Asus Zenbook UX301LA review

Is this Asus Zenbook more than just another laptop?

Asus UX301LA

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.

We liked

The Zenbook UX301LA crams plenty of features into a small space. It's undoubtedly a great example of a modern Ultrabook, with slim dimensions, more than enough battery life, and some nice additions such as the glass lid and ceramic chassis. The trackpad's gesture control software works very well, and really helps navigate.

I'm in two minds about the touch-sensitive display. It's hardly a must-have feature, since it's really not much use on the desktop, but it's useful with the larger buttons in Modern UI applications. Some people do like having touch-sensitive displays on laptops, and the Asus UX301LA caters for them well.

Although it doesn't handle bass all that well, the mid and treble tones from the speakers are a lot better than many other laptops on the market. Along with the quiet system fans, Asus seems to be taking the audible aspects of its computers more seriously than certain other manufacturers, who consider it an afterthought.

We disliked

Although Asus has tried to hard to give the Zenbook UX301LA a premium feel, with very little use of plastic or other cheap materials, it just doesn't feel like a £1450 laptop. Granted, preference for aesthetics is a personal issue, but I just didn't like the design of the UX301LA. Perhaps it's the prevalence of glossy, reflective materials, or the fingerprints that cover the lid. It's a laptop that gets the job done, but no more than that.

It lacks a single stand-out feature that justifies its price, and for similar money you could get a more powerful laptop such as a MacBook Pro 13-inch with Retina Display, which has more storage, a beefier processor and what I consider a better overall design.

The SSD Raid array sounds like a must-have feature, but Raid doesn't mean simply twice the performance of a single disk. And at this price, I see no reason to not provide a storage capacity of 512GB or even 1TB. Likewise, the Gorilla Glass coating on the lid sounds awesome, but is less impressive in practice.

As with many other laptops, the high-resolution display can be really problematic at times. I'd undoubtedly choose the Asus Zenbook UX301LA with a 1920 x 1080 screen over the version with a 2560 x 1440 display.


I'm slightly underwhelmed by the blandness of the Asus Zenbook UX301LA. There's nothing to really hate about it, but nothing to truly love either. Anyone who buys one wont find any real faults with it, but is unlikely to relish the opportunity to open and use it.

When sitting in a computer shop, along with row after row of other similar laptops, it's hard to imagine the Asus Zenbook UX301LA drawing crowds. In that situation, the immediate stand-out feature will certainly be the price tag, and it may take a creative salesperson to convince a customer that the UX301LA is significantly better than another Ultrabook that costs a third less.