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Asus Zenbook UX31 review

Is this the first real PC alternative to the MacBook Air?

Our Verdict

Product features

  • Screen Resolution : 1600 x 900
  • Processor Core : Dual-core (2 Core)

View full specification

For

  • Power in spades Instant resume Long battery life Fast SSD Excellent sound

Against

  • Poor viewing angle Nasty trackpad buttons Derivative design No backlit keyboard

Asus zenbook ux31

Overall we were very impressed with the Asus Zenbook. Neither power nor portability has been sacrificed in pursuit of the other and features that traditionally suffer, such as audio quality and battery life, have not been neglected.

Battery life, especially, isn't the worry it usually is with the Zenbook, but you need to make sure it's in the right power state - running on high performance means that the system flies - but it comes at a cost. For most purposes, running in power saving mode is more than enough.

We liked

There's so much to like about this laptop. It's a real PC ultraportable - the design is fantastic and it goes like stink.

Beautiful design can only come into its own when there's performance to match.And it's all here in spades.

The instant sleep and resume is exactly what you want in a laptop like this, and you'll find yourself quickly adapting to never shutting down. Unless, that is. Windows wants to install updates!

We disliked

There's surprisingly little we disliked about the Zenbook, but it must be said that the trackpad buttons grate especially. They are truly awful and mean that a mouse is recommended for serious work.

The keyboard takes a bit of getting used to and isn't as good as many - however, you quickly get to know it and it's not too much of an issue. The lack of a backlight is also a problem.

Graphics performance could be better but we realise that's slightly unrealistic for a machine of this type - we also weren't huge fans of the display.

Finally, you could say the design - though fantastic - is rather derivative. Still, unless you're a real design freak, you'll almost certainly find that you're not that fussed.

Verdict

While price may preclude some from purchasing the Zenbook, we have no problem in recommending it as one of the best ultraportables we've seen.

It's certainly a match for the impressive MacBook Air - and a real tonic to those who have wanted a performanceWindowsultraportable at a price point that doesn't require a remortgage. Yes, it's expensive. But it's so worth it.

Tech Specs

Product TypeUltrabook
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ModelHD 3000
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeNo
Graphics Memory AccessibilityShared
Maximum Battery Run Time7 Hour
Solid State Drive Capacity256 GB
HDMIYes
WebcamYes
Backlight TechnologyLED
Product FamilyZENBOOK UX31
Operating System Architecture64-bit
Processor Modeli5-2557M
Operating SystemWindows 7 Home Premium
Brand NameAsus
Processor Speed1.70 GHz
Processor TypeCore i5
Screen Size33.8 cm (13.3")
Screen Resolution1600 x 900
Standard Memory4 GB
Weight (Approximate)1.30 kg
Cache3 MB
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
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
Height17 mm
Width325 mm
Depth223 mm
Screen ModeWSXGA
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
Product SeriesUX31
ManufacturerASUS Computer International
Product ModelUX31E-DH53
Product NameZENBOOK UX31E-DH53 Ultrabook
Pointing Device TypeTouchPad
Product LineZENBOOK
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberUX31E-DH53
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://uk.asus.com
Marketing InformationIncredible Beauty

The ZENBOOK uses a precision-crafted design measuring only 3mm at the front and 9mm at the rear. The form features razor thin edges and a curved center section, which is both practical and attractive - while accommodating the powerful computing components within, this design also looks totally unique. It embodies beauty and strength in complete balance and harmony.

Incredible Speed

ASUS is proud to deliver the world's first ultrabook with SATA 6Gb/s solid state storage, making for an amazingly smooth and fast computing experience. Additionally, all ASUS ZENBOOK models ship with USB 3.0 as standard, multiplying the transfer rates of current USB 2.0 by as much as a factor of ten! Combined, SSD storage and USB 3.0 create incredible speed of data transfer rates.

Battery ChemistryLithium Polymer (Li-Polymer)
Package Contents
  • ZENBOOK UX31E-DH53 Ultrabook
  • Lithium Polymer Battery
  • AC Adapter
Limited Warranty1 Year