of Utrabooks (Part 3)
ASUS ZENBOOK UX31
If Ultrabook was a
combination of beauty and solid, Zenbook UX31 of Asus would be a perfect model
for this. In spite of having the fastest processor in the modern product line
and as-quick-as-lighting SandForce SSD, Asus made a success of creating such an
elegant product which wasn’t common sight to see.
Being covered by the
aluminum machine outworked monoshell, definitely Zenbook UX31 of Asus was a
visual marvel. Meanwhile showing respect to the image of MacBook Air – it
tapered down from 21mm plump at the back to several mm in the front edge – the
latest Asus product struggled to keep its unique personality. The concentric
circles radiated the whole dark silver lid together with spick and span lines
inside completely contrast with the detailed design along the hinge.
It wasn’t perfect. If
you looked at every inch of that carefully, occasionally you could meet up with
the ill-polished metal substance. However, with the very first attempt, there
was no doubt about the fact that Zenbook looked so impressive.
The solid metal body
made Zenbook UX31 a little bit heavier than the Portege Z830 1.09kg of Toshiba,
but not much. With 1.40kg, Asus was light enough to nearly vanish in your bag.
The stable base and hard lid made it become a machine looked like a 13” MacBook
Air of Apple. Whenever mentioning about the building quality, there was no
Windows laptop in the same class as that of Zenbook.
Under the charming
cover was the heart of the fast ultraportable. The Core i7 processor run in
1.8GHz, over locked into 2.9GHz whenever needed speed along with a fast SSD. It
was a powerful combination, and enough to boost Asus into the first place in our
Real World Benchmarks test, with the result of 0.62.
All of the parts
together made it a laptop fulfilled the daily tasks as a piece of cake. A cold
boot would allow the Windows background appeared in approximately 20 seconds,
and thanks to the Instant On technology of Asus, Zenbook UX31 would wake up
from the hibernating mood in about 2 seconds. Besides, it was the perfect
travel companion with 8 hours 53 minutes in the light-duty use. Asus not only
responded quickly but also kept running while many of its rivals had to come
back to the sockets.
It was difficult in
refusing the alluring charm of Zenbook UX31. The speakers under the brand name
of Bang & Olufsen made powerful sound, meanwhile the enhance display screen
1,600x900 all over the 13.3”. With all other laptops which had the resolution
of 1,366x768 or lower, the additional pixel of Asus was welcomed
However, there were
still some disappointing aspects, and the screen was the first one. It was too
bright to see – the maximum brightness was 506cd/m2 – but the image quality was
not completely perfect. The temperature of 7051K got the screen bluish tint,
while the 204:1 contrast ratio made it struggle in appearing the details in the
Till the first time we
examined the Zenbook UX31, we had plenty of complaints about the mirror
touchpad. Fortunately, several months later there was the announcement of many
updating drivers which solved a lot of current problems.
The mirror surface let
the finger feel the smoothness like the old ones, and the updating drivers made
a significant difference in the promptness, quicker response in mouse moving
and less shaking touchpad.
The keyboard of Asus
could be divided into many ways. Brick-shaped Scrabble buttons were balanced
with the wide distance in between, and in case there were not many actions in
each keystroke, this action definitely would create the feeling of a luxury.
However, it wasn’t outstanding because it caused the paralytic feeling under
the fingers compared with the best keyboard; besides, the lighter press was
hard to recognize. This was the keyboard which required each and every one
The last complaint was
ill backlit keyboard. With those who didn’t feel like blundering around in the
dark, it was the most remarkable flaw.
As for the
connectivity, these disadvantages could be understood, but at least it was much
better than other Ultrabook. Asus crammed the one and only USB3 port in the
right flank, and SD card reader, headphone output and USB2 in the left flank.
Despite the fact that there was no room for the big-sized output, but you have
the 3 mini-D-SUB and a micro-HDMI. However, there was nothing to complain about
the connectivity with a one-band 802.11n and a Bluetooth 4, but at least it had
1 USB Ethernet adapter.
Besides, Asus also
offered a D-SUB adapter in a box – both could be put into a small travel bag –
and to those who cared about the fashion would highly appreciate its cushioned
cover fitted perfectly for the laptop. Last but not least, about the power
supply: Asus was one out of few manufacturers accepting the small wall wart
There was no doubt
that Asus Zenbook was an amazing laptop. It was equipped with a lot of
significant elements, gorgeous, powerful, well-designed and high resolution
display screen which made all its rivals cowed. However, it wasn’t perfect of
course and if Dell decreased the price of XPS 13, UX31 would have come to the
2nd place. At the end of the day, Asus Zenbook UX31 was our champion, but the
price seemed to be a bit high.
Battery life in light-duty use: 8 hours 53 minutes
Performance: 5 stars
Battery life: 6 stars
Features/design: 4 stars
Value: 4 stars
1. Asus keyboard
seemed to be its weakness. No backlit and trend of missing feeling in each
keystroke, therefore, it wasn’t our most favorite keyboard.
2. The updating
drivers made the miracles to its touchpad, far from the slow mouse control in
the former models.
+ Zenbook UX31 was the
product originated from the real passion. Its appearance was nearly perfect,
with curved hinge and heat given off design made it an impressive laptop.
+With Asus logo in the
middle, the dark silver circles radiating all over the super tough lid of
Zenbook. Thanks to its firm design and lovely style, Asus completed its job