Metal seems to be an obvious choice when it comes to ultrabooks. But does the ‘shine’ transcend to actual performance? We picked up Asus Zenbook UX305LA for a test drive
Design (9/10): The slim frames of Asus laptops are always love at first sight, and the Taiwanese giant has left no stone unturned with its latest Zenbook, the UX305LA. The metal body is sturdy, the brushed metallic texture (in titanium gold) adds grip while carrying it around. The base is made of two metal cases held together by screws underneath (Asus says it was one block of metal in the beginning) with rubber padding, offering it a much-needed breathing space when laid on a surface.
Display (8/10): Frankly, we think any 1080p display is sufficient for a laptop, but the UX305LA takes it a notch higher, with a 13.3-inch 3200 by 1800 IPS display with a pixel density of 276 ppi. The brightness of 300cd/m2 makes it easy to work even during the day; a lot of which is also possible due to its non-reflective surface. As for colours, Asus claims to be able to display 72 per cent of the NTSC gamut, and comes with three presets — Normal, Eye Care and Vivid — and a manual mode.
CONNECTIVITY (8/10): It sadly comprises only a basic set of connectors, featuring two USB 3.0 ports (one on each side), a 2-in-1 card reader (SD/ SDXC), a USB 2.0 port and a mini HDMI on the right, along with a 3.5 mm audio jack. We didn’t quite get the idea behind placing CPU and battery lights on the side. Were it a tablet or convertible, we would have understood, but the placement serves no purpose for a laptop, since they are not in plain sight. There’s no LAN port, but the device comes with a removable USB LAN port. For a laptop that costs nearly '70K, we’d have preferred a USB type C port instead of a USB 2.0 one, ideally one that could also double up as a display port.
BATTERY (9/10): We are impressed with the battery in the UX305LA as it offers a long operating time. On many occasions, we forgot to recharge the laptop for two days, and it still had enough juice for an hour-long movie. Though Asus claims to have 12 hours of battery life, it will easily last you 9-10 hours on regular usage, which again is impressive, considering it packs a QHD display.
HARDWARE & PERFORMANCE (8/10): Asus dumps the Core M processor for good with the UX305LA, relying totally on Corei5 and i7 processors. Our review unit ran the 2.19GHZ Core i5 5200-CPU, which operated smoothly across apps. The RAM is fixed at 8GB whereas the built-in storage is a 25GB SSD (512GB model is also available), all of which makes the UX305LA weigh 1.3kg. Though we would have expected a lighter version, this is not bad either.
AUDIO (6/10): Asus uses Bang & Olufsen speakers in the UX305LA, which is a great set of audio pieces. Unfortunately, the placement of speakers chokes the overall output as the final sound output is low. We had difficulty following dialogues while watching movies. Listening to music may still be enjoyable but we recommend external speakers.
OS (7/10): For a laptop that exudes a premium feel and costs more than '70K, we are disappointed to find Windows 10 Home edition in it. More so, when some of its useful features in terms of encryption like Bitlocker or Remote Desktop, which professionals that it hopes to target will be interested in, are available only with the Professional version of the Windows 10 OS.
The guide VERDICT The UX305LA is not just a good looking ultrabook, but also one that packs enough punch to beat the competition. A 10-hour battery life is a bonus. However, we believe that certain features like poor sound output and a basic Windows 10 Home OS could play spoilsport.
Display: 13.3-inch IPS 3200 by 1800, 276ppi
Processor: 2.19GHZ Core i5 5200-CPU
Memory: 8GB RAM (1600 MHz), 256GB SSD
Connectivity: USB 3.0x2, USB 2.0, Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi a/c, 2-in-1 card reader, 1x combo audio jack
Price: Rs 71,990
Available At: All Asus stores