What to buy: Asus Zenbook UX305 vs Apple MacBook Air

Asus Zenbook UX305 finally offers some competition to the MacBook Air.

Written by Mihir Patkar | New Delhi | Updated: June 8, 2015 12:07 pm
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For a long time now, the MacBook Air had seemed like an ideal companion for professionals on the move. Windows just did not have anything to match up. But the Asus Zenbook UX305 finally offers competition, as you can read in our full review.

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Both devices are similarly priced. The 11-inch Mac Air starts retailing at Rs 57,000 and the 13-inch costs about Rs 62,000. Compare that to the Zenbook’s 50,000 price tag, and you might have trouble deciding between the Zenbook and the Mac Air. Let’s make that easier…

Screen
The Zenbook’s Full HD, matte-finish screen is a clear winner here. Not that the MacBook Air is bad, but the Zenbook’s 13-inch looks better, especially outdoors in sunlight. You will need to tweak the contrast and colours to your liking though.

Winner: Asus Zenbook UX305

Performance

The Intel Core M processor on the Zenbook is technically as capable as the 5th generation Core i5 processor on the MacBook Air, but Mac Air feels a lot faster. This is probably due to Zenbook’s Windows operating system though, since when you boot Linux on it, it’s as fast or faster than Mac OS X. Still, you’re probably buying the Zenbook for Windows, so no points there.

Winner: MacBook Air

Read more: Asus Zenbook UX305 Express review: The best value ultrabook around

Design and Build Quality

Both the MacBook and the Zenbook are delightfully light while sturdy enough to not be bothered by a few knocks and drops. They also both look great. In most cases, it’s a tie. The only slight flaw with the Zenbook is that when you use it on a flat table, the lid’s chin pushes up against the bottom to prop up the keyboard a bit. It’s not a big deal though.

No Winner

Storage

The Zenbook has a 256GB SSD and an SD card, while the MacBook has 128GB SSD and no SD card slot. The 13″ MacBook does have a card slot, and both 11″ and 13″ models come with 256GB options, but that raises the price by Rs. 6,000. It’s not worth it, the Zenbook is better.

Winner: Asus ZenBook UX305

Connectivity

Both laptops support the new Wi-Fi ac standard, but the antenna in the MacBook Air is stronger. On multiple occasions, The Air was able to get connectivity at distances that the Zenbook couldn’t.

Winner: MacBook Air

Keyboard and Trackpad

With no backlighting on the keyboard and a trackpad on which clicks take a little getting used to, ZenBook gets beaten by the MacBook Air again. This is a close one though, so don’t let it alone influence your decision.

Winner: MacBook Air

Battery

The ZenBook is the first Windows laptop we have used which actually rivals the MacBook’s legendary battery life. You’ll get the same 9-10 hours of usage on either laptop, getting you through a regular work day.

No Winner

Price

At Rs 6,000 less, the Zenbook offers a larger and sharper screen, more storage, and similar battery life. In a straight shoot-out of specifications, the Zenbook would come out ahead.

Winner: Asus ZenBook UX305

What to Buy

Given how close the laptops are in terms of all these issues, your buying decision pretty much boils down to the Mac OS X vs Windows 8 issue.

If you have used Windows for years and are comfortable with it, the Zenbook is your best bet. There really is no reason to learn a new operating system unless you are inclined to do so. That said, be aware that Windows has a tendency to crash or freeze at times, and apps like Chrome can slow it down to a crawl.

If what you want is stability, especially a laptop that you can rely on in a crunch, the MacBook is a safer bet. But know that with the MacBook, gaming is out of the question and you might not be able to use some of your favourite Windows software.

If budget is the issue, then go for the Zenbook UX305. There is a price difference of Rs 6,000-15,000 when compared to a MacBook Air, and you can save that money without thinking you missed out on something better.

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