Ultrabooks are slowly, but surely getting into the notebook segment, as they are emphasizing more on the key aspect of a laptop, i.e. ‘portability’, than previous gen notebooks. However, as this segment is still in its nascent stages, Ultrabooks are selling at ‘ultra’ high prices. Asus has announced the launch of its latest Ultrabook, the Zenbook UX31. We put it through its paces in our labs and let’s have a look at how it fares.
13.3 inch screen with a 1600 x 900 res!!
Design and Build Quality
The UX31 looks quite stunning with the all metal finish. It’s thin, tapering, stylish and can be easily mistaken for a laptop sleeve. The exterior sports a similar concentric circle design as the Transformer Prime. There’s a tiny rubber casing that runs across the full length of the flap. The matte silver around the keyboard adds to the look and the entire laptop is practically fingerprint free. There’s ample handrest below the keyboard and very little elevation, so it’s comfortable for long hours of typing, but we’ll delve further into that in our performance section.
It’s extremely thin and only the most important ports have been included. The right consists of the power slot, the USB 3.0, the micro HDMI slot and the mini VGA slot, whereas the SD card reader, second USB slot and the headphone jack are located to the left. The heat sink is located at the back. We have mixed feelings about the build of the Zenbook, though. The power slot is extremely delicate and wobbly when the charger is connected. So much so, that a slight push or nudge might just break the connector or the port. The hinge, however, is surprisingly sturdy and the only time it does feel a bit loose is when you turn the flap to its max position. The area around the LCD has been reinforced well with the aluminium casing, but the LCD itself does feel a little cheap and the panel doesn’t seem to be of the best quality.
The connectivity ports on the side
In terms of design, the Zenbook clearly holds its own in this huge market full of similar looking laptops. However, build quality could have been better.
The 13.3 inch UX31 Zenbook has quite a high resolution of 1600 x 900 and is powered by an Intel Core i7 – 2677M CPU running at a frequency of 1.8GHz. There’s 4GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD and Intel’s integrated HD Graphics card 3000 onboard. All this is kept together by the 64 bit Windows 7 Home basic operating system. The UX31 comes with the latest Bluetooth Radio 4.0 + HS, Wi-Fi b/g/n, a webcam and Bang and Olufsen ICE power speakers.
Hinge is sturdy
The laptop comes pre-installed with various utility software - a virtual camera app, a secure delete application, a power management utility, a driver update app and a Live Update software. You wouldn't find yourself using them, too often, still they’re pretty good in terms of functionality.
Speaking about portability, the bundled adapter is quite miniscule and compact, unlike the bulkier ones we see often. Also, Asus has acknowledged that users might require a LAN port or a VGA port over a period of time, and have bundled them along with the Ultrabook. It’s basically a USB to LAN port and a USB to VGA port, so all those complaints about Ultrabooks missing some crucial ports have been put to rest.
Updated 24 May, 2013, 10:17 am IST
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