The UX305 comes with two display options. The base model is a 13.3 inch 1920x1080 IPS display, and no touch available. The display has a matte finish to it, which helps with glare. ASUS will also be offering a 3200x1800 Plane-to-Line Switching (PLS) model with a matte finish, and that model should be available in April or so. Optionally, both models can be equipped with touch.

The model that we received is the 1920x1080 version, and the display is from AU Optronics and is model AUO212D.  At 166 pixels per inch, it is a good resolution for this size of display. It is a full RGB stripe, which is pretty typical for this resolution and size panel.

The anti-glare coating causes the sub-pixel distortion seen on this image. The AU display is a 6-bit model, but that is unsurprising given the low cost of this device. As an IPS display, it has great viewing angles and is a big step up over the TN panels that you may still find at this level of cost.

To test the display accuracy and its ability to reproduce color, we use SpectralCal’s CalMAN 5 software suite, with an X-Rite i1Display Pro colorimeter for brightness and contrast readings, and the X-Rite i1Pro spectrophotometer for color accuracy. 

Display - Max Brightness

Display - Black Levels

Display - Contrast Ratio

The maximum brightness for the UX305 is an impressive 376 nits. This combined with the anti-glare coating should make this a great laptop for any sort of bright room, or even outside. Even better, the panel has excellent black levels. ASUS rates the display for a contrast ratio of 500:1, but the model we received blew past that for a 1410:1 ratio which is fantastic.

Display - Grayscale Accuracy

Display - White Point

Unfortunately the great brightness and contrast is about where this display ends. The grayscale average is actually flattering the ASUS with a score of just over 9, because the error rate is between 12 and 13 from 70% brightness on. These are huge errors, since anything over 5 is a poor result, and really we are aiming for scores under three. The white point is off, and there is a huge green shift in the display by default.

Display - Saturation Accuracy

The saturation sweeps are not quite as bad as the grayscale, with the UX305 coming in just over 6. It is oversaturated on blue, undersaturated on red, and there is a green shift which pulls the yellows and teals off of their axis.

Display - Gamut Accuracy

Display - GMB Accuracy

The GMB test is a more comprehensive test, and it scores very poorly again with a score over seven. The worst offenders were of course the white levels, which are very off, and the flesh tones on this display all had errors way over many of the other colors.

This is a very poor result and throws us back several years in terms of calibration. As far as out of the box performance goes the display can hit the entire sRGB colorspace, and as an IPS display it has great viewing angles, but otherwise there is nothing good to be said about this display as far as out of the box color accuracy goes.

To see if the display can be improved on with aftermarket calibration, I have run the display through our calibration software to try to fix some of the errors we encountered. Generally icc profiles will only really have a major effect on the grayscale, but that is the worst part of this display so hopefully we will be able to fix some of these issues.

Once calibrated, the display is almost completely different. There is still a large error on 100% white, but the overall grayscale drops to 0.9582, with a bit too much green but it is barely noticeable on most levels. The gamut drops to just 3.1256, saturation plummets to 1.9571, and the GMB test comes in at 2.3099.

If ASUS would take the time to include an icc profile for this display from the factory, it would be a lot better. It is amazing to me that ASUS would ship this display with it so far out of calibration, especially when calibrated it is almost perfect. Yes, the $699 price point is a factor, but the hard work was already done in getting a display that can produce these numbers. The easy part is taking the time to make it do that.

Design and Chassis System Performance
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  • Klug4Pres - Wednesday, March 25, 2015 - link

    Fair enough. I suppose I feel like we used to have a sane product line up for laptops, where 3 or 4 lbs was as light as anyone needed, then you had 5-6 lb machines that were workhorses with good expandability and possibly better value if you didn't need to shed all the weight, and then desktop replacements that could be as heavy as they needed to be.

    Now everything seems to be getting absurdly slim for no obvious reason, while maintainability and expandability are dirty words.
  • kingpotnoodle - Thursday, March 26, 2015 - link

    Most people consider 3-4lbs a weight to drag about, add into that a charger brick and the the chunky bag and you're quite weighed down. Contrast that to a laptop like this which has an all-day battery life (or much smalller charger) and slips into a thin sleeve case, sure you have to make sacrifices but it's all about priorities. There are plenty of fat, more upgradeable laptops around as well in all shapes and sizes. Once size doesn't fit all, never has.
  • Dorek - Thursday, March 26, 2015 - link

    Anyone who considers 3 pounds "a weight to drag about" must be from a planet where gravity is lower. 3 pounds is NOT HEAVY.
  • bznotins - Wednesday, March 25, 2015 - link

    Try lugging a 5lb laptop + brick + accessories across a dozen airports over the course of a month and you'll appreciate every ounce of weight savings you can muster.

    Try opening a 14" laptop on a plane in coach when the person in their seat reclines. You'll appreciate <13" then.

    But if you're the DTR type, then yeah, Intel hasn't been focusing on you. But there are options out there from Clevo and Maingear, among others.
  • V900 - Wednesday, March 25, 2015 - link

    I can understand people want a lighter machine, but you have a point about it going too far, and become a ridiculous race to be half an ounce lighter than the competitor.

    Once they got under 4 pounds it really ceases to have a point, and they could have invested the weight difference towards either performance or longer battery life. It's not like you can even tell the difference between a 2 pound laptop and a 3 pound laptop, especially once it's inside a bag. If carrying half a pound or a whole pound of additional weight really means that much, and makes that much difference, toss out that half liter bottle of water you probably got in your bag. BOOM! A whole pound of weight saved! Is the bag really that much lighter to carry now? Nah, thought not.
  • FlushedBubblyJock - Wednesday, March 25, 2015 - link

    You forgot to factor in the self-centered elitist narcissism that applauds loudly inside their heads every time they haul out their precious and hope others notice.
    Thus a tenth of an ounce and one shiny polish point is a king's ransom.
  • kevith - Wednesday, March 25, 2015 - link

    Lol! :-)
  • kmmatney - Wednesday, March 25, 2015 - link

    I've been carrying around a heavy 17" laptop for the last 8 years (2 different laptops). I would love to have a lighter laptop, but don't want to give up the 17" screen. I'm a heavy traveler, approaching 1 million miles on United, but my laptop case has wheels and it's not that big a deal to lug around. I wish they still made 17" laptops with 1200p screens.
  • Duncan Macdonald - Wednesday, March 25, 2015 - link

    As you did the calibration for your test machine - would it be possible for you to provide an ICC profile ? (This would also be useful for other devices with poor initial calibrations that you test.)
  • djvita - Wednesday, March 25, 2015 - link

    anandtech should post the RGB levels/ profile they used to calibrate, for goodwill of buyers =)

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