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ASUS ZenBook UX303UA-XS54 Laptop Review

% Very Good

The Asus ZenBook UX303UA-XS54 falls within the bracket of laptops that are a stunning derivative of the MacBook Air from build form to appearance. The 13 inch svelte laptop is gorgeous with an admirable form build and form factor, performance and a prospective Windows alternative to the MacBook line.

The Asus ZenBook UX303UA-XS54 is among the ZenBook series of laptops that have been on the roll the past few months; particularly led by the Asus ZenBook UX305CA, a stunning choice running on a Core M with Core i5-6200U processors and specs only fit to rival the Dell XPS 13.

ASUS ZenBook UX303UA-XS54 Review


Pros

  • Decent price
  • Quality aluminum built and design
  • Full HD touchscreen
  • Great battery life

 

Cons

  • Lacks Keyboard backlighting
  • No Ethernet ports
  • Comes with some bloatware

 

Verdict


The Asus ZenBook UX303UA-XS54 Check at Amazon is a stylish ultraportable with strong performance, great display and design. It’s not a gaming powerhouse (I’m looking your way Razor Blade Stealth 2016) but it quietly fits as a college laptop thanks to its svelte design.


Display and Features

From a first glance, the Asus ZenBook UX303UA-XS54  Check at Amazon  is breathtaking and elegant in more ways than one. Like a MacBook, it will definitely turn heads with its aluminum-alloy unibody. It weighs 1.2Kgs and measures 323 x 222.3 x 13.5 mm (WxDxH).

The display is also nothing short of an eye treat at QHD+ high of 3200 by 1800 which promises vivid, sharp and lifelike images and videos. I had a really fun time working my way through some of the Word documents while writing this review. The letters were very clear and sharp on Word or pdf. The amazing resolution also made it a joy to casually relax and check out family photos.

The ZenBook boasts of 276 pixels per inch which was more or less responsible for the crystal clear images. Also, the screen is a matte display which means better viewing even while under the sun on the IPS screen. Viewing along angles is possible as the ZenBook allows up to 178 degrees of angle viewing, which I reckon is a great fete too.

We found on our tests that the ZenBook screen can produce up to 95% of the sRGB color gamut, which is more or less the same as Asus promise of 100% sRGB. Additionally, 71% of the AdobeRGB gamut which was a little lower than the assured 74% but not any less accurate in color and display.

It’s worth mentioning that the Asus ZenBook UX303UA-XS54 has a light sensor that automatically adjusts for screen brightness based on ambient light in a room or outside one. This feature is adjustable through the settings where you can change to manual settings. The light sensor was however not active on our test which was a little sad.

We were pleased to find out that the Asus ZenBook series offers more than a single color like most laptop brands do( most offer at least two). Color types available in this design include Smoky Brown, Rosy Gold and Icicle Gold. I loved the color themes as they blend ever so seamlessly with the metal finish and slim ZenBook profile giving the laptop an enhanced look and feel of sophistication and elegance.


Ports

Asus ZenBook UX33UA-XS54 might be thin and lightweight but it still delivers son like any other great ultraportable laptop. To start, the left side features two USB 3.0 ports and an SD Card slot. The right side houses the headphone jack, a HDMI port (to connect to Monitors, TVs or projectors), the third USB 3.0 port, a mini DisplayPort and finally a power port. There is no Kensington lock option for this laptop as is common for other notebooks but that isn’t a deal breaker.

Performance


Out tested version of the Asus ZenBook UX303UA-XS54 came with a Core i5-65OOU processor, 8GB of DDR3 RAM and 256GB SATA M 2 SSD which is within the Skylake platform processors. The combination of features in this configuration is great and provides enough power for day to day use by most users. We did a streaming test (which basically involves watching YouTube videos) by multiple tabs and the Asus ZenBook kept its cool through 10 tabs streaming on Full HD, and only started to give on the 11th tab.

Our configuration runs on a Windows 10 operating system which is a great combination with the system specs.

Graphics


While the Asus ZenBook is a strong performer, it has an Intel Graphics Card 520 which isn’t much but for simple non-intense games…less demanding games. On the gamers benchmark test we went with the 3DMark and the ZenBook performed well with a 63,845 score which was higher than the Dell XPS 13 (49,396).

 

Keyboard and trackpad


The keyboard is perhaps the second most important thing on the laptop, besides the monitor and processor and need to be at tip top shape to get information home. The ergonomic keys on the Asus ZenBook UX330UA-XS54 are full sized and backlit with a 1.5mm key travel which makes typing pretty much comfortable to use.

Personally, I use the MacBook Pro or Air as a benchmark and by that judgment, they are decent and best of all backlighting is a great convenience when you have to pull those late night shifts. ASUS doesn’t mention anything concerning the keyboard being fluid resistant so if you’re as careless as I am I advice discretion whenever you visit that coffee shop.

On the keyboard typing test, I hit 91 words per minute which is slightly higher than my regular 87 wpm (I’m not very fast). I must say the keyboard needs just a little learning curve to get used to otherwise it delivers just as splendidly.

Moving on, the trackpad is intelligently build spanning a 4.1 x 2.9-inch and covered under glass. The touchpad is precise and very responsive to touch and cursor movements. I tried closing some tabs and the cursor was for most part entirely true to point keeping up with my movements even when randomly sudden. I was glad to notice that it also incorporates two finger scrolling, pinch-to-zoom and they all worked great.

Configurations


Our review is based on a lower end configuration that retails on Amazon and includes: Core i5-6200U processor, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD and a neat 1920 by 1080 IPS touchscreen. The higher option is the Core  i7-6200 Intel processor, 12GB of RAM, 512GB Solid State Drive (works faster than HDD), an IPS 3200 by 1899 QHD touchscreen. The second option is clearly more expensive but works like a charm in performance rounds (trust us).

Battery life


According to Asus, the Asus ZenBook UX303UA-XS54 should last you a whole day on a single charge on 8 hours of charge. Well, we did our own tests to verify that truth and it clocked in at 6 hours 49 minutes which is much better than the Dell XPS 13’s five hours. This is all thanks to the Skylake which kind of optimizes the laptop’s performance and works on less power.

Speakers


The bottom lying speakers on this Asus bring a solid punch to the fight. The speakers packs  power provided by Bang & Olufsen ICEpower; the outstanding High Quality Audio subsidiary of Danish Bang & Olufsen company (that works magic for HP as well). I played a couple of track to test the highs and lows and noticed a great balance of the speaker’s stereo system. Highs were great clear and loud but the bass was not as deep. Everything was fine when I used a pair of headphones though.

Webcam


The Asus ZenBook UX303UA-XS54 comes with a standard 1.2 megapixel camera that takes decent pixels. Laptop webcams are not famous for being as clear or color accurate with only a few brands really turning the tables. The ZenBook isn’t any different here taking clear and accurate photos, but not entirely vivid as you would expect in a great digital camera or Smartphone. Some of the images appeared a little washed out.

 

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth


Through the advanced 802.11ac Wi-Fi connectivity, the ZenBook UX330UA-XS54 allows you to get connected online faster. The 802.11ac Wi-Fi is the advanced form of Wi-Fi connectivity that lets you connect 2.8 times faster than its predecessor 802.11b/g/n. This device is enabled with a Bluetooth 4.1 that allows you to connect with whatever device you might need.

Asus ZenBook UX303UASpecs


  • Processor                                 Intel® Core™ i7 7500U/ Core™ i5 7200U 6500U Processor,
  • Operating System                  Windows 10 Home/ Windows 10 Pro
  • Chipset                                     Integrated Intel® CPU
  • Memory                                   16 GB LPDDR3 1866MHz SDRAM Onboard Memory
  • Display                                     13.3″ (16:9) LED backlit QHD+ (3200×1800) or 13.3″ (16:9) LED backlit FHD (1920×1080) 60Hz Anti-Glare Panel with 72% NTSC with 178˚ wide-viewing angle display Support ASUS Splendid Technology With WideView Technology
  • Graphic                                    Integrated Intel HD Graphics 520 or Integrated Intel HD Graphics 620
  • Storage                                     512GB SATA3 M.2 SSD or 256GB SATA3 M.2 SSD
  • Keyboard                                 Illuminated Chiclet Keyboard
  • Card Reader                            Multi-format card reader
  • WebCam                                  HD 720p CMOS module
  • Wi-Fi                                         Integrated 802.11 AC (WIDI Support)
  • Bluetooth                                 Built-in Bluetooth V4.1
  • Interface 1 x COMBO audio jack/2 x USB 3.0 port(s) *1/1 x USB-C Gen 1 (up to 5 Gbps)/1 x micro HDMI/1 x SD card reader
  • Audio                                       ASUS SonicMaster Technology
  • Battery                                      57 Whrs Polymer Battery Up to 12 Hours web browsing
  • Dimensions                              323 x 222.3 x 13.5 mm (WxDxH)
  • Weight                                      2 kg with Battery
  • Security BIOS Booting            User Password Protection
  • Warranty                                  2-year limited International hardware warranty.

NOTE 3:i5-6200/i7-6500 only has up to 8G RAM and without TN FHD panel


Software and Warranty

There are a couple of software that come pre-installed in the ZenBook UX303UA-XS54, which I found not particularly useful. For instance, the TripAdvisor app, which would not help every buyer; perhaps just a few who consider travelling. There were others like Candy Crush Soga Saga, Flipboard, and Twitter which would either be great not helpful at all to a user.

On the bright side, there were others that were useful: free trials such as Evernote premium and 25GB Dropbox that lasts for no less than six months. Additionally, a one-month trial for Microsoft Office also exists.

As for the warranty, Asus offers a one-year limited warranty for the Asus ZenBook UX303UA-XS54. The 1-Year Accidental Damage Protection warranty covers Electrical Surges, Fire Damage, Drops and liquid spills.

Things I loved

If you’re looking for a laptop with sharp screen displays then look no further because the ZenBook UX303UA comes with a 1080P display. Further still, if you’re not in lower price range and don’t mind a 1366 by 768 display, there is a configuration for that that costs a little less.

 

Things I disliked

The lack of backlighting on this laptop is a downright loss to its main appeal and because of it losses a fair amount of points to other midrange ultraportables in its rank. Missing backlighting is a significant loss considering the price you have to pay for it and that other laptops in its class all have one.

Also, the battery life was more or less dismal if we dared compare it to the MacBook that the manufactures seemed to mimic. The amount of bloatware apps available impossibly annoying too, but luckily they can be taken care of easily.


Asus ZenBook UX303UA Price and Conclusion

We all loved the premium look the Asus ZenBook UX303UA-XS54  Check at Amazon brings to the table and the different configurations it comes with. The great build coupled with great performance draws the best out of this laptop and across the Ultrabook board.

However, I hope Asus would consistently push the right buttons further into their webcam and battery life then maybe they would have a larger following and perhaps even sales. While the ZenBook is only fairly decent in our regards, it a powerful machine and reliable one for day to day use fairly priced such as not to break your bank

 

  • Buy the Asus ZenBook UX303UA-XS54 laptop from Amazon

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