With this week's arrival of the Asus Zenbook UX305 in the increasingly competitive ultrabook market, consumers now have yet another option to choose from when shopping for sleek, light and powerful computing machines.
As Tech Times reports, the UX305 is getting big attention not only for its healthy RAM and processing speed, but also for its very affordable price point of $699. Similar ultrabooks are nearly double that price.
What it should ultimately mean for laptop lovers and computer users seeking a powerful portable machine is a price war between vendors such as Asus, Samsung and Lenovo, as each has a contending ultrabook in the marketplace.
So as vendors scramble to work up marketing programs, sale incentives and strategies for getting those $1,200 ultrabooks down to an Asus-like price, or investigate ways to validate a higher price to buyers, let's take a look at the PC makers' ultrabook offerings.
Asus Zenbook UX305
Asus claims its Zenbook UX305 is the world's slimmest, at least this week, with 0.48-inch girth, and weight of 2.7 pounds. The $699 13.3-inch computing device is "ultraportable" and boasts an Intel Core M processor with 8 GB RAM and a 256 GB solid-state drive.
Asus says the SSD provides "superb" performance. It's also debuting a new color option, called Obsidian Stone, but it's likely the price point, and one other big feature -- the fact that it is fanless, which makes for a quieter user experience -- that will grab consumer attention.
Its battery promise of 10 hours isn't too shabby either. Early reviews are already stating the ultrabook is "exceptional for the price," and "impressive" when it comes to specifications.
Additional features aren't anything to laugh off either as some vendors have not taken such extra steps to include a webcam, 802.11ac wireless connectivity, a USB Ethernet adapter, USB 3.0 ports and a B&O ICEpower amplifier.
It's not without some drawbacks. As one review noted, the ultrabook can get a bit warm on the lap, Wi-Fi can be sluggish and the keyboard is not backlit.
Lenovo Yoga 3
Lenovo's Yoga 3 can be aptly described as a more compact version of its Yoga 3 Pro and its price point is just above the Asus UX305, starting at about $800.
It is a bit smaller, with its 11-inch display, yet the Yoga 3 provides SSD capacity of 258 GB, a tiny bit more than the Asus UX305 while providing the same 8GB of memory. It weighs in at 2.6 pounds and is about 0.6-inch thin with integrated JBL stereo speakers.
Lenovo offers three models of the Yoga 3 with little discernible difference in features and price. In fact, the only difference, at a cost of $50, is the memory offered. The cheaper models provide 4GB. There are three USB ports. One cool aspect is the multitouch display with its 360-degree hinge, which provides a user greater use positions.
The 14-inch display is the biggest of the three contenders and the keyboard is backlit. One review noted it's fun to use and offers fast performance, citing its Intel Core i7 processor.
Samsung ATIV Book 9
The common feature between the Asus UX305 and Samsung's ATIV Book 9 is the processor, as both use Intel Core M technology, which also provides the "fanless" feature.
TechTimes reported that the 12.2-inch ATIV Book 9 is the latest in the company's Series 9 laptops.
Samsung clearly thinks its technology is more valuable, given the base model price of $1,200 is almost double the cost of the Asus UX305 and the Lenovo Yoga 3. One notable reviewer is obviously a big fan, reporting the ATIV Book 9 is Samsung's smallest, cheapest and safest ultrabook to date.
In addition to price, the one other drawback appears to be its small screen space. On the positive side, there are "cool screen features" cited, such as a much brighter outdoor viewing mode and the ability to obscure the display from prying eyes by hitting the Fn10 key.
It is thinner than the Zenbook and Yoga 3 at 0.46 inches and supposedly even beats them at battery life, boasting 10.5 hours. It offers less RAM, at 4GB, but has the same 128GB SSD that the competition boasts. You can double that RAM and SSD if you don't mind paying $200 more. It features a webcam and two USB ports with Ethernet availability via a dongle.
When it comes to buying and using a small light compact ultrabook, there are two things consumers must do: get their hands on the actual device to get a feel for the keyboard and display then decide how much they're willing to pay for when it comes to performance and memory.
If price is the only consideration, there truly is no reason not to go with the Asus Zenbook from what the specifications reveal on all three contenders.