Asus Zenbook UX303LA review
Processor: Dual-core 1.8GHz Intel Core i7-4500U, RAM: 6GB, Size: 323x223x20mm, Weight: 1.45kg, Screen size: 13.3in, Screen resolution: 1,600x900, Graphics adaptor: Intel HD Graphics 4400, Total storage: 128GB SSD
The Asus Zenbook laptop brand continues to be one of our favourite Ultrabook lines, with stylish looks and decent specifications. Perhaps most importantly, Zenbooks also tend to be good value. The 13.3in Zenbook UX303LA is much cheaper than many Ultrabooks, but if performance and battery life are up to scratch there's no reason why it can’t compete with more expensive ultra-portable laptops such as the 13in Macbook Air.
The UX303LA has an aluminium chassis, which helps keep the weight down. Without its power brick the UX303LA weighs just 1.45kg, it isn’t much heavier than the 1.35kg 13in MacBook Air, and the UX303LA is pretty thin too, measuring 20mm at it thickest point. The UX303LA’s aluminium shell is an off-grey colour that Asus calls Smokey Brown which, while unique, probably won't appeal to everyone. We prefer the colour of Asus's metallic blue Ultrabooks.
The keyboard is ever-so-slightly spongey, but the keys have a generous amount of travel, making them comfortable to use. The touchpad is responsive, too. It's an all-in-one design, which means the physical “mouse” buttons are built into the pad, and you can click them from roughly a third of the way down. Taps and multi-fingered gestures, such as pinch-to-zoom and scrolling, worked without a hitch, making the UX303LA's touchpad one of the best we've had the pleasure of prodding.
There's a great complement of connection ports, including three USB3 ports, a 2-in-1 card reader, a combined 3.5mm headset jack, mini DisplayPort and full-size HDMI output. There are no VGA or Ethernet ports, but Asus supplies adaptors for both, although be aware that the Ethernet adaptor only runs at Fast Ethernet speeds.
The UX303LA uses a high-speed 802.11ac Wi-Fi chip, so you'll be able to take full advantage of the 802.11ac’s much higher Wi-Fi speeds if you connect to an 802.11ac router. The UX303LA’s storage consists of a 128GB SSD only, with just 75GB available with Windows 8.1 installed. This won't be enough if you're planning on storing video or editing photos on the UX303LA, which rather limits its uses to browsing the web, streaming videos and music and working on office productivity documents.