I’m typing this on my one-week-old ultra-book, a ASUS UX302LG. I recall one morning in December, I was researching on which laptop to buy at SITEX 2014, when I coincidentally saw a video preview of UX302. I remember being in shock at how gorgeous it looked – Gorilla Glass cover, brushed metal finish all over the laptop, 1920 x 1080 HD Touchscreen, and what insane specs it came in – i7 Haswell, 4GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce 730m. I made the decision to pre-order the UX302 at SITEX, even before I laid my hands on one of them, I knew I wanted it. And frankly, I regret nothing.
I figured that many people would be considering the UX302, because it is a serious contender, and since there aren’t many reviews already out there, I shall do a quick review of this amazing device.
I haven’t had many laptops before, but ASUS really did a great job for the UX302. The container is a sleek, black, smooth box, it looked so pristine I almost didn’t dare to touch it. When I touched it my sweat marks would stay on the box for a slight moment, then evaporates before my very eyes. Awesome. Some say that they are copying Apple with the box, but I say do whatever looks great. This box really fits the design language of the UX302, sleek, high-end, modern, beautiful.
And when you open the box up you get this:
Once again, very sleek and neat. I could instantly see where my money went, into this piece of beautiful, shiny metal. Precious. In the small compartment on the right sits all the various components
Special note about the laptop sleeve: I was pleasantly surprised that it came with the laptop. Before I collected the laptop, I was already thinking of getting a nice sleeve, but now that ASUS as kindly given me a black leather sleeve, I guess there’s nothing for me to worry!
How It Has Been
One week of use and the experience is just amazing. Everything looks great on the HD screen, movies, videos, YouTube. The speakers are awesome (Bang & Olufsen Technology) – I’m not an audio person so I can’t say much beyond the speakers being loud and clear. Dota 2 runs smooth as butter, although I can’t seem to set it to 1920×1080 resolution, no complains tho, it still looks sick. Windows 8 is better that I imagined, in some ways. Start up times are sick: press the power button, turn to go toilet, reach the door, turn back because it is already booted. Battery life is heavenly, especially considering my previous laptop 1.5 hrs. I haven’t exactly measured, but I feel safe bringing it out to school without packing the charger, although the charger doesn’t add much weight. Touch pad is smooth and responsive, though I think it still doesn’t match the Macbook’s. The norms are there though, double finger scrolling, three finger down minimize, edge swiping. Oh and adjustable keyboard backlighting!
It isn’t without its flaws though. The spacebar is betting a bit squeaky, but only the left edge, but that is where I usually type – and maybe I should change this habit. Linux compatibility totally blows though. I wanted to install Ubuntu or Linux Mint alongside Windows 8 for double booting, but always got a blank screen after selecting “Install Now” at the menu. The screen isn’t on 0 brightness, I’ve tried – fn+f7 turns the display off and there’s an obvious difference. Tried editing the boot parameters: nomodeset, didn’t help. I sort of gave up at that: if there is a need for Linux I will just virtualize, until I discover some other method. Sometimes after it wakes from sleep, the Windows UI becomes too small. I think usually they scale up the icons and font size so that it’s readable on the display, but when it sleeps and wakes it fails to do so.
If you are looking for a Windows ultra book right now, the UX302 is the one to get. I have read, and sometime tried, other ultra books, but the UX302 is pretty much unmatched in terms of specifications, design, quality, build and price. I got mine for $1798 because it was $200 off at the fair, which means if you purchase it right now it would be just under $2000. It’s not cheap, but you get what you pay, and UX302 really delivers.