Skip to main content

Asus solves our only complaint about the Zenbook UX305 with new processor options

Asus UX305
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends
It’s not hard to see why the Asus UX305 is one of our favorite laptops. From the most basic configuration to the highest-end special edition, the 13-inch laptop represents the epitome of value. We like the system so much, our computing editor Matt Smith took it to CES as his main system. If there’s one thing it lacks, it’s performance — but no longer, as Asus has added a new model that upgrades from the Core M to a full-fledged Core i5, without losing the value that made the system what it is today.

The Core i5 configuration, which popped up on Amazon without much fanfare, packs in a Core i5-6200U. It’s a dual-core chip with a 2.3GHz base clock, 2.8 GHz Turbo Boost, plus Hyper-Threading for boosted core efficiency. It’s the same chip found in the Core i5 Dell XPS 13, which poses a serious problem for Dell, our current favorite laptop.

Aside from the processor, the new model is similar to the original. It has a 13.3-inch, 1080p IPS display, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD. That’s a seriously competitive configuration, and best of all, the UX305UA with a Core i5 costs just $750. It remains just as thin and light has before, despite the upgrade.

According to the Asus site, there’s also a version of the UX305UA that boasts an i7-6500U processor, but it doesn’t appear to be available for sale anywhere yet.

Whether that larger, more powerful CPU causes heat or battery issues remains to be seen. It certainly wouldn’t surprise us, considering the i5’s wattage is a little over three times that of the Core m3-6Y30 in the base model. The standard UX305 already runs a bit hot relative to the competition.

In the meantime, the UX305 with an i5 CPU for $750 represents one of the best laptop values by a decent margin. The entry level XPS 13 is by powered by an i3-6100U, with just 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD, a configuration that also sells for $750 to $800 depending on the retailer.

Brad Bourque
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Brad Bourque is a native Portlander, devout nerd, and craft beer enthusiast. He studied creative writing at Willamette…
The secondary 4K screen on the new Asus ZenBook Pro Duo can now tilt
Asus ZenBook Pro Duo notebook

Asus announced the launch of the new ZenBook Pro Duo 15 OLED, a successor to the previous ZenBook. ZenBook Pro Duo comes with a set of high-end specs and a secondary tilting 14-inch touchscreen that can be used alongside the main 15.6-inch 4K OLED touch display. The laptop is already available from various retailers and can be configured with different components before purchase.

The new notebook is decked out with the latest hardware, but the most eye-catching feature is, of course, the dual touchscreen. Very similar in design to the previous ZenBook, this one picks up where the previous one left off. The main screen is surrounded by thin, unobtrusive bezels and has a 93% screen-to-body ratio. The secondary display lies below it, right above the keyboard. While the laptop itself doesn't have a palm rest, Asus says that a bundled one comes with the notebook.

Read more
HP Envy 13 vs. Asus ZenBook 13 UX333
hp envy 13 review 8

The HP Envy 13 and Asus ZenBook 13 UX333 want to do the same thing: Deliver excellent performance, build quality, and battery life for around $1,000. They hit a sweet spot between price and performance, packing the specs of an ultrabook like Dell's XPS 13 for a slightly lower price. Between them, though, which should you choose?

Asus has moved on from the ZenBook 13 UX333, focusing on newer models like the 14-inch UX425. HP, on the other hand, is sticking with the Envy 13, updating the range for 2021 with Intel's latest mobile processors. The Envy 13 is a better option based solely on performance, but more than specs separate these two machines.
Design

Read more
Acer Swift 3 13 vs. Asus ZenBook 13 UX333
asus zenbook 13 ux333fa

The sweet spot for a 13-inch laptop is between $500 and $1,000. In that price range, you're getting a notebook with the latest hardware, far more capable than low-spec Windows machines and Chromebooks, but not quite on the level of high-end options like the MacBook Pro. There are two laptops that stand out for this price bracket: The Acer Swift 3 and Asus ZenBook 13 UX333.

We've compared the two spec for spec, covering design, pricing, performance, and more. Asus has a newer ZenBook 13 available, too, which we'll bring in for reference at a few points.
Pricing and availability

Read more