Asus and Intel are good friends. When the chip giant revealed its vision for thin and light notebooks – Ultrabooks – four years ago, Asus was able to immediately show a first model: the Zenbook. Many other Zenbooks have appeared since then.
Intel is currently working towards a major introduction again, that of the Core M , a super-efficient version of its upcoming Broadwell processors, made at 14nm, which should make it possible to build laptops with long battery life and without active cooling. Once again, Asus is there like the chickens: during IFA they showed the Zenbook UX305, one of the first laptops powered by such a Core M processor.
From the outside you don’t immediately see that this is an innovative notebook, although we must say that the housing is very thin and the weight of 1.2 kg is low for a 13″ notebook. Whether the X305 is really completely passively cooled, we could not We couldn’t find out at the Asus stand, but there were no air vents to be seen and we couldn’t feel any air currents around either.
The design of the X305 clearly builds on that of previous Zenbooks, with a wedge-shaped design, a black chiclet keyboard and above that a sturdy wide hinge for the display. The corners are a bit rounder than we are used to from laptops from this series, and we like that a bit more. However, the visual differences are not great. The X305 is also no surprise when it comes to connections: there are two USB ports and a card reader on the left and a third USB port, a micro-HDMI connection and a headphone output on the right.
The keyboard and touchpad seem barely changed from current Zenbooks, which is fine. The chiclet keys have a nice touch and the large touchpad is easy to work with.
The model that Asus had contained the 5Y10 variant of the Core M CPU. It has a standard clock speed of only 800MHz, with a turbo of up to 2GHz under single-threaded load. If you load all cores, the 5Y10 does not go much further than 1.3GHz per core. We don’t yet know exactly what different configurations Asus will come up with, but in terms of memory, you can at least choose from 4GB or 8GB, and on the SSD level, you can choose from a capacity of 128GB or 256GB. Presumably it concerns PCI-e SSDs, but that is not certain yet.
That 5Y10 CPU is considerably more economical than what Asus previously used for its Zenbooks. The most economical version you could get with the previous generation was equipped with a Core i5 4200U CPU; a 15W chip with a base clock speed of 1.6GHz and turbo to 2.6GHz. At 4.5W, the 5Y10 consumes less than a third of that i5, and that’s an impressive feat. You will of course lose processor power and we do not yet know to what extent that will be a problem. All we could do at the Asus booth was click around and browse the web a bit, and that was all fine, but that doesn’t say anything about performance under heavier loads.
So while the processor is more economical, we wouldn’t be surprised if the screen actually consumes more power; the 13.3″ panel has a fairly high resolution: 3200×1800 pixels. With 200 percent scaling in Windows, everything looks the same size as on a screen with 1600×900 pixels, but a lot sharper. glossy IPS screen and the viewing angles are therefore excellent. The model that Asus exhibited was not equipped with a touchscreen, but there will probably also be variants that can be operated with touch. Screens with full HD resolution are also planned .
The UX305 seems to be a nice upgrade from the current Zenbooks, especially for people who appreciate a long battery life. Thanks to the Core M CPU, it has the potential to be extremely economical, although the high screen resolution will ultimately also play a major role in battery life. We can’t wait to test the performance of the Core M processor and measure how long this notebook lasts on a full battery.