ASUS ZENBOOK UX305
The ASUS ZenBook UX305 is the only Ultrabook in our shootout to feature a 5th generation Broadwell processor instead of the newer Skylake ones. While it is a matter of time when an upgrade comes along, at the time of writing, ASUS did not have a Core i Skylake variant of the UX305, which was why we had to stick to a Broadwellequipped unit for our testing.
Unfortunately for the UX305, this means that it is already handicapped from the outset. Skylake offers both better performance and power efficiency, so the UX305 lagged behind the others in terms of performance and battery life. More tellingly, its heftier 56Wh battery didn't last as long as the HP ENVY 13's smaller 45Wh pack.
Nevertheless, the ZenBook's slim profile – it is just 14.9mm thick – and light weight make it quite portable. Its entire body is also constructed out of aluminum, and the lid features a circular brushed metal pattern. The overall impression is of quite an appealing, minimalistic device that is very solidly-constructed.
The display itself is a 3,200 x 1,800 IPS panel, in the same ballpark as the majority of its rivals. However, there's no touchscreen support here, but most users of Ultrabooks probably aren't going to miss it. We also like the fact that the screen features a matte coating instead of a glossy one, as this should help reduce problems with reflections and using the screen directly under overhead lighting.
The keyboard is also a standard chiclet design that is quite easy to get used to. The row of function keys at the top works with the Function button to provide quick access to features like brightness and volume controls.
When it comes to display outputs, the UX305 relies on a single Micro-HDMI port, so be sure that you have the right display cables if you're intending to hook this up to an external monitor. Of the two USB 3.0 ports, one of these supports what ASUS calls Charger+, which allows you to charge your peripherals more quickly and also while the notebook is sleeping or powered off. If you have multiple devices, this could effectively give you an extra charging point without having to leave your laptop on overnight.
The matte display helps cut down reflection from overhead lighting.