Notebookcheck

Asus Zenbook UX303UA-FN121T Subnotebook Review

Sascha Mölck, Tanja Hinum (translated by Liala Stieglitz), 02/24/2016

Skylake upgrade. The Zenbook still manages decent battery runtimes even with Skylake innards. However, that involves making compromises compared with the Broadwell models. The poor screen will not win any awards.

For the original German review, see here.

We have tested countless models from Asus' Zenbook UX303 lineup. Asus offers slim 13.3-inch subnotebooks within this series. Their casings are mostly made of metal. The biggest innovation of our present review sample is the Skylake processor. Our report uncovers whether it is an advantage or a disadvantage. Laptops like the Lenovo U31-70Acer Aspire V3-372Dell XPS 13 and the MacBook Air 13 are some rivals of the Zenbook. Asus also competes against itself with its Zenbook-UX305 lineup.

Since the Zenbook UX303 versions we tested feature an identical build, we will not go in-depth about casing, connectivity, input devices and speakers. The corresponding information can be found in the review of the Zenbook UX303LN-R4141H.

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Asus Zenbook UX303UA-FN121T (Zenbook UX303UA Series)
Graphics adapter
Intel HD Graphics 520, Memory: 300-950 MHz, dual-channel, 10.18.15.4279
Memory
8192 MB 
, DDR-1600, dual-channel, one memory bank (filled), 4 GB soldered
Display
13.3 inch 16:9, 1366 x 768 pixel, BOE HF HB133WX1-402, TN LED, glossy: no
Mainboard
Intel Skylake-U Premium PCH
Storage
Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E680, 500 GB 
, 5400 rpm, , 430 GB free
Soundcard
Conexant CX20751/2 @ Intel Skylake High Definition Audio Controller
Connections
3 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 HDMI, 1 DisplayPort, Audio Connections: combo audio, Card Reader: SD, Brightness Sensor, Sensors: brightness sensor, TPM 2.0
Networking
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7265 (a/b/g/h/n = Wi-Fi 4/ac = Wi-Fi 5), Bluetooth 4.0
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 19.2 x 323 x 223 ( = 0.76 x 12.72 x 8.78 in)
Battery
50 Wh Lithium-Ion
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: HD webcam
Additional features
Speakers: stereo, Keyboard: chiclet, Keyboard Light: no, mini-DisplayPort-to-VGA adapter, USB-to-Ethernet adapter, bag, Cyberlink PhotoDirector 5, Cyberlink PowerDirector 12, McAfee LiveSafe-Internet Security (trial), MS Office (trial), 24 Months Warranty
Weight
1.45 kg ( = 51.15 oz / 3.2 pounds), Power Supply: 214 g ( = 7.55 oz / 0.47 pounds)
Price
799 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Display

The Zenbook UX303 models are famous for their bright, matte, Full HD panels. Unfortunately, Asus now also installs inferior screens to make cheaper Zenbook models possible. Our review sample is furnished with one of these panels. It has the same dark, low-contrast, viewing-angle dependent screen as its Broadwell sibling. The rates differ slightly since two identically built panels never correspond to 100%. Unfortunately, the screen displays PWM flickering at a frequency of 192 Hz in brightness levels of 90% and lower. That can lead to headaches or eye problems for sensitive users.

195
cd/m²
212
cd/m²
204
cd/m²
179
cd/m²
203
cd/m²
185
cd/m²
184
cd/m²
185
cd/m²
188
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
BOE HF HB133WX1-402
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 212 cd/m² Average: 192.8 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 84 %
Center on Battery: 203 cd/m²
Contrast: 414:1 (Black: 0.49 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 3.2 | 0.6-29.43 Ø6
ΔE Greyscale 2.77 | 0.64-98 Ø6.2
65% sRGB (Argyll 3D) 41% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2.46

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM detected 192 Hz ≤ 90 % brightness setting

The display backlight flickers at 192 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) Flickering detected at a brightness setting of 90 % and below. There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting.

The frequency of 192 Hz is relatively low, so sensitive users will likely notice flickering and experience eyestrain at the stated brightness setting and below.

In comparison: 51 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 9381 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

CalMAN - ColorChecker
CalMAN - ColorChecker
CalMAN - Grayscale
CalMAN - Grayscale
CalMAN - Saturation Sweeps
CalMAN - Saturation Sweeps

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
15 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 8 ms rise
↘ 7 ms fall
The screen shows good response rates in our tests, but may be too slow for competitive gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 17 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (24.8 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
23 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 7 ms rise
↘ 16 ms fall
The screen shows good response rates in our tests, but may be too slow for competitive gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 14 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (39.5 ms).

Performance

Asus' Zenbook UX303UA is a 13.3-inch subnotebook. The installed processor offers enough power for routine use. Our review sample carries a price tag of approximately 800 Euros (~$882). It is the cheapest member of the lineup. Asus also has other configurations available, some with a dedicated GeForce 940M graphics core.

Processor

Intel's Core i5-6200U (Skylake) dual-core processor powers the Zenbook. It is a mid-range model that has enough computing power for most application scenarios. The CPU belongs to the frugal ULV processors (TDP: 15 watts). Its base speed is 2.3 GHZ, which can be boosted to 2.7 GHz (both cores) or 2.8 GHz (one core only) via Turbo. The Turbo is fully utilized in both AC and battery modes. We tested a sibling of the Zenbook in 2015 that featured the 6200U's direct predecessor - the Core i5-5200U Broadwell processor. It lags behind by approximately 10 to 15% in the CPU benchmarks that we performed. That is owed to the improved Skylake architecture and the somewhat higher operating speeds. The difference is greater in the multithread tests than in the single-thread tests.

Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
7601
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
9925
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
4148
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
33.26 fps
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
3.19 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.24 Points
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
97.8 %
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
40.44 fps
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
286 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
109 Points
Help
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Asus Zenbook UX303UA-FN121T
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E680
109 Points ∼84%
Asus Zenbook UX303LA-RO340H
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Kingston RBU-SC100S37128GD
109 Points ∼84% 0%
Acer Aspire V3-372-50LK
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256G8NU
97 Points ∼75% -11%
Lenovo U31-70 80M5003EGE
GeForce 920M, 5500U, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
123 Points ∼95% +13%
Asus Zenbook UX303UB-R4100T
GeForce 940M, 6500U, Micron M600 MTFDDAK512MBF
129 Points ∼100% +18%
Asus Zenbook UX305CA-EHM1
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Micron M600 MTFDDAV256MBF M.2
72 Points ∼56% -34%
Asus Zenbook UX303LB-R4079H
GeForce 940M, 5200U, Micron M600 MTFDDAV256MBF M.2
108 Points ∼84% -1%
Asus Zenbook UX305LA-FC012H
HD Graphics 5500, 5500U, Micron M600 MTFDDAV256MBF M.2
121 Points ∼94% +11%
Apple MacBook Air 13 inch 2015-03
HD Graphics 6000, 5650U, Apple SSD SD0256F
112 Points ∼87% +3%
HP Envy 13-d000ng
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
105 Points ∼81% -4%
Toshiba Portege Z30t-A-10X
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256GMCU
112 Points ∼87% +3%
Dell XPS 13-9350
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZ-VLV256D
116 Points ∼90% +6%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Asus Zenbook UX303UA-FN121T
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E680
286 Points ∼97%
Asus Zenbook UX303LA-RO340H
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Kingston RBU-SC100S37128GD
258 Points ∼87% -10%
Acer Aspire V3-372-50LK
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256G8NU
291 Points ∼98% +2%
Lenovo U31-70 80M5003EGE
GeForce 920M, 5500U, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
276 Points ∼93% -3%
Asus Zenbook UX303UB-R4100T
GeForce 940M, 6500U, Micron M600 MTFDDAK512MBF
278 Points ∼94% -3%
Asus Zenbook UX305CA-EHM1
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Micron M600 MTFDDAV256MBF M.2
200 Points ∼68% -30%
Asus Zenbook UX303LB-R4079H
GeForce 940M, 5200U, Micron M600 MTFDDAV256MBF M.2
258 Points ∼87% -10%
Asus Zenbook UX305LA-FC012H
HD Graphics 5500, 5500U, Micron M600 MTFDDAV256MBF M.2
296 Points ∼100% +3%
Apple MacBook Air 13 inch 2015-03
HD Graphics 6000, 5650U, Apple SSD SD0256F
296 Points ∼100% +3%
HP Envy 13-d000ng
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
280 Points ∼95% -2%
Toshiba Portege Z30t-A-10X
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256GMCU
223 Points ∼75% -22%
Dell XPS 13-9350
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZ-VLV256D
287 Points ∼97% 0%
Cinebench R11.5
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Asus Zenbook UX303UA-FN121T
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E680
1.24 Points ∼84%
Asus Zenbook UX303LA-RO340H
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Kingston RBU-SC100S37128GD
1.18 Points ∼80% -5%
Acer Aspire V3-372-50LK
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256G8NU
1.13 Points ∼77% -9%
Lenovo U31-70 80M5003EGE
GeForce 920M, 5500U, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
1.43 Points ∼97% +15%
Asus Zenbook UX303UB-R4100T
GeForce 940M, 6500U, Micron M600 MTFDDAK512MBF
1.47 Points ∼100% +19%
Asus Zenbook UX305CA-EHM1
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Micron M600 MTFDDAV256MBF M.2
0.81 Points ∼55% -35%
Asus Zenbook UX303LB-R4079H
GeForce 940M, 5200U, Micron M600 MTFDDAV256MBF M.2
1.24 Points ∼84% 0%
Asus Zenbook UX305LA-FC012H
HD Graphics 5500, 5500U, Micron M600 MTFDDAV256MBF M.2
1.41 Points ∼96% +14%
Apple MacBook Air 13 inch 2015-03
HD Graphics 6000, 5650U, Apple SSD SD0256F
1.47 Points ∼100% +19%
HP Envy 13-d000ng
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
1.26 Points ∼86% +2%
Toshiba Portege Z30t-A-10X
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256GMCU
1.27 Points ∼86% +2%
Dell XPS 13-9350
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZ-VLV256D
1.28 Points ∼87% +3%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Asus Zenbook UX303UA-FN121T
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E680
3.19 Points ∼98%
Asus Zenbook UX303LA-RO340H
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Kingston RBU-SC100S37128GD
2.82 Points ∼87% -12%
Acer Aspire V3-372-50LK
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256G8NU
3.2 Points ∼98% 0%
Lenovo U31-70 80M5003EGE
GeForce 920M, 5500U, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
3.07 Points ∼94% -4%
Asus Zenbook UX303UB-R4100T
GeForce 940M, 6500U, Micron M600 MTFDDAK512MBF
3.14 Points ∼96% -2%
Asus Zenbook UX305CA-EHM1
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Micron M600 MTFDDAV256MBF M.2
1.79 Points ∼55% -44%
Asus Zenbook UX303LB-R4079H
GeForce 940M, 5200U, Micron M600 MTFDDAV256MBF M.2
2.84 Points ∼87% -11%
Asus Zenbook UX305LA-FC012H
HD Graphics 5500, 5500U, Micron M600 MTFDDAV256MBF M.2
3.26 Points ∼100% +2%
Apple MacBook Air 13 inch 2015-03
HD Graphics 6000, 5650U, Apple SSD SD0256F
3.14 Points ∼96% -2%
HP Envy 13-d000ng
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
3.13 Points ∼96% -2%
Toshiba Portege Z30t-A-10X
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256GMCU
2.4 Points ∼74% -25%
Dell XPS 13-9350
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZ-VLV256D
3.19 Points ∼98% 0%
Cinebench R10
Rendering Single 32Bit (sort by value)
Asus Zenbook UX303UA-FN121T
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E680
4148 Points ∼83%
Asus Zenbook UX303LA-RO340H
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Kingston RBU-SC100S37128GD
4122 Points ∼83% -1%
Acer Aspire V3-372-50LK
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256G8NU
4397 Points ∼88% +6%
Lenovo U31-70 80M5003EGE
GeForce 920M, 5500U, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
4695 Points ∼94% +13%
Asus Zenbook UX303UB-R4100T
GeForce 940M, 6500U, Micron M600 MTFDDAK512MBF
4874 Points ∼98% +18%
Asus Zenbook UX305LA-FC012H
HD Graphics 5500, 5500U, Micron M600 MTFDDAV256MBF M.2
4600 Points ∼92% +11%
Apple MacBook Air 13 inch 2015-03
HD Graphics 6000, 5650U, Apple SSD SD0256F
4980 Points ∼100% +20%
HP Envy 13-d000ng
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
4275 Points ∼86% +3%
Toshiba Portege Z30t-A-10X
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256GMCU
4230 Points ∼85% +2%
Dell XPS 13-9350
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZ-VLV256D
4394 Points ∼88% +6%
Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit (sort by value)
Asus Zenbook UX303UA-FN121T
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E680
9925 Points ∼99%
Asus Zenbook UX303LA-RO340H
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Kingston RBU-SC100S37128GD
8576 Points ∼86% -14%
Acer Aspire V3-372-50LK
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256G8NU
9942 Points ∼99% 0%
Lenovo U31-70 80M5003EGE
GeForce 920M, 5500U, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
9543 Points ∼95% -4%
Asus Zenbook UX303UB-R4100T
GeForce 940M, 6500U, Micron M600 MTFDDAK512MBF
9869 Points ∼99% -1%
Asus Zenbook UX305LA-FC012H
HD Graphics 5500, 5500U, Micron M600 MTFDDAV256MBF M.2
9767 Points ∼98% -2%
Apple MacBook Air 13 inch 2015-03
HD Graphics 6000, 5650U, Apple SSD SD0256F
10008 Points ∼100% +1%
HP Envy 13-d000ng
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
9625 Points ∼96% -3%
Toshiba Portege Z30t-A-10X
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256GMCU
7448 Points ∼74% -25%
Dell XPS 13-9350
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZ-VLV256D
9815 Points ∼98% -1%
Geekbench 3
32 Bit Multi-Core Score (sort by value)
Asus Zenbook UX303UA-FN121T
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E680
6042 Points ∼92%
Asus Zenbook UX303LA-RO340H
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Kingston RBU-SC100S37128GD
5294 Points ∼80% -12%
Lenovo U31-70 80M5003EGE
GeForce 920M, 5500U, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
5769 Points ∼88% -5%
Asus Zenbook UX303UB-R4100T
GeForce 940M, 6500U, Micron M600 MTFDDAK512MBF
6582 Points ∼100% +9%
Asus Zenbook UX305LA-FC012H
HD Graphics 5500, 5500U, Micron M600 MTFDDAV256MBF M.2
6039 Points ∼92% 0%
Apple MacBook Air 13 inch 2015-03
HD Graphics 6000, 5650U, Apple SSD SD0256F
6406 Points ∼97% +6%
32 Bit Single-Core Score (sort by value)
Asus Zenbook UX303UA-FN121T
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E680
2878 Points ∼94%
Asus Zenbook UX303LA-RO340H
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Kingston RBU-SC100S37128GD
2650 Points ∼87% -8%
Lenovo U31-70 80M5003EGE
GeForce 920M, 5500U, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
2747 Points ∼90% -5%
Asus Zenbook UX303UB-R4100T
GeForce 940M, 6500U, Micron M600 MTFDDAK512MBF
3036 Points ∼99% +5%
Asus Zenbook UX305LA-FC012H
HD Graphics 5500, 5500U, Micron M600 MTFDDAV256MBF M.2
2846 Points ∼93% -1%
Apple MacBook Air 13 inch 2015-03
HD Graphics 6000, 5650U, Apple SSD SD0256F
3053 Points ∼100% +6%
Sunspider - 1.0 Total Score (sort by value)
Asus Zenbook UX303UA-FN121T
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E680
90.9 ms * ∼39%
Asus Zenbook UX303LA-RO340H
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Kingston RBU-SC100S37128GD
113.3 ms * ∼49% -25%
Acer Aspire V3-372-50LK
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256G8NU
89 ms * ∼38% +2%
Lenovo U31-70 80M5003EGE
GeForce 920M, 5500U, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
96.2 ms * ∼41% -6%
Asus Zenbook UX303UB-R4100T
GeForce 940M, 6500U, Micron M600 MTFDDAK512MBF
80.2 ms * ∼35% +12%
Asus Zenbook UX305CA-EHM1
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Micron M600 MTFDDAV256MBF M.2
124.5 ms * ∼54% -37%
Asus Zenbook UX303LB-R4079H
GeForce 940M, 5200U, Micron M600 MTFDDAV256MBF M.2
151 ms * ∼65% -66%
Asus Zenbook UX305LA-FC012H
HD Graphics 5500, 5500U, Micron M600 MTFDDAV256MBF M.2
95.3 ms * ∼41% -5%
HP Envy 13-d000ng
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
127.6 ms * ∼55% -40%
Dell XPS 13-9350
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZ-VLV256D
232.1 ms * ∼100% -155%
JetStream 1.1 - Total Score (sort by value)
Asus Zenbook UX303UA-FN121T
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E680
189.2 Points ∼88%
Lenovo U31-70 80M5003EGE
GeForce 920M, 5500U, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
116.6 Points ∼54% -38%
Asus Zenbook UX303UB-R4100T
GeForce 940M, 6500U, Micron M600 MTFDDAK512MBF
214.46 Points ∼100% +13%
Mozilla Kraken 1.1 - Total Score (sort by value)
Asus Zenbook UX303UA-FN121T
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E680
1285.3 ms * ∼49%
Asus Zenbook UX303LA-RO340H
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Kingston RBU-SC100S37128GD
2614.9 ms * ∼100% -103%
Acer Aspire V3-372-50LK
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256G8NU
1250.7 ms * ∼48% +3%
Lenovo U31-70 80M5003EGE
GeForce 920M, 5500U, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
2250.8 ms * ∼86% -75%
Asus Zenbook UX303UB-R4100T
GeForce 940M, 6500U, Micron M600 MTFDDAK512MBF
1118.2 ms * ∼43% +13%
Asus Zenbook UX305LA-FC012H
HD Graphics 5500, 5500U, Micron M600 MTFDDAV256MBF M.2
2292.2 ms * ∼88% -78%
HP Envy 13-d000ng
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
1332.1 ms * ∼51% -4%
Dell XPS 13-9350
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZ-VLV256D
2400.8 ms * ∼92% -87%
Octane V2 - Total Score (sort by value)
Asus Zenbook UX303UA-FN121T
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E680
26374 Points ∼82%
Asus Zenbook UX303LA-RO340H
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Kingston RBU-SC100S37128GD
13100 Points ∼41% -50%
Acer Aspire V3-372-50LK
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256G8NU
28525 Points ∼89% +8%
Lenovo U31-70 80M5003EGE
GeForce 920M, 5500U, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
14491 Points ∼45% -45%
Asus Zenbook UX303UB-R4100T
GeForce 940M, 6500U, Micron M600 MTFDDAK512MBF
32020 Points ∼100% +21%
Asus Zenbook UX305LA-FC012H
HD Graphics 5500, 5500U, Micron M600 MTFDDAV256MBF M.2
14493 Points ∼45% -45%
HP Envy 13-d000ng
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
25269 Points ∼79% -4%
Peacekeeper - --- (sort by value)
Asus Zenbook UX303UA-FN121T
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E680
2620 Points ∼89%
Asus Zenbook UX303LA-RO340H
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Kingston RBU-SC100S37128GD
2677 Points ∼91% +2%
Lenovo U31-70 80M5003EGE
GeForce 920M, 5500U, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
2714 Points ∼92% +4%
Asus Zenbook UX303UB-R4100T
GeForce 940M, 6500U, Micron M600 MTFDDAK512MBF
2951 Points ∼100% +13%
Asus Zenbook UX305LA-FC012H
HD Graphics 5500, 5500U, Micron M600 MTFDDAV256MBF M.2
2659 Points ∼90% +1%
HP Envy 13-d000ng
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
2635 Points ∼89% +1%

* ... smaller is better

System Performance

The system runs smoothly; we did not encounter problems. The PCMark benchmark scores are very good. They are on par with those of the Broadwell sibling. That might seem surprising at first seeing that the Skylake model sports both a stronger graphics core and CPU. The Broadwell model can compensate for that with its SSD. Our present review sample's system performance can be increased by replacing the hard drive with an SSD.

PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
3209 points
PCMark 8 Creative Score Accelerated v2
3520 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
4086 points
Help
PCMark 8 - Home Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Asus Zenbook UX303UA-FN121T
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E680
3209 Points ∼90%
Asus Zenbook UX303LA-RO340H
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Kingston RBU-SC100S37128GD
3191 Points ∼89% -1%
Acer Aspire V3-372-50LK
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256G8NU
3209 Points ∼90% 0%
Lenovo U31-70 80M5003EGE
GeForce 920M, 5500U, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
2841 Points ∼79% -11%
Asus Zenbook UX303UB-R4100T
GeForce 940M, 6500U, Micron M600 MTFDDAK512MBF
3320 Points ∼93% +3%
Asus Zenbook UX305CA-EHM1
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Micron M600 MTFDDAV256MBF M.2
2833 Points ∼79% -12%
Asus Zenbook UX305LA-FC012H
HD Graphics 5500, 5500U, Micron M600 MTFDDAV256MBF M.2
3167 Points ∼88% -1%
Apple MacBook Air 13 inch 2015-03
HD Graphics 6000, 5650U, Apple SSD SD0256F
3579 Points ∼100% +12%
HP Envy 13-d000ng
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
2883 Points ∼81% -10%
Toshiba Portege Z30t-A-10X
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256GMCU
2184 Points ∼61% -32%
Dell XPS 13-9350
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZ-VLV256D
2983 Points ∼83% -7%

Storage Device & Memory-Card Reader

A conventional 2.5-inch hard drive from Hitachi is inside the Zenbook. It spins at 5400 revolutions per minute and has a capacity of 500 GB. The drive's transfer rates are on a normal level for a 5400 RPM model. Former Zenbook models additionally featured an mSATA slot (half-size) that could be furnished with a corresponding SSD. Our present review sample does not have such a slot. It has not been replaced with an M.2 slot, either.

The memory-card reader is not one of the slowest of its kind. It achieves a maximum transfer rate of 85.5 MB/s when copying larger data blocks. Transferring 250 JPG image files (approx. 5 MB each) is performed at a speed of 55 MB/s. We always test the memory-card reader with our Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II reference card.

Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E680
Transfer Rate Minimum: 44.3 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 107.4 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 80.2 MB/s
Access Time: 18.7 ms
Burst Rate: 261.7 MB/s
CPU Usage: 9.1 %

Graphics Card

The installed HD Graphics 520 graphics core supports DirectX 12 and clocks at speeds of up to 950 MHz. It can fall back on a working memory that operates in dual-channel mode. Thus, the GPU is utilized better and delivers a higher performance, which is reflected in better 3DMark outcomes. The scores reach the outcomes of dedicated, lower mid-range graphics cards. The Skylake graphics core clearly outperforms its direct Broadwell predecessor - the HD Graphics 5500.

The GPU comes with a decoder that unloads the processor when rendering all standard video formats. That also includes the relatively new H.265 format (successor of H.264). It makes smaller video files in the same image quality possible. The CPU capacity remained below 10% while we rendered our test video (4K, 60 FPS, H.265).

3DMark 11 Performance
1401 points
3DMark Ice Storm Standard Score
51945 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
5239 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
754 points
Help
3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance (sort by value)
Asus Zenbook UX303UA-FN121T
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E680
1401 Points ∼56%
Asus Zenbook UX303LA-RO340H
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Kingston RBU-SC100S37128GD
1138 Points ∼46% -19%
Acer Aspire V3-372-50LK
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256G8NU
1487 Points ∼60% +6%
Lenovo U31-70 80M5003EGE
GeForce 920M, 5500U, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
1849 Points ∼74% +32%
Asus Zenbook UX303UB-R4100T
GeForce 940M, 6500U, Micron M600 MTFDDAK512MBF
2488 Points ∼100% +78%
Asus Zenbook UX305CA-EHM1
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Micron M600 MTFDDAV256MBF M.2
1151 Points ∼46% -18%
Asus Zenbook UX303LB-R4079H
GeForce 940M, 5200U, Micron M600 MTFDDAV256MBF M.2
2485 Points ∼100% +77%
Asus Zenbook UX305LA-FC012H
HD Graphics 5500, 5500U, Micron M600 MTFDDAV256MBF M.2
1198 Points ∼48% -14%
Apple MacBook Air 13 inch 2015-03
HD Graphics 6000, 5650U, Apple SSD SD0256F
1459 Points ∼59% +4%
HP Envy 13-d000ng
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
1447 Points ∼58% +3%
Toshiba Portege Z30t-A-10X
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256GMCU
846 Points ∼34% -40%
3DMark
1920x1080 Fire Strike Score (sort by value)
Asus Zenbook UX303UA-FN121T
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E680
754 Points ∼53%
Asus Zenbook UX303LA-RO340H
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Kingston RBU-SC100S37128GD
707 Points ∼50% -6%
Lenovo U31-70 80M5003EGE
GeForce 920M, 5500U, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
1073 Points ∼75% +42%
Asus Zenbook UX303UB-R4100T
GeForce 940M, 6500U, Micron M600 MTFDDAK512MBF
1428 Points ∼100% +89%
Asus Zenbook UX305CA-EHM1
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Micron M600 MTFDDAV256MBF M.2
596 Points ∼42% -21%
Asus Zenbook UX305LA-FC012H
HD Graphics 5500, 5500U, Micron M600 MTFDDAV256MBF M.2
757 Points ∼53% 0%
Apple MacBook Air 13 inch 2015-03
HD Graphics 6000, 5650U, Apple SSD SD0256F
903 Points ∼63% +20%
HP Envy 13-d000ng
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
793 Points ∼56% +5%
Toshiba Portege Z30t-A-10X
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256GMCU
521 Points ∼36% -31%
1280x720 Sky Diver Score (sort by value)
Asus Zenbook UX303UA-FN121T
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E680
3169 Points ∼60%
Asus Zenbook UX303LA-RO340H
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Kingston RBU-SC100S37128GD
2691 Points ∼51% -15%
Lenovo U31-70 80M5003EGE
GeForce 920M, 5500U, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
4053 Points ∼77% +28%
Asus Zenbook UX303UB-R4100T
GeForce 940M, 6500U, Micron M600 MTFDDAK512MBF
5291 Points ∼100% +67%
Asus Zenbook UX305LA-FC012H
HD Graphics 5500, 5500U, Micron M600 MTFDDAV256MBF M.2
2788 Points ∼53% -12%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Score (sort by value)
Asus Zenbook UX303UA-FN121T
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E680
5239 Points ∼84%
Asus Zenbook UX303LA-RO340H
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Kingston RBU-SC100S37128GD
5104 Points ∼82% -3%
Acer Aspire V3-372-50LK
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256G8NU
5833 Points ∼94% +11%
Lenovo U31-70 80M5003EGE
GeForce 920M, 5500U, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
5778 Points ∼93% +10%
Asus Zenbook UX303UB-R4100T
GeForce 940M, 6500U, Micron M600 MTFDDAK512MBF
6223 Points ∼100% +19%
Asus Zenbook UX305CA-EHM1
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Micron M600 MTFDDAV256MBF M.2
3778 Points ∼61% -28%
Asus Zenbook UX305LA-FC012H
HD Graphics 5500, 5500U, Micron M600 MTFDDAV256MBF M.2
5461 Points ∼88% +4%
Apple MacBook Air 13 inch 2015-03
HD Graphics 6000, 5650U, Apple SSD SD0256F
6061 Points ∼97% +16%
HP Envy 13-d000ng
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
5710 Points ∼92% +9%
Toshiba Portege Z30t-A-10X
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256GMCU
3883 Points ∼62% -26%
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Score (sort by value)
Asus Zenbook UX303UA-FN121T
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E680
51945 Points ∼92%
Asus Zenbook UX303LA-RO340H
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Kingston RBU-SC100S37128GD
54698 Points ∼96% +5%
Acer Aspire V3-372-50LK
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256G8NU
56687 Points ∼100% +9%
Lenovo U31-70 80M5003EGE
GeForce 920M, 5500U, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
45983 Points ∼81% -11%
Asus Zenbook UX303UB-R4100T
GeForce 940M, 6500U, Micron M600 MTFDDAK512MBF
48845 Points ∼86% -6%
Asus Zenbook UX305CA-EHM1
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Micron M600 MTFDDAV256MBF M.2
37002 Points ∼65% -29%
Asus Zenbook UX305LA-FC012H
HD Graphics 5500, 5500U, Micron M600 MTFDDAV256MBF M.2
51649 Points ∼91% -1%
Apple MacBook Air 13 inch 2015-03
HD Graphics 6000, 5650U, Apple SSD SD0256F
56022 Points ∼99% +8%
HP Envy 13-d000ng
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
54790 Points ∼97% +5%
Toshiba Portege Z30t-A-10X
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256GMCU
27589 Points ∼49% -47%

Gaming Performance

Although the Zenbook "only" sports an integrated graphics core, it can still be called conditionally suitable for gaming. The Skylake GPU makes it possible. It has clearly gained performance compared with its predecessor, and the working memory that operates in dual-channel mode also pays off here. However, the user will have to be satisfied with low resolutions and low to medium quality settings. Performance-driven games like Black Ops 3 will never achieve playable frame rates, though. Users who want to play these kinds of games will have to take a Zenbook model with a dedicated GeForce 940M graphics core.

low med. high ultra
Tomb Raider (2013) 62 32 21.3 fps
XCOM 2 (2016) 14.9 fps

Emissions & Energy Management

System Noise

The Zenbook's fan is normally inactive when idling, and only the hard drive's noise is audible. Replacing the HDD with an SSD would lead to silence. The fan barely speeds up under load. We measured a noise level of just 33.4 dB during the stress test. The reason: The processor throttles strongly. Unfortunately, this Zenbook also produces side noises: An electronic crackling is audible.

Noise Level

Idle
32.6 / 32.7 / 32.7 dB(A)
HDD
32.6 dB(A)
Load
33.4 / 33.4 dB(A)
  red to green bar
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   Audix TM1 Arta (15 cm distance)

Temperature

The Zenbook in the stress test
The Zenbook in the stress test

The Zenbook performed the stress test (Prime95 and Furmark run for at least one hour) in the same manner in both AC and battery modes. The processor clocks at 1.3 to 1.4 GHz, and the graphics core at 750 to 800 MHz. The Zenbook's casing barely heats up. We recorded a maximum temperature of almost 40 °C on one measuring point during the stress test.

Max. Load
 28.4 °C
83 F
34 °C
93 F
31 °C
88 F
 
 29.2 °C
85 F
39.7 °C
103 F
33.6 °C
92 F
 
 28.4 °C
83 F
31.4 °C
89 F
30.5 °C
87 F
 
Maximum: 39.7 °C = 103 F
Average: 31.8 °C = 89 F
33.4 °C
92 F
34.8 °C
95 F
30.3 °C
87 F
32.6 °C
91 F
34.3 °C
94 F
29.8 °C
86 F
30.8 °C
87 F
31.5 °C
89 F
29.5 °C
85 F
Maximum: 34.8 °C = 95 F
Average: 31.9 °C = 89 F
Power Supply (max.)  40.9 °C = 106 F | Room Temperature 23.3 °C = 74 F | FIRT 550-Pocket
(+) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 31.8 °C / 89 F, compared to the average of 30.7 °C / 87 F for the devices in the class Subnotebook.
(+) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 39.7 °C / 103 F, compared to the average of 35.8 °C / 96 F, ranging from 22 to 57 °C for the class Subnotebook.
(+) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 34.8 °C / 95 F, compared to the average of 40 °C / 104 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 27 °C / 81 F, compared to the device average of 30.7 °C / 87 F.
(+) The palmrests and touchpad are cooler than skin temperature with a maximum of 31.4 °C / 88.5 F and are therefore cool to the touch.
(-) The average temperature of the palmrest area of similar devices was 28.6 °C / 83.5 F (-2.8 °C / -5 F).

Power Consumption

The Zenbook does not have a very high energy requirement. We measured an idle power consumption of up to 6.4 watts. Its requirement climbed to 31 watts during the stress test. This rate would be higher if the CPU were not throttled. That is not due to the power supply, which has a nominal output of 65 watts.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.27 / 0.4 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 4.2 / 6.2 / 6.4 Watt
Load midlight 29 / 31 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy

Battery Runtime

Our real-world Wi-Fi test simulates the load needed for opening websites. The "Balanced" profile is enabled, and the screen's brightness is set to approximately 150 cd/m². The Zenbook achieves a runtime of 7:16 hours - a good rate. However, its Broadwell sibling lasts over 2 hours longer.

Battery Runtime
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3 (Edge 25.10586.0.0)
7h 16min
Battery Runtime
WiFi v1.3 (sort by value)
Asus Zenbook UX303UA-FN121T
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E680
436 min ∼135%
Asus Zenbook UX303LA-RO340H
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Kingston RBU-SC100S37128GD
566 min ∼175%
Acer Aspire V3-372-50LK
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256G8NU
349 min ∼108%
Lenovo U31-70 80M5003EGE
GeForce 920M, 5500U, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
253 min ∼78%
Asus Zenbook UX303UB-R4100T
GeForce 940M, 6500U, Micron M600 MTFDDAK512MBF
410 min ∼127%
Asus Zenbook UX305CA-EHM1
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Micron M600 MTFDDAV256MBF M.2
382 min ∼118%
Asus Zenbook UX303LB-R4079H
GeForce 940M, 5200U, Micron M600 MTFDDAV256MBF M.2
374 min ∼115%
Asus Zenbook UX305LA-FC012H
HD Graphics 5500, 5500U, Micron M600 MTFDDAV256MBF M.2
569 min ∼176%
Apple MacBook Air 13 inch 2015-03
HD Graphics 6000, 5650U, Apple SSD SD0256F
620 min ∼191%
HP Envy 13-d000ng
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
324 min ∼100%
WiFi (sort by value)
Toshiba Portege Z30t-A-10X
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256GMCU
473 min ∼117%
Acer TravelMate P645-MG-74508G75tkk
Radeon HD 8750M, 4500U, Toshiba THNSNJ256GMCT
406 min ∼100%

Pros

+ matte screen
+ runs quietly
+ low temperature development
+ good input devices
+ decent battery life

Cons

- dark, low-contrast, viewing angle dependent screen
- no keyboard backlight
- electronic crackling is audible

Verdict

In review: Asus Zenbook UX303UA-FN121T. Test model courtesy of Cyberport.de
In review: Asus Zenbook UX303UA-FN121T. Test model courtesy of Cyberport.de

Asus' Zenbook UX303UA-FN121T is basically a Skylake upgrade of the Broadwell model we already tested. The new processor leads to a higher computing performance. The laptop also allows playing computer games to some extent thanks to the Skylake graphics core. This Zenbook model also runs quietly and barely heats up. The good keyboard known from former models is also still installed. Unfortunately, it does not have a backlight. Plenty of storage capacity is also available thanks to the 500 GB hard drive. It is relatively easy to replace the HDD when a model with higher capacity or an SSD is wanted.

The Zenbook can be described in a few words: The Skylake processor ensures higher computing performance, but at the expense of battery life.

The screen is not compelling. Asus installs a dark, low-contrast, viewing-angle dependent TN model here. That does not match to the Zenbook line. We also expect something better at a price of almost 800 Euros (~$882). Buyers generally interested in the Zenbook should always take a model with a Full HD IPS screen.

Asus Zenbook UX303UA-FN121T - 02/16/2016 v5(old)
Sascha Mölck

Chassis
90 /  98 → 92%
Keyboard
77%
Pointing Device
88%
Connectivity
52 / 80 → 65%
Weight
70 / 35-78 → 81%
Battery
89%
Display
82%
Games Performance
58 / 68 → 85%
Application Performance
69 / 87 → 79%
Temperature
93 / 91 → 100%
Noise
89%
Audio
69 / 91 → 76%
Camera
35 / 85 → 41%
Average
74%
84%
Subnotebook - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Asus Zenbook UX303UA-FN121T Subnotebook Review
Sascha Mölck, 2016-02-24 (Update: 2018-05-15)