Intel has all its marketing eggs in the 2-in-1 basket nowadays, but it wasn’t always so. Almost four years ago, during the last half of 2011, the first round of svelte and elegant ultrabooks started showing up in our labs. One of the first companies on board was Asus, with its ZenBook line. We reviewed one of the 11.6-inch ZenBooks, the $1,199 model UX21E, in November 2011, and came away duly impressed with how light and compact it was, as well as how much it resembled Apple’s MacBook Air.
Since then, we’ve seen many ZenBooks, ranging in screen size from 11.6 inches to 15.6 inches. Most have been premium or at least upscale machines, such as the most recent, the ZenBook Pro UX501Best Price at Amazon with its 4K touch screen.
The ultrabook we’re reviewing today is something different. The ZenBook UX305FA is only 2.6 pounds, only 0.5 inch thin at the thick end of its wedge-shaped profile, and only $699, or $300 less than the cheapest 13.3-inch MacBook Air. What’s surprising, though, is how little you have to give up to get this low price. This ZenBook is not a cheaply configured laptop.
You get twice as much memory as the MacBook Air (8GB), for example, and twice as much solid-state storage (256GB). There’s a full HD (1,920×1,080) display panel. In addition, it doesn’t run on a low-power Celeron or Atom processor. Instead, as discussed in the Performance section later on, the UX305FA is powered by Intel’s low-wattage Core M processor, which enables a fanless design, letting the ZenBook run silently.
With its 0.8GHz Core M-5Y10, it also runs a little slower than competing models based on the 1.1GHz and 1.2GHz Core M CPUs, and slower still than machines built around laptop Core i5 and Core i7 processors.
Even so, as we found in our benchmarks, the ZenBook is not that slow—it’s fine for Microsoft Office and other productivity apps, though you wouldn’t want to run AutoCAD or Adobe Premiere on it. In addition, its slim, light, and highly attractive design makes it look and feel more elegant than its $699 price suggests. We found plenty to like about this laptop.
Read entire review at Computer Shopper