New ultrabook: Zenbook 303UA vs

lemoncloud

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May 5, 2013
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edit: I just discovered the buying help form.

1. What is your budget?
1000 GBP max, possibly

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
13.3'

3. What screen resolution do you want?
don't care. Prefer smaller type and icons.

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
ultrabook below 1.5km

5. How much battery life do you need?
6h, surfing and writing

6. Do you want to play games with your laptop? If so then please list the games that you want to with the settings that you want for these games. (Low,Medium or High)?
no

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)
surfing, ms office, coding, minor photo editing incl. occ. raw

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?
128 would be enough. don't store much data.

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
nope.

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
a couple of years.

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
none

12. Please tell us about the brands that you prefer to buy from them and the brands that you don't like and explain the reasons.
see below

13. What country do you live in?
uk

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.
see below.

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After searching for a new 13" ultrabook under 1.5kg I'm none the wiser.

The Zenbook 303UA might be an option as I currently have the UX32vd of which I love the keyboard, the matte screen and how well balanced it sits on my lap. What turns me off are the current goldish colours. I just don't like golds/browns.

The ASUS ZenBook Flip UX360CA might be an alternative, but I'm not sure how to compare the processor. I guess it's a lesser one? Plus it seems to have a glossy screen.

Lenovo TouchPad 13: I pretty much excluded it. I don't know... it simply doesn't excite me.

Dell XPS 13: Yes, looks nice, but I read so many reports of the book refusing to switch on, screen flickers, screen not placed straight, and lots of other issues; and people dealing with several replacements until they finally get one that works properly. I don't want to end up with a book that might not switch on anymore when I'm traveling or needing to finish a report. Plus it's also fairly pricey as the one with the matte screen is not available as refurbished model.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon
? Yeah! Though I feel it's way too pricey. I'm also not quite convinced by the 14" screen, though it might be ok. If Lenovo UK had a deal to get it below 1000 pounds it might be an option, though delivery times are also above 4 weeks at the moment.

Lenovo Yoga 900? Absolutely love the look but the specs on the Lenovo website are rather limited. How does it compare to the others, especially processor (Intel Core i5-6200U), battery and key movement? I like keys with a fairly long movement sitting on a non-bendy frame. And it's a glossy screen again.

No HP. I don't like their keyboards. Also no book where the lid/hinges are lower than the base, like the Zenbook 305 as I mostly use it as an actual laptop.

Use: no games. Mainly MS Office, surfing (20 tabs in Firefox), some coding via e.g. VirtualBox, minor photo editing, including occ. raw, but again nothing heavy. My current computer is probably sufficient, but it's getting a bit old now.

Looking forward to your thoughts.
 
Solution
Personally I like auss laptops as I have 1. For you any ultrabook should do as you are only doing the basics. My best suggestion is to list the ones you like and go into a store and try them all out.

hang-the-9

Titan
Moderator
Since you are not really doing much of anything heavy duty for the CPU or the video card, what is wrong with your current system, aside from "getting a bit old"? Do a factory restore, replace the hard drive with a solid state hard drive, max out the RAM with an 8 GB stick, and you have a new system for under $150.
 

lemoncloud

Honorable
May 5, 2013
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Well.. the 'bit old' is a bit more than that, really. There's an error that results in a blue screen whenever the notebook goes into sleep mode/screen off. After than it needs a system restore as even surfing with just one tab doesn't really work anymore smoothly. It always needs 15 minutes to start up and doesn't shut down anymore unless I press the start button for a longer time. Asus could never solve the issue, and of course it popped up short after the warranty expired. I cannot use the computer without charger anymore due to the battery save mode issue, and for some reason I always get picked out at airports to switch on my computer, which is somewhat inconvenient with the 15 minute startup time. And if I leave my computer for a few minutes in public places I either have to leave it on or shut it down and start up again as screen lock results in the blue screen. I mean, apart from that it's still a laptop I love. But it's getting so annoying.
 

hang-the-9

Titan
Moderator


A new hard drive and clean Windows setup is likely to fix pretty much every single one of those issues. Although you may need a new battery for the thing also.

The ZenBooks are good, really any of those models are good, just make sure you look at the screen type if you don't like the glossy ones.

I guess as a computer tech I am more inclined to buy parts to fix things than most people, I often recommend that over new computer, especially if the computer is not very out-dated and was good quality when new. If you had some 3 year old $250 Intel Atom system, I'd say replace it LOL.
 

lemoncloud

Honorable
May 5, 2013
10
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Hm.. yes, if I knew it would fix the problem. When this error popped up first quite a few other owners experienced the same but never found a solution. The theory at that time was a connection problem somewhere or a defect motherboard. Anyway, been using it like this for about two years now and things haven't gotten worse. I just used to live in a country where small ultras weren't available at all ('t was all about bigger and more bling) otherwise I might have binned it ages ago. I've just returned to the uk.
 

hang-the-9

Titan
Moderator
Well a new SSD to try with, even a 250 GB is about $70-80, even if a new drive and clean setup does not help, you have a backup drive for your troubles and then can look at replacing the system, or just go into spending $700-1,000 right away for a new system.
 

lemoncloud

Honorable
May 5, 2013
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Well, one thing is certain: I simply cannot get the ultrabook I want at the moment as most models have a glossy screen, and those with a matte screen all have something that I'm not happy about: the small size of the Dell XPS 13, the non-adjustable screen brightness for the matte screen model and it seems to get fairly hot underneath according to some reviews, quality of the Thinkpad 13, and the sharp screen edge of the Zenbook 305 and all coming Asus notebook according to their support. The same support who can't tell me whether the 303UA does come with a matte screen in Europe *sigh*

Honestly, I don't think my error is related to the harddisk. People with the same issue back then tried it before without success. Some had their screen, others their motherboard exchanged, sometimes with, sometimes without success. If I run hardware diagnostics all comes back fine. The only thing is that the USB-IF xHCl USB Host Controller under 'Inter WiUSB' shows up with an exclamation mark in the device manager. It does this since this mess started. Updating drivers didn't fix the problem, downgrading neither, a complete factory reset with both automatic driver update and without internet neither. Disabling it doesn't do anything either, btw.