It seems like everyone is trying to get into the tablet, 2-in-1 hybrid game these days. It’s refreshing to see a slim, powerful device that’s just a laptop. It doesn’t fold or twist or detach, but the Asus Zenbook UX305 offers some very serious bang for your proverbial buck.
This slim laptop is only half an inch thick and weighs in at a meager 2.6 pounds. It’s size and finish both draw immediate comparisons to Apple’s MacBook Air line.
It runs on an Intel Core M-5Y10 processor and has 8GB of RAM and 256 GB of SSD storage. It has a 13.3-inch full HD (FHD) display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080. The UX305 comes with 2 USB 3.0 ports and an SD memory card slot on the left side, and an additional USB 3.0 port, mini-HDMI port, and audio jack on the right side.
The laptop comes equipped with integrated 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 support. It has a Bang & Olufsen ICEpower sound system and a 1.2 megapixel HD front-facing camera.
The Zenbook UX305 is slick. It has an ultra-slim all aluminum case that gives it a classy look and a solid feel. It’s just one more element that makes the Zenbook UX305 appear to be a MacBook Air clone.
The keyboard is a comfortable size. It has a dedicated context menu button that opens up the right-click menu for whatever app or window is active, and four-way directional arrows at the lower right. Another nice touch is that the F2 key also provides quick access to Airplane mode.
The trackpad is actually quite spacious. Asus designed it to simulate a touchscreen experience. The pad actually clicks down when you use the left or right mouse buttons–providing both tactile and audio response.
My experience with this laptop was awesome. I’ve seen sharper resolutions but the display is bright and clear. Performance wise I have no complaints. Granted, I wasn’t doing any hardcore gaming. But, for average tasks—email, social networking, surfing the Web, an occasional Netflix movie—it works just fine.
One thing that I really love about it is that it is whisper quiet. There is no fan, no CD / DVD drive, and no traditional spinning hard disk drive. That means there are no moving parts internally and the laptop simply doesn’t make noise aside from the tapping of the keys and the click-clack tactile response of the touchpad.
It comes loaded with Windows 8.1 so the extra-large touchpad comes in handy. It gives you plenty of space for pinching and zooming, or swiping from the sides to do things like access the Charms bar in Windows.
It comes with some Asus bloatware too. One application is Asus WebStorage, which provided 16GB of cloud capacity to store and sync your data. That is silly and unnecessary, though, because there are so many other free cloud services out there that are more ubiquitous. Microsoft provides 15GB of OneDrive space for free, and OneDrive is integrated throughout the Windows operating system so it just makes more sense to stick with that and skip Asus WebStorage.
One of the USB ports includes USB Charger capabilities that enabled it to charge devices 50 percent faster even when the PC is asleep or shut down. That is a handy capability to have.
Bottom line—for $699 this is a bad-ass machine. I made my living for almost three years on an 11-inch MacBook Air that I loved. In both form and function the Asus Zenbook UX305 ultrabook is as good or better than the MacBook Air. The UX305 also costs $200 less than the entry-level 11-inch MacBook Air, and $600 less than a similarly equipped 13-inch MacBook Air.
Granted, the MacBook Air has an Intel Core processor rather than the inferior Core M line, but the Core M is no slouch. For $600 less it’s quite awesome actually.
Even if you take the MacBook Air out of the equation, the Zenbook UX305 is an awesome laptop for $699. It has the power and storage capacity you need in a slim, light form factor that delivers exceptional battery life.[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]The Zenbook UX305 should be at the top of your short list if you’re in the market for a new laptop.[/inlinetweet]
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