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Quick look at ASUS ZenBook UX303UB – still one of the most powerful 13-inch ultrabooks

The refreshed version of the ASUS ZenBook UX303 just arrived in our office and we are eager to see whether the refreshed version will hold up to its predecessor’s legacy. On the design front, the notebook is largely the same while the hardware has gotten a decent upgrade, except for the storage options but we will talk about that later.

You can find more about pricing and availability here: http://amzn.to/2a5d1oR

Design

The all-aluminum design makes an appearance again with the iconic concentric brushed aluminum surface on the lid. It retains that premium feel and looks and it’s still sturdy as we remember it. In addition, the hinge appears to be quite sturdy, although it’s not enough to compensate for the wobbling that occurs when using the touchscreen.


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As for the interior, it’s still the same and we mean that in a good way. Why change something that’s already good? The chicklet keyboard provides long key travel with excellent feedback and the only thing that might not appeal to some users are the small keys. On the contrary, the touchpad area is quite big since it stretches from the keyboard to the edge making most of the free space. That’s a very important feature in small form factor devices.


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The portability hasn’t tampered and in fact, it’s a tad lighter and thinner – not by much to be noticed but at least it’s not the other way around. From around 1.5 kg and 20 mm, the chassis has been slimmed-down to 1.45 kg and 19.2 mm. And despite its super-slim profile, the notebook houses all the needed peripheral connections that you’d need – HDMI, USBs, mini DisplayPort and SD card reader. Wait for our full review for a more detailed look at the design.

Hardware

The upgraded version of the notebook is offered in two main configurations – with discrete NVIDIA GeForce GTX 940M GPU or with integrated Intel HD Graphics 520. Either way, the ultrabook offers two CPU options – Intel Core i5-5200U and Core i7-6500U. We also have 4GB of DDR3L-1600 integrated RAM and a slot that supports up to 8GB of DDR3-1600 so configurations can go up to 12GB of RAM. As far as storage options go, however, the notebook has gone under downgrade. The last generation offered M.2 SSD support along with the 2.5-inch drive but now, the only option is the 2.5-inch slot with ASUS offering up to 512GB of SSD, although HDD variants are available as well.

Screen variants include budget HD (1366×768), which probably isn’t IPS, Full HD (1920×1080) and QHD+ (3200×1800) with the latter being touch-enabled. To keep things running, the notebook integrates a big 50Wh battery – the same as the old version – so we can expect long battery runtimes in our tests.

Specs sheet

The specs sheet may vary depending on your region.

CPUIntel Core i5-6200U (2-core, 2.30 – 2.80 GHz, 3MB cache) / Intel Core i7-6500U (2-core, 2.50 – 3.10 GHz, 4MB cache)
RAMup to 12GB (1x 4096MB + 1x 8192MB) DDR3L-1600
GPUNVIDIA GeForce 940M (2GB DDR3)
HDD/SSDup to 512GB SATA SSD or 1TB HDD
Display13.3-inch HD (1366×768) TN (unconfirmed), matte / 13.3-inch Full HD (1920×1080) IPS, matte / 13.3-inch QHD+ (3200×1800) IPS touch panel, glossy
Optical Drive
ConnectivityIntel® 802.11ac (2×2) Wi-Fi® and Bluetooth® 4.2 Combo
Other features
  • 1 x COMBO audio jack
  • 3 x USB 3.0 port(s)
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 1 x mini Display Port
  • 1 x SD card reader
  • 1x AC adapter plug
Battery3-cell, 50Wh
Thickness19.2 mm (0.76″)
Weight1.45 kg (3.2 lbs)