Why I Returned the ASUS UX305 and Re-Purchased a Dell XPS 13

This is one of those long-overdue posts that I’m spurred to crank out today because a commenter (rare as they are on my blog!) asked me a question a few others have asked: why, after raving about how great the Asus UX305 was, did I return it? And what did I purchase instead?

I used the ASUS UX305 for a full month, two weeks of which were in Mexico on vacation (where I took at lot of photos with my Nikon D750) and generally really liked it. Good battery life, nice design, not too heavy. I was a little grumpy about the clicking trackpad problem, because it speaks to weak quality control, but as long as the unit you get doesn’t have the problem, you’re good. The one thing that niggled at me though was the CPU: I use Lightroom very frequently on my laptop, and the UX305 struggled to keep up in some ways. Not all the time, and in general I’d say if you’ve got more patience than me, it wouldn’t be an issue. But since I keep my laptops for 2-3 years, I wanted to invest in something that would remain high-performance. I truly think the UX305 is a superb device though and recommend it highly, especially for the price. So what did I buy instead?

I went for the Dell XPS 13 again, only this time in a lower-priced configuration: 1080p display, Core i5 CPU, 8 GB RAM, and a 256 GB SSD. It was almost $700 less than the one that I returned to Dell, but I enjoy it even more. It still cost more than the Asus obviously, but that extra headroom on the CPU makes a world of difference. Lightroom SCREAMS on this…most of the time. Today I noticed during an import Lightroom was pounding my Dell so hard the mouse cursor couldn’t even move smoothly. So maybe there’s no such thing as a laptop that can handle Lightroom smoothly – Adobe always seems to have more work to do optimizing that product. I recently upgraded the SSD to a 512 GB model, after a painful experience being an early adopter of a Samsung 950 PRO NVMe version. Will blog about that here later. 🙂

If I were buying again today, I’d take a serious look at the HP Envy 13t . I love the design, and the Core i5 version with a 256 GB SSD is only $929, which is a couple hundred less than I paid for my XPS 13. I’d want to read some reviews of the new Envy 13t, but it looks like a worthy competitor to Asus UX305.