back to article Asus ZenBook UX305: With Windows 10, it suddenly makes perfect sense

What a difference a new operating system makes. Being a laptop without a touchscreen, the UX305 felt a little out of sorts when it was launched running touchy-feely Windows 8 earlier in the year. UX305_sideopen One of the best looking things it's made, according to Asus. Hard to argue. UX305 is a real beauty But now the …

  1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "The ZenBook UX305 is a machine you buy as much for style"

    OK, now I understand the title.

  2. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

    Checking it out under Linux is a good idea.

    With the revelations about Win 10 sending all you base to Redmond a good few people will be considering the move.

    1. Andy Non Silver badge

      Re: Checking it out under Linux is a good idea.

      Agreed. I'm on the lookout for a new laptop and my most important question is "Can I make it dual-boot into Linux Mint.?" I'll hardly ever use the Windows boot option.

      1. John 104

        Re: Checking it out under Linux is a good idea.

        Not Mint. A few reviews on the net show that Ubuntu is the way to go. Most can't get Mint to get past the boot loader no matter what they try.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Checking it out under Linux is a good idea.

          " Most can't get Mint to get past the boot loader no matter what they try."

          What are they noobies or something ?, all it takes is to add a "mystical" parameter that will instruct the boot loader to make an injunction over the North Bridge that itself will activate the deepest most obscure answer to the universe that ever existed.. Unfortunately that answer will seldom be 42.

          In any event all the noobs need to start reading the man pages in Russian...

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Checking it out under Linux is a good idea.

          "Not Mint. A few reviews on the net show that Ubuntu is the way to go. Most can't get Mint to get past the boot loader no matter what they try."

          Disabling fast and/or secure boot in the BIOS seems to fix this problem.

          1. ro55mo

            Re: Checking it out under Linux is a good idea.

            This will be because Mint is based on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS with the 3.16.0-38 kernel and Ubuntu is currently on 15.04 LTS or 15.10 with a much more recent kernel.

            Mint will be going to the 15.04 LTS base in 9 to 10 months with the release of Mint 18.

        3. Chris King Silver badge

          Re: Checking it out under Linux is a good idea.

          When I bought my UX305, I didn't have time to tidy up the pre-installed Windows 8.1 or re-install everything from scratch, so I made up recovery media and slapped Ubuntu 15.0 on it. Everything worked and it ran just fine. No having to muck around with arcane settings or boot options.

          Getting Windows back on to the machine later on, that was a whole different matter. The recovery media refused to recover, but I had 8.1 Pro licences and media available to me and I've now upgraded the machine to 10 Pro.

        4. Chika
          Linux

          Re: Checking it out under Linux is a good idea.

          Given the distinct similarities between Mint and Umbongo, I take that with a sizeable pinch of salt.

          Though I'd be a little less scepticle if there were more details about it and what other distros were like on there, for example CentOS or SUSE. I've seen a few too many reports fall into the trap of praising or criticising Linux without going into enough detail.

        5. Greg D

          Re: Checking it out under Linux is a good idea.

          "Not Mint. A few reviews on the net show that Ubuntu is the way to go. Most can't get Mint to get past the boot loader no matter what they try."

          Well 'most' in your case are too noob to try installing Linux, otherwise they'd have had it working if they had a teeny tiny iota of how to use a computer.

          I have it running on a plethora of machines of different ages, shapes, sizes, and in some cases dual-boot with various Windows. It's by far better than Ubuntu, and the UI is much nicer. Unity is awful.

          I think I had one issue with a laptop running a RAID 1 array - it wouldn't recognise the disk. Then again the RAID array was a cobble of 2 different disks using a crappy Intel controller.

          1. pPPPP

            Re: Checking it out under Linux is a good idea.

            Here's some first-hand experience with Mint, Ubuntu and Slackware.

            I bought one of these laptops (using it right now) a month or so back - John Lewis - £600. Overall, it's a great laptop. Coming from Thinkpads I'm still used to the function key being where it is on Thinkpads but I'll get used to it. Having home, end and page-up/down mapped to function keys is annoying and I'm still struggling to understand why these essential keys are done away with on so many laptops.

            Anyway, to the point - the issue with Linux distributions and these laptops is the display. Yes, the display works fine, but once you switch resolutions it starts flickering, and/or the screen corrupts, at which point the only fix is to reboot. This includes if you log out/switch user. Even restarting X doesn't solve this. I tried this on Slackware (my preferred distro) and then the latest XFCE version of Mint. Both had this issue. Tried various kernels, including 4.x on Slackware, but to no avail. Also tried various kernel parameters, some of which fixed things like the brightness buttons, but none would fix the display issues.

            So I gave Ubuntu 15.04 a shot. And it worked perfectly. I've had my reservations about Ubuntu in the past, and the lack of configurability of Unity does annoy me. There are some things about it I really like though. Not convinced about the package manager. I still prefer slackbuilds :-).

            I could probably debug and get round the issues, but to be honest, I don't have the time. But for those downvoting the guy who said Mint doesn't work, I'm afraid he's right. At least for now.

        6. Esme

          Re: Checking it out under Linux is a good idea.

          Much as Ubuntu irked me wiith the Amazon search thing (that I didn't like Unity was a trivial matter easily fixed by installing a different desktop), that was a far, far lesser transgression than those of MS with Win10, and one thing I've always liked about Ubuntu is that their installation process, right from their very first mass release, has always been a joy. As is Mint's of course, but as has been pointed out elsewhere, Ubuntu's using a later kernel than Mint is currently, so I'm not sure why any one would have voted you down unless it was sheer knee-jerk reaction on their part. Ubuntu IS more bleeding-edge than Mint, so it's not surprising if Mint trips up on new hardware more than Ubuntu does.

    2. Arctic fox
      Headmaster

      @CAPS LOCK Re: Checking it out under Linux is a good idea.

      "A good few people"? It will indeed in all likelihood be very few people in - in reality. Most will think, if they consider the question at all "well most of the "opposition" are equally guilty and I don't understand what Linux is." Among techies it is possible that some will take that decision. However, ordinary punters won't even consider the question - whether the "cognoscenti" like it or not. Sorry guys, the FarseBook and Twatter generation do not share your concerns.

      1. Esme

        Re: @CAPS LOCK Checking it out under Linux is a good idea.

        @Arctic Fox ooh, I dunno, I've a few younger friends that are Not Happy At All with the way Windows is going, despite the fact that they're on Facebook and Twitter. I wouldn't be at all surprised if some of them try Linux. And there's an older couple I know that have just taken the plunge with Linux, because they are aghast at what they've heard of Windows 10 (not from me, incidentally), and want nothing to do with it. As one of them put it 'MY computer, MY data and I'll only share my data with whom I choose when I choose'. They're happy as wossnames so far, with Linux.

        Normally I'd agree with you that it'd only likely be a few, but, I dunno, I've a feeling in me water that this time might just be different.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @CAPS LOCK Checking it out under Linux is a good idea.

          "few, but, I dunno, I've a feeling in me water that this time might just be different."

          I'd be willing to bet that your wrong and that things will carry on just as they always have, sheep don't become predators overnight....

          1. Teiwaz Silver badge

            Re: @CAPS LOCK Checking it out under Linux is a good idea.

            No, but I've heard a number baaing aggressively. Others have been trying to sabotage the sheers.

          2. nkuk

            Re: @CAPS LOCK Checking it out under Linux is a good idea.

            I haven't liked the way Windows has been going since Vista, I was going to stick with 7 after testing 10, but Microsoft quietly backporting some of the telemetry into 7 was the straw that broke the camels back for me, they're just not to be trusted any more.

            I've started migrating all my machines, and my parents to Linux Mint and so far I'm really pleased with it. It much more polished than when I last installed it a few years ago, and I cant see any reason why I would switch back to Windows. I'm sure there are plenty more like me that are finally fed up with Microsoft treatment of its customers and Linux is now at a mature stage that it is a credible replacement.

          3. Esme

            Re: @CAPS LOCK Checking it out under Linux is a good idea.

            You'd have to not be AC first, m'dear, and I'm thinking you've forgotten that in the wild, sheep include rams, and even ewes can charge and headbutt if they feel threatened. I don't think they're going to become predators in your analogy; - just act in self-defence. As for the 'overnight' thing, the time since Win98 SE and even better, WinXP appeared, isn't exactly 'overnight'. Plus, if you're regarding people as sheep, you're forgetting flocking behaviour - it only takes a few to change, and many more are liable to follow. But that's your analogy, not mine. Me, I'm simply noting that there seems to be a sudden wish to look for alternatives to MS amongst more folk I encounter than has ever been the case before.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @CAPS LOCK Checking it out under Linux is a good idea.

          Could not agree more. My son (a computer user rather than manipulator) chose to have linux on his laptop, as have a number of his friends - shame I can't persuade them to abandon Facebook!

    3. Jim 59

      Re: Checking it out under Linux is a good idea.

      ...Win 10 sending all you base to Redmond...

      Lol.

      1. Chika

        Re: Checking it out under Linux is a good idea.

        In that case, may I suggest that you take off every zig.

        For great justice!

    4. TheTechStewart

      Re: Checking it out under Linux is a good idea.

      My coworker purchased one of these recently, and has been using Fedora (iirc) with great success.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Headmaster

    No doubt they will charge you an absurd amount of money for a SSD greater than the paltry 128GB supplied as standard.

    PS

    It's cheaper too, at £649 to the Apple’s £849 with the same size hard drive.

    Tut tut it's a SSD not a HDD, it's techie readers here and not Dailyfail readers.

  4. mythicalduck

    Where the hell do you buy Asus?

    I've been looking at their ASUSPRO BU201, but cannot find anywhere in the UK (or anywhere else for that matter) to buy it from. Anyone know?

    I don't like these consumer ones with the mouse buttons hidden "inside" the touch pad... It doesn't work for me

    1. AMBxx Silver badge

      Re: Where the hell do you buy Asus?

      Any reseller with an account with Techdata has access to them. None in stock at the moment, but nearly 300 arrive on Friday. Not sure it's exactly the same spec as here though - there are multiple versions,.

      1. mythicalduck

        Re: Where the hell do you buy Asus?

        Any reseller with an account with Techdata has access to them

        Thanks. I'm not exactly sure that's all that helpful though because I still don't know where I can look

        1. Electron Shepherd
          1. mythicalduck

            Re: Where the hell do you buy Asus?

            Urgh, guess you two didn't actually read my comment. I want an ASUSPRO

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Where the hell do you buy Asus?

              The title to your original post wasn't exactly helpful though, was it.

              1. mythicalduck

                Re: Where the hell do you buy Asus?

                The title to your original post wasn't exactly helpful though, was it

                I guess, but then a title is just that, a title... not the full verbose content

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Where the hell do you buy Asus?

                  "I guess, but then a title is just that, a title... not the full verbose content"

                  Yes, but a poorly written title shows a certain lack of precision on behalf of the author, in such a case it is deservedly merited that what follows also lacks precision.

        2. Montreal Sean

          Re: Where the hell do you buy Asus?

          Direct from TechData maybe?

          Or do they not have an online store for consumers?

          1. mythicalduck

            Re: Where the hell do you buy Asus?

            Direct from TechData maybe?

            Trade only. Though I might be able to set up a trade account

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Where the hell do you buy Asus?

      "Where the hell do you buy Asus?"

      Amazon, Currys/PCWorld, John Lewis etc.

      Is your google broken?

  5. Robert Grant

    Eke out. Not eek.

    Classic sign of a writer who doesn't read.

  6. msknight

    Wellll......

    I'm going to get downvoted for being honest ... I usually do.

    I bought a refirbed MacAir 2014 edition for about £630 ish entry level with the same warranty as the new. It would be interesting to see how Asus pair up with that a few years down the line.

    First things first, I bought the Air to be light, I could carry it with me easily and do writing whenever the inspiration struck. It looks like the Asus could actually score for me, because I use many different machines and the Mac keyboard drives me insane. No home/end/pgup/down, etc. I have Mint 64 bit on there and that saved me a little by returning the keymappings to more or less standard ... so at least I can touch type again now, without thinking too much about things. (the speech quotes over the 2 did my head in ... or lack of them, rather)

    The Air can run Portal 2 quite happily and that wasn't in their list. However, if it can run Crysis I suppose the Asus should be up to the challenge.

    One thing that I would have liked to hear about, is a comparison with the screen of the Asus and the Air for crispness and quality. How did that compare?

    Got to admit that I do use the backlit keyboard a little, but not much, so it wouldn't be a deal breaker for me. (also I need to learn more about the change in scripts so I can fire off the backlight command more quickly during boot) I don't like the "light" arrangement as per the thinkpad.

    Just for the sake of getting a feel for things, if the Apple sound is 10/10, then what rating would you give the Asus? 7/10 ? 8?

    Have to admit that I've only had the Air for ... oh, some months now ... so I won't be shelling out for a replacement ... but my mind is currently thinking that for those that want/need it, the price difference might be worth the screen/sound/backlight improvement?

    I'd still look for refirbed some time later, though. I think I'm done paying full price for the smell of new. Apple's 1 year against some places 3 months, however, does still tip me Apple's way ... well, it would have, but the keyboard arrangement means I'll actually never buy Apple again. Once this Air has worn itself out, that's it.

    1. Buzzword

      Re: Wellll......

      The absence of navigation buttons (Home / End / PgUp / PgDn / and most importantly DEL) was the what drove me back to the PC world. Much as I admire both Apple hardware and OS X, the absence of those buttons caused a serious decrease in my productivity.

      1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Wellll......

        Indeed. Arrow keys so tiny that one easily taps two or three at once doesn't help either. Looking at the Asus, the arrow keys look barely big enough.

        The one with the big old keyboard in the pocket ==----->

      2. Kieran

        Re: Wellll......

        You are aware that those keys can all be mimicked by modifiers, right?

        PgUp: Alt + Cursor Up

        PgDown: Alt + Cursor Down

        Home: Command + Cursor Up

        End: Command + Cursor Down

        Del: Function + Backspace

        As long as you have two hands, obviously. If not I apologise.

        1. msknight

          Re: Wellll......

          And you have to get used to those. It is absolutely no use whatsoever when you're jumping between different systems. It's bad enough to remember where the different end/home, etc. keys ARE ... but then to use modifiers when the modifier keys themselves are in awkward positions is utter frustration ... and even the CTRL+FN swap on my Sinkpad makes me mad enough.

          1. Gordon 10 Silver badge
            Coffee/keyboard

            Re: Wellll......

            Indeed - if you want a real mindf*ck try running Excel on Win 7 via a MBA internal keyboard running Citrix Receiver.

            I have still yet to figure out how to Ctrl-shift-end to bottom of a range to select it all for a quick copy/paste.

      3. regadpellagru

        Re: Wellll......

        "The absence of navigation buttons (Home / End / PgUp / PgDn / and most importantly DEL) was the what drove me back to the PC world. Much as I admire both Apple hardware and OS X, the absence of those buttons caused a serious decrease in my productivity."

        To be franck, when I switched to a Macbook pro, even if a number of things I had grown acustomed to, had to be done differently, it really was short learning for me.

        The 1/2/3 fingers stuff on the Mac pad is really priceless and replaced the totally insane abundance of keys of every PC laptop I've seen, including Home/End/PgUp/PgDn. DEL is not really usefull when you have backdel.

        That's when I understood at which point so many keys (WIFI on/off, geez and so many others) have cluttered the PC laptops.

        1. SuccessCase

          Re: Wellll......

          When I switched to using Mac, it wasn't so much the pg down and pg up end and home keys that were a bother, but the fact the cmd key next to the space-bar does mostly what the ctrl key does on Windows. It's so much easier to only have to sacrifice the little pinkie for multi finger key-presses than have to contort a major index pinkie into position when you also want to press a combo key on the left hand side of the keyboard. It just feels so wrong. Has done for years. Still does really.

          That has always been my biggest irritation in making the switch because it is a small but significant ever present irritation (and I find just about nothing else worse, I've even got over decreased file manager -> finder functionality once I learned the strange keyboard ways of the finder and hidden power user tricks). I guess I could easily have given up and simply remapped the keyboard transposing fn and cmd but I've always striven under the perhaps misguided view I would be better off learning to do it the Mac way (it's always annoying when you have to use someone else's machine if you remap keyboards).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wellll......

      Just for the sake of getting a feel for things, if the Apple sound is 10/10, then what rating would you give the Asus? 7/10 ? 8?

      I wouldn't place Apple laptop speakers at the 10 level to begin with but I understand you only want to calibrate the comparison, I'd give them a 6.5 as a starting point. I found the idea behind the speaker cavities in the MaxiPad in that context interesting, maybe that will make it into Macbooks too.

      However, I found the MBP speakers to be more capable than Apple lets them be. If you install Boom 2 and don't overdo it with the corrections (you can easily drive them into clipping if you're not careful) you can actually get quite a lot more sound out of it. Granted, it's not exact HiFi at that point (laptop speakers never are), but for an ad hoc presentation it's easier than lugging speakers along..

  7. Roger Greenwood

    "fit a microSD card slot and be done with it."

    Micro not good for most cameras though. I think they made a good choice.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: "fit a microSD card slot and be done with it."

      SD card in adapter for camera, straight into slot for computer.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        FAIL

        Re: "fit a microSD card slot and be done with it."

        >SD card in adapter for camera, straight into slot for computer.

        Flaky.

        Losable.

        Fiddly.

        Everyone has to chuck out their full size cards.

        For what gain?

        Just stow the necessary adapter in the FULL SIZE reader slot and fuggeddaboudid if all you have is µSD toys.

    2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: "fit a microSD card slot and be done with it."

      Exactly. My Cameras only take full sized SD cards. some micro ones work (with adapters) but they are a bit iffy and are nowhere near the speed of the full sized ones.

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: "fit a microSD card slot and be done with it."

        Hum. I've still got a few CF Cards for an old (defunct) camera - where do I use these?

        1. Shadow Systems Silver badge

          @Teiwaz, re: CF cards.

          I bought a tube of SuperGlue & a sheet of tempered glass the size of the top of my coffee table. I glued all the cards in a tiled mosaic to the glass so the design faces up from beneath the glass, then set the glass down on the table. It makes rather interesting art, especially with all the pieces glued back into place after being hit with a hammer in the frustrations of having the cards randomly lose my data for no damned good reason.

          The mosaic design is of the Linux Penguin giving MS The Finger. It seemed fitting somehow.

          =-)p

          1. Antonymous Coward

            Re: @Teiwaz, re: CF cards.

            @Shadow Systems

            Pics or it didn't happen ;)

            PS What happened the other day? You could have phoned. We were worried.

            1. Shadow Systems Silver badge

              @Antonymous Coward, re: The other day.

              I've tried taking pictures of stuff but never know if they turned out correctly. It's like I can't see through the viewfinder or something.

              *Cough*

              As for the incident the other day, I got myself bitchslapped, a temporary ban, you folks wrote in on my behalf (Thank you!), and the ban was reversed. I sent an appollogy to the Editor, explained why I'd written the post, & asked for future "Redacted" text to SAY that it's been redacted, rather than using nonstandard ASCII characters to Visually Only create that effect. I logged back in, read the trolls whom replied to me, read the supporters whom spoke up for me, & decided that I would be best served holding my tongue. If I replied to the trolls I'd just get my butt banned again. If I replied to the supporters I'd just trigger the trolls to troll. So I accepted my spanking, left that post behind, & went on to the next article...

              Thank you all for your concern & support. It's the reason I enjoy this place so much! I'll try to keep a more civil tongue from now on, but me & Behaving are all too often at loggerheads.

              Like wearing pants. I don't see why it's required, and I can't afford the bail. Dagnabit!

              =-)p

    3. Al Taylor

      Re: "fit a microSD card slot and be done with it."

      Fair point. I always use a USB adaptor for my camera SD card and sometimes forget not everyone else does the same! My main issue with the UX305 on this front is that you can't leave a memory card in it for extra storage. A full depth, spring-loaded SD card slot would be my preference but in the absence of that I'd still prefer a microSD slot to the half-depth SD slot Asus has opted for.

  8. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    I like it

    I have bought one some weeks back and really like it. Excellent travel laptop. Haven't put Linux on it just yet. Apart from work, I use mine to capture solar H-alpha mosaic images, and the SSD keeps up with the full-HD 128FPS camera I use for that. It is also really fast processing the 60-odd GB of data I collect for each mosaic. Much faster than a Core i5 HDD machine I have. I will put Linux on when I get that external USB3 SSD to stream the captured data onto, so I can split the 128GB disk into a Linux and Windows partition.

    1. Jimjams

      Re: I like it

      Thanks, Michael H.F. That's actually the most useful review I've seen for a while.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Removing the back plate

    Did you miss the screws under the rubber feet at the back?

    http://www.notebookcheck.net/fileadmin/Notebooks/Asus/ZenBook_UX305/Asus_UX305_54.jpg

    1. Al Taylor

      Re: Removing the back plate

      I did. Drat.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fine, but

    They rip off us brits with a vastly more expensive, lower spec version than the yanks get.

    Fix that, and make a 3:2 12" version and you can have my money.

  11. Steve Crook

    RAM?

    "Running the show is an Intel Core M 5Y10 processor with 8GB of RAM"

    But when I go to the ASUS site the specs say 4GB. Which is correct?

    Would've liked a 256GB SSD, but in all other respects this is the laptop I've been looking for if it's got 8GB to play with.

    1. dogged

      Re: RAM?

      Honestly, your best bet is to stroll into John Lewis, run DXDiag and if it's got 8GB, say "I'll take that one please, thanks very much".

    2. Al Taylor

      Re: RAM?

      Review machine had 8GB.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: RAM?

      Which page did you see 4GB?

      Memory - LPDDR3 1600 MHz SDRAM, 8 GB

      https://www.asus.com/uk/Notebooks/ASUS_ZENBOOK_UX305/specifications/

    4. Chris King Silver badge

      Re: RAM?

      They ususally have 8Gb soldered to the motherboard. There are only two "user-replaceable" parts:

      1 - SSD. This is a M.2/NGFF 2280 SATA device, usually Sandisk. Crucial MX200 seems to be a common choice as replacement ;

      2 - Wireless card. This is an Intel Dual-Band Wireless AC7625, again in M.2 format. I've heard of some folks swapping this out for a Broadcom to make the machine more Hackintosh-friendly.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: RAM?

        Does the ASUS include actual Windows install media? Otherwise I can't see how you can replace the boot drive with something larger without also losing Windows. Cloning a Windows disk image and then restoring to a new drive makes me nervous. If it was Linux I would be there but Windows is....awkward sometimes.

        1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

          Re: RAM?

          My UX305 model has 4GB which actually is enough for my work on the laptop (8GB would be nicer, of course, but that model, with 256GB SSD was beyond my budget). I have a 16GB desktop for heavier lifting, and a 512GB compute server at work for more serious stuff. Replacing the disk is something I may well consider. I was thinking that if I clone the windows disk image and it doesn't work, I could put back the original disk, and put the bigger SSD in my desktop (which has only HDD). If it does work, I would wipe the 128GB one and install that in the desktop.

        2. Nick Ryan Silver badge

          Re: RAM?

          Cloning a windows disk is easy as pie. Samsung, for one, supply the appropriate transfer software and all you need if you don't have multiple drive slots is an appropriate adaptor, often USB, costing around £10-15.

        3. Chris King Silver badge

          Re: RAM?

          They don't include media, but they give you a tool that supposedly creates recovery media... which didn't work in my case. Once you've done the Win10 upgrade, you should be able to download the .ISO - either burn it to a DVD or make up USB media, and you should be able to perform a clean install without needing a licence key.

          If you still have 8.1 on the Zenbook, you can take an image backup, it's just hidden away:

          http://www.windowscentral.com/how-make-full-backup-windows-pc

          1. pPPPP

            Re: RAM?

            UK version is 8 GiB, with part of that shared as video RAM. You can change the amount reserved in the BIOS. UK version also has a 128 GB SanDisk SD7SN3Q1 SSD, which come preformatted with a 100MB EFI partition at the start, 15GB Windows recovery at the end, and the rest with Windows 8.1.

  12. Tim 11

    touchpad

    This Asus might be different but so far I've never used a windows laptop which came within a mile of the macbook touchpad for usability (multi touch, swipes etc). Boot the macbook into Windows and all the magic goes away, so I guess this has as much to do with the OS as the hardware.

    I'm not an apple fanboi at all; I don't own any other apple products and generally find Windows easier to use than OSX. But for me, this alone is worth the price premium and the hassle of not being able to run my windows apps.

    1. AceRimmer

      Re: touchpad

      Its not the hardware or the OS...

      ...It's the drivers

      1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

        Re: touchpad

        The UX305 I have does support multi-touch and swipes on the touchpad, and that is a definite step up from my older laptops. I haven't compared it directly to the MacBook, so cannot say which is better. I have worked on earlier MacBooks and got on perfectly well (give me bash, emacs, LaTeX and a compiler and I am quite happy ;-)). OS-wars are SO last century ;-)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: touchpad

      This is absolutely true. I hate Apple and despite that I own a Powerbook because it had the best hardware available at the time.

      The trackpad is absolutely not available on any Windows laptop and this thing is a 2012 model! That makes all of the other manufacturers incompetent to be frank. The other features this 2015 doesn't match is the retina display and the larger SSD - although I cheaped out and got the 128GB. If ASUS can't compete with a 2012 powerbook then they are muppets.

      1. pPPPP

        Re: touchpad

        The trackpad's pretty good. Using Linux I've got two finger and three finger clicks set up for right and middle mouse. Two-finger scrolling works fine, and you can use edge scolling if you prefer. I remember there being gestures, pinching and all that crap when I booted it into Windows but I'm not interested. Hardware's capable though.

  13. Mark Wilson

    Asus Build Quality

    You know though with Asus' build quality it will fail as soon as the warranty expires. If it fails during the warranty term you get the joy of their return programme - good luck.

    1. dogged

      Re: Asus Build Quality

      That's Acer. Asus are usually pretty good.

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Asus Build Quality

      I do not have experience with their laptops.

      As far as their motherboards are concerned I have had a grand total of ONE failed. It was in its 9th year after being (ab)used initially as a 1U server, developer desktop, test machine, bought for scrap when I left the company (with 2 others) and finally as a locked down XFCE4 "kiosk" desktop to an elderly relative. The others are still somewhere around my loft and I bet that if I pull them out of storage and power them up they will still work same as they did in 2003.

      The only comparable record I can think of are the old non-AMD (Via or Crusoe) HP thin clients which used to be manufactured under ODM agreement by Asus anyway.

  14. erhumdm

    Bought One For The Wife

    And I must say she has become firm friends with it ... still tossing up the move to W10

    All in all the 605 is a great little machine, boots from cold in around 6s, does everything you would want it to do in a business usage.

  15. John 104

    Thanks!

    I'm saving my extra cash for one of these and this is a better review (more real world) than what I have read on Anand, etc. And good non-marketing pics also.

    Here in the states, the 305 is 8GB RAM and a 256SSD. Oh, and the price is better at $699. Microsoft store has them for $100 off when they have them as well. Sorry. :)

    As for build quality, I have an original 701 and it still looks like the day I took it out of the box. (Pity about the low res screen though.)

    Looking forward to dumping Win10 (which I hate) and running Ubuntu (until mint is working on it).

    1. Chris King Silver badge

      Re: Thanks!

      UK spec is normally 8Gb RAM, 128Gb SSD. I haven't seen anyone selling anything different as yet.

      1. John 104

        Re: Thanks!

        At least the SSD is serviceable... :)

        And actually, having the wireless module be a FRU means it can be kept up to date as the spec improves.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Thanks!

      Here in the states, the 305 is 8GB RAM and a 256SSD. Oh, and the price is better at $699. Microsoft store has them for $100 off when they have them as well. Sorry. :)

      Does that include all applicable taxes? I never know where I am with prices in the States.

      1. John 104

        Re: Thanks!

        No, taxes aren't included in that price. Is VAT included in their list price in the UK? I always assumed it was before tax, but what do I know?

        At $699, figure an additional $50-70 depending on where you live. Most places are around 8-9%. Find an online retailer out of state and you won't pay at all. :)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Thanks!

          Yes the £649 is inclusive of tax, so a little over $1000. Currys is currently offering 10% cash back at the moment, so $900 is about the cheapest you'll find it over in the UK at any of the major retailers.

          1. John 104

            Re: Thanks!

            Wow. that is quite a price difference for a lower spec. That's $300-$400 more depending on your sale luck. Blah.

      2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Re: Thanks!

        Prices in the USA are always sans sales tax. These differe from state to state.

        AFAIK, there are only two states still with 0% State Sales tax and these are Oregon and Delaware.

        The problem is that the tax varies so much most people can't calculate the price they have to pay at the till until it is rung up.

  16. Chris King Silver badge

    Chaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrgggggeeeeeeeeee !!!!

    One thing the review didn't mention is that the USB port on the right-hand side can be used to charge other devices - even when the Zenbook is asleep or switched off. I took mine on a trip with me, along with a phone, camera and mi-fi dongle, but I didn't bother taking any of the chargers with me other than the Zenbook's. I had no problem keeping everything charged up, even though I could only charge one USB device at a time.

    You really wouldn't want to try this with something like a tablet, but it works a treat for kit with smaller batteries.

    1. NeilPost Bronze badge

      Re: Chaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrgggggeeeeeeeeee !!!!

      Just about any laptop does this today. A Yogo 2 non-pro, and also the £199 S20 i am typing this on. A 'Yellow' USB port, wit power pass-thru.

  17. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Grrrrrrr....

    I have an Asus laptop. Very nice bit of kit but why do they sell them with backlit keyboards pretty much everywhere else but the UK?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Grrrrrrr....

      They gotta justify them selling it here with less SSD for approx the same price as in the USA.

      Perhaps we got all the ones they couldn't sell in the US and just changed a few keys on the KB?

      This used to happen once upon a time with one of the major Japanese motorcycle makers (circa 1975)

      We got what they couldn't flog the previous year.

      1. pPPPP

        Re: Grrrrrrr....

        Other models have backlit keyboards. The UX305 doesn't have one anywhere.

  18. alpine

    ?

    Can I upgrade it to Windows 7 so I can just swap the ssdisk from my current little 4 year old Dell?

    1. John 104

      Re: ?

      If you are comfortable fiddling with device drivers, this shouldn't be an issue. Windows will freak on first boot, install what drivers it has and the rest you'll have to do manually.

      1. alpine

        Re: ?

        Thanks for your reply John 104

        Very happy with driver messing. But I've rather lost touch over the last 4 years of happy Dell use. I recall odd things related to secure bioses or even the absence of the traditional ones happening.

        All bypassable?

        1. Pompous Git Silver badge

          Re: ?

          Secure boot is a feature of UEFI replacement for BIOS and can be turned off. Mint doesn't appear to work with secure boot, but I believe there are Linux distros that do. You'll need a 64 bit distro to work with UEFI.

          FWIW I've had a UX21E Zenbook for two years now and love it. The keyboard is very ordinary, but the display and battery life are great. Purchased mine as a refurb for 40% less than retail.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            @Pompous Git - Re: ?

            Only Ubuntu, Fedora and perhaps OpenSUSE work with SecureBoot because they have Microsoft's blessing. All other versions of Linux and FreeBSD work just fine with UEFI but not with SecureBoot.

            Although Microsoft told OEMs they may (wink, wink, nudge, nudge!) allow users to disable SecureBoot, this is not always the case. At best they will allow you to disable UEFI altogether which means you can't dual boot. You'll be able to boot into one ore another by going into BIOS to toggle UEFI. Clever Microsoft, they just made it inconvenient enough to discourage large masses of users to explore other OS.

            1. Pompous Git Silver badge

              Re: @Pompous Git - ?

              "Clever Microsoft, they just made it inconvenient enough to discourage large masses of users to explore other OS."

              "Clever" Microsoft just managed to completely piss off a lot of its user base. Introducing the Ribbon was bad enough. I remember well when a Microserf showed us the beta of the first beribboned version of Excel. I asked the serf to show us how to split the window and he couldn't. In Office 2013 MS removed Autocorrect from the context menu in Word. Then they fucking well pushed 5.95 GB onto my Zenbook while I was holidaying and on mobile data! My mobile service provider charges $AU2/MB once my allowance is all used up!

              One of my friends has asked me to source a replacement for his family PC. It will come with Cinnamon Mint installed! Any friends or ex-clients (I'm retired) who wants a Windows machine from now on won't be sourcing it through my recommendation.

              Clever, clever Microsoft...

              1. werdsmith Silver badge

                Re: @Pompous Git - ?

                Yep, that will make all the difference.

                As I write this, the MS Execs have seen your comment and they are calling an emergency board meeting to devise a back out strategy, so concerned are they now about one retired bloke.

                1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                  Re: @Pompous Git - ?

                  "they are calling an emergency board meeting to devise a back out strategy, so concerned are they now about one retired bloke."

                  I doubt it. They're probably far too busy worrying about how to make 2016 the year of Windows on the phone.

              2. alexmcm

                Re: @Pompous Git - ?

                So did you have to pay $3,000 for data? :eek:

                But seriously, was this before everyone and their dog knew to turn of roaming updates, and did you not notice your zenbook was going crazy downloading 6GB of data?

                1. Pompous Git Silver badge

                  Re: @Pompous Git - ?

                  Fortunately not. Most of the DL had occurred while connected to my home network. I also purchased another block of data to prevent getting into ridiculous data cost territory.

                  I suspect the DL rate from MS is deliberately throttled. The DL I had given my assent to took about a week over a 10 Mb/s link. The particularly galling aspect of this is that having DL'd the image and made a USB installer meant that the additional DL to the Zenbook was completely redundant even if I had decided to upgrade/downgrade [delete whichever is inapplicable] to W10.

                  And no, I did not know about MS pushing unrequested files until after I had returned from my holiday. In many ways I am now grateful that MS did this as it gave me the impetus to have another look at Linux. Happily I can run most of what I need under Wine and Mint 13 plays nice with my hardware.

        2. John 104

          Re: ?

          Also, note that the SSD in the 305 is an m.2, so if your current kit is larger it ain't gonna fit. :)

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Skylake is coming

    If you can hold off purchasing for a couple of months, then the Skylake refresh should be worth the wait.

    http://liliputing.com/2015/08/next-gen-asus-zenbook-ux305-to-feature-core-m-skylake-cpu.html

  20. Kieran

    I do not think that means what you think it means

    "the hinge is weighted to perfection. It’s not the easiest thing to open though, two hands and a fingernail are required."

    I'm not sure I'd class that as Perfection. Opening a Macbook Air takes one finger (or nail if you prefer). That sounds pretty damn heavy.

    1. Al Taylor

      Re: I do not think that means what you think it means

      It's not the weight that makes it a little awkward the open, just the closeness with which the body and lid fit together when fully closed. The Asus' lid does take a little more effort to open/close/reposition than a MacBook Air granted, a product of the hinge action rather than the weight of the lid, but I prefer more resistance in that department than Apple offers with the Air.

      1. pPPPP

        Re: I do not think that means what you think it means

        I don't know what the moaning's about. I can open mine fine with just my thumb if I want to. I just tried it. I don't understand why this is an issue though.

  21. rabbitheart

    For those interested in Linux:

    Just wanted to note I run Fedora 22 on this model, as a coding/sysadmin and writing machine, with light gaming (mostly I play stuff like Game Dev Tycoon & Binding of Isaac; I'm not a big gamer), and it runs perfectly. Ran great with initial install, just have to fix the screen brightness buttons.

    The major issue I've had thus far is getting Scrivener to initially run, but that's because the Scrivener beta for Linux is kind of bad installation-wise, and once I got it working I've had zero issues.

    Honestly, it's a terrific computer for the price. I used to be insanely jealous of my boyfriend's Macbook Air, but this is lighter, just as effective for my work, and well, not a Mac (sorry Macs). I adore it.

    FWIW, I wouldn't run it with Windows 10. I only played around with the W10 install a little, but it wasn't as smooth as Fedora. I'm not a Windows person, though, either, at least for laptops, and Fedora is a lighter system.

    1. John 104

      Re: For those interested in Linux:

      Thanks for the info.

      Definitely interested in a linux distro for one of these little guys.

      My wife's PC has Win10 on it and I really don't like it. The whole thing is designed to drive you to the app store and buy stuff to make it work. Sorry, but why are we now being upsold on things that were given away for decades?

      Oh, and the interface is still annoying. Not as bad as 8/8.1, but not something I care for.

      1. Pompous Git Silver badge

        Re: For those interested in Linux:

        What I like about Cinnamon Mint is that there's no great learning curve for the interface.

  22. NeilPost Bronze badge

    Lenovo Yoga 2

    Surely just buy a Lenovo Yoga 2 (non-pro), at this price point with a Gen 4 Core i7, FullHD touchscreen and the Yogo flexibility. That's what I did, £699 from John Lewis, and a 3 year warranty to boot. Yes it has a hybrid 500Gb mechanical hard disk, but 128Gb is tiny in the ZenBook.

    1. Pompous Git Silver badge

      Re: Lenovo Yoga 2

      Easy enough to supplement the 128 GB internal drive with a 2 TB USB3 pocket drive that lives in the same bag as the Zenbook. YMMV

  23. Richard Lloyd

    Nice ultrabook but hard to buy with Win Pro pre-installed

    We were definitely considering this Asus for work, but it appears almost all retailers were selling it without Windows Pro pre-installed, which would force an additional 150 quid purchase of the OS for work use. In the end, we went for the Dell XPS 13 because of this.

  24. Roland6 Silver badge

    Non-touchscreen is the norm not the exception!

    What a difference a new operating system makes. Being a laptop without a touchscreen, the UX305 felt a little out of sorts when it was launched running touchy-feely Windows 8 earlier in the year.

    Well that sentiment applies to ALL non-touchscreen systems which had the misfortune to have W8 installed; which just happens to be the vast majority (including those sold with W8 pre-installed)... It is MS who are begrudgingly re-accomodating non-touchscreen systems with W10. The only issue with this system is why Asus don't supply it with W7 Pro pre-installed as that would make it more attractive in the system replacement market.

    1. Pompous Git Silver badge

      Re: Non-touchscreen is the norm not the exception!

      I doubt whether ASUS' contract with MS would allow preinstalled W7. For example, Dell's corporate machines come with a *permission* to revert to W7 even though they are supplied with W8.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Non-touchscreen is the norm not the exception!

        >I doubt whether ASUS' contract with MS would allow preinstalled W7.

        No suspect ASUS's contract is the same as Dell's and every other OEM's contract with MS: they can pre-install W7 Pro (OEM) on any machine until the anniversary of the release of Win10. (After this date you'll have to go to a small system builder who still has licenses on the shelf.)

        If you look on Dell's UK site under the solutions for business you'll find many systems that come pre-installed with Win7 Pro but come with a Win8 license and reinstall media - obviously if you want reinstall media for Win7 you have to create your own from the installed image...

        1. Pompous Git Silver badge

          Re: Non-touchscreen is the norm not the exception!

          Happy to take your word for that Roland6. A bit more than a month ago, a friend needed a replacement for the computer I recommended he buy about 8 or 10 years ago. Logging on to Dell Australia's website, I noticed that the Inspirons came with W8.1. Suggested we look at a low end Vostro to get W7 and discovered they also come with W8.1 and a note that corprate licencees could install W7. We ended up ordering a refurb Optiplex from the mainland.

  25. W. Anderson

    A skewed view of only Microsoft OS software

    It makes just as much sense if this Asus Zenbook UX305 were available with Ubuntu or Suse professional Linux desktop/notebook Operating System (OS) - as only 2 good examples, as well as for Windows 10.

    Unfortunately many article writers on TheRegister suffer from a mental Microsoft slavishness, and most times fail to see the known and proven benefits and advantages of any other technology than that from Redmond.

    No matter how appealing the Zenboox UX35 with Windows 10 may appear, it cannot be reasonably or technically compared to similar Apple (OS) products precisely because of the Windows 10 OS weaknesses, that has no performance, feature and especially security capabilities that are equivalent in direct comparison to OS X/iOS or even Uuntu Linux and other Linux based OS..

    It is ridiculous that in year 2015, a mainstream desktop/Notebook and/or Mobile OS will not function at all without significant malware protection bloatware, which offers only partial protection at best.

    1. Pompous Git Silver badge

      Re: A skewed view of only Microsoft OS software

      And you W. Anderson would appear to suffer from a mental slavishness that people purchase computers in order to run operating systems. Most don't; they want to run applications. My ex-MS Certified Solution Provider partner is now exclusively Mac at home because his main app is Photoshop. Mrs Git until very recently ran W7 on her Macbook because it ran the same version of MS Office she uses at work.

      Mine's the desk with a Mac SE under it for when I'm feeling nostalgic ;-)

  26. Lostintranslation

    I've been envious of my wife's Zenbook since I bought it for her last Christmas. It's so much better looking than my Acer plastic thingy.

  27. Trooper_ID

    Back Lit

    Not sure I could go back to a laptop that doesn't have a back lit keyboard.

  28. MarkyD

    Linux

    Nice article and thanks for doing the Linux compatibility assessment too, us penguistas need new kit too ;-)

  29. tuzza

    Mint 17.2 is supposed to fix UEFI support

    I've just bought one of these from PC World with their 10% cashback offer, got them to order in the black one which will take a week but it actually works out cheaper at £630.. then with the cashback it's £567 - a bit more reasonable considering the lower specs of the UK version. Also a lot, lot cheaper than a Dell XPS 13 which everyone is saying is the nearest comparison.

    I'll be installing Mint on it when it arrives and it hopefully 17.2 should fix install issues as they've fixed support for UEFI and are running under Ubuntu's Secureboot signature (http://linuxmint.com/rel_rafaela_cinnamon.php).

    Had my EE701 for years and it's still going strong so have been impressed with Asus build quality. Was waiting for an affordable ultra portable from them without all that touch screen nonsense. Had a look at the Yoga 3 in the shop but I don't need a touch screen, didn't like the shiny screen and the keyboard didn't look as good either.

  30. nick2001deuce

    Asus UX305 Model Reviewed

    What model AsusUX305 did you review? Was it the FA, LA, or CA? Thanks

  31. aegdawson

    Misspaced Power button

    All I want to know is: What kind of idiot designs a lap-top where the power button is where almost every other laptop has the delete button? And what kind of manager puts the darn thing into production! Then I want to know who in our company was daft enough to buy a whole bunch of these things.

    I spend 1/2 my time putting the darn thing into hibernation and the rest of it pulling it out, with coffee breaks in-between of course!

    As for windows 10 running on one of these things you better make absolutely sure you have an SSD drive in it or it will feel just marginally better than Windows vista... slow clunky and irritating. Apart from those two observation its a great lap-top... with the lid close it looks a bit like the surface of a cooker.

    1. Moonunit

      Eejit power button location ...

      Apple. The Air on which I'm scribbling at the moment has the power button smack top right above the Delete key, on the main keyboard acreage. WTF? I have lost count of the number of times I have absent-mindedly sent the Air into shutdown by brushing the power button ("key") and looking away for a smidge too long. I share your pain.

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