Asus Zenbook UX310UA review

A lovely looking laptop

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Our Verdict

An aesthetically pleasing machine that won’t break the bank. If you can get over the so-so battery life then you might be looking at your next office workhorse.

For

  • All aluminium body
  • Backlit keys
  • Wonderful screen
  • Fast to wake up and use

Against

  • Bendy keyboard
  • Meh battery life
  • Small hard drive

The Asus Zenbook UX310UA doesn’t leave much of a first impression, but we promise – it’s one of the best Ultrabooks on the market in 2018 and it deserves your attention. Not only does the Asus ZenBook UX310UA have great aesthetics and impressive performance, but this affordable Ultrabook is so finely tuned in every way that it may just be the best laptop for anyone looking for a device that can do everything.

The Asus ZenBook UX310UA succeeds because it faithfully follows in the MacBook Air’s legacy – a laptop once thought of as the  ideal laptop with svelte design housing powerful components. This should be enough to make the Asus ZenBook UX310UA worth your attention. 

It’s evidence that Asus is determined to keep improving its notebooks – so much so that we refer to this laptop as the de facto heir to the Macbook Air’s throne.

It’s almost like Asus stepped up and said “Well, if Apple won’t do it, we will”. Talk about courage…

Spec Sheet

CPU: Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-7200U CPU @ 2.50GHz running 2.7GHz
Graphics: Intel(R) HD Graphics 620
RAM: 8GB, DDR4, 2,133MHz. Expandable to 20GB
Screen: 13.3 inch, 3,200 x 1,800 QHD
Storage: 256GB SSD
Ports: 1 x COMBO audio jack, 1 x USB 3.1 TYPE C port, 1 x USB 3.0 port, 2 x USB 2.0 port, 1 x HDMI
Camera: HD Web Camera
Weight: 1.4kg / 3.09 pounds
Size: 32.3 cm x 22.3 cm x 1.84cm / 12.7 x 8.78 x 0.72 inches (W x D x H)

Design

First up, the Asus Zenbook UX310UA is incredibly pretty, arguably better looking than Apple’s spurned masterpiece, in case you couldn’t tell from the CD-like glare on its all-metal finish. 

That’s right, those concentric circles emanating from the Asus logo are as impressive in real life as they are in our photos. Better yet, the smooth lines around the edge are even more apparent. The icing on the cake, however, is that you’re saving money by going the ZenBook route. The MacBook Air is more costly and leverages antiquated tech. So far so good.

Before you’ve even turned it on, the packaging is elegant. Unlike a lot of laptops, this one is worthy of an unboxing video.

When you open the lid, you’ll see the simple message ‘In Search of Incredible’ engraved on the inner lid, which is a nice touch. There is a distinct lack of plastic and cable ties, too. Of course, the MacBook Air wins out when it comes to sheer power, as it’s one of the few devices that still uses the awesome MagSafe charger, the Asus ZenBook uses a perfectly usable L-shaped plug, however.

When it comes to ports, the Asus ZenBook UX310UA has a ton of them. Along the left side of the device, you’ll find that rounch charging socket, a USB 3.0, HDMI, USB-C and a headphone jack with an integrated microphone socket.

On the right there are two USB 2.0 ports, an SD card reader and a couple of lights, one for the hard drive and the other that let you know that it’s actually on, or if the battery is charging.

It’s a pity that the two USB inputs on the right aren’t 3.0 like the one on the left, but it’s handy that there’s a USB-C port included.

Similarly, the USB 3.0 port on the left hand side of the device supports USB Charger + technology, which allows you to quick charge external devices even while it’s off or hibernating. The Asus ZenBook UX310UA features software that will help manage the laptops battery when using this functionality.

Sizing it up to the competition, the Asus ZenBook UX310UA is mostly on par. It’s a little thicker than the Macbook Air which is 1.7cm, while the laptop we reviewed here is 1.84cm and admittedly doesn’t have the tapered end.

Lenovo’s Ideapad 710S is similarly specced and thinner but has a poorer display. HP’s Spectre x360 is also slimmer but its starting price is £1,199 ($1,049, AU$2,299).

In order to keep the price low, Asus has increased the thickness, but kept the build quality high. A fair compromise in our eyes.

Screen and interface

As well as being attractive, the Asus ZenBook UX310UA also features a lovely display. We were given the QHD 3,200 x 1,800 version to review, but it’s also available with a full-HD 1,920 x 1,080 resolution screen, too.

And my word is it a glory to behold. Viewable from a wide range of angles (178 to be precise) and the Anti-Glare actually does what it’s meant to do. 

There is very little edge burn when the screen’s entirely black and the colors are well-defined, deep and avoid looking garish. This screen could work for photographers on the move because of its wonderful color definition. 

And, if we go back to the Macbook Air comparison, at the same price point you most definitely wouldn't be getting a Retina screen. If we have one criticism, the bezel is a little large, but it’s not too obtrusive.

At first we thought the keyboard wasn’t up to scratch, as typing causes a slightly disorientating bend in the center. However, the bend isn’t a detriment to the usability, as once we got used to it, it’s a perfectly functioning mechanism with low noise and reliable keys. But you may need give it time to adjust if you're used to rock-solid keyboards.

Similarly with the trackpad, it took a bit of setup and getting used to. The pinch zoom doesn’t really work, as it would often get set off while using two finger scrolling. 

In the end we had to turn off the zoom and just use keyboard shortcuts. Not an ideal solution, but we prefer to be able to use two finger scroll and can do without pinch zoom. The pad itself feels a little slippery compared with others. But again, this is not a deal breaker and these niggles are fixable.

First reviewed November 2017