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Face Off: Apple MacBook Air 13 2015 vs. Samsung ATIV Book 9 900X3G vs. Asus ZenBook UX303

The Lightweight Title. Some of the thinnest and most portable notebooks belong in the 13-inch segment. If you're considering one for work or school, which one will be best? We compare three well-known models to help you decide.

We've already compared the ins and outs of the versatile XPS 15, MacBook Pro 15, and ZenBook Pro UX501 and the popular XPS 13, MacBook Pro 13, and ZenBook UX305. This week, we're going back to the 13-inch ultrathin space to look at three worthwhile alternatives from Apple, Samsung, and Asus. These are the portable notebooks you can rely on for both basic university work and multimedia use in and out of the house for years to come.

We encourage users to check out our dedicated review pages below for more data and detailed analyses of each of the three models. This comparison is by no means a replacement, but a condensed aid for those on the fence.

Apple MacBook Air 13 2015 (2014 model) (2013 model)

Samsung ATIV Book 9 900X3G (Book 9 Plus 940X3G)

Asus UX303LN-R4141H (UX303LA) (UX303LN-R4274H) (UX303LB)

Apple MacBook Air 13
Apple MacBook Air 13
Samsung ATIV Book 9
Samsung ATIV Book 9
Asus ZenBook UX303
Asus ZenBook UX303

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Case

There's no need to boast about how attractive and thin the MacBook Air 13, ATIV Book 9, and ZenBook UX303 notebooks all look. Instead, we want to compare chassis quality and weight between them.

The build quality of the MacBook Air 13 2015 needs no introduction. Its matte aluminum surfaces and unibody construction are iconic and remain largely unchanged from previous years. Resistance to pressure down the middle of the outer lid is above average and warping is almost non-existent when pressing down on the keyboard. However, the hinges of the MacBook Air 13 could have been more rigid as the lid can still wobble.

Samsung has almost matched the quality of the MacBook Air 13 with the ATIV Book 9. We can find no major weak spots or manufacturing flaws on our test unit. Its hinges do not open as wide as the outgoing Book 9 design on the Plus model and there are still hints of plastic used around the hinges. Thus, it's not a true unibody design when compared to the Apple notebook. Its lid is also more susceptible to twists due in part to its very thin profile.

The ZenBook UX303 is all aluminum from top to bottom and is sturdier than the Samsung. Its lid is much more resistant to twisting and is comparable to that of the MacBook Air 13. However, its keyboard base is weaker and yields just slightly to pressure.

As for weight and size, the Samsung Book 9 is the smaller, thinner, and lighter model out of the three. Its weight of just 1.12 kg is very noticeable compared to the heavier Apple (1.36 kg) and Asus (1.44 kg) notebooks.

There really are no losers in this category as all notebooks show impressive qualities given their thin designs. The best of the best is still the MacBook Air if we are to rank in terms of quality and construction. It may be heavier and bigger than the Samsung with more difficult end-user maintenance, but it definitely feels more substantial to hold and use.

Winner: Apple MacBook Air 13 2015

325 mm / 12.8 inch 227 mm / 8.94 inch 17 mm / 0.669 inch 1.4 kg3.01 lbs323 mm / 12.7 inch 223 mm / 8.78 inch 19 mm / 0.748 inch 1.5 kg3.2 lbs319 mm / 12.6 inch 218.5 mm / 8.6 inch 13.2 mm / 0.52 inch 1.1 kg2.47 lbs

Ports in Comparison

Apple MacBook Air 13
Apple MacBook Air 13
Samsung ATIV Book 9 900X3G
Samsung ATIV Book 9 900X3G
Asus ZenBook UX303
Asus ZenBook UX303

Connectivity

There are some key differences between available ports on all three models. The ZenBook is the only one with 3x USB ports versus just two on the others. Additionally, its thicker size allows both mDP and a full-size HDMI port, the latter of which is not common on superthin notebooks. The thinner Samsung Book 9, for example, has to make due with micro-HDMI and mini-VGA ports instead. This makes it more of a hassle when traveling as users must remember to carry the appropriate adapter for the occasion.

The MacBook Air 13 uses just a single Thunderbolt/mDP port instead of the dual video-out ports on the Samsung and Asus. Fortunately, Thunderbolt is much more versatile and can be used for daisy chaining, multiple external displays, more USB ports, etc.. Of course, users may run into the same issue as the Samsung where multiple adapters are required for connecting to standard HDMI, VGA, or DVI external monitors.

All three notebooks even use different storage interfaces as well. The PCIe x4 slot in the MacBook is the latest and fastest by far compared to the standard M.2 and SATA III slots. This also makes it far more expensive to upgrade compared to the Samsung and especially the Asus.

The easily upgradeable storage and full-size HDMI make the Asus a bit more economical and less reliant on optional adapters.

Winner: Asus ZenBook UX303

Ports and Connections

Apple MacBook Air 13 2015 Samsung ATIV Book 9 900X3G Asus ZenBook UX303
USB 2x USB 3.0 1x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0 3x USB 3.0
Video-out 1x Thunderbolt/mini-DisplayPort 1x micro-HDMI, 1x mini-VGA 1x HDMI, 1x mini-DisplayPort
Other SD reader, 1x 3.5 mm audio, MagSafe SD reader, 1 3.5 mm audio SD reader, 1x 3.5 mm audio
Storage Bays 1x PCIe 3.0 x4 1x M.2 1x 2.5-inch SATA III
Apple MacBook Air 13
Apple MacBook Air 13
Samsung ATIV Book 9 900X3G
Samsung ATIV Book 9 900X3G
Asus ZenBook UX303
Asus ZenBook UX303

Input Devices

First, the Apple keyboard provides the clear feedback, low noise, and high quality that users have come to expect from the manufacturer. There are no major concerns facing the keyboard here aside from the small Arrow keys, though this small issue is shared amongst the Samsung and Asus as well.

By using the keyboard on the MacBook Air 13 as the standard, the keyboard on the Book 9 is noisier, more cheaply made, and have keys that even feel a bit loose. Travel feels shorter too, so it may take more time for users to become accustomed to the notebook.

The keyboard on the ZenBook UX303 has changed little from its UX32 predecessor. Travel is adequate and feedback is firm, but the keyboard still yields with applied pressure compared to the more solid MacBook Air 13.

As for the touchpads, Apple has the largest surface area for easier multi-touch controls. We can find no issues on the Samsung, though the responsiveness of the Asus touchpad is subjectively a hair slower. Otherwise, all three notebooks carry excellent touchpads with comfortable integrated keys. Nonetheless, Apple is again the winner for its bigger size.

Winner: Keyboard -- Apple MacBook Air 13 2015

              Touchpad -- Apple MacBook Air 13 2015

Touchpad Size
Apple MacBook Air 13 2015 Samsung ATIV Book 9 900X3G Asus ZenBook UX303
11.5 x 7.5 cm 10.2 x 6.8 cm 10.5 x 7.0 cm

Display

The best way to ruin a sleek thin notebook is to pair it with a subpar display. While no display here is necessarily poor, we're a bit disappointed that Apple has equipped the MacBook Air 13 with just a 900p panel. This may have been acceptable two or three years ago, but more and more mainstream and especially high-end notebooks are using 1080p or higher as standard. With that said, The MacBook Air 13 does appear to have the more accurate colors and grayscale without any calibration efforts from the end-user.

The advantages of the higher resolution panels on the Samsung and Asus are too hard to ignore for daily workloads and multi-tasking. Apple can make the most color-accurate glossy 900p panels in the world, but the benefits become increasingly marginal for common tasks like word processing, browsing, or video playback. Even though the Samsung and Asus notebooks have less accurate panels than the Apple, it's a very small sacrifice for the increase in screen real estate and sharpness.

Between the Samsung and Asus, the Book 9 provides both the brighter display and higher contrast. At the same time, the IPS panel of the Asus provides the better viewing angles. It's a very close call between these two matte panels, but the edge goes to Asus as our Samsung Book 9 test model shows moderate backlight bleeding that shouldn't be anywhere near a high-end notebook like this in the first place.

Winner: Asus ZenBook UX303

Apple MacBook Air 13 2015
Apple MacBook Air 13 2015
Samsung ATIV Book 9 900X3G
Samsung ATIV Book 9 900X3G
Asus ZenBook UX303
Asus ZenBook UX303
Displays at a Glance

Apple MacBook Air 13 2015 Samsung ATIV Book 9 900X3G Asus ZenBook UX303
Size 13.3-inch TN 13.3-inch TN 13.3-inch IPS
Native Resolution 1440 x 900 16:10 1920 x 1080 16:9 1920 x 1080 16:9
Pixel Density 128 PPI 166 PPI 166 PPI
Panel ID Apple APP9CF0 BOE HF HN133WU3-100 Chi Mei CMN N133HSE-EA3/CMN1361
Panel Glossy Matte Matte
Apple MacBook Air 13 inch 2015-03Samsung ATIV Book 9 900X3G-K01Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4141H
Screen
Brightness middle
329
379
344
Brightness
310
352
339
Brightness Distribution
82
83
88
Black Level *
0.405
0.4
0.55
Contrast
812
948
625
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
3.96
4.28
5.45
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
7.51
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
3.51
3.96
4.53
Gamma
3.83 57%
2.35 94%
2.27 97%
CCT
6711 97%
7768 84%
7458 87%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
38.4
54.78
64
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
59.8
97.4

* ... smaller is better

Apple MacBook Air 13 2015 Color Profile
Apple MacBook Air 13 2015 Color Profile
Samsung ATIV Book 9 900X3G
Samsung ATIV Book 9 900X3G
Asus ZenBook UX303
Asus ZenBook UX303

Performance

CPU Performance

Apple, Samsung, and Asus all offer multiple CPU options beyond what we have here, so this comparison is only between the configurations on hand.

All our configured notebooks carry ULV dual-core Intel processors, though the Apple is the only one with the newer 14 nm Broadwell core. Performance from the i7-5650U is ultimately just slightly ahead of the i7-4510U as clock rates are almost identical. Turbo Boost for the i7-5650U is 300 MHz higher than the i7-4510U for two active cores, which gives Apple the slight lead in CPU benchmarks.

The i5-4200U in the Samsung is a very common CPU for Ultrabooks released in 2014. This aging Haswell processor is about 10 to 20 percent slower than both of the Core i7 CPUs in the Apple and Asus. 

See our dedicated CPU pages on the Core i7-5650U, Core i5-4200U, and Core i7-4510U for more comparisons and benchmarks.

Hardware at a Glance

Apple MacBook Air 13 2015 Samsung ATIV Book 9 900X3G Asus ZenBook UX303
CPU 2.2 GHz Core i7-5650U 1.6 GHz Core i5-4200U 2.0 GHz Core i7-4510U
TDP 15 W 15 W 15 W
RAM 8 GB DDR3, dual-channel, soldered 8 GB DDR3L 1600 MHz, dual-channel, soldered 8 GB DDR3L 1600 MHz, soldered + 1x SODIMM slot
GPU Intel HD Graphics 6000 Intel HD Graphics 4400 Nvidia GeForce 840M
Apple MacBook Air 13 2015 (Source: iFixit)
Apple MacBook Air 13 2015 (Source: iFixit)
Samsung ATIV Book 9
Samsung ATIV Book 9
Asus ZenBook UX303
Asus ZenBook UX303
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Apple MacBook Air 13 inch 2015-03
112 Points ∼51%
Samsung ATIV Book 9 900X3G-K01
101 Points ∼46%
Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4141H
119 Points ∼55%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Apple MacBook Air 13 inch 2015-03
296 Points ∼7%
Samsung ATIV Book 9 900X3G-K01
231 Points ∼5%
Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4141H
249 Points ∼6%
Cinebench R11.5
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Apple MacBook Air 13 inch 2015-03
1.47 Points ∼60%
Samsung ATIV Book 9 900X3G-K01
1.13 Points ∼46%
Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4141H
1.37 Points ∼56%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Apple MacBook Air 13 inch 2015-03
3.14 Points ∼7%
Samsung ATIV Book 9 900X3G-K01
2.48 Points ∼6%
Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4141H
3 Points ∼7%
Cinebench R10
Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit (sort by value)
Apple MacBook Air 13 inch 2015-03
6646 Points ∼64%
Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit (sort by value)
Apple MacBook Air 13 inch 2015-03
12273 Points ∼16%
wPrime 2.0x
1024m (sort by value)
Apple MacBook Air 13 inch 2015-03
516.72 s * ∼6%
32m (sort by value)
Apple MacBook Air 13 inch 2015-03
15.85 s * ∼3%
Super Pi Mod 1.5 XS 32M - --- (sort by value)
Apple MacBook Air 13 inch 2015-03
621 Seconds * ∼3%
3DMark
1920x1080 Fire Strike Physics (sort by value)
Apple MacBook Air 13 inch 2015-03
5189 Points ∼16%
Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4141H
4148 Points ∼13%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Physics (sort by value)
Apple MacBook Air 13 inch 2015-03
3631 Points ∼9%
Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4141H
2901 Points ∼7%
PCMark 7
System Storage (sort by value)
Apple MacBook Air 13 inch 2015-03
4682 Points ∼66%
Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4141H
5244 Points ∼73%
Computation (sort by value)
Apple MacBook Air 13 inch 2015-03
18204 Points ∼64%
Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4141H
17372 Points ∼61%
Creativity (sort by value)
Apple MacBook Air 13 inch 2015-03
9691 Points ∼67%
Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4141H
9720 Points ∼67%
Entertainment (sort by value)
Apple MacBook Air 13 inch 2015-03
4064 Points ∼38%
Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4141H
3611 Points ∼34%
Productivity (sort by value)
Apple MacBook Air 13 inch 2015-03
4449 Points ∼41%
Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4141H
4146 Points ∼38%
Lightweight (sort by value)
Apple MacBook Air 13 inch 2015-03
5901 Points ∼81%
Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4141H
5153 Points ∼70%
Score (sort by value)
Apple MacBook Air 13 inch 2015-03
5205 Points ∼57%
Samsung ATIV Book 9 900X3G-K01
4898 Points ∼54%
Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4141H
5068 Points ∼55%
PCMark 8
Storage Score (sort by value)
Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4141H
4895 Points ∼96%
Work Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Apple MacBook Air 13 inch 2015-03
4367 Points ∼67%
Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4141H
3559 Points ∼55%
Creative Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Apple MacBook Air 13 inch 2015-03
4432 Points ∼42%
Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4141H
3177 Points ∼30%
Home Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Apple MacBook Air 13 inch 2015-03
3579 Points ∼59%
Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4141H
2927 Points ∼48%
X264 HD Benchmark 4.0
Pass 2 (sort by value)
Apple MacBook Air 13 inch 2015-03
18.98 fps ∼0%
Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4141H
16 fps ∼0%
Pass 1 (sort by value)
Apple MacBook Air 13 inch 2015-03
107.23 fps ∼40%
Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4141H
89 fps ∼33%

* ... smaller is better

GPU Performance

It's no contest for the Asus notebook as the dedicated Nvidia 840M is able to overpower the integrated Intel HD 6000 and HD 4400 GPUs in the Apple and Samsung, respectively. CineBench OpenGL scores show the ZenBook UX303LN at over twice the performance of the Samsung while 3DMark Cloud Gate Graphics scores can be over 50 percent higher than the Apple. This has little significance when browsing or during movie playback, but light gamers will especially see the difference when gaming on the native 1080p resolution displays.

More technical information, benchmarks, and comparisons for the HD 6000, HD 4400, and GeForce 840M can be found on our dedicated GPU pages.

Cinebench R11.5 - OpenGL 64Bit (sort by value)
Apple MacBook Air 13 inch 2015-03
25.67 fps ∼15%
Samsung ATIV Book 9 900X3G-K01
18.96 fps ∼11%
Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4141H
42.5 fps ∼25%
3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU (sort by value)
Apple MacBook Air 13 inch 2015-03
1333 Points ∼3%
Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4141H
2317 Points ∼5%
3DMark
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics (sort by value)
Apple MacBook Air 13 inch 2015-03
951 Points ∼2%
Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4141H
1493 Points ∼4%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics (sort by value)
Apple MacBook Air 13 inch 2015-03
7495 Points ∼4%
Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4141H
8425 Points ∼5%
Cinebench R15 - OpenGL 64Bit (sort by value)
Apple MacBook Air 13 inch 2015-03
32.42 fps ∼13%
Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4141H
57.61 fps ∼23%
Apple MacBook Air 13 2015
Apple MacBook Air 13 2015
Samsung ATIV Book 9 900X3G
Samsung ATIV Book 9 900X3G
Asus ZenBook UX303
Asus ZenBook UX303

Stress Test

To test system stability, we run both Prime95 and FurMark to simulate maximum stress. These unrealistic conditions do not represent daily workloads, but are instead meant to put both the CPU and GPU at 100 percent capacity. If the notebook remains stable, then you can be sure it can handle any other tasks without major hardware failures.

The Asus notebook holds up admirably when under these stressful loads. Both the CPU and GPU are able to maintain slight Boost speeds, which is impressive and uncommon on a thin notebook with dedicated graphics. GPU temperature remains relatively low in the 70 - 80 C range, though the CPU runs quite hot in the 95 C range at its worst.

Meanwhile, Samsung's notebook experiences CPU throttling from its base 1.6 GHz down to a stable 1.2 GHz. Its integrated GPU, however, is able to maintain its base 800 MHz clock rate. Maximum CPU temperature is quite low for a notebook at just under 80 C.

Throttling is much more significant for the Apple hardware compared to the Asus or Samsung. Both CPU and GPU clock rates see large reductions by roughly 30 or 40 percent. Furthermore, CPU temperature hovers around 100 C, which is hotter than on most gaming notebooks where core temperatures typically top out at 95 C before throttling occurs. Note that Intel CPUs are typically rated for safe operation up to 105 C, so Apple is drawing the line quite close to the thermal safety limit.

Winner: Asus ZenBook UX303

Apple MacBook Air 13 2015
Apple MacBook Air 13 2015
Samsung ATIV Book 9 900X3G
Samsung ATIV Book 9 900X3G
Asus ZenBook UX303
Asus ZenBook UX303
CPU and GPU Clock Rates Under Stress

Apple MacBook Air 13 2015 Samsung ATIV Book 9 900X3G Asus ZenBook UX303
Rated GPU Core Clock (MHz) 1000 800 1029
Stable GPU Core Clock on FurMark (MHz) 550 800 1124
Rated CPU Core Clock (GHz) 2.2 1.6 2.0
Stable CPU Core Clock on Prime95 (GHz) 1.3 - 1.7 1.2 2.1
Maximum CPU temperature 99 - 103 C 77 - 79 C 94 - 96 C
Maximum GPU Temperature -- -- ~72 C

Emissions

System Noise & Temperature

The Apple and Samsung are almost inaudible when idling and under low loads. However, the fans in the Asus notebook are the only ones that will idle completely for truly silent operation when word processing or simple browsing. Fortunately, none have any major pulsating characteristics that can be irksome to hear.

High processing loads will bump the Apple notebook to over 46 dB(A), which is louder than both the Samsung and Asus. This may be because the MacBook Air 13 utilizes just a single system fan compared to the dual fan configurations in its competitors. The Asus notebook comes out ahead again with a relatively low maximum of 38 dB(A).

Surface temperatures are generally flat across the board on both sides of all notebooks when idling. The MacBook is slightly warmer than the others when under these conditions. Introducing high processing loads show that the Samsung comes out the coolest while the Asus is the warmest. These results correlate well with the generally low CPU temperatures in the Samsung and the low fan noise but more powerful GPU in the Asus.

Winner: System Noise -- Asus ZenBook UX303

               Temperature -- Samsung ATIV Book 9 900X3G

Average Fan Noise and Surface Temperature

Apple MacBook Air 13 2015 Samsung ATIV Book 9 900X3G Asus ZenBook UX303
Fan Noise when idling 29.2 dB(A) 30.3 dB(A) 29.5 dB(A)
Fan Noise under high loads 46.3 dB(A) 42.7 dB(A) 38.2 dB(A)
Average surface temperature when idling 27.3 C 24.2 C 25.7 C
Average surface temperature under high loads 35.0 C 33.8 C 41.7 C
Ambient temperature 22.8 C 21.8 C 22.2 C

Battery Life

The Apple notebook carries the higher battery capacity and provides longer runtimes. Our WiFi test loops webpages every 40 seconds until automatic shutdown at a 150 nit brightness setting. Under these conditions, users can expect over 600 minutes of WLAN use from the MacBook. The Samsung and Asus are behind even more significantly than our numbers below suggest since our WiFi 1.3 test is more intensive than our older WiFi 1.0 test.

The battery modules are all non-removable as is the case for most thin-and-light notebooks in the market.

Winner: Apple MacBook Air 13 2015

Apple MacBook Air 13 inch 2015-03
54 Wh
Samsung ATIV Book 9 900X3G-K01
43 Wh
Asus Zenbook UX303LN-R4141H
50 Wh
Battery Runtime
Reader / Idle
1572
833
779
WiFi v1.3
620
Load
97
148
117
WiFi
343
580

Verdict

From a purely hardware perspective, the MacBook Air 13 is the easier-to-use and longer-lasting notebook. A display resolution update is incredibly overdue.
From a purely hardware perspective, the MacBook Air 13 is the easier-to-use and longer-lasting notebook. A display resolution update is incredibly overdue.

The problem with choosing only one winner for this Face Off is the implication that the other two notebooks would be poor choices. This couldn't be further from the truth as the MacBook Air 13, ATIV Book 9, and ZenBook UX303 are all very good notebooks with standout qualities for each.

Apple remains the best no-frills and easy-to-use solution that the target student will appreciate. The quality of the case, keyboard, and touchpad is still the standard to beat for competitors like the Book 9 and ZenBook. Combined with the longer battery life, Apple has all the core basics down for an attractive notebook. It really is too bad about the native 1440 x 900 resolution, so it's completely understandable to wait until the inevitable refresh or go with a competing model even if it means sacrificing a bit of hardware quality along the way.

Samsung's Book 9 is best for users who want the lightest and thinnest 13-inch option. Unfortunately, this comes at the expense of a slightly weaker chassis, poorer keyboard, and a much lower battery life. Otherwise, the superthin notebook offers a bright 1080p display with very high contrast.

Finally, the ZenBook UX303 is the thicker and heavier solution. This does come with some benefits, such as a sturdier lid, full-size HDMI port, 2.5-inch SATA III slot, and a much more powerful Nvidia GPU for light to moderate gaming. Nonetheless, case quality is still a step down compared to Apple.

As small as the Samsung may be, we would rather carry the extra girth from the Apple or Asus for their superior build quality and longevity. Users who are students as much as they are gamers may prefer the ZenBook UX303 for smoother LoL or DOTA 2 gameplay in 1080p, while infrequent gamers will find the lighter MacBook Air 13 more comfortable for schoolwork and multimedia use.

Buy Apple MacBook Air 13 2015

Buy Samsung ATIV Book 9

Buy Asus ZenBook UX303

Apple MacBook Air 13 2015Samsung ATIV Book 9 900X3GAsus ZenBook UX303LN

+ Better build quality

+ More comfortable keyboard

+ Larger touchpad

+ Longer battery life

+ Versatile Thunderbolt port

+ PCIe 3.0 x4 for extreme SSD performance

+ More accurate grayscale and colors

FHD matte panel

+ Brighter display with deeper contrast

+ Easily accessible internals

+ Noticeably thinner, lighter, and smaller

+ Lower CPU and surface temperatures

+ FHD IPS matte panel

Easily accessible internals

+ 2.5-inch SATA III for easy upgrading

+ Lower fan noise

+ Full-size HDMI + 3x USB ports

+ Upgradeable RAM

+ Better graphics performance; Discrete Nvidia GPU

Higher maximum fan noise; Only one system fan

- Lower 1440 x 900 native resolution TN panel

- Expensive SSD upgrade

- More severe throttling

- Higher CPU temperatures

- TN panel

- Weaker display lid

- Cheaper keyboard

- Shorter battery life

- Warmer surface temperatures

- Thicker and heavier chassis

- Weaker keyboard base

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Face Off: Apple MacBook Air 13 2015 vs. Samsung ATIV Book 9 900X3G vs. Asus ZenBook UX303
Allen Ngo, 2015-09- 8 (Update: 2018-05-15)
Allen Ngo
Allen Ngo - US Editor in Chief
After graduating with a B.S. in environmental hydrodynamics from the University of California, I studied reactor physics to become licensed by the U.S. NRC to operate nuclear reactors. There's a striking level of appreciation you gain for everyday consumer electronics after working with modern nuclear reactivity systems astonishingly powered by computers from the 80s. When I'm not managing day-to-day activities and US review articles on Notebookcheck, you can catch me following the eSports scene and the latest gaming news.