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Asus Zenbook UX21 review

One of the best 11-inch laptops - but can it justify its price?

Our Verdict

Product features

  • Screen Resolution : 1366 x 768
  • Processor Core : Dual-core (2 Core)

View full specification

For

  • Light and slim
  • Sandy Bridge power
  • Strong
  • Carry case supplied
  • Great battery life

Against

  • Pricey for an 11-inch machine
  • Small keyboard
  • Limited connectivity
  • Frustrating track pad

Asus zenbook ux21 review

TechRadar Labs

tech labs

Cinebench 10: 7297
3D Mark '06: 4096
Battery Eater: 189mins

The Asus Zenbook UX21's Intel Core i5 2467M processor scored well in our lab tests, notching up 7297 in Cinebench, making it easily as fast as chips found on most mid-range laptops. It's fully capable of multitasking standard tasks such as web browsing, streaming online video, picture editing and playing HD video.

When you consider the waif-like form of the Asus Zenbook UX21, it's incredible that it can compete with bulky portable laptops.

In terms of graphics performance, the numbers that denote the quality of games, video rendering and programs such as Photoshop show that the Asus Zenbook UX21 doesn't stack up so well.

Asus zenbook ux21 review

There's no dedicated graphics card here, so the processor handles the 3D effects instead. There's enough power to watch video and make simple edits to video, but hardcore graphics programs and even mid-range games would test the system beyond its limits.

Battery life is also good, and we achieved 189 minutes using our lab software, which involves simulating document writing while looping HD video in the background. In real terms, you can watch a full HD movie before reaching for the charger, or expect around five hours of web surfing and writing before your laptop dies.

If you're away from the mains all day, then you might not consider five hours to be enough, but you'd have to look to the Sony Z Series to get anywhere near the same power and portability as the Asus Zenbook UX21, and that would mean a huge jump in weight and price. The Sony Z Series and its external power pack cost in excess of £2,600.

Asus zenbook ux21 review

One of the most noticeable attributes of the Asus Zenbook UX21 is the speed in which it resumes from sleep. Using innovations from Intel, the Zenbook resumes instantly, without the hangs and loading periods that have historically plagued Windows machines. This is the most tangible benefit, and brings the fight to the host of tablets on the market.

The screen itself is excellent, and it's one of the best panels we've seen in a small form notebook. With the resolution equivalent to that of a larger 15-inch laptop, you can enjoy text documents and web pages properly, not like on a netbook, where the lower number of pixels means that web pages look zoomed it, meaning you have to scroll every few lines.

If you're a regular traveller, and you like watching movies, then the Asus Zenbook UX21 is perfect, and has enough power to play back high-definition video. The extra two inches over a tablet makes all the difference too, and this means it's a fantastic machine for those who mix work and play while on the move.

Tech Specs

Product TypeUltrabook
Green CompliantYes
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ModelHD 3000
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeNo
Graphics Memory AccessibilityShared
Solid State Drive Capacity128 GB
HDMIYes
WebcamYes
Backlight TechnologyLED
Product FamilyUX21
Processor Modeli5-2467M
ColourSilver
Operating SystemWindows 7
Brand NameAsus
Processor Speed1.60 GHz
Processor TypeCore i5
Screen Size29.5 cm (11.6")
Number of Cells6-cell
Screen Resolution1366 x 768
Standard Memory4 GB
Weight (Approximate)1.10 kg
Cache3 MB
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityRoHS
64-bit ProcessingYes
Chipset ManufacturerIntel
Chipset ModelQS67 Express
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11b/g/n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 4.0
Total Number of USB Ports2
Memory StandardDDR3-1333/PC3-10600
Screen ModeWXGA
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
Product SeriesUX21
ManufacturerASUS Computer International
Product ModelUX21E-KX004V
Product NameUX21E-KX004V Ultrabook
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberUX21E-KX004V
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://uk.asus.com
Battery ChemistryLithium Ion (Li-Ion)
Package Contents
  • UX21E-KX004V Ultrabook
  • Lithium Ion Battery
  • AC Adapter