Pros: The machine consumes very little power, and scales down to an amazingly low power usage level at idle. I was able to get it to consume < 4W at idle, as measured by Powertop, with 40% screen brightness. With the 45 Wh battery, that's a little over 11 hours of light usage. This machine has the second most efficient chip (performance per watt) on the market, as measured by Passmark. The non Core M competition is miles behind. The power efficiency of this chip is significantly better than even Intel's own Haswell and Broadwell based CULV chips.
Don't let the low TDP fool you, this chip has decent performance. Office and productivity tasks like web browsing and document editing are a piece of cake. Video playback up to full HD is also a breeze. Compiling is a bit slow, a fullish build of the kernel takes ~80 minutes, ccache cuts it down to 15 minutes the second run. Compression is slow. Encryption is quick, thanks to the built in AES hardware acceleration. Also, if you're planning on running VMs on this little machine, believe it or not, it has full IOMMU support (marketed by Intel as VT-d), though I have yet to test it.
It plays some older games just fine. Half-Life 2 runs surprisingly well at 1080 on high settings. Minecraft is mostly playable.The machine's performance leaves something to be desired with newer games like Cities: Skylines and Civ 5, though that's really beyond the design and purpose of a machine like this. I'm really quite pleasantly surprised with the performance it delivered, though many newer games won't be playable.
The screen is pretty good, the form factor and build quality are nice, and the keyboard is great. Speaking of the keyboard, some manufacturers are choosing to omit the SysRq key nowadays, especially on machines with constrained sizes. This is not one of them, and I appreciate the fact that this key is still with us on this machine.
The speakers are relatively good. Because of its slim size, the machine doesn't have an ethernet port, but it does come with a USB 3.0 to ethernet adapter, which was nice of ASUS.
The included SSD is spacious and quick. Arch boots in ~4 seconds, without much tuning. There's plenty of RAM for a system like this, which is good, because it's soldered to the board, and not upgradable.
The floating point performance is fantastic for a chip with a TDP as low as this one. Without any hand-tuned assembly, I eeked out roughly 40 GFLOPS from the processor. AIDA64 reported 150 GFLOPS from the processor with AVX code, and 250 GLFOPS from the GPU with OpenCL.
Cons: The backlight bleeds around the bottom of the screen quite a bit. It's very noticeable when the screen is dark.
The Linux graphics drivers need work. (using 4.0.0-rc7 and mesa-git) the Cinnamon desktop environment doesn't work at all. Gnome 3 works, but the GPU hangs and resets every so often when using Chrome. It's new hardware, so I'm no surprised, but it would be nice if Intel put more effort into their Linux GPU drivers.
Like I said, the keyboard is great, but the power button is right next to the delete button on the very top right of the keyboard. Not a good place for that, ASUS.
Overall Review: I've been wanting a portable, efficient, comfortable machine like this for a long time. I've had a list of requirements in my mind that no machine had satisfied, until now. It has all the great features, quality, and usability of a Macbook Air at half the price, and it's been worth every penny so far.
Pros: -Very long battery life (4+ hours)
-Very nice native 1080p resolution (anti-glare!)
-High performance 2.0GHz CPU
-Auto adjust lighting to environment!
-Plays most games I throw at it (installed Steam)
-No moving parts
-Incredible physical design (solid metal, shuts completely)
Cons: -Runs hot
-Not much support for 1080p native to a 13" (blurry software text)
-Eats up more battery then advertise
-Cannot swap battery without disassemble
-Finger print magnet
-Core M 5Y10 does have it's limits
Overall Review: So far this has been the best laptop I have ever own. The anti-glare 1080p 13" screen is incredible. It's pretty light for a solid metal build. And it closes completely, almost a tight rubber seal once you fold the laptop close. I spilled water on top of the closed laptop and none of it got inside. There's a special rubber lining that runs around the top part (screen) so it shuts and seals. The Intel HD 5300 runs most of my installed Steam games pretty well. This laptop was meant to play big budget games like StarCraft 2, Portal, Pillars of Eternity, Skyrim and Tomb Raider 2013 on medium settings with no AA and low/off shadows. I use it everyday to do a little gaming along with some photoshop and video editing. Handles every single process without any lag. When you purchase any laptop, make sure to install your own operating system and anti-virus. I couldn't imagine using a system fresh from the manufacture with lots of processing killing bloatware. As soon as I turned it on I went into the BIOS, changed the boot to Legacy, installed my own Windows 8.1 and a new license for ESET. After that I got full performance from this system. The only issues I have is the IPS 1080p special native resolution isn't compatible with a lot of software. When it isn't compatible, the software will run the text at lower resolutions. So software like Steam has low resolution text with high resolution images. Also the battery requires a disassembly which could be a problem with some users. I've also used much better chargers and the charging port feels fragile. It comes with a special cloth to clean off prints so I usually carry that with me everywhere I take my laptop. Overall the flaws are just minor inconveniences for me and doesn't deserve any less eggs. The heat and less then 5 hours battery life isn't a problem at all.
Pros: - Great system specs
- Light weight
- runs cool
Cons: -Prone to finger smudges if that could be considered a con
-when the screen is dark you can see the back light bleeding in at the sides.
Overall Review: I was hesitant to buy this machine as I do a lot of development and was concerned about how it would handle many applications open, building, debugging and so on. It's really given no indication that it's struggling to keep up. It does a good job clocking up the processor to 2GHz when necessary. Unfortunately the version of windows that it comes with does not support hyper-v so I wasn't able to test Vm performance, but really the specs should speak to that-I would guess that 1 or 2 low spec VM's could operate with little issue especially with the SSD and reasonable memory.
I didn't buy it for gaming, but installed one of my guilty pleasures (Hearthstone) which runs on full settings just fine. This means that it'll probably be fine with hi-def video as well.
I haven't noticed a terrible amount heat. The fact that it's sealed for the most part gives me some hope for its longevity since it won't get gummed up with dust over time.
Pros: Where to begin?!?!
- Nice 1080p screen
- Very power efficient (About 7 hours watching Netflix on WiFi)
- Solid build, the aluminum body is amazing!
- Good keyboard
- Small, like seriously small... Its slightly larger than a sheet of paper. (Length x width)
- Surprisingly powerfull!!! It's about as powerful as my 5 year old n61jq with an i7 720QM and a SSD
- 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD
Cons: - Power button is easy to accidentally hit when reaching for the backspace.
- Track pad is not AMAZING, it's just ok. It's also quite loud. (I don't have the double click problems that some uses have reported)
- Screen is an awkward dimension to where I am unable to place any icons the row above the task bar... This is a problem for us with OCD.
Overall Review: Best $699 laptop you can find!
I mainly use mine for MS Office, programming and watching Netflix.
The battery life is pretty fantastic considering the amount of Netflix i watch on it.
Pros: In general, I found the UX305FA ZenBook to perform as one would expect from published specs and benchmarks, evaluated at length in formal online reviews. Which is to say: outstanding for a low power consumption, non-gamer laptop; a significant advance relative to even the best "Atom" series processors, heretofore common in small, lightweight systems. Asus ads claim nearly Core i5 class performance, and that may almost be true wrt some low end i5 systems. 8GB DDR3 and a 256GB SSD are more than adequate for any mobile/portable PC application/need I anticipate. However, as supplied, the SSD seemed less than ideally partitioned for common use: with a 96GB OS partition and 128GB set aside for user files; BUT with all user folders/libraries located, by default, on the (C:) system partition. Of course user library reorg is a simple matter, though not as simple as drag&drop or a single click. Nor are novice users alerted to the file-system organizational issue. There is a further 15GB Windows system recovery partition.
The 1/2 inch thick (overall, when closed), aluminum, fanless case seems barely larger than the minimum physical requirements to house a 13" HD IPS LCD screen plus an essentially full-sized, responsive laptop keyboard. The kb provides adequate though limited keystroke tactile feedback (of course there's simply no room for a separate numeric pad.) Truly outstanding mechanical design and construction, setting a new price/performance comparison benchmark; the aluminum chassis further serves to heatsink the fanless system.
The 13" full HD (1920x1080) IPS screen has a matte anti-reflection surface which seems effective under common lighting conditions; HOWEVER, max screen brightness is limited, a compromise to accommodate the remarkably low power budget. The audio components achieve arguably "reasonable" fidelity from miniature, internal, advertised "Bang & Olufsen" loudspeakers; however, no surprise, with very limited max volume. Headphones can play more loudly, testing Sennheiser Momentum (20 ohm), HD448 (32 ohm) and Velodyne (40 ohm) over-the-ear models; but be aware that, presumably as an ear-safety feature, Windows master volume is automatically lowered upon detection of headphone plugin, so just bump that back up if desired.
In addition to internal, dual-band WiFi, Asus supplies a small USB/Ethernet-J45 dongle. Paired with my N900 wireless router, UX305FA 2.4GHz WiFi yields low (2Mbps, or occasionally 10-12Mbps) network access, relative to various other PCs I tested concurrently, including an Asus T100A (which consistently attained 20Mbps.) The ethernet dongle occupies one of three UX305FA USB jacks; but Newegg sells a somewhat larger alternative, with RJ45 plus 3 USB3-hub jacks, which I've been using instead.
Cons: Asus registration popup nag dialog boxes are relentless, and lack a "remind-me-in-a-week" option. Nor is it explained by Asus that immediate registration will negate NewEgg retail purchase product return options.
Initially, I was unable to drive an external monitor in any fashion from the micro-HDMI port, getting only a dark screen (Asus advertises up to 4K external video capability.) Ultimately I discovered that manually setting the UX305FA's external video to 1920x1080 with 60p refresh would generate a stable, full screen display on my 4K/UHD auto-sync monitor. Intel's supplied HD Graphics 5300 driver/utility software didn't list 4K as a supported mode; and it may be that if you still have an obsolete HD monitor lying about, that may present no problem.
While investigating the external display problem, I discovered that I was unable to enter the UX305FA ROM-BIOS (currently v.206) by pressing the F2 key during POST (pre-boot), as described in Asus' current v.1.0 (9/2014) user manual. By Google search I learned from others that this has been a reported problem with other Asus Zenbook models running Windows 8, since 2013. But the suggested remedy (disabling Windows 8 "fast startup" feature) proved disastrous for me, leading to UX305FA boot times exceeding 5 minutes!!! Oddly, but happily, if/when choosing the Windows 8.1 "restart" option, rather than "shutdown", Windows docs assert that a system image "fast restart" file isn't created (I'm guessing that may be to allow for rebooting when loading/configuring system updates???) And I found that access to the UX305FA ROM-BIOS can be reliably achieved during POST with the F2 key, following Windows 8.1 "restart" (but in my experience NOT from a cold-start following Windows 8.1 "shutdown".)
Overall Review: The UX305FA ZenBook may be the best general use, small, lightweight, low-power (non-touch screen) laptop available today, certainly for its price. I also have a small, so-called 2in1, with both keyboard and 10" touchscreen, and had not become a touchscreen fan from experience with that. Nevertheless, after reflexively touching the much superior UX305FA display on occasion (of course to no effect), I do now find myself wondering if a touchscreen might be desirable after-all. But I'd say not at the cost of added weight or power consumption. The UX305FA ZenBook is nearly perfect as is.
Pros: CPU: Intel Core M-5Y10c, 500-800mhz (2ghz turbo), 2 cores with hyperthreading. Has VT-x enabled. If you are hesitant about purchasing due to this CPU, don’t be. Its more than fast enough for most tasks. It also stays quite cool. The hottest I have seen it is at 44 degrees celsius. There is no fan, so there is no noise from the system at all.
Network: Intel 7265 wireless. Probably not as good as the Atheros AR9462 in my previous laptop. I suspect the main reason for this is probably the aluminum case. Possibly power saving. Its still quite good, my NFS mount is quite fast and reliable over wireless. The included USB network adapter is a Realtek 10/100/1000, using the Linux r8152 module. It works quite nicely...I needed to pull in the Intel wireless firmware. Not sure how much I will use it in the future.
Graphics: Are OK in Debian Jessie at the moment. The biggest issue is lack of hardware decoding at the moment. The acceleration method defaults to UXA, not SNA. Regular internet/word processing use should be fine. None of this is Asus' fault, and shouldn't be an issue with other distros using newer packages.
SSD: SanDisk SD7SN3Q2 M.2 SSD. I benchmarked it at 510 MB/sec read and roughly 300MB/sec write. By default, its split up into 5 partitions, the EFI system partition, the Microsoft reserved partition, The Windows 8.1 root partition, an empty data partition, and finally, the recovery partition. I shrunk the Windows partition to 32GiB and removed the empty data partition. Using a live 64bit EFI flash drive, I pulled a rsync backup of my other laptop’s Debian Jessie filesystem over to this one, after adjusting it for space.
Memory: 8GB DDR3 @1600mhz. Board lists max capacity of 16GB, but its soldered in. No upgrading it. I’m using the Linux zram module, which compresses memory...works quite well.
Display: LCD is quite nice. Its a matte IPS, with great viewing angles and minimal glare. Probed as an AUO (AU Optronics) B133HAN02.1, model 212d, connected via eDP1.
Power Consumption: I was able to get every tunable to ‘Good’ in powertop, with the exception of ‘VM writeback timeout’, which I don't care about. On battery, the powertop tool shows a discharge rate of between 5 and 8 watts. The display is reported as the largest consumer using this tool, at 5.9 watts @ 50% backlight setting. The 8 hour battery time is probably quite close, perhaps even understating it a bit.
Mechanical/Case: Quite solid. Nothing sharp. Rear display housing will keep some fingerprints. Display module, when opened, pushes the back of the keyboard slightly up (has two little nubs on it). The keyboard is comfortable to type on, none of the keys are spongy. You also may want to change the behavior of the OS after pressing the power button, as it is on the keyboard, in the upper right corner. Uses small torx screws for its bottom case, t4s or t5s by the look of it (compare that to equivalent Apple products, that use proprietary pentalobe screws).
Cons: Trackpad: The trackpad is the worst part about this machine. There is a very small amount of play in it. Detected as ‘ETPS/2 Elantech Touchpad’. Personally, I really dislike trackpads with software right click button, and use custom xorg synaptics settings to modify its behavior. This translates to: one finger click=left click, two finger click=right click, three finger click=middle mouse button. I found the trackpad frustratingly inaccurate in Windows, but with tweaking, it may be ok.
Case stickers (I am nitpicking here): Does it really need to have an energy star or HDMI sticker?
Overall Review: EFI Firmware: American Megatrends Inc. BIOS, which seems to only boot 64bit EFI (wasn’t able to get it to legacy boot MBR). I disabled secureboot. No updates are out yet, but it looks like it can be upgraded from within the firmware, using a flash drive. Hitting esc key at startup brings up the boot chooser/setup.
I was tempted to put Windows 8.1 under cons, but I don't want to be that guy. If you like it, great. It just isn't for me. It would be nice to have a Linux model, with the same hardware, minus the cost of the Windows license, whatever that is to Asus.
Pros: Before I made this purchase I looked at nearly every laptop that has come out in the last two years. I am a computer programmer who works primarily with web java and web languages. I wanted a computer that was well engineered, made from high quality components, light, and had a long battery life. I also needed a matte display with good anti glare, a solid keyboard, and sufficient memory and storage to support all my application. This laptop fits me perfectly.
I chose this machine for these reasons:
1) From factor. 13 inch laptops are large enough to fit full keyboards a good size screen, but small enough to easily pack away. This is also the second lightest laptop I have found with these specs; at 2.5 pounds only the Lenova lavie Z is lighter, but for a variety of reasons, I think this Asus Zenbooks is a vastly superior design.
2) Battery life. I get about 7 hours on a charge surfing the web, streaming video, and doing basic tasks like using a word processors and text editors.
3) Build quality. The all aluminum uni body chassis feels amazing under my hands. This laptop has no fan and no moving parts, so its completely silent. It feels very solid and exceptionally well made. I expect this laptop to hold up for a very long time.
4) The screen. Its a 1080p IPS panel. The matte on it is excellent; absolutely no reflection at all. The screen is also incredibly bright and has pretty decent contrast. Most of the time I have the brightness set to 10% and it is not at all uncomfortable to use even in brightly lit rooms.
5) Price. There is not other ultra portable laptop on the market right now that has these combinations of features. For a similarly specked ultra book you are looking at easily 1000 dollars.
6) Memory and storage. 8gb of memory gives you enough room to multitask, even with memory heavy OS and applications (windows + Chrome can easily eat through 4gb by themselves). The 250gb SSD drive is very fast and has enough storage for a reasonable amount of programs and media. For reference, in my linux OS it takes just over 30 seconds to restart the computer and to boot into the login screen.
Cons: This laptop suits my needs quite nicely, but it is not the best fit for some.
The its a dual core broadwell CPU with hyper threading clocked at only 800mhz. If you need more horsepower, you would be better off getting a haswell i5 or even a haswell i7 HQ. Of course those also drain your battery a lot more and tend to make laptops bulkier and heavier. Trade offs.
The onboard graphics are pretty basic. Popular games like WoW, league of legends, and similar will run just fine but many newer AAA titles will be completely out of reach.
The track pad on this machine feel cheap. It has a hollow click sound, it attracts a finger prints really badly, and it requires quite a bit of force to register clicks. I prefer to use an optical mouse so this doesn't bother me. When I do use the track pad, I tend to click on the lower right, and I use another finger for dragging and scrolling.
The keyboard has a very low key travel. This takes some getting used to. For myself I don't find that appreciably impedes my typing but others might find it uncomfortable.
The IPS panel on this machine is just not great for media. I have three TN panels on my desktop. Compared to my TN panels, the IPS display in this laptops is definitely better, but it isn't much better. The whites in particular look washed out, which is unfortunate. I personally use linux, but when I first booted it up in windows it seemed to me that the colors had been calibrated pretty poorly. A little fiddling might help the display some.
If you have the money I would recommend a 13 inch mac book pro. It is a little thicker and a little heavier, but it has all the strengths of this machine and none of the weakness. It does cost almost a thousand dollars more though. For anyone who can't afford the macbook pro I feel this laptop offers the best value.
Overall Review: Compared to the macbook air, this machine has more memory, more storage, a higher resolution display, and none of the glossy refection you seen in all macbooks. The macbook and macbook airs do have much better contrast and color reproduction.
The macbook airs look a little thinner, but that is because they are thicker in the middle and tapered at the sides. This laptop is completely flat on the bottom. It feels better to use and handle in my opinion. I am really pleased with the shape and dimensions of the body.
The Dell XPS 13 inch laptops are also really nice, and the lowest end version starts at a very similar price point to this machine. Compared to the dell XPS, this laptop is a tad bigger because of the bezels, but offers a lot more storage and memory. The Dell XPS 13 has plastic and carbon fiber in the chassy, which isn't isn't as nice all the all aluminum unibody on this machine. I have read that the dell XPS laptops have really good displays. If you can pay a little extra for the i5 model with more memory and storage and a quad HD display, I think that might be a good choice, but it will run you about a 1000 dollars.
Overall I am very pleased with this machine. After using it for a while I have really fallen in love with it, and for my use, I am not at all envious of the pricier ultra books. I strongly recommend it. You can't beat the value and the build quality is comparable to or superior to any other high end laptop at mid range laptop price.
Pros: Hello! I am a current college student and wish to discuss my experience so far with my Asus Zenbook. The laptop is used by me usually around 4-8 hours daily so I believe I have put in enough hours within my ownership time of 3 months to evaluate it precisely and effectively. As a college student I find a dependable laptop to be a staple in my learning. I believe this laptop to accommodate my needs, as I have tried a few others with not nearly as a satisfying result.
As listed, the battery for me lasts for around 8 hours on balanced power settings, in which the laptop does not fully use the hardware at maximum settings. This is when I am doing normal non hardware intensive things such as writing or browsing the web without streaming any video. When I use programs for old games it can last around 5 hours on balanced power settings and streaming Netflix it lasts a little under 5 hours. I’m using balanced power settings as a medium for which I’m writing. In my opinion, it’s the neutral point of usage.
So far I have not dropped my laptop…. yet. My friends drop their laptops all the time, so I’ve just been waiting. However, I have done what you would call a little density test with various heavy objects I have, as well as tried to flex the material it’s made out of, which is a special type of aluminum for the chassis. So far it has proven to be sturdy as well as rigid, which kind of surprised me a little due to the sleek and small design.
Ok so, from what you can see when you purchase the laptop, it’s not a power house, in fact it’s made to be a very efficient notebook for people who do not plan on video editing or gaming. However, it is perfect for me, the college student who does not want to purchase a laptop for more than $700. The SSD (Solid State Drive is a godsend also, it feels as if I will never have to worry about degeneration of the speed at which the laptop performs at. About the touch pad well…. I’ve honestly never liked touch pads so I can’t give an objective review about that. I just don’t like them period. The screen has a backlight which you can see at the bottom which I don’t really mind, but I could see where some people might not like it. The resolution and quality of the screen however is amazing for the size of the screen itself. I’ve never had any wifi problems with the built in card. I’m even able to play a lot of lower requirement games such as league of legends without much of an issue or latency/lag issues whatsoever.
Price…. Price is a hot topic issue, it’s what you’re paying for after all. The amount spent on this laptop to me is well worth it because of what you’re getting, if you’re a college student and don’t have the time for games, or watching movies/tv shows constantly, I feel this is the perfect laptop to buy. It has everything I need in it plus a little extra. I could take it anywhere and it can be used for entertainment for those times when bored, or when you need to do homework in most environments given its light weight, which brings me to…
Weighing at 2.5lbs this little champ is easy to take anywhere you want to go. I find myself doing homework in places I did not think I could before, due to previously owning 7lb laptops. It makes a huge difference between the weights. I no longer feel as if it’s a chore to lug around this additional heavy bag with a small rock inside of it. Instead, I can put it in my backpack or messenger bag and it only feels like a book! This is probably one of my favorite aspects of the laptop design. It makes me feel like I’ve made the right choice on this purchase more than any of the other topics discussed in this review.
Overall Review: Thank you for taking the time to read this lengthy review of a laptop. One more key point I wish to discuss but is not really a criteria for using/purchasing it.
I’ve tried HP, Dell, and Lenovo laptops in the past and they honestly just don’t match up with Asus, from intuitive design to hardware efficiency based on price, and even customer service. I would recommend this laptop for ANY college student seeking convenience and an advantage.