Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.
With an 900MHz processor on tap, you might expect some sluggish performance, but the UX305 manages to run Lightroom with only some minor struggles. Otherwise, thanks to the ZenBook's processors' 2.2GHz max clock speed, I almost never ran into snags while playing 1080p video or swapping between 20 open browser tabs.
Save for a few instances when the video driver crashed with heavy browser usage (which I hope Intel can rectify with a future update), I had no problems doing anything with the UX305.
Here's how the Asus ZenBook UX305 performed in our suite of benchmark tests:
- 3DMark: Cloud Gate: 4,228; Sky Diver: 1,973; Fire Strike: 458
- Cinebench CPU: 212 points; Graphics: 32 fps
- GeekBench: 2,402 (single-core); 4,778 (multi-core)
- PCMark 8 (Home Test): 2,308 points
- PCMark 8 Battery Life: 6 hours and 30 minutes
And here's how it the early 2015 model performed:
- 3DMark: Cloud Gate: 4,210; Sky Diver: 2,190; Fire Strike: 594
- Cinebench CPU: 202 points; Graphics: 21 fps,
- PCMark 8 (Home Test): 2,107 points
- PCMark 8 Battery Life: 5 hours and 21 minutes
The ZenBook UX305 proved to be a solid performer and, for the most part, it's faster than its predecessor. However, as the benchmarks scores reveal, it seems like the new ZenBook took a slight hit on graphics. While the original model scored 2,190 points in Sky Diver, the new model only scraped together 1,973 points.
The difference between the scores is marginal, but there were a few times the UX305 felt like it was underpowered for more graphically intensive tasks. That said, the new Skylake chipset also puts a little extra hop in the Ultrabook's step, and it serves up better marks in almost every other test including more battery life.
The ZenBook also outpaces the MacBook, with a multi-core GeekBench score of 4,778 points over the latter's 4,423 point performance. The HP Spectre x2 plods ahead with its Core m5 processor, producing the better overall numbers and a markedly higher 5,701-point GeekBench result.
We were consistently pleased with the Asus ZenBook UX305’s solid performance – until we reached the last 10% of the laptop’s battery life. During that final stretch, the UX305 started tripping over itself whether playing a 1080p YouTube video, opening a webpage or just editing a document in Microsoft Word.
These were all tasks we had no problem with throughout our anecdotal battery life test, so the system likely locks down the processor to its minimum clock speed when battery life dips below the critical level.
That said, at roughly 6 hours, the battery life is nice and long. During that time, we were editing images in Lightroom for half an hour while unplugged, mind you. The PCMark 8 test also yielded a similar result of 6 hours and 30 minutes.
Users simply streaming Netflix through the Windows 10 app will be able to chill out for 7 hours and 42 minutes. While running techradar's standardized movie test, the Asus UX305 also lasted for an impressive 6 hours and 27 minutes.
By comparison, the HP Spectre x2 topped out with a battery life of 5 hours and 47 minutes while running the movie test. The MacBook, meanwhile, could keep going for 7 hours while streaming YouTube videos.
A 1080p screen on a 13.3-inch device is a treat, and the display that the UX305 ships with is a gem. The colors pop off the screen without being overly saturated, and you can easily distinguish grays from blacks, thanks to the display's excellent contrast levels.
Asus has also treated the panel with a matte coating that virtually removes any sign of glare even under bright room lights or direct sunlight. Out of all the laptops I've tested, the UX305 is the only one with a nigh-perfect screen.
While the screen is nearly flawless in every way, the Zenbook's speakers leave a little more to be desired. The two drivers are located on the bottom of the laptop, marked with two speaker grills on the left and right edges of the notebook. Turning the volume up to 20 brings in some significant distortion, and the sound is noticeably tinny no matter what you're listening to. So, be sure to pack a pair of headphones for a decent audio experience when you use this laptop.
Kevin Lee was a former computing reporter at TechRadar. Kevin is now the SEO Updates Editor at IGN based in New York. He handles all of the best of tech buying guides while also dipping his hand in the entertainment and games evergreen content. Kevin has over eight years of experience in the tech and games publications with previous bylines at Polygon, PC World, and more. Outside of work, Kevin is major movie buff of cult and bad films. He also regularly plays flight & space sim and racing games. IRL he's a fan of archery, axe throwing, and board games.