Asus Zenbook UX303 review

A powerful but unambitious Ultrabook

Asus UX303UA

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Although the UX range is undergoing evolution and taking advantage of modern hardware wherever possible, it's a slow process. That said, this is an affordable modern laptop that won't disappoint you.

We liked

This is relatively powerful for an Ultrabook, with a fast SSD and strong modern processor combining to make it a very smooth ride. It's a mild improvement on older models, at least on certain simpler tasks, which are what you'll be using this for. If you wanted to play games on it, you could – if you dropped the resolution down to 720p. The battery life was good, though not huge for the market segment.

And the price at the time of writing – £900 (it's pitched at $700 over in the States, which is around AU$990) – is cheaper than the Dell XPS 13 (£950) and way below any equivalently-powerful MacBook, whether the 12-inch version or the Air.

We disliked

That battery life is still not as good as what's delivered by the MacBook Air – but then what is? The various screen dimming apps and hardware detract from the glorious display. And the speakers, though perfectly acceptable, aren't as good as the rest of the product.

Final verdict

While the UX305 might be the best value 13-inch Ultrabook you can currently get, the UX303 offers a more premium product, with more power packed into its thicker frame. It shares the thinner machine's entirely predictable design and build quality, and though its price is substantially more, it's cheaper than less powerful, equally shiny bigger name Ultrabooks.

It may do nothing special, but for this niche, the Asus UX303 is a powerful, reasonable value machine with a classic look, and reliable performance across the board.