with Zenbooks, there is also an FN key on the "A" for activation/deactivation of the ambient light sensor. Unfortunately, the keyboard is not backlit. 

Touchpad

The ClickPad, with a diagonal of 12.4 centimeters, is sensitive through the edges and supports the usual multi-touch gestures. The surface is smooth and differentiates itself markedly from the rougher wrist rest. The pad is also inset by just a millimeter, avoiding possible confusion in the darkness. There are no longer separate mouse keys, as is usual with these pads; instead there is just one key under the whole pad. Depending on finger position, the device recognizes whether the user intends a left or right mouse click. Here, around the right mouse key, is just where we experienced difficulty: The key only works when the finger lies far to the right and very near the bottom edge. After the BIOS update to Version 206 (which we did not run only for this reason) and a recovery reinstallation, this weak point was mitigated. 

Sufficient stroke, sharp pressure point - it makes for a comfortably noticeable feedback.
Sufficient stroke, sharp pressure point - it makes for a comfortably noticeable feedback.

Display

Very nice, no clouding with a black image.
Very nice, no clouding with a black image.

3200x1800 pixels on the TFT of a 13.3-inch model is still something to write home about. The Samsung IPS panel (Model 133YL04 P01) has been coated and is therefore not a touch panel. Purchasers can decide whether the high resolution (276 ppi) is even necessary. Windows can be scaled up without a problem, though this is not true for every program. Even the software for the photo spectrometer, a tool for monitor enthusiasts which implements the color calibration, presents extremely small icons and cut-off measurement results

Our X-Rite i1Pro 2 measures an optimal luminance of 326 cd/m², and because of an even illumination, the average lies just under that at 309 cd/m². Illumination of 80 to 85% is typical, especially with this relatively high brightness. Uniform luminance is definitely a strength of the Asus.  

295
cd/m²
310
cd/m²
307
cd/m²
303
cd/m²
310
cd/m²
312
cd/m²
318
cd/m²
300
cd/m²
326
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 326 cd/m² Average: 309 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 90 %
Center on Battery: 310 cd/m²
Contrast: 413:1 (Black: 0.75 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 2.49 | - Ø
ΔE Greyscale 1.89 | - Ø
83.1% sRGB (Argyll) 54% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll)
Gamma: 2.36
Asus ZenBook UX305FA-FB003H
IPS matt 3200x1800
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 13 inch 2013-10
IPS glare 2560x1440
Toshiba Portege Z30t-A-10X
IPS matt 1920x1080
Toshiba Kirabook 2014
IPS glare 2560x1440
Dell XPS 13-9333
IPS glare 1920x1080
Response Times
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
33
Response Time Black / White *
26.2
PWM Frequency
Screen
31%
-44%
36%
-19%
Brightness
309
300
-3%
289
-6%
223
-28%
441
43%
Brightness Distribution
90
84
-7%
89
-1%
85
-6%
92
2%
Black Level *
0.75
0.42
44%
0.43
43%
0.166
78%
0.655
13%
Contrast
413
779
89%
726
76%
1367
231%
687
66%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
2.49
5.64
-127%
2.5
-0%
4.53
-82%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
1.89
7.79
-312%
2.55
-35%
5.32
-181%
Gamma
2.36 102%
2.48 97%
2.44 98%
2.35 102%
CCT
6573 99%
6161 106%
6697 97%
6224 104%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
54
64
19%
61
13%
55.66
3%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
83.1
Total Average (Program / Settings)
31% / 31%
-44% / -44%
36% / 36%
-19% / -19%

* ... smaller is better

Color space AdobeRGB1998 54% coverage.
Color space AdobeRGB1998 54% coverage.
Color space sRGB (Correction 20.5.2015 due to a wrong sRGB-reference-profile: coverage 83%).
Color space sRGB (Correction 20.5.2015 due to a wrong sRGB-reference-profile: coverage 83%).

Contrast is another story, though. We ran the measurements twice, because we didn't want to believe the low rating of 413:1. It stuck, though, which is why the UX305 lags far behind the competitors when it comes to sharp colors. Color presentation via sRGB is something else entirely; here, the Samsung QHD+ panel hits the color reference exactly. We could not significantly improve the DeltaE of 2.5 and 1.9 (color / grayscale) with any calibrations. Why even bother, with a DeltaE under 3? The human eye can't detect any difference between reference and on-screen color. Still, professionals will have to consider this panel carefully, since neither AdobeRGB1998 nor the smaller sRGB spaces are fully realized. Still, this only seldom works with notebooks.

The panel's brightness is maintained during battery use, but only when the ambient light sensor is turned off. Our photos appear somewhat cloudy. Reflections appear only weakly, and the somewhat faint monitor is still easy to read.

Good luminance and matte display,...
Good luminance and matte display,...
...this works well during use in daylight.
...this works well during use in daylight.
Photos at 310 cd/m² and light clouding.
Photos at 310 cd/m² and light clouding.

IPS panels usually entail good to very good viewing angles, and the UX305 is no exception. No matter from which position we looked at the screen, color inversions never occurred. From a downward diagonal angle, colors were still marred by a milky film that turned the black surfaces gray, but this did not affect readability.

Viewing angles of the Asus Zenbook UX305FA-FB003H with 13.3-inches, 3200x1800 QHD+
Viewing angles of the Asus Zenbook UX305FA-FB003H with 13.3-inches, 3200x1800 QHD+

Performance

The Intel Core M-5Y10 (0.8 GHz + Turbo) is standard for the UX305, and there are no alternatives. While one could choose between Core i7-4510U and Core i5-4210U with Haswell, here there's only a choice between FHD and QHD+ as well as 128 GB vs. 256 GB (raw SSD capacity). 213 GB is available for the user from the M.2 hard drive. The rest is taken up by Windows preinstallation and recovery area. Asus divides the SSD up into OS (95 GB) and data (130 GB) partitions.

The Core M-5Y10 is a dual core SoC of the new Broadwell generation. In terms of performance, it is the weakest horse in a stable of shrunken architecture. Compared to the Haswell predecessors with Y in their names, the Core i5-4210Y (TDP 11.5 Watts, 1.5 to 1.9 GHz) decreased the standard speed but increased the turbo. The TDP sinks to 4.5 Watts due to the lower structural width (14 instead of 22 nm). The Haswell Core i5-4210Y usually had an active fan (Dell XPS 11-9P33), but the built-in Core M-5Y10 doesn't need one. What consequences do the structural shrinking and the energy-saving mania have for the performance in our benchmarks?

System info: CPU-Z CPU
System info: CPU-Z CPU
System info: CPU-Z Cache
System info: CPU-Z Cache
System info: CPU-Z Memory
System info: CPU-Z Memory
System info: CPU-Z Motherboard
System info: CPU-Z Motherboard
System info: HWinfo Summary
System info: HWinfo Summary
System info: GPU-Z
System info: GPU-Z
 
 
System information Asus Zenbook UX305

Processor

Cinebench R15 after stress test @1.8 GHz
Cinebench R15 after stress test @1.8 GHz
Prime95 multi-core stress test @1.6-1.7 GHz
Prime95 multi-core stress test @1.6-1.7 GHz

The results show the Core M-5Y10 to be 5 to 15% (multi vs. single) ahead of the 4210Y predecessors (XPS 11). The usual 15-Watt Haswells are markedly higher-performance; the 4500U is at 40%. The Turbo should run at up to 2.0 GHz (single core) in theory, though we could not measure this in our tests. The Cinebench R15 benchmark runs at 2.0 GHz in our single-core test (even running on battery) and at a constant 1.8 GHz in multi-core mode (1.3-1.5 GHz on battery).  

In a multi-stress test for the CPU, the level sinks to 1.6-1.7 GHz. The SoC does not manage this while running on battery, though; here the Cinebench R15 Multi measures lower scores (high-performance mode @ 1.3-1.5 GHz, R15 Multi @ 137 instead of 155 points, Single @ 78 instead of 82 points). However, the lower performance while running on battery does not seem to matter in practical use.

Cinebench R11.5
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Asus ZenBook UX305FA-FB003H
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y10, SanDisk SD7SN3Q256G1002
0.95 Points ∼4%
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 13 inch 2013-10
Iris Graphics 5100, 4258U, Apple SSD SM0256F
1.21 Points ∼4% +27%
Toshiba Portege Z30t-A-10X
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256GMCU
1.27 Points ∼5% +34%
Toshiba Kirabook 2014
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, Toshiba THNSNJ256GMCT
1.33 Points ∼5% +40%
Dell XPS 13-9333
HD Graphics 4400, 4200U, Liteonit LMT-128M6M
1.12 Points ∼4% +18%
Dell XPS 11
HD Graphics 4200, 4210Y, Samsung SSD PM841 MZMTD256HAGM
0.81 Points ∼3% -15%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Asus ZenBook UX305FA-FB003H
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y10, SanDisk SD7SN3Q256G1002
1.74 Points ∼2%
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 13 inch 2013-10
Iris Graphics 5100, 4258U, Apple SSD SM0256F
2.92 Points ∼4% +68%
Toshiba Portege Z30t-A-10X
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256GMCU
2.4 Points ∼3% +38%
Toshiba Kirabook 2014
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, Toshiba THNSNJ256GMCT
2.91 Points ∼4% +67%
Dell XPS 13-9333
HD Graphics 4400, 4200U, Liteonit LMT-128M6M
2.49 Points ∼3% +43%
Dell XPS 11
HD Graphics 4200, 4210Y, Samsung SSD PM841 MZMTD256HAGM
1.66 Points ∼2% -5%
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Asus ZenBook UX305FA-FB003H
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y10, SanDisk SD7SN3Q256G1002
82 Points ∼44%
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 13 inch 2013-10
Iris Graphics 5100, 4258U, Apple SSD SM0256F
106 Points ∼57% +29%
Toshiba Portege Z30t-A-10X
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256GMCU
112 Points ∼61% +37%
Toshiba Kirabook 2014
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, Toshiba THNSNJ256GMCT
108 Points ∼58% +32%
Dell XPS 11
HD Graphics 4200, 4210Y, Samsung SSD PM841 MZMTD256HAGM
71 Points ∼38% -13%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Asus ZenBook UX305FA-FB003H
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y10, SanDisk SD7SN3Q256G1002
155 Points ∼10%
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 13 inch 2013-10
Iris Graphics 5100, 4258U, Apple SSD SM0256F
261 Points ∼17% +68%
Toshiba Portege Z30t-A-10X
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256GMCU
223 Points ∼14% +44%
Toshiba Kirabook 2014
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, Toshiba THNSNJ256GMCT
268 Points ∼17% +73%
Dell XPS 11
HD Graphics 4200, 4210Y, Samsung SSD PM841 MZMTD256HAGM
156 Points ∼10% +1%
Cinebench R10
Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit (sort by value)
Asus ZenBook UX305FA-FB003H
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y10, SanDisk SD7SN3Q256G1002
4159 Points ∼46%
Toshiba Portege Z30t-A-10X
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256GMCU
5452 Points ∼60% +31%
Toshiba Kirabook 2014
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, Toshiba THNSNJ256GMCT
5778 Points ∼64% +39%
Dell XPS 13-9333
HD Graphics 4400, 4200U, Liteonit LMT-128M6M
4961 Points ∼55% +19%
Dell XPS 11
HD Graphics 4200, 4210Y, Samsung SSD PM841 MZMTD256HAGM
3591 Points ∼40% -14%
Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit (sort by value)
Asus ZenBook UX305FA-FB003H
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y10, SanDisk SD7SN3Q256G1002
7072 Points ∼19%
Toshiba Portege Z30t-A-10X
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256GMCU
9600 Points ∼26% +36%
Toshiba Kirabook 2014
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, Toshiba THNSNJ256GMCT
11827 Points ∼32% +67%
Dell XPS 13-9333
HD Graphics 4400, 4200U, Liteonit LMT-128M6M
9898 Points ∼27% +40%
Dell XPS 11
HD Graphics 4200, 4210Y, Samsung SSD PM841 MZMTD256HAGM
6996 Points ∼19% -1%
Octane V2 - Total Score (sort by value)
Asus ZenBook UX305FA-FB003H
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y10, SanDisk SD7SN3Q256G1002
9344 Points ∼21%
Sunspider - 1.0 Total Score (sort by value)
Asus ZenBook UX305FA-FB003H
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y10, SanDisk SD7SN3Q256G1002
157 ms * ∼4%
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 13 inch 2013-10
Iris Graphics 5100, 4258U, Apple SSD SM0256F (1.0.2 Safari 7.0)
144 ms * ∼4% +8%
Dell XPS 11
HD Graphics 4200, 4210Y, Samsung SSD PM841 MZMTD256HAGM
172.8 ms * ∼4% -10%
Mozilla Kraken 1.1 - Total Score (sort by value)
Asus ZenBook UX305FA-FB003H
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y10, SanDisk SD7SN3Q256G1002
3324 ms * ∼6%
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 13 inch 2013-10
Iris Graphics 5100, 4258U, Apple SSD SM0256F (Safari 7.0)
2292.2 ms * ∼4% +31%
Dell XPS 11
HD Graphics 4200, 4210Y, Samsung SSD PM841 MZMTD256HAGM
3654.8 ms * ∼6% -10%

* ... smaller is better

Cinebench R10 Shading 64Bit
4209 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit
7072 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit
4159 Points
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
3949
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
5404
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
3100
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
14.74 fps
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
1.74 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
0.95 Points
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
98 %
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
18 fps
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
155 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
82 Points
Help

System Performance

PCMarks 7 and 8 measure the usage performance. This is where our UX305 lags noticeably behind, though only in comparison to the high-performance Haswell counterparts. The Dell XPS 11 (Haswell Y) lags 8% behind in PCMark 7's computation score, but the overall score is the same. PCMark doesn't let itself get blinded by fast SSDs; in every test, it shows Haswell Y as having a more or less marginal advantage. The overall performance of the normal ULV models runs up to 20% (depending on the test) ahead of our UX305.

Users may ask whether the UX305 goes to its knees while running 30 to 50 browser tabs or doing a lot of multitasking. This was not the case; we could always skip back and forth between various windows. Meanwhile, a video was running smoothly. Even during simultaneous installation of programs and a copying routine, there were no dropped frames or wait times. Therefore, the experienced performance is in the green zone and quite appropriate for an SSD system.

Smooth multitasking with 30 browser tabs.
Smooth multitasking with 30 browser tabs.
Smooth multitasking with 50 browser tabs & video.
Smooth multitasking with 50 browser tabs & video.
BIOS update (Version 206).
BIOS update (Version 206).
PCMark 7
System Storage (sort by value)
Asus ZenBook UX305FA-FB003H
5304 Points ∼74%
Toshiba Portege Z30t-A-10X
5547 Points ∼78% +5%
Toshiba Kirabook 2014
5563 Points ∼78% +5%
Dell XPS 11
5306 Points ∼74% 0%
Computation (sort by value)
Asus ZenBook UX305FA-FB003H
11906 Points ∼42%
Toshiba Portege Z30t-A-10X
14889 Points ∼53% +25%
Toshiba Kirabook 2014
16624 Points ∼59% +40%
Dell XPS 11
10987 Points ∼39% -8%
Creativity (sort by value)
Asus ZenBook UX305FA-FB003H
8185 Points ∼58%
Toshiba Portege Z30t-A-10X
9238 Points ∼65% +13%
Toshiba Kirabook 2014
9777 Points ∼69% +19%
Dell XPS 11
7509 Points ∼53% -8%
Productivity (sort by value)
Asus ZenBook UX305FA-FB003H
3288 Points ∼30%
Toshiba Portege Z30t-A-10X
2287 Points ∼21% -30%
Toshiba Kirabook 2014
2541 Points ∼23% -23%
Dell XPS 11
1934 Points ∼18% -41%
Score (sort by value)
Asus ZenBook UX305FA-FB003H
4001 Points ∼50%
Toshiba Portege Z30t-A-10X
4510 Points ∼56% +13%
Toshiba Kirabook 2014
5090 Points ∼63% +27%
Dell XPS 13-9333
4862 Points ∼60% +22%
Dell XPS 11
4009 Points ∼50% 0%
PCMark 8
Storage Score (sort by value)
Asus ZenBook UX305FA-FB003H
4903 Points ∼97%
Toshiba Portege Z30t-A-10X
4977 Points ∼98% +2%
Toshiba Kirabook 2014
4987 Points ∼98% +2%
Dell XPS 11
4915 Points ∼97% 0%
Work Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Asus ZenBook UX305FA-FB003H
2761 Points ∼45%
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 13 inch 2013-10
3269 Points ∼53% +18%
Toshiba Portege Z30t-A-10X
3232 Points ∼53% +17%
Toshiba Kirabook 2014
3052 Points ∼50% +11%
Creative Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Asus ZenBook UX305FA-FB003H
2526 Points ∼30%
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 13 inch 2013-10
2733 Points ∼32% +8%
Toshiba Portege Z30t-A-10X
2229 Points ∼26% -12%
Toshiba Kirabook 2014
2662 Points ∼31% +5%
Home Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Asus ZenBook UX305FA-FB003H
2037 Points ∼36%
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 13 inch 2013-10
2457 Points ∼43% +21%
Toshiba Portege Z30t-A-10X
2184 Points ∼39% +7%
Toshiba Kirabook 2014
2389 Points ∼42% +17%
PCMark 7 Score
4001 points
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
2037 points
PCMark 8 Creative Score Accelerated v2
2526 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
2761 points
Help

Storage Devices

The SanDisk 256 GB SSD (model SD7SN3Q256G1002) is installed as an M.2 module (full size). Its data transfer rates consistently sit at the same level as those of its counterparts; no surprises here. We did not run this test on the MacBook Pro Retina 13.

Asus ZenBook UX305FA-FB003H
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y10, SanDisk SD7SN3Q256G1002
Toshiba Portege Z30t-A-10X
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256GMCU
Toshiba Kirabook 2014
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, Toshiba THNSNJ256GMCT
Dell XPS 13-9333
HD Graphics 4400, 4200U, Liteonit LMT-128M6M
AS SSD
-1%
15%
-1%
Copy Program MB/s
138.74
92.67
-33%
209.77
51%
Score Total
928
930
0%
972
5%
902
-3%
Score Write
301
282
-6%
318
6%
337
12%
Score Read
411
427
4%
431
5%
373
-9%
4K Write
59.39
68.75
16%
83.52
41%
57.58
-3%
4K Read
28.11
21.11
-25%
21.22
-25%
29.32
4%
Seq Write
371.63
457.86
23%
457.38
23%
302.22
-19%
Seq Read
454.46
511.22
12%
511.55
13%
492.7
8%
SanDisk SD7SN3Q256G1002
Sequential Read: 465.8 MB/s
Sequential Write: 438.7 MB/s
512K Read: 299.6 MB/s
512K Write: 350.6 MB/s
4K Read: 31 MB/s
4K Write: 70.32 MB/s
4K QD32 Read: 320.3 MB/s
4K QD32 Write: 247.4 MB/s

Graphics Card

The Intel HD Graphics 5300 is integrated into the SoC and supports the processor with DirectX 11.2 API, likewise with OpenCL 1.3/2.0 and OpenGL 4.3. The maximum processor speed of 800 MHz is never reached. The Cinebench R15 shading test is performed at 449 to 549 MHz. The comparison with the HD Graphics 4200 comes out looking good; the HD 5300 can pack on up to 40% (Cloud Gate Graphics). This lies at least in part with the storage connection via dual channel. An HD 4400 (Haswell 15 Watt) can overtake the HD 5300 by 40 to 60%.

3DMark
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics (sort by value)
Asus ZenBook UX305FA-FB003H
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y10, SanDisk SD7SN3Q256G1002
439 Points ∼1%
Toshiba Portege Z30t-A-10X
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256GMCU
575 Points ∼1% +31%
Toshiba Kirabook 2014
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, Toshiba THNSNJ256GMCT
706 Points ∼2% +61%
Dell XPS 11
HD Graphics 4200, 4210Y, Samsung SSD PM841 MZMTD256HAGM
286 Points ∼1% -35%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Score (sort by value)
Asus ZenBook UX305FA-FB003H
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y10, SanDisk SD7SN3Q256G1002
407 Points ∼2%
Toshiba Portege Z30t-A-10X
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256GMCU
521 Points ∼2% +28%
Toshiba Kirabook 2014
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, Toshiba THNSNJ256GMCT
640 Points ∼3% +57%
Dell XPS 11
HD Graphics 4200, 4210Y, Samsung SSD PM841 MZMTD256HAGM
253 Points ∼1% -38%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics (sort by value)
Asus ZenBook UX305FA-FB003H
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y10, SanDisk SD7SN3Q256G1002
3540 Points ∼2%
Toshiba Portege Z30t-A-10X
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256GMCU
4844 Points ∼3% +37%
Toshiba Kirabook 2014
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, Toshiba THNSNJ256GMCT
5466 Points ∼3% +54%
Dell XPS 11
HD Graphics 4200, 4210Y, Samsung SSD PM841 MZMTD256HAGM
3045 Points ∼2% -14%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Score (sort by value)
Asus ZenBook UX305FA-FB003H
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y10, SanDisk SD7SN3Q256G1002
2958 Points ∼8%
Toshiba Portege Z30t-A-10X
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256GMCU
3883 Points ∼11% +31%
Toshiba Kirabook 2014
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, Toshiba THNSNJ256GMCT
4477 Points ∼13% +51%
Dell XPS 11
HD Graphics 4200, 4210Y, Samsung SSD PM841 MZMTD256HAGM
2545 Points ∼7% -14%
3DMark 11
1280x720 Performance Physics (sort by value)
Asus ZenBook UX305FA-FB003H
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y10, SanDisk SD7SN3Q256G1002
2227 Points ∼17%
Toshiba Portege Z30t-A-10X
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256GMCU
3096 Points ∼23% +39%
Toshiba Kirabook 2014
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, Toshiba THNSNJ256GMCT
3555 Points ∼27% +60%
Dell XPS 13-9333
HD Graphics 4400, 4200U, Liteonit LMT-128M6M
3209 Points ∼24% +44%
Dell XPS 11
HD Graphics 4200, 4210Y, Samsung SSD PM841 MZMTD256HAGM
2047 Points ∼15% -8%
1280x720 Performance GPU (sort by value)
Asus ZenBook UX305FA-FB003H
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y10, SanDisk SD7SN3Q256G1002
609 Points ∼1%
Toshiba Portege Z30t-A-10X
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256GMCU
757 Points ∼1% +24%
Toshiba Kirabook 2014
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, Toshiba THNSNJ256GMCT
885 Points ∼2% +45%
Dell XPS 13-9333
HD Graphics 4400, 4200U, Liteonit LMT-128M6M
789 Points ∼2% +30%
Dell XPS 11
HD Graphics 4200, 4210Y, Samsung SSD PM841 MZMTD256HAGM
460 Points ∼1% -24%
1280x720 Performance (sort by value)
Asus ZenBook UX305FA-FB003H
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y10, SanDisk SD7SN3Q256G1002
686 Points ∼3%
Toshiba Portege Z30t-A-10X
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256GMCU
846 Points ∼3% +23%
Toshiba Kirabook 2014
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, Toshiba THNSNJ256GMCT
993 Points ∼4% +45%
Dell XPS 13-9333
HD Graphics 4400, 4200U, Liteonit LMT-128M6M
897 Points ∼4% +31%
Dell XPS 11
HD Graphics 4200, 4210Y, Samsung SSD PM841 MZMTD256HAGM
525 Points ∼2% -23%
3DMark 11 Performance
686 points
3DMark Ice Storm Standard Score
27325 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
2958 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
407 points
Help

Gaming Performance

The UX305 does not distinguish itself for gamers, though, even with older titles like Anno 2070 or Risen, Part 1. Haswell Y is similarly poor for this discipline, and an HD 4400 even with an advantage of 18 to 28% over this low level, does not reach playable frame rates either. As an alternative to a Zenbook UX303LN a GeForce 840M could be used instead.

Even older games don't run so well: Anno 2070 (2011) 20 fps (medium).
Even older games don't run so well: Anno 2070 (2011) 20 fps (medium).
Risen (2009) can't be smoothly played at all in HD resolution.
Risen (2009) can't be smoothly played at all in HD resolution.
20 fps (medium) at 1024x768 pixels resolution.
20 fps (medium) at 1024x768 pixels resolution.
Anno 2070
1366x768 High Preset AA:on AF:2x (sort by value)
Asus ZenBook UX305FA-FB003H
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y10, SanDisk SD7SN3Q256G1002
11.6 fps ∼7%
Toshiba Portege Z30t-A-10X
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256GMCU
14.8 fps ∼8% +28%
Dell XPS 11
HD Graphics 4200, 4210Y, Samsung SSD PM841 MZMTD256HAGM
10.3 fps ∼6% -11%
1366x768 Medium Preset AA:on (sort by value)
Asus ZenBook UX305FA-FB003H
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y10, SanDisk SD7SN3Q256G1002
19.5 fps ∼8%
Toshiba Portege Z30t-A-10X
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256GMCU
23.1 fps ∼10% +18%
Dell XPS 11
HD Graphics 4200, 4210Y, Samsung SSD PM841 MZMTD256HAGM
17.3 fps ∼7% -11%
low med. high ultra
Risen (2009) 20.314.5fps
Anno 2070 (2011) 19.511.6fps
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (2014) 14.24.7fps

Emissions

Temperature

Stress test start CPU@800-900 MHz.
Stress test start [email protected] MHz.
Stress test after 45 min CPU@800 MHz, GPU@400 MHz, SoC 60 °C.
Stress test after 45 min [email protected] MHz, [email protected] MHz, SoC 60 °C.

In idle mode, the base doesn't even reach the temperature of the hands; even in the middle of the chassis, where the cooling ribs are found, we could feel the warmth with our hands. We used the stress test from Prime95 and Furmark in order to create the highest possible steady load. As expected, the CPU cycles back to 800 MHz, where it stays constant. The GPU reduces itself to 400 MHz, which lies only a bit under its previous 450-550 MHz level (during the Cinebench R15 shading benchmark). Now the upper surfaces heat up noticeably; we measured up to 43 °C (109 °F). For a fanless design, this is a fairly low high-water mark. 

The Kirabook 2014 with fan stayed around 40 °C (104 °F) during this test, while the MacBook Pro Retina 13 (fan) reached 43 °C (109 °F). The Core M really has an advantage here in terms of warming, which is not hindered by its noiselessness.


 

Asus ZenBook UX305FA-FB003H
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y10, SanDisk SD7SN3Q256G1002
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 13 inch 2013-10
Iris Graphics 5100, 4258U, Apple SSD SM0256F
Toshiba Portege Z30t-A-10X
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256GMCU
Toshiba Kirabook 2014
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, Toshiba THNSNJ256GMCT
Dell XPS 13-9333
HD Graphics 4400, 4200U, Liteonit LMT-128M6M
Dell XPS 11
HD Graphics 4200, 4210Y, Samsung SSD PM841 MZMTD256HAGM
Heat
-4%
-9%
7%
-20%
-6%
Maximum Upper Side *
43.1
43
-0%
39
10%
40.3
6%
44.2
-3%
36
16%
Maximum Bottom *
41.2
40
3%
37.2
10%
34.1
17%
48.4
-17%
39.7
4%
Idle Upper Side *
26.3
29
-10%
34.3
-30%
25.8
2%
32.6
-24%
30.9
-17%
Idle Bottom *
26.2
28
-7%
33
-26%
26
1%
35.8
-37%
33.2
-27%

* ... smaller is better

 25.6 °C26.1 °C26.3 °C 
 23.1 °C23.5 °C24.9 °C 
 22.6 °C22.7 °C22.8 °C 
Maximum: 26.3 °C
Average: 24.2 °C
25.9 °C26.1 °C26.2 °C
24.4 °C25 °C25 °C
24.4 °C24.1 °C24.1 °C
Maximum: 26.2 °C
Average: 25 °C
Power Supply (max.)  28.6 °C | Room Temperature 21.2 °C | Voltcraft IR-360

Speakers

The noise of the speakers is thin; lows and differentiated highs are absent. The Audio Wizard changes the pitches and auditory source width, but music can't really be played at listening quality even in Music Mode.

Neither the middle nor high ranges can shine with a clear, voluminous, well-balanced playback; nor the bass range with recognizable lows. What we don't like goes beyond the rudimentary standard of a 08/15 notebook. The upper volume reserves are good enough to fill a mid-sized room (30 m²). It doesn't sound particularly pretty, though; the small speakers are easily overwhelmed. The user's only option is pretty much to use external speakers (via HDMI or microphone jack).

Energy Management

Power Consumption

The power consumption in idle mode isn't significantly different from Haswell competitors. The variation in idle maximum is mostly influenced by panel brightness, so the display of the frugal Kirabook 2014 (7.6 Watts) shines at just 222 cd/m² and not 309 cd/m² (UX305, 8.6 Watts). The Dell XPS 11 with the predecessor Core i5-4210Y has an identical power consumption profile but a smaller display diagonal; therefore its power consumption must be considered somewhat higher. The Haswell Y's consumption under load is noticeably lower than that of the UX305, which is why the battery life comparison remains interesting.

Under load, there are hardly any differences between the Haswell 15-Watt and the Core M. One exception: the MacBook Pro Retina 13, thanks to a strong, integrated Intel Iris Graphics 5100.

Asus ZenBook UX305FA-FB003H
M-5Y10
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 13 inch 2013-10
i5-4258U
Toshiba Portege Z30t-A-10X
i7-4500U
Toshiba Kirabook 2014
i7-4500U
Dell XPS 11
i5-4200U
Power Consumption
-48%
3%
5%
17%
Idle Minimum *
3.1
2.8
10%
3
3%
3.3
-6%
3.1
-0%
Idle Average *
7.5
8.8
-17%
6.6
12%
5.6
25%
7.4
1%
Idle Maximum *
8.6
9
-5%
7.9
8%
7.6
12%
7.4
14%
Load Average *
25.2
58
-130%
27.4
-9%
28.8
-14%
17.2
32%
Load Maximum *
30.6
60.6
-98%
30.3
1%
28.9
6%
19
38%

* ... smaller is better

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0 / 0.2 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 3.1 / 7.5 / 8.6 Watt
Load midlight 25.2 / 30.6 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Voltcraft VC 960

Battery Life

As we established above, the Core M offers no improvements in terms of performance in comparison with the Haswell (ULV 15 Watt); only the 11.5-Watt Y models are easily surpassed. Hope therefore lies with the battery life. Does the lower power consumption lead to noticeably longer runtimes?

The "Core M = more battery life" equation does not quite balance out, as the graph below shows. With a correspondingly low capacity of just 45 Wh, the UX305 manages barely seven hours in our WLAN test or 13 hours in idle mode with lowest brightness. The Kirabook 2014 performs at about the same runtime with 52 Wh; the Z30t (52 Wh) improves upon this by a whole hour with its higher-performance SoC. The MacBook Pro Retina 13 isn't a good comparison with its 72 Wh; it lasts longer by three hours in our WLAN test. 

The battery life under load is similar to that of the Portege Z30t-A-10X but an hour better than that of the Kirabook 2014.

 

Asus ZenBook UX305FA-FB003H
M-5Y10 45Wh
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 13 inch 2013-10
i5 4258U 72Wh
Toshiba Portege Z30t-A-10X
i7 4500U 52Wh
Toshiba Kirabook 2014
i7 4500U 52Wh
Dell XPS 13-9333
i5 4200U 55Wh
Dell XPS 11
HD Graphics 4200, 4210Y, Samsung SSD PM841 MZMTD256HAGM
Battery Runtime
27%
16%
-9%
18%
-20%
Reader / Idle
781
1535
97%
1194
53%
835
7%
987
26%
618
-21%
Load
189
99
-48%
178
-6%
126
-33%
217
15%
118
-38%
WiFi
408
569
39%
473
16%
393
-4%
465
14%
378
-7%
H.264
396
467
18%
392
-1%
373
-6%
337
-15%
Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
13h 01min
WiFi Surfing
6h 48min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
6h 36min
Load (maximum brightness)
3h 9min

Verdict

During test: Zenbook UX305FA-FB003H with QHD+ resolution and 256 GB SSD.
During test: Zenbook UX305FA-FB003H with QHD+ resolution and 256 GB SSD.

The Zenbook UX305FA has a number of highlights in terms of workmanship, ergonomics, display, and keyboard. In view of its specialization for the longest possible battery life, the Core M doesn't impress us, since we are used to similarly long times from Haswell. So why go for a Core M and not a now-cheaper Haswell? In favor of the Core M: the fanless design and the light weight of the machine. For similar battery life times, Asus could build in a lighter battery with lower capacity. The verdict for battery life is still disappointing: just seven hours in WLAN testing isn't really that bad, but Haswell competitors with their higher-performance processors can do it too (except for the i5-4210Y).

Apart from the question of whether the Core M is an advantage or not, the UX305 seems to us to be a well-balanced subnotebook that has much to offer for professional users and demanding private users alike. Most users aren't performance enthusiasts that select their notebooks according to benchmark criteria.

The light, stable 13-inch device sits well in the hand; the upper surfaces feel substantial. The keyboard has excellent feedback, appropriate for users who write a lot. Unfortunately, the keyboard is not backlit. With the display, we see a mania for enormousness (QHD+/4K) and weak contrast (413:1) side by side. The advantages, such as uniform, high brightness, excellent color reproduction in factory condition, and lack of reflection, more than balance out the disadvantages.

The competitors aren't out of the running (see shortcut "the competition," right), even if their prices are all higher. Apple's MacBook Pro Retina 13-inch and Toshiba's Portege Z30t-A-10X are definitely worth a look because of their not-dissimilar prices (each 1100 Euros, ~$1254). In view of the FHD entry-level variant at 800 Euros (~$911), the Zenbook UX305FA remains undefeated as the most affordable option.

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Asus Zenbook UX305FA-FB003H (90NB06X1-M00070). Test model provided by Asus Germany.
Asus Zenbook UX305FA-FB003H (90NB06X1-M00070). Test model provided by Asus Germany.

Specifications

Asus ZenBook UX305FA-FB003H
Processor
Graphics adapter
Intel HD Graphics 5300, Core: 800 MHz
Memory
8192 MB 
, on board, Dual Channel
Display
13.3 inch 16:9, 3200x1800 pixel, SAMSUNG 133YL04 P01, IPS, glossy: no
Mainboard
Intel Broadwell-Y PCH-LP (Premium)
Storage
SanDisk SD7SN3Q256G1002, 256 GB 
, M.2 module full size, 213 GB free
Soundcard
Intel Broadwell PCH-LP - High Definition Audio Controller
Connections
3 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 HDMI, Audio Connections: headphone/microphone combo jack 3.5 mm, Card Reader: SD/ SDHC/ SDXC/ MMC, Sensors: Ambient Light
Networking
Realtek USB GBE Familiy Controller (10/100/1000MBit), Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7265 (a/b/g/h/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.0
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 12.3 x 324 x 226 ( = 0.48 x 12.76 x 8.9 in)
Battery
45 Wh Lithium-Polymer, Type C31N1411 11.4V
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 8.1 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: 1,280 x 720 HD
Additional features
Speakers: Stereo, Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: no, USB to Ethernet Adapter, power cord, polishing cloth, quick instructions, cable tie, Asus PowerDirector, PhotoDirector, Webstorage, Converter, LiveUpdate, 24 Months Warranty
Weight
1.267 kg ( = 44.69 oz / 2.79 pounds), Power Supply: 178 g ( = 6.28 oz / 0.39 pounds)
Price
999 Euro

 

Just barely an ultrabook?
Just barely an ultrabook?
The Zenbook UX305FA is thin, at 12 mm...
The Zenbook UX305FA is thin, at 12 mm...
...and weighs just 1,267 grams.
...and weighs just 1,267 grams.
Still, the 13-inch is no ultrabook, according to Intel's definition.
Still, the 13-inch is no ultrabook, according to Intel's definition.
The reason is banal:
The reason is banal:
The UX305FA has no touch panel.
The UX305FA has no touch panel.
Many buyers will be pleased with the manufacturer's decision here.
Many buyers will be pleased with the manufacturer's decision here.
In daylight, the anti-reflective display makes a very good impression.
In daylight, the anti-reflective display makes a very good impression.
The super-flat and still stable chassis...
The super-flat and still stable chassis...
...makes for a good work notebook.
...makes for a good work notebook.
The keyboard, with its excellent feedback, is just one highlight of many.
The keyboard, with its excellent feedback, is just one highlight of many.
There are even accessories, such as this slim case.
There are even accessories, such as this slim case.
The case is an aluminum unibody...
The case is an aluminum unibody...
...that can be opened from beneath.
...that can be opened from beneath.
A Core M processor provides comfortable office performance...
A Core M processor provides comfortable office performance...
...without needing a fan.
...without needing a fan.
Heat pipe and cooling ribs - but no fan.
Heat pipe and cooling ribs - but no fan.
The keyboard is quite excellent: sharp pressure point and firm stroke.
The keyboard is quite excellent: sharp pressure point and firm stroke.
The large ClickPad clouds this impression:
The large ClickPad clouds this impression:
The right key only works...
The right key only works...
...if the finger is far to the right, near the edge. (This is mitigated by the BIOS update.)
...if the finger is far to the right, near the edge. (This is mitigated by the BIOS update.)
The webcam takes usable photos at 1280x720 pixels.
The webcam takes usable photos at 1280x720 pixels.
The Audio Wizard is not too useful: The sound of the speakers is thin.
The Audio Wizard is not too useful: The sound of the speakers is thin.
One highlight of the Zenbook is its monitor.
One highlight of the Zenbook is its monitor.
But not really because of high-resolution 4K displays.
But not really because of high-resolution 4K displays.
Don't see anything? This is a black image at highest brightness. There is no clouding.
Don't see anything? This is a black image at highest brightness. There is no clouding.
Viewed from the side, the display blends out uniformly, without leading to increased contrast.
Viewed from the side, the display blends out uniformly, without leading to increased contrast.
The backplate can be removed with a Torx screwdriver.
The backplate can be removed with a Torx screwdriver.
The two Phillips screws under the rear feet must also be unscrewed.
The two Phillips screws under the rear feet must also be unscrewed.
Then the innards are accessible; the plate just lies on top of them.
Then the innards are accessible; the plate just lies on top of them.
Metal strengthening of the inner plastic space? No, this is the magnet for attaching the lid.
Metal strengthening of the inner plastic space? No, this is the magnet for attaching the lid.
SoC and RAM (underside, taped) are soldered in.
SoC and RAM (underside, taped) are soldered in.
These can be swapped out: M.2 WLAN chip, CMOS battery...
These can be swapped out: M.2 WLAN chip, CMOS battery...
...and M.2 SSD module.
...and M.2 SSD module.
The polymer battery is just screwed in.
The polymer battery is just screwed in.
The small battery pack weighs 178 grams.
The small battery pack weighs 178 grams.
It delivers 45 Watts.
It delivers 45 Watts.
Perfectly installed: Our calibration can only marginally improve color presentation.
Perfectly installed: Our calibration can only marginally improve color presentation.
Despite the low height, Asus provides three fully functional USB ports.
Despite the low height, Asus provides three fully functional USB ports.
1,267 grams: A MacBook Air 13 seems like a monster in comparison. (1,400 grams.)
1,267 grams: A MacBook Air 13 seems like a monster in comparison. (1,400 grams.)
No fan opening mars the optics. The cooling opening is behind the hinge.
No fan opening mars the optics. The cooling opening is behind the hinge.
The lid can be lifted with one finger, so one hand is enough to open it.
The lid can be lifted with one finger, so one hand is enough to open it.

Similar Devices

Devices with the same GPU and/or Screen Size

Asus Zenbook UX305FA Subnotebook Review
HD Graphics 5300, Core M 5Y10, 1.27 kg

Devices with the same GPU

HP EliteBook Folio 1020 G1 Ultrabook Review
HD Graphics 5300, Core M 5Y51, 12.5", 1.245 kg
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2015) Notebook Preview
HD Graphics 5300, Core M 5Y31, 12.0", 0.92 kg
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2015) 1.1 GHz Review
HD Graphics 5300, Core M 5Y31, 12.0", 0.92 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
HD Graphics 515, Core m7 6Y75, 13.3", 1.2 kg
Asus Zenbook UX305UA-FC040T Subnotebook Review
HD Graphics 520, Core i7 6500U, 13.3", 1.45 kg

Links

Price Comparison

Pro

+Weak in competitor comparison
+Stable, substantial case
+High-feedback keyboard
+Noiseless, low heat
+TFT: very good color reproduction in factory condition
+Matte, non-touch panel
+Very high 4K resolution, optional FHD
+fast SanDisk SSD
+good system performance
+3 x USB 3.0 Ports, Type A
+Gigabit-Ethernet adapter
+Maintenance options, including battery swap
 

Cons

-Mediocre webcam
-Relatively weak contrast
-No backlit keyboard
-Speakers are average at best.

Shortcut

Was we liked

The pleasantly light and solid chassis. The keyboard is perfectly suited for typing. The UX305 is a flat piece of eye candy and provides most users with sufficient performance.

Was we'd like to see

Better speakers and a webcam without grainy pictures.

Was surprised us

Asus' entry price of 800 Euros (~$911) for a high-class subnotebook.

The Competition

Somewhat more expensive:

Markedly more expensive:

Toshiba Kira-101 (Kirabook 2014

13-inch convertibles under 1,000 Euros (~$1140) with FHD:

HP Envy x2-j001ng (Core M-5Y70)

 

Rating

Asus ZenBook UX305FA-FB003H - 02/09/2015 v4(old)
Sebastian Jentsch

Chassis
96 /  98 → 98%
Keyboard
88%
Pointing Device
93%
Connectivity
60 / 81 → 74%
Weight
72 / 78 → 86%
Battery
90%
Display
91%
Games Performance
49 / 68 → 72%
Application Performance
65 / 87 → 75%
Temperature
90 / 91 → 99%
Noise
100%
Audio
56 / 91 → 62%
Camera
40 / 85 → 47%
Average
76%
87%
Subnotebook - Weighted Average
> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Asus Zenbook UX305 Subnotebook Review
Sebastian Jentsch, 2015-02-17 (Update: 2015-05-28)