This Windows laptop is already one of the best values out there, and right now it’s $100 off

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  1. Jeff Dunn

    Jeff Dunn Guest

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    Microsoft
    As Apple exec Phil Schiller has likely been reminded of, good laptops are expensive. There are a few reasons why 600 million people currently use PCs that are at least five years old, and none of them involve outdated hardware suddenly being en vogue. Not everyone needs the latest and greatest, and in many cases, the price of a higher-end notebook is simply prohibitive.

    That said, those that can afford to upgrade don’t have to drop four figures just to get something nice. The Asus Zenbook UX305CA is one relatively affordable notebook that proves this, and today, Microsoft has it down to $600. While it’s hit this point in the past, that’s still about $100 off its usual going rate, and almost as low as it gets for an Ultrabook that looks as refined as this.

    We’ve explained why we like the Zenbook UX305CA in our budget laptops buying guide, so head there for a full rundown. To put it briefly, though, the Zenbook UX305 line is one of the best values among Windows PCs today.

    Whereas most sub-$700 notebooks — Chromebooks aside — are chunky and meant for a desk, the Zenbook comes off like a budget-friendly MacBook Air, measuring just under 0.5 inches thick and weighing 2.6 pounds. It’s as attractive and portable as you’ll get for the money, and it’s supplemented by ample specs: a 13.3-inch 1080p IPS display, a 256GB solid state drive, 8GB of RAM, and a decent 9 or so hours of battery life. And since Microsoft sells it as a Signature Edition device, it comes with a bloat-free version of Windows 10.

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    The only major hangup with this particular model is its Intel Core m3-6Y30 processor. It’s a sixth-gen chip, but a Core m, while improved, is still generally less powerful than a Core i3 in practice. It is capable of getting things done, but gaming is a reach, and you don’t want to push too hard with media editing. For everyday browsing and less professional desktop apps, though, it’s competent. Not bad at all, just closer to what you'd expect for the money.

    If you want this design with a more powerful chip, you can pay up for a Core i5-packing Zenbook UX305LA, but at that point you’re a ways away from the budget range. If you need something a little bit stronger, there’s the $550 Acer Aspire E5-573G, but then you’re doubling the thickness and weight. Ultimately, we think the UX305CA is the best compromise for most people in this market, especially at this price.

    Asus Zenbook UX305CA (Signature Edition), $599, available at Microsoft.




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