Asus Zenbook UX305FA-ASM1 13.3-Inch Ultrabook Review

After a long time considering this, I have decided to give the Asus Zenbook UX305FA-ASM1 a good go over. At first I taught it was just another Ultrabook, but then I looked closer and noticed that this is a very special Laptop and needs more attention. So here we go.

The Exterior

We have long been fans of Asus Zenbooks as have always had beautifully sleek designs across the board. The new UX305FA-ASM1 is no exception to this rule. It is an aluminum body Ultrabook with a very thin design. This model is just 0.5-Inch thick. The Asus Zenbooks usually rival Macbook Air thicknesses with a more colorful finish.
Let’s take it from the top. The entire body is finished in dark gray aluminum allround with the top cover having a ring pattern brushed on it. An Asus logo is located right in the middle of the top cover.
ASUS Zenbook UX305FA-ASM1 13.3-Inch Ultrabook Review cover detail.jpg
The Asus UX305FA-ASM1 gets a Full HD 1920×1080 pixel 13.3-inch display. This combination alone ensures incredibly sharp images. The display is surrounded by the standard matte plastic border we find on most laptops. The integrated webcam and microphone are built into the middle of the top border. The last detail is a large chrome Asus logo on the bottom border of the screen.
The overall gray aluminum finish continues on the inside where we find a black chicklet style keyboard and a generous touch pad in the middle right below it. As with most laptops of this form, I think the touchpad will interfere with typing.
ASUS Zenbook UX305FA-ASM1 13.3-Inch Ultrabook Review build detail.jpg
The overall finish maintains the sleek elegant design of the ultrabook.
The power button itself is integrated inside the keyboard and is the last key in the top right corner. The status LEDs are built into the right edge of the body.
Dur to its processor this ultrabook has a fan-less design, so it has no cooling openings what so ever and also no fan to get noisy. More on the benefits/disadvantage of this in the performance section.
The only openings are the 2 side openings for the built in speakers. Everything looks like one solid peace of engineered aluminum.

The Connectivity

What the Asus Zenbook UX305FA-ASM1 gains in looks with its sleek and thin design it looses in the connectivity department. Due to the 0.5-inch body Asus was unable to fit a DVD-Drive, a VGA-out port, a full sized HDMI-port or even an Ethernet Lan port on the Zenbook. While the first 2 are to be expected on a laptop of this size, the last one is surprising to me. Other manufacturers have managed to create compact Ethernet ports and integrate them into their sleek designs.
As standard it comes with 3 USB 3.0 Ports, 2 on the left side and another powered one on the right side. The left side of the body also features the built in SD card reader. The right side features the remaining power port, micro HDMI port and a Headphone/Mic- Combo Jack.
On the inside it features the standard WiFi 802.11AGN wireless connectivity and Bluetooth 4.0.
ASUS Zenbook UX305FA-ASM1 13.3-Inch Ultrabook Review connectivity.jpg

The Performance

While up until this point everything is what you would come to expect from an Ultrabook, here is where the Asus Zenbook UX305FA-ASM1 got interesting for me. If has a fan-less design, meaning the cooling itself is done passively and that isn’t a very good sign for the internal hardware.
I am happy to say that Asus has fitted this Ultrabook with the new Intel Core M-5Y10 dual core processor running anywhere from 0.5 to 2.0 GHz depending on load. This is part Intels new Ultra Low Voltage(ULV) processor range that offer very good performance for impressively low Thermal Design Power(TDP). The Core M-5Y10 has a TDP of just 4.5W that can even be lowered to 4W with Intel Config Down TDP option. This processor offers slightly better performance than a Intel Core i3-4030U Processor that had over 3 times the TDP at 15W.
This explains why the Zenbook doesn’t need cooling, as it doesn’t create as much heat during normal operation compared to previous models.(as a side note, during heavy load it may start to heat up and if it overheats it will lose some performance) This is probably the main reason for its all aluminum body.
In keeping with this same principal Asus has also equipped this Zenbook with the new LPDDR3 RAM. While most current Laptops come with DDR3L, this new standard offers better performance for a much lower power consumption.
You can see where this is headed don’t you? Add the 256GB SSD to this package and the 44WHrs 3-cell Li-ion Polymer Battery Pack and the 8 Hour battery life seems quite attainable, even low. Some users have managed to squeeze in excess of 10 Hours out of this Ultrabook.
I haven’t said anything about the Graphics, that was on purpose. The Intel Core M comes with the new 5th generation Intel HD Graphics 5300 but due to the fact that this is so extensively modified toward energy saving and heat dispersion it’s not very competitive and I wouldn’t recommend gaming on it at all. Gaming is very resource intensive and I think it will overheat very fast and make your games unplayable.
The performance of the package is not aimed toward prolonged heavy computing, the passive cooling makes sure of that. Consider this Ultrabook as a sprinter if you will. It will load everything very very fast and make everything feel instantaneous but it doesn’t have the staying power.
From the overall specifications and available hardware the Asus Zenbook UX305FA-ASM1 is a very good multimedia and high mobility laptop. The package is oriented toward very high mobility and responsiveness and the available processing power is also geared in this direction. It is very well suited for work on the go and I think it will make a very good laptop for students and writers.

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Who is it for? discussing who would benefit most from this laptop...

  • Student
    The Asus Zenbook UX305FA-ASM1 is very well suited for student life. It is compact enough with its 13.3-inch screen, and has the necessary battery life to keep going for an entire day of courses and still have enough juice left over to unwind in the evenings. The Full HD display will give you the very best viewing experience.
    The lack of a cooling fan makes it very quiet and this means you can use it while others are sleeping.
    This Ultrabook is perfect for long writing sessions on the go and I think that makes it perfect for students.


  • Casual User
    The performance of the Asus Zenbook UX305FA-ASM1 is very well suited to the needs of the casual user. It has more than enough processing power and is very responsive thanks to its SSD. I do think the SSD might be too small for most casual users, but if you want something to do a lot of browsing and writing on the go this Ultrabook will do very well.

  • Business User
    Business users are the ones that we think Ultrabooks are best suited for. They offer high battery life to keep you active on the go and offer more than enough performance for your needs.
    The Asus Zenbook UX305FA-ASM1 offers all this and more. Thanks to its fan-less design it's meeting quiet and with the 256GB SSD it's light enough to take it with you all the time.
    If you intend to do presentations with it, you may need to look for an appropriate adapter.


PROs Vs. CONs

The 8GB of RAM and 256SSD alone make this a very capable and responsive device. The load times will be very small and very impressive even with a ULV processor.
The overall fit and finish is probably the big selling point here. You get an all aluminum body and a silent fan-less design at that.
Considering that this has a smaller display than usual the Full HD resolution will make for very crisp images and videos. This is a very capable multimedia laptop.

The thin design looks amazing and we are happy for it, but it does have the downside of limiting available space. The lack of some features are to be expected on Ultrabooks, others, on the other hand, are not. Other manufacturers manage to build compact Ethernet Lan-ports for their Ultrabooks. Asus seems couldn't manage to integrate one. On the same token, it's very good it has HDMI out, but why use the smaller version when the regular one is the size of an USB-port.
The final point, even though it isn't really a con, comes in the form of a warning. The fan-less design is a very good step forward for most devices but under prolonged loads I think it may overheat and lose a lot of performance.



Useful Accessories

Summary

The thing that caught my eye to the Asus Zenbook UX305FA-ASM1 was the price and fan-less design. I was expecting it to be underpowered or not very well equipped and I was wrong on both counts. It offers more performance than some of the regular laptops in this price range while still retaining its compact sleek Ultrabook design. Due exactly to the fan-less design I think it's only suited for multimedia, high mobility and general purpose use and it can do these all day everyday without a problem. I think the problem comes when running any prolonged demanding software that will lead to overheating.
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Technical Details

Processor Intel Core M-5Y10 0.8 GHz
Video Card Intel HD Graphics 5300
RAM Memory 8GB LPDDR3
Audio Built-in stereo speakers with Bang & Olufsen ICEpower Premium Audio
Operating System Windows 8
Display 13.3-inch 1920 x 1080px
Storage Drive 256 GB SSD N/Arpm
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
USB 2.0 Ports None
USB 3.0 Ports 3
Built-in Camera Yes
Built-in Microphone Yes
Optical Drive none
Memory Card Reader Yes
Bluetooth Yes
Headphone-out Yes
VGA-out -
HDMI-out Yes
LAN-out -
Color Dark Gray
Width 12.80 in.
Depth 8.90 in.
Height 0.50 in.
Weight 2.6 lbs.
Battery Life up to 8 Hours
Warranty 1 year Accidental Damage Protection from ASUS

Updated on June 7th, 2015

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