Asus ZenBook UX305F review

Asus ZenBook UX305F review: Processor and memory

The Geekbench 3 benchmark scored the ZenBook US305F with its Core M processor with 2188 points single-core mode, and 4323 points multi-core mode. Those are far from record-breaking scores, more in line with the iPad Air for example, which was slower in single-core mode (not benefitting from an overclock to 2 GHz) at 1815 points; but slower than an iPad in multi mode, where the tablet scored 4516 points.

This ultraportable is very far from workstation-class but we couldn’t resist stretching it with Cinebench 15 test, where it hit 69 and 141 points for single- and multi-core modes. That’s far behind Asus’ own N550J we tested recently, with 130 and 642 points, as you would hope for a laptop equipped with an Intel Core i7 processor.

PCMark 7 rated the ZenBook with 4266 points, which was a good showing, especially when you consider that Core i7 N550J only scored 3390 points here – likely a result of fast storage in the ZenBook and particularly slow disk in the 15-inch machine.

PCMark 8 Home test gave a result of 3424 points, rising to 3881 points with the help of GPU acceleration. The Work unit gave it 3312 points but with a larger increase found when accelerated, up to 4288 points.

And it is the graphics processor in the Core M that stands out as rather competent, given the wound-down nature of the main CPU. This is an Intel HD Graphics 5300 integrated engine, with 300 MHz base clock and 800 MHz maximum.

In our basic Windows games test with Batman: Arkham City at 1280 x 720 resolution it averaged 25 fps at Medium detail, rising to 28 fps with Low detail. That’s borderline gameable, which we weren’t entirely expecting from this budget 800 MHz CPU with integrated graphics.

The Tomb Raider 2013 test also exceeded the 25 fps nominal pass mark, reaching an average of 31 fps when set to 1280 x 720 and Low detail.

Returning to the Cinebench tests, which use OpenGl for graphics rendering rather than Microsoft’s proprietary DirectX, the ZenBook averaged around 16 fps with v11 and 20 fps with v15 of the workstation benchmark.

Asus ZenBook UX305F review: Storage and battery

With its SanDisk 128 GB SSD, we recorded sequential reads and writes at 446 and 349 MB/s – decent results for this capacity of drive. Looking at smaller transfers, 4 kB random reads and writes measured 24.9 and 48.4 MB/s, rising to good results of 293 and 237 MB/s at queue-depth 32.

The 64,000 minute question for Intel’s new processor is how well does it nurture battery life? In our battery run down test playing HD video over a Wi-Fi link, with screen set to 120 cd/m2, it survived for close to 10 hours – 9 hr 58 min in fact.

That’s approaching the kind of battery life we want to see – around 12 hours in this looped video test would be better, to allow for more challenging moments of use and then still able to last through an 8-hour working day.

OUR VERDICT

The new ZenBook is a great home for Intel’s new Core M processor, which proved up to basic daily tasks in Windows with no obvious lag in the interface. Good battery life and decent screen quality are further plus points to a well-made case with a familiar design to Apple fans. At a price of £650 this is an attractive package as a carry-anyway Windows laptop.