I think the title of this article sums things up for the Asus ZenBook 303 very well, those who would love a detailed deep dive understanding of performance, gaming , design, pros and cons here is all you need to know.
Asus ZenBook UX 303 is one of the latest laptops from Asus with signature concentric circle all metal finish design, something you will recognize instantly if you have ever used the Zenfone. The metallic laptop at the first look have a very sturdy and robust feel. As I picked up the laptop from the box it felt strong and firmly built.
The aluminum alloy feels premium and I can’t help but compare it to my Macbook Pro. The design is similar but not exactly copied from a Macbook Pro or Air and Asus has it’s own marks on the design of the Zenbook.
Asus has many different models of Zenbook in stores and we will review the popular selling model ZenBook UX 303. The naming convention is bit complicated for the Zenbook and the UX 303 also comes in variants based on display as well as storage capacity.
There are models ranging from the Zenbook UX 310 , UX 330 , UX 560 , UX 360 CA to the more premium UX 390 UA. The Asus UX 303 is currently priced at Rs. 69,800 in the Indian market and can be bought from Flipkart.
Inside the Box
Inside the Box there is a charger and adapter with a very long cable, the connecting cable is not very thick and is convenient to use it even if you are sitting some distance away.
There is a RJ45 connector which you can connect the LAN cable, there is no RJ45 port on the laptop. There is also a Display adapter given with which you can connect the laptop to an external monitor or a projector.
Asus has removed these connectors to make sure the laptop is sleek looking.
Design Weight dimensions
The ZenBook feel very comfortable to hold and use thanks to the light weight and contoured design. To help you visualize the Notebook better I will draw some comparison with the Macbook as most people have seen one at least in stores. Also will try to share images clicked from different angles to help you get the feel of the design and built.
The Asus ZenBook has a 13.3 Inch screen and it weighs 1.45 KG which is really good for a laptop with a large 1 TB drive instead of SSD. The Laptop has a thickness of 19.2 mm, which adds to the trendy looks and improves portability.
The metallic surface becomes tapered and more thin as it approaches the edges from the center. It is unlike the Macbook Pro which has almost same thickness through out. It is more comparable to the Macbook Air in the form factor.
The Zenbook display looks sharp with natural colors. The display is a 13.3 inch IPS LCD panel which comes with a Full HD Resolution (1920*1080) pixels. The Zenbook also comes with a even higher resolution display with 3200*1800 pixels. But our review Notebook has a FHD resolution.
The display does come with good amount of bezel on all sides specially on the bottom of the screen. The screen panel is fixed by a sturdy hinge similar to Macbook pro in design.
Ambient Sensor – There is an ambient sensor located close to the power button which is helpful to understand the lighting in the room, found the use very limiting. Though can be useful for people who would like the display to have brightness based on the Ambient conditions, in my case I just fix the display brightness and contrast once and leave it like that for most scenarios.
Color Toning – The colors on the display are good, does not look washed out or over-saturated no complaints as far as the colors are concerned.
Text Readability – I read a lot of text and mostly on Full HD displays or on Quad HD, I found the text was not as sharp as I see on MacBook Pro or even my Dell FHD monitor. Nothing poor but just not as sharp as it appear on those devices. I thing I would like to try is the Microsoft clear text settings and see if it improves the visibility. (Will do it once I update this article with some more information).
Keyboard – The Keyboard for the Asus ZenBook UX 303 is above average to be described rightly. The key press is accurate and key design is also decent. Is it best in the class, I don’t think so, the keys feel more plastic than rubber coated. To any normal user they will appear much better when compared to laptops available in 50K – 60K price range.
Back Lit Keys – If you are buying something in the 70K price range the back-lit keys I think is a must addition to ensure easy access to keys if you are typing or watching something with room lights off.
Keypress and Actuation Force – The key quality is good compared to my normal dell latitude laptop but not as good as the Macbook Pro or my premium corsair mechanical keyboard. For most users it is a good keyboard with low actuation force. I liked the keyboard and it requires light keystrokes to press buttons.
Trackpad – The trackpad is large and is placed at the center, I usually loathe the smaller , side aligned track pads. The key press on the track pad button is also easy on fingers and I found it to be as good as have seen on most of the laptops. In summation it comes with a Large and easy to use track pad. The accidental clicks and pointer movement were low on the Asus UX 303 in my experience.
General Performance and Processor – The model we had used the Intel Core i5 6200U the 6th Generation Skylake processor. The processor is clocked at 2.3 GHz and have a boost clock of 2.8 GHz.
There is 8 GB of DDR3 RAM to ensure that everything works smoothly in the Windows 10 environment.
Using Web-Browser and Opening many tabs was easy and processor and Ram ensured that there was no delay and lag as far as the performance on the Chrome browser is concerned. The native Windows Edge browser is sloppy everywhere as was on this laptop.
The laptop doesn’t come with an SSD storage and copying files was obviously slower compared to the SSD based laptops but other wise the performance was swift. I used the Microsoft Office specially excel and word on the machine and it was convivially fast.
Review Asus ZenBook UX 303 – Light Weight Performance Laptop – Lets move to the important aspect of performance and the reason why the Nvidia Geforce 940M graphics card exist on this thin profile laptop. The Nvidia 940M on the UX 303 comes with 2 GB of GDDR3 VRAM and performed in venerable manner though I was expecting more out of it.
Lets Check the Benchmarks for some of the Games :
We were able to play Battlefield 3 at low and medium settings at 1080P easily the game is not that demanding and was easily playable with the Asus UX 303.
Far Cry 4
Far Cry 4 is more demanding than the Battlefield 3 but again there was no issue in playing the game with the 940M on Asus UX 303.
Crysis 3 is as demanding as it gets for modern games, and it was barely playable with the 1080P very low settings with AA off and still managing 20 FPS or even lower in some of the areas. If you can lower the resolution to HD than the game was playable on the laptop.
Temperature and Heating
While gaming for some time we took the below snapshot in the Crysis 3 the CPU cores were close to 80 degree C and still the heat on the keyboard was minimal and not too much noise from the fan. The temperatures look normal and most gaming laptops have similar temperature under load. No issue of overheating or shutting down was observed.
Sound and Music – Videos – If I can speak my mind the sound from the speakers placed on both the side bottom of the Laptop is rich in quality but has low loudness. The Bang and Olufsen technology used by Asus actually improves the sound quality , clarity but I would have loved more volume out of it. I usually pay lot of attention to sound as it is very crucial part of entertainment.
Headphone Sound – We used 2 different headphones (made by Sennheizer and Apple) to get the best understanding of Bang and Olufsen technology. The sound was better compared to the normal laptops but was not very loud. Though the richness was there and Bass and Treble was appropriate.
With the Intel 6200U and Windows 10 the Laptop easily worked for 5-6 hours on mixed internet usage and working on this review itself. Battery life is decent for the laptop and found it be great considering the weight of the machine is low.
Connectivity and Ports
The Asus ZenBook UX 303 comes with support for Bluetooth 4.0 and 3 x USB 3.0 ports for all connectivity needs. There is a special connector for ethernet with 10/100 Mbps speeds and there is WIFI support. There is 1 TB hard drive to take care of all storage needs.
Concluding Thoughts And Rating
Overall the Asus ZenBook UX 303 is a good laptop under a price tag of Rs. 70,000. The Pros include good robust design , decent performance from the Geforce 940M and Core i5. The Laptop is thin and light weight and still packs lot of muscle if you wish to do some casual gaming and want to work on Photoshop or Microsoft office or even do some programming.
The major con was the Bloat that has been added to the Windows 10. There are many software like Asus Cloud , ambient light and display brightness adjustment, the persistently annoying Anti-virus which pop ups for all useless things to disturb your work. I love pure OS experience and that is a personal preference all these can be added if required by user and most high end laptop buyers would love software to do what they are doing in background and let user focus on his own tasks.
Though all the bloat can be disabled and removed from laptop and that would also improve the initial boot up time for the machine. ( I am too used to SSD based laptops and PC and a minutes boot up time looks very long).
Rating Asus UX 303
- Design – 3.8/5.0
- Performance – 3.7/5.0
- User experience – 3.6/5.0
- Display – 4.0/5.0
- Sound – 3.5/5.0
- Battery Life – 3.9/5.0
- Value for Money – 3.8/5.0
Should You Buy Asus UX 303 for Rs. 70,000
I would put this as simply as I can. If you want portability (low weight , thin) , Windows 10 laptop with an Nvidia graphics card , FHD Display to play some games and do work, this is a good option. If you are looking for pure gaming laptop or a pure work laptop there are other options you can evaluate.
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