Asus Zenbook UX31 – A Hands-on Review
This year the laptop space is all buzzing with this one word: Ultrabook. The market is flooded with ultra-thin, super-light notebooks which offer the ultra blazing speed of a high-finish laptop with the portability of comparatively inexpensive netbooks. To be noted is the fact that ultrabooks is not a different category of laptops altogether. Rather it is a advertising gimmick, and a quite successful a single, played by none other than Intel to describe a superior breed of laptops, powered by it is low power 22nm Ivy Bridge processors, possessing a frame no thicker that .83 inches, offering a humongous battery backup and offered at a cost point of around $ 1000. In short, every single device that aims to be a Macbook Air killer, has the correct to be called an ultrabook. Asus UX31 is 1 of those machines, which not only perform it’s intended function with aplomb, but also supply some severe competition to every other device in its category.
The Asus Zenbook UX31 is 1 fine item, packing in all the correct elements just at the proper price tag point.
A single look at the device and you wonder if this is the ideal seeking laptop ever built. Style is one portion where Asus has got practically everything appropriate. The all aluminium chassis and slim form aspect provides it a futuristic feel. The lid has dark metallic surface with circular pattern and the deck has a linear brush pattern. Measuring .7” (17mm) at its thickest point and an incredible .1” at its thinnest, the Zenbook has a wedge-shaped style, with the edges of the notebook tapered to give an impression that the notebook is thinner than it actually is. The machine weighs a measly 1.three kg, creating it simpler to carry about. The general really feel is as robust as it can get, with every part of the notebook giving an exceptional example of superior craftsmanship.
The lid of Asus UX31 has dark metallic surface with circular pattern and the deck has a linear brush pattern.
Keyboard & Touchpad
The UX31 functions an island-styled keyboard which is quick becoming the normal in all premium notebooks. Keys are effectively spaced, carved out of aluminium and are set-off against a black background. Typing on the ultrabook was an ordinary encounter, with some keys needing to be pressed a small harder than usual. Also the longer keys (such as Shift and Enter) do not sit entirely on level. What is annoying is that a single can really move them back and forth if pressed on their ends without registering an input even though typing. A single of the most significant gripe we had with the ultrabook was the lack of a backlit keyboard.
The touchpad is based on the glass trackpads, which is generally the stuff we discover on Macbooks. Measuring five inches diagonally, the touchpad is smooth and offers the user a large surface for responsive feedback. Unsurprisingly it supports multi-touch scrolling and has the left and right mouse buttons built into the surface.
The UX31 capabilities an island-styled keyboard, with keys carved out of aluminium.
Display and Sound
In contrast to most of the other 13 inches laptops which come with a native resolution of 1366 *768, the Asus UX31 packs in 1600*900 pixels, which clearly offer it a distinctive edge more than the competition. Not only the boost in resolution provides plenty of space for reading a document or scrolling a internet page, but it also enhances the high quality of video playback on the device, with the 1080p resolution videos playing as crisply as we have ever observed. The display has much better viewing angles than most of its competition and has enough brightness that tends to make it usable beneath all types of lighting.
We had been in for yet an additional pleasant surprise when we decided to verify the audio quality of the device. Supported with Bang & Olufsen’s ICEpower technologies, the speakers delivers loud sound even at median volume settings. As is evident, the sound comes through the hinge even though the bass travels via the keyboard. The speakers use the entire deck to reverberate the sound supplying a much more full and robust feel. Sound is wealthy, with minimum distortions even at greater volumes, even if it is not as bass-wealthy as we would like it to be. But given the size and other dynamics we could only anticipate this considerably from the machine.
Heat management : The laptop remains cool and emits tiny fan noise for most element of its operational duration. But extended use tends to make the correct rear bottom of the laptop fairly warm, to the extent of 95 degrees. Diverse anxiety tests, graphic substantial applications like games also had an impact on its temperature, raising it to as high as 103 degrees, generating the laptop unsuitable for lap use.
Ports and other capabilities
Taking into consideration the thin form-element of the machine, we can simply forgive Asus for jettisoning features like an optical drive and several USB ports. Even so, the truth which is worth noting is it nevertheless managed to consist of a lot more functions than its direct competitor, the Macbook Air. On the left side we have USB two. port, a headphone jack and a SD card slot. On the right hand side the Zenbook packs in a USB 3. port, a mini VGA connection and a microHDMI port. USB three. is relatively a new phenomenon and by which includes this Asus has produced its intention extremely clear that it has its sight set on the future. The ultrabook has a .3- mega pixel webcam on the front which takes pictures of acceptable quality. Asus has shipped with the laptop one USB-to-Ethernet adapter as nicely as a mini VGA-to-VGA adapter. Other than the normal integrated 802.11n Wi-Fi, the UX31 comes equipped with the most recent Bluetooth four. technologies are onboard.
Our test unit was the best finish model, which has a Core i7-2677M CPU, a 256 GB SATA III drive and 4GB of RAM.
Efficiency & Graphics
Our test unit was the top rated end version of the models launched in the Zenbook series and it came with a 1.8-GHz core i7-2677 CPU, four GB of RAM and a 256 GB Adata Solid State Drive. Numerous benchmark tests were performed which revealed a slew of statistics. The PCMARK 7 score of UX31 was 3293, slightly greater than the score of Macbook Air at 3186. The Core i7-2677M is 1 of the very best ultra-low voltage processors, which are provided with Turbo Increase 2. technologies. Making use of this function, the processor can be overclocked from it’s base clock rate of 1.80 GHz to two.9 GHz. The 256 GB SanDisk SSD also performed beyond expectations and managed to achieve read speeds of 451.3 MB/s and write speed of 242.9 MB/s. The Intel HD 3000 integrated graphics included in the UX31 aren’t as well exceptional, even though we couldn’t have imagined Asus fitting in a devoted graphic card in that very lean frame of the machine. Undoubtedly not a gamer’s paradise, but nonetheless it performs nicely even though rendering the frames of latest games like Crysis and other individuals.
The UX31 packs in quite a punch with its internal 50Wh polymer battery. The normal tests, which incorporate surfing the internet through WiFi and watching movies with out a break set at a brightness level of 70 percent, revealed a battery life of 5 hours 35 minutes which is on par with its competitors which includes the Macbook Air. You should be in a position to get by way of most of the day on a single charge with this notebook.
As is the case with all the other laptops, the Asus UX31 also comes with a range of pre-installed computer software. Some contact it bloatware, and for the most component of it, these applications seldom serve any meaningful objective, unless you really need them. Software program shipped range from Reside Update to a power management utility to the software program utilized for facial recognition. Most of these can be ignored safely and neither do they invade your space in any form. Our test machine also had some third party apps installed like a trial version of Microsoft Workplace 2010 and the Trend Micro Titanium World wide web Security.
The UX31 is offered in 3 configurations. Our test unit was the best finish model, which has a Core i7-2677M CPU, a 256 GB SATA III drive and 4GBof RAM. This premium model is priced at $ 1,499. The entry level model, priced at a convenient $ 1,099, has a Core i5-2557M processor, 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SATA III drive. For a larger tough drive (256 GB) you will have to devote $ 200 much more.
This is the full specs rundown of our ASUS Zenbook UX31E-DH52B evaluation unit.
The Asus Zenbook UX31 is 1 fine product, packing in all the appropriate elements just at the right value point. It is undoubtedly one of the most competitive machines in the ultrabook space and will stay so in the close to future also. The refreshing design featuring wafer-thin aluminium chasis, super quickly resume from sleep, outstanding performance, and a more than satisfactory battery life all make the Zenbook a single device you will not regret shelling out for. The outstanding 1600 * 900 resolution is one particular factor which you will not find in several 13.3 inch notebooks. Outstanding audio top quality and a effectively carved out keypad are other significant selling points of the UX31 Zenbook. A backlit keyboard and lack of user-upgradeable parts is a couple of the areas where Asus left us wishing for much more. On query regardless of whether the Asus Zenbook UX31 is a Macbook killer or not you can have a healthy comparison between the two machines and answer for yourself.
But at $ 1,099 MSRP for the base model, the ASUS Zenbook proves as a clear winner in the nonetheless infant ultrabook space whilst supplying a tempting option to the more-costly MacBook Air.