ASUS’ ZenBook UX series has always attracted a lot of attention and it’s easy to see why. All of the ultrabooks from this lineup offer a fairly powerful hardware combined with excellent battery life, good multimedia capabilities in a thin and light package. What’s not to like, right? Well, just like everything life, the ZenBook UX310UQ isn’t for everyone and it really depends on what you are willing to sacrifice along the way.
Just like the 14-inch UX410UQ, the 13-inch UX310UQ offers an ULV (ultra-low voltage) CPU like the Core i7-7500U, a discrete graphics solution – NVIDIA GeForce 940MX with 2GB of DDR3 memory and blazingly fast M.2 PCIe NVMe storage support, although our units arrived with regular M.2 SATA SSDs. Of course, the usual amount of memory is 8GB of DDR4-2400 and the 13.3-inch display offers a bright IPS solution suitable for multimedia. We were pretty impressed by the battery life and overall user experience that the UX410UQ carries but what about the smaller 13-inch installment? Is it any better or is it worse? Well, in most cases the 14-inch version is a better choice so continue reading to find out why.
You can find the available configurations here: http://amzn.to/2vLvKl6
The package contains the usual user manuals, AC adapter and the laptop itself.
Design and construction
The design and choice of materials are familiar. Nothing has changed compared to its predecessor and its bigger 14-inch sibling. There’s one thing that should be noted, though – the screen bezels appear to be thicker when compared to the ones of the UX410UQ, which makes the overall size of the machine mostly same. In this case, you might as well go for the 14-inch version since you get a slightly bigger screen in the same body.
Anyway, the lid consists of a fairly thick brushed aluminum sheet with concentric texture that is once again stable and hard to twist. The surface is prone to smudges but because of the metallic color, they aren’t so prominent. The single-hinge design provides good stability, smooth movement and keeps the lid firmly in place. It also allows you to open the notebook with one hand. The bottom piece is made of anodized aluminum, it’s clean with no big grills – only two small grills are found towards the front for the speakers.
The sides are remarkably thin measuring at just a little over 18 mm and accommodate the usual set of ports you’d find on a 15-inch device. The connectors are also well distributed on the left and right. Really convenient. The left side holds the 3.5 mm audio jack, a full-sized HDMI port, USB 3.0, and an USB 3.1 (Gen 2) connector as well. On the right, you can see two USB 2.0 connectors and the SD card reader. The USB 3.1 Gen 2 connector is a nice finishing touch because you can extend the I/O with a decent amount of plugs via USB-C hub.
As the rest of the chassis, the interior incorporates anodized aluminum surface providing good stability in the keyboard area and around the palm rest section. The keyboard once again feels somehow spongy – each key press feels like you are pressing a tight spring – but that doesn’t really affect the typing experience in a big way. It just takes some time adjusting. Besides, we found the travel distance more than decent and the clicky feedback satisfying. The keyboard backlight is discreet while the layout is standard and provides all the needed shortcuts. The touchpad is also really nice with excellent gliding surface, light mouse clicks, accurate and responsive. There’s nothing bad we can say about it really.
To sum things up, the ZenBook UX310UQ’s chassis’ choice of materials is not only great but also makes it portable (18 mm thin)), light (just 1.4 kg) and sturdy. The hinge appears to be stable while the input devices can definitely get the work done on the go.
Disassembly, maintenance and upgrade options
The bottom piece comes off easily and gives access to all of the internals. And as expected, the ZenBook UX310UQ packs absolutely the same hardware as its bigger 14-inch UX410UQ sibling.
Storage upgrades – 2.5-inch HDD/SSD, M.2 SSD
The laptop comes not only with the standard M.2 SSD slot but also packs a 2.5-inch drive slot available for upgrade. Anyway, the M.2 drive slot is taken by a 256GB Micron SATA SSD. We would have appreciated a PCIe NVMe SSD but this might just be a regional issue.
|M.2 slot||256GB Micron M.2 SATA SSD (2280)||Upgrade options|
|2.5-inch HDD/SSD||Free||Upgrade options|
The motherboard packs 8GB of integrated DDR4-2400 memory but our unit packs another upgradable 4GB DDR4-2400 chip as well.
|Slot 1||SK Hynix 4GB DDR4-2400||Upgrade options|
Intel 8265NGW takes care of the Wi-Fi connection.
And the same battery is found inside the 13-inch model – 48Wh.
The cooling solution is also identical and relies on just one small heat pipe going across both chips and connecting the cooling fan to the heat sinks.
The ultrabook uses a familiar 13.3-inch Ful HD (1920×1080) IPS panel from AU Optronics with model number B133HAN02.7. The latter can be found in the ASUS ZenBook Flip UX360, however, this one is largely different from the one we’ve tested before. Anyway, the pixel density remains 166 ppi and pixel pitch of 0.153 x 0.153 mm is still at hand. It can be considered as “Retina” when viewed from a distance equal or greater than 50 cm.
The screen offers excellent viewing angles.
We were able to measure a maximum brightness of 368 cd/m2 in the center and 353 cd/m2 as average across the surface. This means that this version of the panel is about 40% brighter than the previous one we’ve tested on the ZenBook UX360. The maximum deviation regarding backlight uniformity is just 6%. We’ve recorded slightly colder than usual color temperature at maximum brightness – 7280K. But as we go along the grayscale, the color temperature falls down a little – 7000K but still colder than the optimal 6500K. Below you can see how these values change at 140 cd/m2 (about 48% brightness).
The maximum color deviation dE2000 compared to the center of the display is just 1.7, which is a pretty good result since values above 4.0 are usually unwanted, especially when color-sensitive work is involved. The contrast ratio is also excellent – 1200:1 before profiling and 1000:1 after calibration.
To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction of the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.
Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people in HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors etc for printing. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.
Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.
Again, we got much better result here than the other version of the panel – 94% coverage of the sRGB color gamut. That’s almost double the coverage.
Below you will see practically the same image but with the color circles representing the reference colors and the white circles being the result. You can see main and additional colors with 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% saturation inside the sRGB gamut pre and post calibration.
The “Design and Gaming” profile is created at 140 cd/m2 brightness, D65 (6500K) white point and optimal gamma in sRGB mode.
We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange etc. You can check out the results at factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.
The next figure shows how well the display is able to reproduce really dark parts of an image, which is essential when watching movies or playing games in low ambient light.
The left side of the image represents the display with stock settings, while the right one is with the “Gaming and Web Design” profile activated. On the horizontal axis, you will find the grayscale and on the vertical axis – the luminance of the display. On the two graphs below you can easily check for yourself how your display handles the darkest nuances but keep in mind that this also depends on the settings of your current display, the calibration, the viewing angle and the surrounding light conditions.
We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and reverse.
We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 22 ms.
PWM (Screen flickering)
Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.
And here’s the one thing in common between the ZenBook UX360 panel and this one – both use PWM but only below 100 cd/m2 (30% brightness). This means that in the most common brightness range, your eyes won’t experience any issues with screen flickering. But keep in mind that we strongly recommend keeping the brightness level above 30% at any time since the frequency of the emitted light is extremely low and “aggressive”.
Blue light emissions
Installing of our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.
You can see the levels of emitted blue light on the spectral power distribution (SPD) graph.
At first, we were disappointed to find out that both ultrabooks share the same panel as the ZenBook UX360 uses a somehow budget type of IPS panel and we expect a higher quality display on the ZenBook UX310UQ. To our surprise, this is probably a revised version of the panel scoring excellently in our tests. The display is not only good for the usual browsing and office work, but potentially for multimedia and color-sensitive work on the go (thanks to our custom profiles that bring dE2000 down to just 1.7).
In any case, you can enjoy an IPS panel with high maximum brightness suitable for outdoor use, excellent contrast ratio and wide sRGB coverage. PWM is present only below 100 cd/m2 making the panel safe to use for long periods of time (as long as you keep the brightness level above 30%).
Buy our display profiles
Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package is meant for ASUS ZenBook UX310 configurations with 13.3″ AUO B133HAN02.7 (FHD, 1920 × 1080) IPS screen and the laptop can be found at Amazon: http://amzn.to/2eJckGt
*Should you have problems with downloading the purchased file, try using a different browser to open the link you’ll receive via e-mail. If the download target is a .php file instead of an archive, change the file extension to .zip or contact us at [email protected]
Read more about the profiles HERE.
In addition to receiving efficient and health-friendly profiles, by buying LaptopMedia's products you also support the development of our labs, where we test devices in order to produce the most objective reviews possible.
Office Work should be used mostly by users who spend most of the time looking at pieces of text, tables or just surfing. This profile aims to deliver better distinctness and clarity by keeping a flat gamma curve (2.20), native color temperature and perceptually accurate colors.
Design and Gaming
This profile is aimed at designers who work with colors professionally, and for games and movies as well. Design and Gaming takes display panels to their limits, making them as accurate as possible in the sRGB IEC61966-2-1 standard for Web and HDTV, at white point D65.
Health-Guard eliminates the harmful Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM) and reduces the negative Blue Light which affects our eyes and body. Since it’s custom tailored for every panel, it manages to keep the colors perceptually accurate. Health-Guard simulates paper so the pressure on the eyes is greatly reduced.
The sound quality is on par with the competition – we’ve got clear lower frequencies and small deviations in the mid and high range.
The current specs sheet refers to this particular model – configurations may differ depending on your region.
|Processor||Intel Core i7-7500U (2-core, 2.70 – 3.50 GHz, 4MB cache)|
|RAM||12GB (1x 4096MB + 1x 8192MB) – DDR4, 2400MHz|
|Graphics card||NVIDIA GeForce 940MX (2GB DDR3)|
|HDD/SSD||256GB M.2 SATA SSD|
|Display||13.3-inch Full HD (1920×1080) IPS, matte|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi 802.11ac 2×2, Bluetooth 4.0|
|Other features|| |
|Thickness||18.35 mm (0.73″)|
|Weight||1.4 kg (3.09 lbs)|
We used the already installed Windows 10 Pro (64-bit) for the writing of this review but if you wish to perform a clean install without the bloatware, we suggest downloading all of the latest drivers from ASUS’ official support page.
The laptop sports a 48Wh battery that might not seem a lot but for a 13.3-inch casing and hardware that’s not so demanding, the unit keeps the lights on for quite some time. The Core i7-7500U CPU and the 13-inch IPS panel are the main components drawing so much power but still manage to keep the notebook running for longer than expected. The results from the web browsing and video playback are more than satisfactory.
And interestingly, the 14-inch ZenBook Ux410UQ scored better in both battery tests and the only reason we could think of is the panel. Although the 13-inch screen should draw a bit less power, it seems that the panel itself is the culprit here. Keep in mind, though, that these are just assumptions.
Of course, all tests were run using the same settings as always – Wi-Fi turned on, screen brightness set to 120 cd/m2 and Windows battery saving feature turned on.
In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for automatic web browsing through over 70 websites.
Pretty good result on the web browsing test – 420 minutes (7 hours).
For every test like this, we use the same video in HD.
Higher than expected video playback score – 448 minutes (7 hours and 28 minutes).
We recently started using F1 2015’s built-in benchmark on loop in order to simulate real-life gaming.
Of course, the laptop isn’t made for gaming but it’s good to know that it can run for almost three hours under heavy workload – 171 minutes (2 hours and 51 minutes).
CPU – Intel Core i7-7500U
The Core i7-7500U is part of the latest Intel Kaby Lake generation of CPUs built upon 14nm manufacturing process – or 14nm+ as the company markets – and should offer marginal performance gains over the Skylake generation while improving overall power efficiency. It’s a direct successor to the Core i7-6500U (Skylake) and Core i7-5500 (Broadwell) but opposed to previous architecture refreshes, the Kaby Lake Core i7-7500U is bringing much higher clock rates. Now the chip is clocked at 2.7 – 3.5 GHz (compared to the 2.5 – 3.1 GHz on the Skylake Core i7-6500U) and still adopting the 2/4 core/thread count using the HyperThreading technology with a maximum 4MB cache.
However, the Core i7-7500U’s TDP is still rated at 15W including the iGPU and dual-channel memory controller that supports DDR4-2133, LPDDR3-1866 and DDR3L-1600. And as far as the iGPU is concerned, it integrates a slightly improved Intel HD Graphics 620 clocked at 300 – 1050 MHz, which is slightly higher than the iGPU on the Core i5-7200U (300 – 1000 MHz).
You can browse through our top CPUs ranking: http://laptopmedia.com/top-laptop-cpu-ranking/
Here you will find other useful information and every notebook we’ve tested with this processor: http://laptopmedia.com/processor/intel-core-i7-7500u/
Results are from the Cinebench 20 CPU test (the higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Fritz chess benchmark (the higher the score, the better)
Results are from our Photoshop benchmark test (the lower the score, the better)
Fritz is a chess benchmark that tests the computing capabilities of the CPU with various chess moves. The Intel Core i7-7500U scored 6.888 million moves per second. In comparison, one of the most powerful chess computers, Deep(er) Blue, was able to squeeze out 200 million moves per second. In 1997 Deep(er) Blue even beat the famous Garry Kasparov with 3.5 to 2.5.
GPU – NVIDIA GeForce GTX 940MX (2GB DDR3)
The NVIDIA GeForce 940MX is a refreshed version of the older 940M mobile chip but with slightly higher clock speeds, which result in noticeably better performance compared to the standard 940M.
Announced back in the first quarter of 2016, the chip is almost identical to the standard 940M (Maxwell) but with clock speeds increased up to 1242 MHz and base 1122 MHz. The memory uses a 64-bit bus and has 2GB of DDR3 VRAM. It supports the DirectX 12 API and Shader 5.0 feature along with the usual NVIDIA technologies – CUDA, GPU Boost 2.0, Optimus, GeForce Experience, PhysX. The whole graphics card is rated at around 15 to 30 Watts depending on the clock speeds and memory used in the specific notebook.
You can browse through our top GPUs ranking: http://laptopmedia.com/top-laptop-graphics-ranking/
Here you will find other useful information and every notebook with this GPU that we’ve tested: http://laptopmedia.com/video-card/nvidia-geforce-940mx-2gb-ddr3/
Results are from the 3DMark: Fire Strike (Graphics) benchmark (higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Unigine Heaven 3.0 benchmark (higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Unigine Heaven 4.0 benchmark (higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Unigine Superposition benchmark (higher the score, the better)
|CS:GO||HD 768p, Low (Check settings)||HD 768p, Medium (Check settings)||HD 768p, MAX (Check settings)|
|Average FPS||111 fps||70 fps||51 fps|
|Grand Theft Auto V (GTA 5)||HD, Low (Check settings)||HD, Medium (Check settings)||HD, Very High (Check settings)|
|Average FPS||85 fps||57 fps||13 fps|
Keep in mind that the stress tests that we perform don’t represent real-life usage but remain as one of the most reliable ways to assess the overall stability and effectiveness of the cooling system in the long run.
We started off with 100% CPU load for about an hour. At first, the chip was able to reach its maximum operating frequency of about 3.5 GHz and shortly after that, dropped down to 3.0 GHz and stayed there for good. Temperatures were relatively low.
After turning on the GPU stress test, the Core i7-7500U toned down to 2.9 GHz while reaching temperatures just below 85 °C while no GPU throttling occurred – the 940MX was running at about 1188 MHz, although a little hot – 76 °C.
Interestingly, the interior remained exceptionally cool throughout the whole test.
While the laptop sounds great on paper, there are some things you really need to consider before buying it. First, the thin and light design combined with the powerful hardware has its price and this time it’s noise emissions. The cooling fan is always spinning even if you are not using laptop and it just sits idle. Secondly, there’s already a better version of the notebook that makes this one obsolete – the UX410UQ is nearly identical regarding hardware, build, dimensions, weight, input devices, storage options and performance but packs a slightly larger 14-inch display, somehow longer battery life and slightly better screen. We honestly can’t think of a reason to choose the 13-inch UX310UQ option.
In any case, you will be impressed by the build quality, feel, input devices, battery life, performance and upgrade options. On contrary to most ultrabooks, this little fellow packs an M.2 SSD slot alongside a 2.5-inch drive and even one memory slot available for an upgrade.
So if you are looking into solid and portable all-rounder at a decent price and the ZenBook UX310UQ happens to be on your “want” list, then we strongly recommend looking into the ZenBook UX410UQ and the recently released Lenovo Ideapad 720s. Both pack a tough punch but only one will suit most of your needs.
You can find the available configurations here: http://amzn.to/2vLvKl6
- Premium (all-aluminum) and solid build
- Light and portable
- Decent keyboard, good touchpad
- Excellent screen
- No PWM above 100 cd/m2
- Offers the upgradability of a 15-incher (M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD + 2.5-inch HDD/SSD and one RAM slot)
- Good battery life
- Great value
- The cooling fan doesn’t stop spinning even at idle
- Not the best cooling solution for a CPU and discrete GPU configuration (applies to the 940MX configurations only)
- No compelling reason to opt for the 13-inch variant – the 14-inch UX410UQ is the smarter choice