Amazon Review by Justin
996 people found the following review helpful
The new UX330UA with Kaby Lake - What an improvement!
ASUS almost nailed it with this model... And yes, it is an excellent upgrade from the previous model: UX305UA. However, there is one major flaw, which resulted in the return of the system after a few days. Want to learn more? Please continue reading. I'll make this as brief and to the point as possible:
Build quality: (4.9/5)
Excellent build quality for the price. You will have an entirely aluminum body (except the bottom cover) which makes it very sturdy.
The FHD display is a decent 1080p display. There seems to be less light-bleed and improved color contrast when compared to the previous model, which is good. The new profiles for switching display modes is quite nice, too. Overall, the display is much improved over the Skylake model and I am very happy with this laptop thus far.
Keyboard, Trackpad, Fingerprint Reader: (4.8/5)
The keyboard is very much improved over the previous model. It is even back-lit, which is a huge plus, in my opinion. The keys have a very nice feel to them and are no longer “rounded” but rather squared and feel more like a quality chiclet keyboard. The track pad is different than the previous model and will take some getting used to, but it is improved. And the fingerprint reader is responsive. This new model allows you to sign in using Windows Hello, a new authentication feature on Windows 10, which uses biometrics to login.
Boot time is about 5 seconds. However, the SSD read and write speeds are not much improved over the previous model. They are 520MB/s and 350MB/s, respectively. (Note: Windows 10 loves to throw processes in the startup, so disable these applications to make startup faster.) This laptop has the new Intel Core-i5 7200U processor, which is honestly a decent step up, considering the clock speed. I noticed about 22% improvement in Unigine Heaven Benchmark (due primarily to the new Intel HD 620 Graphics). HOWEVER, this is where things took me by surprise… I’m not sure if it’s because of the CPU or Windows 10, but some processes made the CPU fan spins up quite often, which became quite annoying for a Zenbook (aka. Ultrabook). The CPU temperature reached nearly 55C at idle and the fan was very noticeable. The previous model (UX305UA) did not have this issue. My belief is that the unit I received was defective in this regard, so I returned it and have ordered another.
Battery life: (4.3/5)
The battery life of this new system is roughly 2.5 hours with extreme use (e.g. video editing, benchmarking, etc.). The battery life is right around 11 hours with light use (e.g. web browsing, homework, etc.). And the average battery life with day-to-day usage was around 9 hours. All in all, I believe this is very good. Actual battery life will vary depending on the user and what applications you’re running.
What an amazing improvement over the previous model… I am so impressed by this, I’m considering purchasing another (despite the CPU fan issue) as I believe the laptop I received may have just had a bad factory paste job.
I/O (Input / Output): (4.5/5)
The laptop has plenty of ports, including a USB-Type C port, which is compatible with the adapters to make this an additional USB 3.0 port. And most importantly, for all of you content developers out there (or photographers), it does have an SD card slot.
The system is not upgradeable. The M.2 SSD may be upgradeable, but do not take my word for this. I did attempt to remove the bottom panel but was unable to because I feared the pressure it took to get it off would result in cracking the plastic, so I decided it was not worth it, considering I wanted to return it due to the fan issues. My belief is that there are two screws hidden beneath the rubber feet (glued down).
Conclusion: (32.1 / 35)
Overall, this system is great. I would love to have given it a 4.5 star rating but this is not possible. If you are looking for a fairly powerful, quality, and lightweight laptop for less than $800, this is it. Let me just say once more, this system, the UX330UA, is a great improvement over the previous model. (I did not include “upgradeability” in the overall score because it is a Zenbook and they’ve never been upgradeable. But I thought it was worth mentioning, considering I did attempt to open it up to re-paste.)
Would I recommend this laptop? Yes, it’s a great alternative to a Macbook and offers you a great balance between performance and portability. It’s wrapped in a nicely built chassis with minimal flex. The design is elegant and the system is a great improvement, overall. The speakers are great for a 13" laptop - not the best, but very good and much improved. For $750, this is a good deal, and I can almost guarantee you’ll be happy with the system. It may not be perfect, but it’s close.
EDIT [Nov. 25th]: I have ordered another unit and plan to update this review, especially if the fan issue persists.
EDIT [Nov. 27th]: The new system has arrived (a day early, I might add) and the fan seems to still spin up depending on what applications are running. However, it appears to be tamed down a bit on this unit. I’m assuming the previous unit I returned had some issue with the thermal compound on the CPU heat sink, which caused it to overheat more easily. But with that said, the fan is still noticeable and annoying from time to time. I’ll be sure to update this post later.
EDIT [Nov. 28th]: I’ve noticed that with the laptop in “Battery Saver” mode (enabled in power options, by clicking on the battery icon) the laptop fans do not spin up nearly as much and it is much quieter, as you’d expect from a Zenbook (or Ultrabook). The Windows 10 module updater is what is causing the system to spin up and make a lot of annoying noise… It’s always trying to update.