ASUS Zenbook UX305FA 13.3-Inch Ultraslim Aluminum Laptop, 256 GB SSD, 8 GB RAM (Free Windows 10 Upgrade When Available)
ASUS, UX305FA-ASM1, 13.3” IPS FHD Laptop (Greyish Black), Intel Core M, 8GB LPDDR3, 256GB SSD, Dual band Wi-Fi, USB 3.0 x 3 ports, 1x HDMI port, SD Card Reader, Bluetooth 4.0, Windows 8.1 (64bit)
- 13.3-Inch FHD (1920x1080) anti-glare matte display with an ultra-wide 170-degree viewing angle.
- Intel Core M Processor. 8 GB RAM.
- 256 GB Solid State Drive for all your storage needs.
- Fanless design that is quiet, clean, and energy-efficient.
- Amazing 8-Hours Battery Life. 1.2MP HD webcam.
- Dual-band 802.11N Wi-Fi. Bluetooth 4.0.
- 3x USB 3.0 ports, 1x HDMI port. SD-Card Reader.
- All-Aluminum Ultrathin Zenbook that weights only 2.6-lbs and is less than .5 inch thick.
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Let me just say that I have researched just about every device sold in the United States that has a 13 inch screen in my quest to replace my dying laptop. It's been a thoroughly exhaustive search. But the search is now over! I've tested every device from Chromebooks to Mac Books to giving up and just reading a book. The Zenbook is where my quest ends!
I just got my Zenbook tonight and it has been a great experience right from the unboxing. I'll start with the packaging because it deserves mentioning. The Amazon box was huge, the size of a VCR from 1981. Inside that was a plain box for the Zenbook about the size of 1995 VCR. Inside that box was a very nice fancy box about the size of a board game box. That box was well cushioned inside the 1995 VCR box. Inside that was the Zenbook. So the thing ships VERY well protected from drops by the delivery service. I have never been impressed by packaging much, but this one managed to do it.
Once I got the machine turned on I tried Windows 8 for the first time.........and 5 minutes later I learned how well the Classic Shell app works to make Windows look normal. I originally intended to put Ubuntu on it as I'm a Linux fan, but with Classic Shell Windows 8.1 has been working great and I've opted to keep it on there for the 6 weeks since I bought the system. It's very stable and the 'instant on' feature is awesome.
Now the hardware....
❖ The screen is great. I mean really great. It's a matte finish which REALLY cuts down on glare. I am sitting with a bright light directly behind me as I write this and while it's lighting up the screen, I don't see any reflection of the light at all. When I hold my phone at the same angle as my screen I can't see a thing on the phone screen (normal glossy smartphone screen).
❖ The resolution is fantastic, and even with the native display settings maximized for the HD screen resolution all the text is big enough to read comfortably. (You can mess with the scaling and text size if need be, but the text is not super tiny right off the bat like some other HD screens are)
❖ The bezel around the screen looks much bigger in the picture at the top of this page. It's really not that big and the actual LCD panel fills the screen area well.
❖ There is a rubber gasket all the way around the outer edge of the bezel that will do 2 things. It will keep the metal screen housing from rubbing against the metal keyboard housing and scratching them both up. It will also provide some (I said SOME) protection against water getting in if the lid is closed. This might come in handy if the Zenbook is in a backpack and you get caught in the rain. It's not waterproofing. It's "buy you 20 seconds to run inside" protection.
❖ The issue with the back of the lip lifting the machine up a little when the screen is opened all the way....yeah...that's a thing. But I don't think it's an accident. First off it sits stable and doesn't move around when the system is leaning on the back of the lid. Second this causes the keyboard to angel up at your slightly. It's subtle, but I like it.
❖ Prior to today I've been using 2 keyboards regularly. A Dell Latitude D630 notebook keyboard that is full size with normal laptop keys, and a full size normal desk top keyboard with big keys. Both have 'normal' key travel. The Zenbook is my first island key set up. It took me about 8 seconds to get used to it. The key travel isn't as deep as my Dell Latitude keyboard, but it's not much more shallow. It's very easy to type on.
❖ The Power button being above the backspace key and built into the keyboard seems to be a big issue with a lot of people. I type like The Thing from the Fantastic Four (Big dude made of orange rock) so I have already used the backspace key a lot in the last 2 hours. I haven't hit the power button yet. I also think it gives the whole system a nice clean look that there isn't a row of system buttons above the function key row.
❖ The trackpad. Yes, it clicks a little when you tap it. Yes, it was annoying for the first hour. I got used to it as soon as I realized it wasn't broken. It dose that because the whole trackpad is a clickable button. So there is play in the trackpad. It's not loud. It's not wiggling loose. It's just not a big deal.
❖ The speakers are on the bottom. To be more specific they are on the very sides of the bottom and angled slightly out toward the sides. They...Read more
-Size: This baby is thin!! I keep seeing publications reference it somewhere in the 12-13mm range. I have no idea how to use the metric system. This translates to roughly half an inch thin. It's also very light, tipping the scales at a minuscule 2.5lbs.
-Noise: Or I should say, a lack of noise. The CPU has no fan, the hard drive is solid state, and there is no optical drive - meaning this computer essentially has no moving parts. It's strange using a machine that's totally silent when you're not typing on it. I love it already.
-Price: This device retails for $699. Amazing that they can sell it for this price. It seems unanimously accepted from reviewers that this is a good deal based on what this model offers and how it stacks up against similarly outfitted competition.
-Construction, Fit, & Finish: It's made out of all aluminum. Has a very nice feel in your hands, inside and out. The color is kind of unique too. It has a deep stone color with the slightest hint of dark purple in it. In a sea of black and silver laptops, this one definitely stands out. The cover has the nice brushed concentric circle design inherent to the Zenbook line, and it's very pleasing to the eye. There are also some thoughtful design touches which pleasantly surprised me. The top panel which holds the laptop's screen has two tiny little rubber feet at the bottom. So when the machine is open, they prop up the laptop at the slightest angle toward the user. Asus really took some care into designing the hardware in this thing.
-The charger: I don't think I've ever seen a charger this small for a laptop. It's awesome!! So small and light. Comparatively my last charger was the size of a Buick. Considering you'll probably be carrying the charger with the laptop frequently - it's great that it weighs so little. Keeps the entire experience of portability intact.
-The keyboard: Typing on it feels nice. I don't feel cramped at all and the key travel is decent for a laptop that's very thin. Keystrokes don't seem loud to me. I like it.
-Matte Display: I wanted a 1080P matte display with no touch screen, and that's what this model offers. This gives me the opportunity to use the laptop at coffee shops, on airplanes, or in different areas of my house without worrying about sunlight or reflections that might affect a glossy screen. Out of the box the text is crisp, brightness and colors seem fine. I will likely spend more time tweaking the settings to get the most out of it.
-No backlit keyboard: This personally doesn't bother me, as my last laptop also did not have a backlit keyboard. Many of my fellow reviewers seem to complain about this though. So I guess it's a desirable feature. Keep in mind that backlit keyboards are typically reserved for higher end machines in the $1000 range. Also if you know how to type properly, you shouldn't even be looking at the keys. Whatever, I don't think it's a big deal.
-Power button location: Again, this doesn't bother me. But it is above the backspace key, and directly right of the delete key, so you can surmise it might be easy to accidentally turn the machine off. You can easily update what the power button does in Window's power settings. I changed it to "do nothing" so I won't make this mistake.
-Backlight bleeding (LCD Screen): I noticed this immediately when I turned it on and saw the all-black boot-up screen with the Asus logo. This will vary from screen to screen, so you might end up with a unit that ends up being worse or better than mine. Might bother users that watch a lot of TV or movies, but to me it doesn't matter. This issue is common to LCD screens and not unique to Asus.
-Speakers: I expected them to be under-powered, and they are. If you're buying a laptop for its speakers, don't shop for the one that's half an inch thin. There just isn't enough room for any really robust audio hardware here. Need better audio? Buy a pair of earbuds, or a bluetooth speaker, and the problem is solved.
-Availability: At the time of this review, March 2015, you may have difficulty finding one at MSRP. Microsoft is sold out, and so is Amazon. If you want one at retail price, the only place I see selling at the moment is directly through the Asus website. Amazon third-party vendors also have this for sale, but they are inflating the price over MSRP. Don't let those fools con you into overpaying for something that should cost $699.
The trackpad. Some people here seem to like it. I personally think...Read more