Asus pipped Apple to the post with its attractive Intel Core M ultraportable laptop. Read our Asus ZenBook UX305F review. (Also see: Best ultraportable laptops 2015.)
Asus may have copied the MacBook Air wholesale with its ZenBook range, first launched in 2011. But with this year’s new ZenBook UX305F the Taiwan manufacturer pipped Apple to the post by coming to market first with its Air clone using the intriguing new Intel Core M processor, the same low-power series that drives the new super-lightweight MacBook.
The ZenBook UX305F is a 13.3-inch ultraportable, a near clone of the 13-inch MacBook Air in terms of its chassis shape, profile and all-metal solid construction.
It differs in its smaller but higher-resolution screen, which benefits from IPS-like AHVA technology and a matt anti-glare finish. This display has 1920 x 1080 pixels, and this full-HD resolution in a 13-inch frame is arguable the best compromise for a Windows computer display, since the operating system does not scale reliably beyond 150 percent.
Powering the UX305F is an 800 MHz Intel Core M-5Y10c processor, built on a new smaller 14 nm process. Yes, that’s a 0.8 GHz base clock frequency, a number we haven’t seen applied to a PC processor since the megahertz wars of the last decade. This can be overclocked in short bursts by Intel’s Turbo Boost technology, up to 2 GHz.
It’s a dual-core chip with Hyper Threading like the popular Core i5 and i7 processors, so can work on four threads like a quad-core processor. Most notable is its low thermal design power (TDP) figure of 4.5 W, allowing its use in laptops without a cooling fan. That in itself is an incredible breakthrough, making for a silent, low-maintenance design with no moving parts apart from keyboard, trackpad and screen hinges.