ASUS

The success of the thin, ultraportable Apple MacBook Air has indirectly prompted Intel to envision how notebook computer of the future should be like. And that notebook computer is the new Ultrabook which was recently launched by various manufacturers.

The term "Ultrabook" first came about at COMPUTEX 2011, and ASUS was there to showcase their UX21 and UX31 machines – which use the power-efficient second-generation Intel Core processors, have long-lasting life, and are easy to carry. Intel had also held a press conference in Taiwan, and announced that it will invest up to US$300 million in research and development for the Ultrabook product line. From this, one can tell that even the chip giant felt a sense of threat from Apple.

Looking back, Intel was pushing for the energy-efficient Consumer Ultra-Low Voltage (CULV) processor. But why did it fail?

1. Intel forced manufacturers to take in their chips or else it would "affect" the future supply of chipsets.  will affect the subsequent supply chipsets and processors.
2. The notebook PCs from various manufacturers that incorporate the CULV processor, the weight and thickness simply can't match that of the Ultrabook.
3. The performance is unable to fulfil the requirement of most consumers.
4. Apple introduced their first-generation MacBook Air which uses ULV processor, and it completely overtook the CULV notebooks in the market.


From the first to second generation Apple MacBook Air, the various notebook manufacturers did not feel any pressure. But with the third generation, something has to be done or else nothing could change how Apple define the trend of consumers' spending habit. ASUS U Series, from U1 and U2, has stunned and impressed everyone with their design, but not the latter models. However, the new ZENBOOK has reliven the U-series, more than the U1 and U2 era.

There are four ASUS Ultrabook models in Taiwan, which are listed below. Our review unit is the UX31E-061A2557M which incorporates Intel Core i5-2557M processor, 4GB DDR3 memory, and SandForce SATA 6Gbps SSD that uses SF-2281 controller.

  UX21E-021A2467M UX21E-061A2677M UX31E-061A2557M UX31E-081A2677M
CPU CORE i5-2467M (1.6GHz) CORE i7 – 2677M (1.8GHz) CORE i5-2557M (1.7GHz) CORE i7 – 2677M (1.8GHz)
Memory 4 GB DDR3 1333 (4 GB) 4 GB DDR3 1333 (4 GB) 4 GB DDR3 1333 (4 GB) 4 GB DDR3 1333 (4 GB)
Storage 128GB SATA III SSD 256 SATA III SSD 128GB SATA III SSD 256GB SATA III SSD
Display 11.6-inch WXGA LED backlit (1366 × 768) 11.6-inch WXGA LED backlit (1366 × 768) 13.1-inch WXGA LED backlit (1600 × 900) 13.1-inch WXGA LED backlit?1600 × 900)
Chipset Intel GMA 3000 HD Intel GMA 3000 HD Intel GMA 3000 HD Intel GMA 3000 HD
Audio Bang&Olufsen ICEpower Bang&Olufsen ICEpower Bang&Olufsen ICEpower Bang&Olufsen ICEpower
Network Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0 + HS, Ethernet Gigabit Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0 + HS, Ethernet Gigabit Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0 + HS, Ethernet Gigabit Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0 + HS, Ethernet Gigabit
I/O micro HDMI, mini-VGA, audio, USB 2.0, USB 3.0 micro HDMI, mini-VGA, audio, USB 2.0, USB 3.0 micro HDMI, mini-VGA, audio, USB 2.0, USB 3.0, SD card reader micro HDMI, mini-VGA, audio, USB 2.0, USB 3.0, SD card reader
OS Windows 7 Windows 7 Windows 7 Windows 7
Battery 6 cell, 7hr 6 cell, 7hr 6 cell, 7hr 6 cell, 7hr
Dimension front – 3mm, rear – 9mm,1.1kg front – 3mm, rear – 9mm, 1.1kg front – 3mm, rear – 9mm, 1.3kg front – 3mm, rear – 9mm, 1.3kg
Others chiclet-style keyboard, multitouch touchpad chiclet-style keyboard, multitouch touchpad chiclet-style keyboard, multitouch touchpad chiclet-style keyboard, multitouch touchpad
SRP NT$ 39,900 NT$ 49,900 NT$ 41,900 NT$ 51,900
RRP NT$ 34,500 ~ 35,000 NT$ 44,500 ~ 45,000 NT$ 37,500 ~ 38,000 NT$ 46,500 ~ 47,000