ASUS Introduces Ultra-Slim ZenBook UX305 Notebook with Core M and 1080p IPS for $699

Subject: Mobile | February 16, 2015 - 03:54 AM |
Tagged: zenbook, UX305, ultraportable, ips display, core m, asus, 5Y10

ASUS has announced the availability and pricing for the ZenBook UX305, and the specifications are quite exceptional for the price. Not content to compete on hardware specs alone the design of the notebook is a miniscule 0.48” thick, making the UX305 the world’s thinnest ultraportable notebook according to ASUS.

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As impressive as the slim profile of the aluminum design might be, it is more impressive to look over the main specifications of the $699 UX305:

  • Intel Core M 5Y10 processor
  • 8GB of LPDDR3 memory
  • 256GB SSD
  • 13.3-inch 1920x1080 IPS display (matte finish)

I'll let that sink in for a moment. Quite an impressive list given the MSRP for these specifications is, again, only $699. At this price it's going to be very difficult to beat the UX305 considering what’s under the hood, as this configuration contains double the memory and storage space compared to many ultraportables in this price class. And 1080p IPS on top of everything is just icing on the cake. Battery life should be very good considerin the processor the heart of this is Intel's newest low-power Broadwell-based Core M (the 5Y10), which features HD 5300 graphics and a TDP of just 4.5W. Moreover, the processor is passively cooled and the notebook features a completely fanless design for silent operation.

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Since there are no fans to expell heat ASUS has made it a point to promise that the palm rest will always stay cool thanks to their “IceCool technology” (whatever that is - but I really hope it’s an ice cube cooling system). The UX305 is powered by a 45Wh Lithium Polymer battery that has a claimed 10-hour battery life, and the notebook features 802.11ac wireless, three USB 3.0 ports, and includes a USB Ethernet adapter (a nice touch). ASUS is also touting a premium sound system with this notebook, employing a B&O ICEpower amplifier and enhanced with their proprietary “SonicMaster audio”. Rounding out the feature list is an SD card reader and 720p webcam.

The notebook weighs in at 2.6 Lbs, and this configuration of the UX305 is available immediately (listed on their official store). With the surprisingly low MSRP it sounds like this ZenBook will be a solid choice for anyone looking for the latest notebook tech on a budget, and depending on performance and real-world battery life it could just be that mythical MacBook Air "killer" (if you're ok with Windows 8 over OS X, of course).

Source: ASUS

February 16, 2015 | 05:32 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Is backlight flicker-free? In other words, is PWM used to regulate brightness?

February 16, 2015 | 06:16 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Yes, id like to know this aswell...

Why is this information so incredibly hidden all the time?

And why is it puny 13" also?

February 16, 2015 | 09:32 AM - Posted by nathanddrews

More importantly, is this a LVDS display or eDP? If it's eDP, then maybe we'll see some Adaptive Sync drivers (official or hacked) from Intel. Of all the GPUs that need ASync, it's Intel.

February 16, 2015 | 11:18 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

it needs to be flicker free... for variable refresh rate to work...........................

February 16, 2015 | 02:31 PM - Posted by nathanddrews

In order to make it work seamlessly, yes.

February 16, 2015 | 07:51 AM - Posted by collie

Now I'm confused. Why is this Core-M affordable? At fisrt I though the Core-M was a ATOM replacement, Then it launched and every laptop I saw with Core-M was either the same price as the I7 version or even more expensive, so it seemed that Core-M was to be a high priced basic performance part that is so power efficient it makes it worth the price. Makes sense, but a hard sell.
NOW we see a Core-M, with some pretty nice internals, for $700.
What the FUCK?!?!?!? so, are they underselling? Did Intel "Subsidize" ASUS's processors? Or, and this is the one I'm afraid of, were the "first to market" Core-M systems WAY WAY WAY over-priced, I'm looking at you Lenovo, gauging for Christmas, knowing it would be months until anyone would know?

Anyways, This looks great. I still want a normal sized laptop with super efficient parts AND a big battery, 12 hours video playback, but it seems that as much as we ask, no-one is ever gonna build one.

February 16, 2015 | 09:28 AM - Posted by nathanddrews

Core M was never an Atom replacement. Atom (Bay Trail) is being replaced by Atom (Cherry Trail). Before its release, Intel said that Core M would be seen in fanless designs starting around $700, maybe as low as $600. ASUS has nailed that target.

Core M is really a replacement for the ULV SKUs.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consumer_Ultra-Low_Voltage

February 16, 2015 | 09:59 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Here we go, more thin and light, underpowered, and overpriced, with news articles describing the only bright spot in the dismal PC/Laptop market segment being the portable workstation sales. Intel is still trying to compete with Apple, and at least PC OEMs could rush to get multiple SKUs, with at least 2 USB 3.1 ports on them, and by 2 USB 3.1 ports I mean that each USB 3.1 plug gets its own dedicated USB controller, no sharing bandwidth, and 20 GB/s of transfer speed total.

Intel will not compete with Apple, and the availability of thunderbolt still confined to mostly Apple, proves this point. Thunderbolt is the new firewire, and USB 3.1 has a chance, but PC/laptop OEMs will want to milk USB 3.1 for all its worth so its acceptance will be slow to occur and costly. There is still no sign of any 6 core mainstream laptop i7 SKUs, for the laptop as a desktop replacement market, that Intel once was pushing, but now only pushes the Dual core ULV i7s in their over priced too thin and weak configurations. Well there are plenty of quad core Ivy bridge, and Sandy bridge core i7 based laptops out there, new and on sale, with discrete graphics for around the price of this thin and light at several of the big box electronics retailers. Nothing beats an Intel thin and light, like an Intel quad core i7, with a discrete graphics processor, in a thin enough regular form factor laptop.

February 16, 2015 | 10:45 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Do you mean Asus? Because Intel is not competing with Apple on the Laptop market, Apple actually uses Intel Processorsin in their products. If anything, Asus would have to implement all those things you would want. Also Thunderbolt is a connection which was developed Intel and Apple together, so it would again be up to Asus to design a Notebook with Thunderbolt. I don't think Intel cares too much about that.

February 16, 2015 | 12:36 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Intel is competing with Apple, in trying to create an overpriced underpowered laptop form factor, Intel does not care about mainstream performance of its parts, and charges a small fortune for its enthusiast SKUs. The competition with Apple is in the ability to overcharge for underpowered "thin and light" laptops.

It's no wonder that the PC/laptop markets are stagnant, I do just fine with Intel's older offerings, before they became obsessed with the Ultrabook marketing scheme, and I got an HP probook, with a quad core ivy bridge i7, for around the price of this thin but useless "Ultrabook", and the probook came with a discrete GPU, I would buy ASUS, but they do not offer windows 7, with their laptops, HP offers the probook line with win 8 pro, factory downgraded to 7, I call it a down-upgrade because 8 is such a pile of crap in the UI department, along with all of 8's TIFKAM API/services CPU cycle, and system overhead stealing crap. The probook line also ships with a SUSE Linux distro, so there is definite driver support for Linux on the probook line.

I'm sure other business lines of laptops have comparable offerings, and I wish ASUS would offer the windows 8/8.* pro with the factory down-upgrade to 7. There are windows based laptops with thunderbolt ports, but they cost more than even Apple's overpriced offerings, this whole thin and light underpowered movement is dew to Intel's marketing being out of sync with its customer base, and now the whole market, and OEM supply chain is clogged up with U/M series SKUs, and the regular mainstream laptop form factor line is being ignored. I'm with 7 until 2020, I do not trust 10, and its eventual replacement with windows 365, I'll get Linux on the laptops after 2020, and keep 7 locked in its own VM abstracted universe, isolated form the internet under a Linux based VM, and doing no harm, to run any legacy stuff.

I'll stay a year behind the bleeding edge CPU microarchitectures, and save a bundle, and get much better discrete GPUs to go along with quad core i7s, at least until AMD's Zen microarchitecture comes online, by then hopefully AMD will have the SMT, and single core performance in their x86 offerings up there, and also have their version of HSA, and their OpenCL drivers updated enough for Blender 3d usage, those drivers always need to be kept up to spec.

February 16, 2015 | 10:32 AM - Posted by Jebo_4jc (not verified)

Can anybody find one for sale? My money is ready for 8GB/256GB at $699, but I suspect the base is actually 4GB/128GB

February 16, 2015 | 11:08 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Check the Asus Source link, $700 for the 256gb model.

http://store.asus.com/us/item/201502AM130000188/A22792

February 16, 2015 | 11:08 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Check the Asus Source link, $700 for the 256gb model.

http://store.asus.com/us/item/201502AM130000188/A22792

February 16, 2015 | 10:07 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

It should be on Amazon within the week (by 2/25 I'd bet). It is already available the Microsoft store and ASUS' web store.

February 16, 2015 | 11:18 AM - Posted by paddytokey (not verified)

Give me this in a little bit thicker with twice the battery size in it <3

February 16, 2015 | 05:20 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I realise this is just a 'preview', but I'll wait until a reviewer actually - ya know - turns the machine on. Windows/Android machines' specs often trounce those of Apple gear with all their rams and torques. When a reviewer *uses* the device for a few months, the cream rises. Is the picture a 'shoop, or does it really have no stickers?

February 16, 2015 | 11:34 PM - Posted by Hashim K Barem (not verified)

the wireless card specs is not 802.11ac, the laptop has a 802.11n, both asus.com and asus store states that.

February 17, 2015 | 12:03 AM - Posted by Sebastian Peak

Well, actually ASUS lists both ac and n, but it would be logical to assume it's only 802.11n since that is listed on the Microsoft store. If you follow the source link I used ASUS lists 802.11ac in the specifications rundown, but in the overview lists 802.11n. I referenced the official specifications for the news post, and it still reads that way on their site.

February 17, 2015 | 01:41 PM - Posted by Hashim K Barem (not verified)

oh yeah that's right.

February 18, 2015 | 02:37 PM - Posted by Tim Verry

This looks really nice!

February 19, 2015 | 12:40 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Does it have 10-point touchscreen or not?

February 19, 2015 | 10:32 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

This has been on sale for a while? I have been looking at the exact same product for 1-2 months now. And this base model is 1000 dollars here in Finland...

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