ASUS Zenbook UX305

Asus Zenbook UX305 offers better specs for half the price of new MacBook

After having just recently reviewed the Asus Zenbook UX305 it was interesting to watch Apple unveil its latest MacBook. It looks like a very impressive computer, but the UX305 actually has better specs in most categories and costs nearly half as much. The Apple MacBook is essentially a great marketing pitch for why you should buy an Asus Zenbook UX305 instead.

One differentiating factor is that the MacBook has a Retina display with 2304 x 1440 resolution, while the Zenbook UX305 just has a full HD display. The UX305 display is quite nice, though, and Retina is not something I would pay an extra $600 for by itself.

For what it’s worth, Asus makes a higher end sibling for the UX305 that has a quad-HD display. Actually, it has a quad-HD touchscreen display. It costs much more than the UX305 I tested, but it’s still more than $100 less than the MacBook and includes a quad-HD touchscreen, a full Core i7 processor, and 12GB of RAM, plus all of the ports the MacBook lacks:

I also understand that there is a perception that Apple products are higher quality. It is true that the MacBook line is high quality and it’s true that there are some really cheap, crappy laptops out there. However, there are also laptops out there that are built just as well as an Apple MacBook.

I made my living on a MacBook Air for over two years. It was a great laptop, but it wasn’t any better or worse than my Dell XPS M1330. I haven’t used the Asus Zenbook UX305 for two years, but I did spend time with the review unit. As a former MacBook Air owner / user I can tell you that the UX305 feels every bit as solidly crafted and well-engineered as the MacBook Air.

I wrote a blog post about why the Asus Zenbook UX305 is a better deal than the MacBook:

Apple took advantage of being in the spotlight for the big Apple Watch event this week to also unveil a new line of MacBook laptops. Apple showed off the MacBooks and talked about all of the ways they’re magical and revolutionary and it turned out to be an excellent marketing pitch…for the Asus Zenbook UX305.

Don’t get me wrong—the new MacBook is an amazing feat of engineering and it looks like a beautiful device. It is barely more than half an inch thick and weighs in at just two pounds. It also has a Retina display capable of 2304 x 1440 resolution on a 12-inch display. In a word, the new Apple MacBook is “impressive”.

Apple makes a number of concessions and sacrifices with the new MacBook as well, though. It uses a less powerful Intel Core M processor than its MacBook Air and MacBook Pro siblings. It only gets about the same battery life as the current MacBook Air line, which is actually somewhat mediocre given that one of the benefits of the Core M processors is that they’re more energy efficient.

The new MacBook has only two ports. One is an audio jack for headphones, and the other is a USB-C port. USB-C is pretty awesome and that single port can be used for charging the MacBook, as well as for connecting an external display or additional USB devices. Unfortunately it requires an additional $80 dongle if you want to do all three of those things at once.

The nail in the coffin, however, is the cost. The MacBook starts at $1,299 for a model with a 256GB SSD, and goes up to $1,599 if you want a 512GB SSD. That’s compared with the 11-inch MacBook Air that starts at $899 and has an Intel Core i5 processor. To be fair, if you choose a 256GB SSD model of the 11-inch MacBook Air with 8GB of RAM it’s actually $1,199 so you’re really only paying a $100 premium for the super-thin 12-inch version with a Retina display. That’s not too bad from that perspective.

Why is the MacBook a great sales pitch for the Asus Zenbook UX305? The MacBook is great marketing for the UX305 because the Asus ultrabook offers essentially the same specs for almost half the cost.

As amazing as the MacBook is, the Asus Zenbook UX305 is actually six percent thinner at a meager 12.3 millimeters thick. It weighs more than the MacBook at 2.6 pounds, but it also has a larger 13.3-inch display. It comes with the same 8GB of RAM and 256GB SSD storage as the MacBook, but also has an audio jack, mini-HDMI port, SD memory card slot, and not one, not two, but THREE USB ports. And one of the three is a USB port that includes USB charge capabilities so it can charge devices 50 percent faster than a normal USB port and it will continue to work and charge devices even if the UX305 is turned off.

Read the full article on Forbes: Apple MacBook Makes A Compelling Pitch For Asus Zenbook UX305.

3 thoughts on “Asus Zenbook UX305 offers better specs for half the price of new MacBook”

  1. I’m a lifelong Apple User since 1986. I knew about the ASUS and would have nabbed a similar one from Apple for no more than $999. That extra $300 made me go for my first PC ever.

  2. I really value your opinion. I switched to Mac 7 years . I think I would like to have either the asus or the surface 3, however, I am concerned about having to run AV software and all those hassles. what are your thoughts?

    1. Mac OS X is not invulnerable. As far as I’m concerned you should run some sort of security software on a MacBook as well. The Windows Defender protection that comes with Windows by default is fine. There are plenty of options out there with unique pros and cons but they all detect and defend roughly the same. In the end–whether on Mac OS X or Windows–the real thing that protects you most is being aware of security threats and having the common sense not to open attachments or click on unknown links.

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