The 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-4558U CPU is a few notches past the 4200U chips we see in a lot of competing systems, but as long as your 2014 ultrabook has a current-gen Core i7 low-voltage processor, you're in roughly the same camp. That said, the Asus UX301 deserves credit for running most of our benchmark tests faster than systems such as the Toshiba Kirabook or even the 13-inch Macbook Pro, even if you're unlikely to feel a difference in real-world usage.
The integrated Intel Iris graphics go a small step beyond the HD4400 version found in current-gen Intel Core i5 systems, but we haven't found Iris to offer much in the way of gaming abilities, especially if you take the very high screen resolution into consideration.
Despite the excellent benchmark performance in application tests, the UX301 was a letdown in battery life. In our video playback battery drain test, the system ran for 5:22. That's less than every other higher-res laptop we compared it to, with the Samsung Book 9 Plus running for more than three additional hours, and the MacBook Pro running even longer than that.
At first glance, the Asus UX301 is another me-too better-than-HD ultrabook, offering similar features, similar high-end design, and a similar premium price, as models from Toshiba, Samsung, Apple, and others. It stands out from the crowd for its Gorilla Glass lid and best-in-class application performance, but it also costs a bit more.
Add in a battery that doesn't run as long as the competition, and you have a laptop that loses out on being the go-to for this growing category, and instead lands firmly in the middle of the pack.
Find out more about how we test laptops.
Asus Zenbook UX301
Windows 8.1 (64-bit); 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-4558U; 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 1600MHz; 32MB (dedicated) Intel Iris Graphics 5100; (2) 128GB SSD
Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch, October 2013)
OS X 10.9 Mavericks; 2.4GHz Intel Core i5-4258U; 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 1600MHz; 1GB Intel Iris Graphics; 256GB Apple SSD Samsung
Ativ Book 9 Plus
Windows 8 (64-bit); 1.6GHz Intel Core i5 4200U; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz; 1749MB (shared) Intel HD Graphics 4400: 128GB SSD
Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 Pro
Windows 8.1 (64.bit); 1.6GHZ Intel Core i5 4200U; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1600MHz; 1792MB (shared) Intel HD 4400 Graphics; 128GB Samsung SSD
Toshiba Kirabook 13-i7s
Windows 8.1 Pro (64-bit); 1.8GHz Intel Core i7-4500U; 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 1600MHz; 1792MB (shared) Intel HD Graphics 4400; 256GB Toshiba SSD