Over the last four years, Ultrabooks -- a category created by chip manufacturer Intel to denote high-end, small form-factor laptops with relatively long battery life -- have grown from just 1.8 percent of global notebook units to a projected 42.7 percent for 2015.
Much of that success is attributable to the enormous popularity of the MacBook Air, which was projected to sell more than 10 million units in 2013 alone. Ever since Steve Jobs pulled the original Air out of an interoffice envelope, PC manufacturers have been scrambling to develop laptop models which rival the Air in size, weight, resolution and performance.
Eagerly Awaited Zenbook UX305
One of the latest entrants in the Macbook Air-killer category was first introduced by laptop manufacturer Asus at IFA 2014 last September. Dubbed the Zenbook UX305, the product was teased but not made available. The UX305 was re-introduced at CES in January 2015, and is now finally available for purchase at an attractive price.
The visual appeal of the UX305 is immediately obvious. The computer consists of an aluminum shell that's just over a half-inch thick with a black finish that Asus has dubbed "Obsidian." As the company described its new machine in an introductory press release, "[a] refined new shape that incorporates the DNA of the classic Zenbook gives the UX305 a subtle new wedge design with elegantly-tapered and smooth diamond-cut edges that emphasize the sleek ultra-thin chassis."
Inside is an Intel Core M-5Y10 processor, a low-power CPU that promises an estimated 5 to 8 hours of battery life per charge. Other key specifications include a 13.3-inch HD display (1920x1080), 256 GB SSD storage, and 8 GB of RAM. Asus says that a QHD+ screen (3200x1800) touchscreen option will be available at some point in the future, but has not announced a date yet.
Carrying the Zenbook is well short of a cardio workout, as the device checks in at just 2.6 pounds.
The starting price for the Asus Zenbook UX305 will be very attractive to some buyers. The base configuration retails for just $699, which is considerably lower than the cost of similar machines from Samsung and Lenovo.
Not for Power Users?
Some reviewers, however, have raised questions about whether the UX305 has enough horsepower to satisfy power users (gamers, obviously, are not a major target audience for Ultrabook manufacturers).
In a detailed review of the UX305 published in January, UltrabookReview. Editor Andrei Girbea left no doubt as to his feelings on the issue.
"This is not a powerful Ultrabook," Girbea said, "and I can't stress this enough. In fact, it's a computer I'd only recommend for basic everyday activities."
For instance, Girbea said in his review, the UX305 does fine with video playing, document editing, playing music, or light browsing, but that's really the extent of its capabilities.
We caught up with Girbea, and he said that while the UX305 is limited in its power, most users don't actually demand that much from their machines.
"The UX305 can actually handle these easily and it's a very competitive package, both in terms of features and in terms of how much it costs," Girbea told us. "There's nothing else like it for this kind of money right now."
He predicted that as long as Asus is able to handle supply and quality control, this Zenbook "will be one of their most popular Ultrabooks yet" -- perhaps not with certain corporate IT environments, but with consumers and individual enterprise users.
Posted: 2015-02-19 @ 1:20pm PT
Over the life of our computers we could log thousands and thousands of hours of use and everything that we do on it can potentially be stored onto the computer itself. Hundreds of thousands of useless files and cache files can clog up the works and make your computer run very slow and sluggishly which can be super frustrating to anyone who just wants to get something done. Fortunately, MacBooks rarely have this problem. With the Asus Zenbook, that problem happens from day one.