The Display in Numbers

The new 1080p panel looks good, but does it make any sacrifices in its performance? Thankfully, no. Max brightness is down a bit compared to the previous generation, but it's still higher than any of the portable Macs and much higher than your typical PC displays. Black levels are much improved over the original Zenbook as well:

LCD Analysis - White

LCD Analysis - Black

The resulting contrast ratio is almost tablet-like:

LCD Analysis - Contrast

It's not just the basics that ASUS delivers well on, color accuracy is top notch:

LCD Analysis - Delta E

Color gamut is shy of the MacBook Pro but much better than the previous Zenbook and the MacBook Air:

LCD Analysis - Color Gamut

Size is definitely an issue here. While I think the 1920 x 1080 panel will be a very good fit for the 13.3-inch UX31, there's a smaller subset of folks who are going to appreciate it in the 11.6-inch UX21. Personally I think it's fine but at 189 PPI the 11-inch Zenbook Prime is going to be a tough sell for those who have a tough time looking at small text.


Text on the 11-inch 1080p panel

ASUS' solution is to ship the UX21 with Windows set to 125% DPI scaling by default, unfortunately most applications (including many of Microsoft's own) don't deal with non-integer DPI scaling very well.

Here's what the default desktop looks like at 125%:

And here are examples of applications that don't behave well with Windows 7's DPI scaling:

In Skype, some text elements are tiny while others are huge. PCMark Vantage is an example of where you see this as well:

Here the scaled text actually can't fit in the area allocated for it, while the rest of the text is entirely too small.

There's not much you can do to work around this today with Windows 7. You're either going to have really small text or have to deal with funny scaling. This is unfortunately a major downside to not controlling the OS layer, ASUS is at the mercy of Microsoft to get scaling for displays with high pixel densities right. Windows 8 should be better in this regard but I ran out of time to try it out on the Zenbook Prime before the embargo lift.

The Display in Pictures General Performance
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  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, May 23, 2012 - link

    Possibly, though it's NVIDIA hardware and I think GT 620M is just recycled GT 525M or something (Fermi GF108), so it can't do all three. However, it might be able to do internal on the IGP and two external on discrete? Somehow I doubt it, though; the only laptops I've ever seen running more than two simultaneous panels are using AMD GPUs. Reply
  • rosege - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    not sure how you count your panels but I have 2 external displays plus the laptop display running on an old X301
    using a usb to dvi connector for the second external display - you couldnt use it for anything too serious but for general office apps its fine
    Reply
  • Penti - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    Dell XPS 13 with Ivy Bridge? HP Elitebooks (Elitebook Folio?) with Ivy Bridge? Report back sometime :)

    We won't find out until later in June I guess.
    Reply
  • amalinov - Wednesday, May 23, 2012 - link

    Actually there is a way to have what 1ceTr0n wants and keep the ultrasleek design:
    - fully implemented (micro-)HDMI - that includes CEC and Ethernet, which are optional in the HDMI spec (for CEC you need to add a very small chip - until Intel/AMD/Nvidia start implementing CEC in the GPUs; for Ethernet you need your standard laptop Ethernet controller - Intel, Broadcom or whatever; then you need only a cheep passive cable to use Ethernet)

    If I were in ASUS place I would have done also the following about ports:
    - fully implemented mini-DisplayPort (instead of the mini-VGA) - that includes CEC and USB2.0 (for CEC you need to add a very small chip - until Intel/AMD/Nvidia start implementing CEC in the GPUs; for USB - just redirect wires from the chipset; USB in Displayport comes in handy for single cable to monitors with integrated USB hubs/cameras, also it can be converted to one additional standard USB port by the use of cheap passive cable - for devices tolerating 3.3V or having their own power supply - such as hubs) - and Thunderbolt as option for 13" premium models
    - USB3.0/eSATAp600 combo ports (for the forum skeptics - http://www.delock.de/produkte/F_246_intern_61862/m... is an example of such port) supporting USB Battery Charging 1.2 (7.5W over standard cable) and draft USB Power Delivery (100W over new type of cable) - and remove the power input port (the laptop will be charged by one of the USB PD ports - just like phones are charged by micro-USB currently) - more space for SD card reader or other ports/LEDs/wireless switches

    Wireless interfaces I would've added:
    - Bluetooth 4.0+HS (over WiFi PHY)+LE (over WiBree PHY)
    - NFC
    - FM radio with RDS and internal antenna - receiver and transmitter
    Options for premium models:
    - GPS/GLONASS/Augumentation satellites support; accelerometers, gyroscopes, magnetometer, altimeter - for inertial navigation indoors and other locations with weak satellite signal
    - 2G/3G/LTE
    - DVB-T/T2/H/SH (or equivalent US TV broadcasts) tuner with internal antenna

    Premium models power adapter with:
    - additional USB3.0 BatteryCharging/PowerDelivery ports (when the laptop is disconnected those will only provide power to other USB-powered devices; when the laptop-or-another-USB-host is connected a USB3.0 hub in the power adapter will provide also USB connectivity to the connected devices (like a docking station); switch to choose whether the power adapter USB ports should remain powered when no USB host is connected
    - maybe integrate the bundled USB-to-Ethernet converter here (but this is kind of redundant if the HDMI port is of the Ethernet-enabled variety)
    - maybe also add a USB audio controler providing 6 jack analog jacks (for 7.1 output, line-in, microphone)

    Other additions (some of which not very realistic for the time being):
    - Anti-glare matte display (if it isn't already of this type)
    - Fanless design (if it isn't already of this type)
    - Multi-touch screen with support for 10 fingers+2 palm-restings and maybe stylos/handwriting
    - Touchpad occupying the whole surface below the keyboard with support for 10 fingers+2 palm-restings and stylos/handwriting; maybe even a second screen (for customizable buttons, auxiliary information like level map, etc.)
    - two multi-megapixel back cameras with autofocus, xenon flash, night-mode video illumination, etc. (just like high end phone) for stereoscopic pictures and 2x1080p60 (3D) video
    - two 1080p60 front cameras (for 3D mode) - either with separate illumination or utilizing the keyboard illumination
    - integrated Kinect-like gesture recognition system with sensors and array microphones
    - two picoprojectors on the back (for 3D mode)

    Let's hope the above gets implemented in the Haswell (or AMD 28nm) Zenbooks. However, those are not deal breakers (but especially the port section is cheap to do, so kind of expected), so I congratulate ASUS for the Zenbook Prime!
    Reply
  • krash3x - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    I can see that its kinda pointless to have an ether net port on an ultra portable device but I can also say that sometimes its good to have one. Like trouble shooting connection issues making sure its not something interfering with your wifi or if you want to reduce latency. I have a quick question, how does the display compare to the screen on the new ipad? I'm looking to get something to replace my asus 1201n, and I'm kinda interested in this thing. although it would be nice if it had a dedicated gpu :-/ Reply
  • rosege - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    this model has dedicated gpu
    UX32VD-DB71
    Reply
  • mcquade181 - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - link

    I agree.
    The lack of a gigabit ethernet port is a killer. It means copying videos etc from you desktop computer to this will take 10 times as long.
    Reply
  • mackintire - Wednesday, May 23, 2012 - link

    a gigabit to USB 3.0 adapter will work fine. USB 3.0 is quite a bit faster than gigabit ethernet. Currently we have a DELL XPS13 package for our users that includes the USB 3.0 to gigabit ethernet adapter, they appear to run at full speed transferring 100MB/s with no issues. Reply
  • Sunburn74 - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    Thank you for making sense, unlike all these complainers. Most of the additional connectors a person specially needs can be found in the form of adapters and port expanders. Reply
  • Penti - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    A Gigabit ethernet adapters as it should also speeds up for USB 2.0 users quite a bit. Easily beets 100Mbit/s any how. Won't do near 1 Gigabit/s however. But it should work as fast as your basic home-user NAS. If you need more you probably has direct attached storage or even fibrelink so :) Nice to see USB 3.0 get native, and yes it's fast enough for most users and are capable to extend things like Ethernet, basic storage. Reply

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