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  • efeman - Saturday, October 22, 2011 - link

    So, from what I can gather, it looks like a decent stab at a Windows-based true ultraportable. I'm excited to see the competition over the next few months, as well as what these things will evolve to over time. Reply
  • RussianSensation - Saturday, October 22, 2011 - link

    If Asus fixes the track pad issue with firmware updates and does a Revision 2 when Ivy Bridge arrives, while keeping the same prices, this will be a viable competitor to the MacBook Air. It's a nice first stab at the Ultrabook market. However, I feel that when paying $1200-1400 for a 13.3 inch X31 model, the screen should be pretty nice. So I am going to have to skip this model until they fix the screen. Reply
  • DanNeely - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    I wouldn't hold my breath on the touchpad. My MSI wind netbook had a Sentilics pad; it was cripled by a few patents synaptics refused to license with anyone else. Reply
  • Friendly0Fire - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    Not that it matters much; Synaptics touchpads are also terrible. My Envy's is still barely usable a year after it came out. Reply
  • cloudgazer - Saturday, October 22, 2011 - link

    On the battery life performance you have the Zenbook down as being an i5 - presumably that's a typo and was meant to be an i7? Or did you do the battery test on the i5 model? In which case the model number is presumably a typo?

    Something is squiffy at any rate.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, October 22, 2011 - link

    Corrected; it's the i7-2677M (there's no such thing as an i5-2677M, though there is an i5-2557M). Thanks. Reply
  • Filiprino - Saturday, October 22, 2011 - link

    Now you are releasing 1600x900 thin laptops? GTH.
    And I can't believe that ASUS still puts b/g/n cards. Where are my 5Ghz frequencies?
    Reply
  • vol7ron - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    I think Wireless-N (802.11n) uses both 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    802.11n can be 2.4GHz and/or 5GHz, but in this case ASUS used a cheaper chip that is 2.4GHz only. 802.11a/b/g/n usually means 5GHz is supported on 11n, but b/g/n typically means 2.4GHz only. Reply
  • vol7ron - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    I'm not sure that would meet N specs, though. You're saying it would operate w/ N, but it would be on a 2.4GHz band, which would more than likely limit the throughput.

    I think cards that are b/g/n, that only operate on 2.4GHz will still only see a max of 54Mbps, right?
    Reply
  • Lu-Max - Wednesday, November 09, 2011 - link

    I own a UX31E and I can confirm that the Atheros AR9485WB-EG WIFI adapter installed in it is 2.4GHz capable ONLY. I was very disappointed when it would not connect to my N AP which was running in 5GHz mode.

    I confirmed this information with ASUS Technical Support. I could not find this specification listed anywhere for the Zenbook, not even on the ASUS site. Had I know this prior to purchase it would have been a key decision factor.
    Reply
  • chrnochime - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    You whining about this laptop? Don't buy it. There's a new concept.

    Oh and btw 5GHz has sh!tty range/wall penetration so not everyone wants great speed at short ranges and no signal beyond that at all.
    Reply
  • Filiprino - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    Adding 5Ghz is $10 more at most. And 5Ghz is less prone to interferences. It's great for videostreaming, backups... Reply
  • jjj - Saturday, October 22, 2011 - link

    Crappy perf,crappy battery life,crappy screen,crappy connectivity ,overpriced but thin. Reply
  • Devo2007 - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    You forgot to add "crappy post" at the end. Crappy troll Reply
  • duploxxx - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    expensive typing machine is a better word... afterall that is what you can do with it.
    fancy, fast enough cpu and HD without any graphics performance. Sure i can believe that it will only start to increase sales when IVY arrives, then they might finally be able to achieve some level of graphic performance.

    silly OEM always follow the silly Intel rules just to sell there way to expensive cpu.
    Reply
  • B3an - Saturday, October 22, 2011 - link

    Nice first attempt. But i'd also like a better display, specifically better viewing angles, thats most important. Secondly i'd like a higher res for the 11 inch model, and 1080p for the 13 inch model. If this atleast had better viewing angles i would have bought this right away. Shame.

    I love how the battery life on this is better than the AIR, even with improved specs but same battery capacity on the Zenbook.
    Reply
  • Impulses - Saturday, October 22, 2011 - link

    Any plans to review the UX31 or will it be too redundant? I'm curious whether that model's screen will fare any better... I think it's probably gonna be the more popular model too. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, October 22, 2011 - link

    Should be coming soon.... Reply
  • Impulses - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    Cool, thanks! Reply
  • CallumS - Saturday, October 22, 2011 - link

    Looks like a brilliant design and in my opinion has better aesthetics than the MBA. What I would really like to see though is Thunderbolt or a decent alternative introduced across the line.

    Personally for basic web and coding I find ultra-portables perfectly capable at the task, especially with SSDs. However I would still like the option to plug in a maximum of two cables to get >FHD resolutions and everything else connected. I truly believe that including Thunderbolt was a brilliant idea for Apple. It really did open up a lot of opportunities.

    BTW: Never owned a Mac and can't use OSX due to work applications. Looking for the best Windows alternative or to purchase a MBA to run Windows 7. The best alternative at the moment that I am aware of being a Thinkpad x220/x1/T420s with SSDs and docking station.
    Reply
  • kaiedmek - Saturday, October 22, 2011 - link

    A brilliant design!!! Come on, They just stole MBA design.... they didn't work on there own design, wished they did, but instead they just copied others design.
    To produce brilliant computer they should do their own design, so they can match the internal hardware with the design and of course the software performance.
    Reply
  • CallumS - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    I never said an original design. =)

    I do agree though, it does look far too much like the MBA. Probably more so than the Samsung 10.1 tablet and the iPad; Which was banned here in Australia.

    However there are key differences and as my post was pointing out, I believe these are to the advantage of the of the MBA; apart from aesthetics.

    I think it would also be naive to suggest that the MBA was a completely original design also. There were many other notebooks with similar shapes and ambitions. Apple did however put them together very nicely though. I certainly do respect Apple's ability to accomplish such tasks.

    Unfortunately not very helpful when most business applications are purely designed for the Windows environment at present. Hopefully in time we can see that change and some better innovation from Microsoft too. Windows 7 has certainly set a great foundation and Windows 8 is looking promising.
    Reply
  • GeorgeH - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    Yep, without Thunderbolt and a docking station that allows more connectivity and the ability to attach a real (and hopefully upgradeable) GPU I'm just not interested. Otherwise this is just a slightly more useful tablet - an expensive niche within a niche.

    So here's hoping that the Ivy Bridge refresh brings a better screen, Thunderbolt, and a reasonably priced (I'm looking at you, Sony) external and upgradeable GPU.
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    It's the battery life that really disappoints me. I'd like something with more performance than my netbook; but my 1st gen models 6 hour battery never lasted me a full day at a convention. Reply
  • Roland00Address - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    I dislike the term "cells" for laptop batteries for it doesn't really tell you the capacity of the battery like the term Whr does.

    A 6 cell battery for a laptop would usually have a 40 Whr to 60Whr. This laptop has a 35Whr battery.

    4 to 5 hours is pretty good for a 4 cell battery that is not running something dirt slow like atom
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    the runtime isn't unreasonable for the CPU+battery combination; but it's well short of what I'd need to be able to retire my netbook for something a bit speedier. Reply
  • netmann - Saturday, October 22, 2011 - link

    Thanks for the great review as usual. Is there a chance the future update to this review would include performance comparison of Asus UX21 with 11-inch MacBook Air with Windows 7 (through Boot Camp) and OWC 6 GB/s SSD installed in it? I believe some of like the Apple hardware better than PC but prefer running Windows OS. Reply
  • vol7ron - Saturday, October 22, 2011 - link

    Great review, two things:

    1) I wouldn't trust ASUS testing - thinking back to how horrible it is to contact their support, and how they had issues with their mobo's for the C2D (and so many other things)

    2) It looks like the Skype images are on OSX, not Win7 :)
    Reply
  • digitheatre - Monday, October 24, 2011 - link

    It is because they want to test the UX21's video camera quality, so the screenshot is captured from MBA :P Reply
  • Fastidious - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    Seems like a lot of sacrifices for thinness. If they were cheaper it would have more appeal but I'd rather get something like a M11x for that kind of price. I wouldn't mind the price staying the same if they had a real GPU. Reply
  • Dennis Travis - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    Excellent review Anand. Watched the Video also. It very MBA like but I guess the Air is still a bit better in a few ways, but still nice first attempt by Asus. Reply
  • guste - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    Anand, there are probably more of us Windows folk buying the MacBook Air, than you think. I just bought an 11" Air, last week and I've enjoyed it. I just hate that I have an OS on here that I'll never really use (I've tried, but there are much less options for control!). I was fairly certain the Aspire S3 would be a cost-cutting dud (and it is), but I was excited about the Asus. After reading your great review, I'm going to stick with the MBA, but I'm sure that Asus will nail it on the second go round.

    I really hope you take a look at the upcoming Lenovo U300S. If I hadn't needed a new machine right now, the Lenovo would have been at the top of my list. According to Lenovo's websiste, it's launching in November.
    Reply
  • solipsism - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    "(I've tried, but there are much less options for control!)"

    Are you talking about Unix over Windows or Unix over Linux? I can't imagine there isn't much you can't control in Mac OS X.
    Reply
  • coolhardware - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    Thanks for the nice review Anand. I'm looking forward to seeing one of these systems in person.

    Here is something (free) that might help with some aspects of the trackpad:
    http://www.jdhodges.com/2011/09/smooth-two-finger-...
    I would be very curious if it works with the UX21, because it DEFINITELY helps with my Dell V131 and M6500.

    Thanks again for all the hard work you and the crew do bring us tasty tech reviews!
    Reply
  • arnavvdesai - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    Anand, do you feel that there is a compromise being made when going to the 13" model which has a much higher Resolution compared to the Air? If using as your main computer, I would prefer to have the highest resolution possible.
    Also, because it is at higher resolution is the panel configuration different compared to the Air?
    Reply
  • bludragon - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    Hmm, if this had been around when I was shopping I might have been tempted. An IPS display would have done it... As it is, I'm still quite happy with a Thinkpad X220 with am mSSD, IPS display, and a 320Gb 2.5in mechanical drive for media and backing up the SSD :-) The only thing missing on that is a higher res display. 1366x768 feels a little vertically challenged.

    The U300s looks nice, but suffers the same vertically challenged display. They say it's 'HD', does that mean IPS? It would be nice if they at least offered an upgrade to IPS option like the X220. If it's TN then the 13inch ASUS is looking better for the extra resolution.
    Reply
  • mrboonmee - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    The only 1600x900 option so far is on the UX31, I wonder how much better that panel is? still not matte of course.

    hopefully the trackpad improves.
    Reply
  • adrien - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    0.3MP webcam, why are laptops stuck at such low resolutions? =/ Reply
  • Darkstone - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    You commented on the lack of a second USB 3.0 port, probably routing issues... However, i have a different theory. The USB 3.0 port requires a driver to work. Installing windows on a device with no working usb ports, nor a dvd drive would be a total nightmare. I'm glad that USB 2.0 port is there. Reply
  • Panlion - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    Good call. I could not install windows using the USB 3 drive so having an USB 2 port saved me.

    I also think by having the power, USB3, and the 2 mini VGA and HDMI port on the same side, you have a real possibility of having a docking station like block for this notebook.
    Reply
  • ggathagan - Monday, October 24, 2011 - link

    Given that Asus does not sell this computer without an installed OS, I doubt that concern is even on their radar. Reply
  • DanNeely - Monday, October 24, 2011 - link

    Unless you think that they've never considered how to do a restore after an SSD failure your assumption can't be true. Reply
  • komoornik - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    What about the heat and noise? No detailed tests? Reply
  • tipoo - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    Yeah, I recall Asus making some claims about this cooling system vs the "Fruit Brand" (yes they really said that) cooling system. Reply
  • lukarak - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    Then again, the first MBA was also not impressive, but that was some years ago. This is too little, too late imo.
    The price is competitive, but the thing is, the smaller you go with laptops, the price and what you get for it becomes less important, and the general feeling of usage starts to play a bigger role.
    I know it's not easy to make a trackpad that will be as integrated into the OS like the MBxs. It's good that some gestures are making its way to other systems.
    But for me, the biggest one, especially on such small screens, is the ability to swipe between multiple desktops available in OS X. That makes me work so much faster. I sometimes have 10 desktops open, and getting to them without having to use key combinations is just something i couldn't live without anymore. Even if it means paying 100 or 200 more for the same performance.
    Reply
  • popej - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    I haven't noticed any info about screen type, but looking at the pictures it works like a mirror. IMHO you can't call notebook truly portable if it has glare screen. Reflections severely limit range of places, where it can be used comfortably. Reply
  • yzkbug - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    Ditto! Reply
  • JohnMD1022 - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    "ASUS elected to use torx bits instead of standard phillips heads to better match the industrial design of the system. While I appreciate the attention to detail I think I'd be happier if ASUS had stuck to standard screws."

    Most people, including computer geeks, don't have torx drivers around the house, as they do regular and Phillips screwdrivers.

    However, a quick trip to Sears and about $5 will fix you up with the needed size.
    Reply
  • lukarak - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    To be honest, that could be true 10 years ago, but now, torx (and torx security) is pretty much a standard.
    Now the new 'players' are tri-wing (although they started to appear in some boxed sets) and apple's pentalobe.
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    After my pata HDD decomissioning project I ended up with several sets containing torx bits. I started out with a large set of sears bits that included some torx ones I originally bought for other uses; added a set of 1/4" socket wrench style torx bits from an autozone because my sears set didn't go to anything smaller, and finally ended up ordering a set of mini bits from amazon after discovering I needed an even smaller size to crack open a few of the laptop drives. Reply
  • krumme - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    Lets pretend this can play 1080 flash video
    Lets pretend this is for all day computing
    Lets pretend all those BM have anything to do with real world usage pattern
    Lets pretend this will sell

    ARM15 and win 8 will end all the wet dreams that is left if it matter now it will not sell, and if you dont need the 28nm powerhouse of a bobcat AMD derived core.

    This looks more like a comercial to me than a review. This is more stupid than a BD for desktop.
    Reply
  • morousg - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    I guess the legal battle will beguin soon. This is a perfect copy of fabrication processes, chassis dessing and even component selection and component placement inside the "CopyAir".

    They are copying even almost the price!!

    There are slight differences on I/O ports and the back color of the screen, but the ventilation system is also copied. It's the first PC I've ever seen copying the entire form factor and design from a Mac. The HP Envy line of PC's where very similar to MacBook Pros, but almost where made of plastic, and there where more differences. This time, it's every thing!!

    The battery is divided and disposed sa in the Macbook Air, and it occupies a similar proportion of space.
    The SSD has the same form farctor.
    The trackpad, is almost as big as the Macbook Air's.
    The screen even has a black edge, just to don't confuse you to think this is not a copy.
    Even the rubber around the age of the screen, is the same.
    And of course, as Apple does and so proudly exposes, Asus has taken a solid block of aluminum, and craved it to make a copy of the Apple's Unibody notebook chassis.
    You know what? Even the charger has a very similar shape.

    Is there any body able to create something new instead of always copying Apple??
    Reply
  • Roland00Address - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    Let sue the bread companies for their bread is almost virtually identical to the almighty wonder bread. Reply
  • morousg - Monday, October 24, 2011 - link

    Let's say I have a patent about bread fabrication that makes my bread able to be preserved in a certain manner and do a certain final process in any bakery or even supermarket in a fast and cheap way.

    Let's say no one else (until I patented it) has done it before (in real life not in movies...) and I spent time and a suffered big amount of bucks to develop that process.

    Now, some on else copy it for free.

    If it where legal, we would provably still fight with rocks, because no body would invest on R+D. Don't forget the D, from Development. This is a costy part, from ideas to reality. There are lots of try-and-error steps, that consume worker hours and material. No body should dismiss that in the name of progress.

    And now, ask your self why oh why the bread is so cheap. Because it has always been? Think again.
    Reply
  • karlostomy - Monday, October 24, 2011 - link

    morousg says "Is there any body able to create something new instead of always copying Apple?? "

    No offence, but that is just nonsense.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CW0DUg63lqU
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CW0DUg63lqU
    http://rocketsandrayguns.tumblr.com/post/399321220...

    Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg that you seem to be blissfully unaware of.
    How strange that you have been brainwashed to think other companies copy apple, when in the reverse is evidently true.
    Reply
  • morousg - Monday, October 24, 2011 - link

    Thank you for the links. They where enlightening.

    But you, as many others, are missing "one more thing". The Development of the ideas.

    Having ideas is a fun thing to do. Any one can do it, mixing other ideas, changing them a bit etc… But few are so brave to try to do things (maybe the same things) but in a new way, or with something that no one has ever DEVELOPED.

    Trying to DEVELOP a new feature that erases others that are more or less well stablished (like the stylus or the notebook million pieces typical PC structure) is risky and costly. Few business do that, or if they do, the first failure makes them stop or reduce their efforts on R+D.

    That's the good thing from Apple, they never stop trying, even if they do some mistakes. Is good that someone invests in creating new thigs, or imporving existing things in a way that they seem completely new, because they have something much better and unique (again unique in the sense of being the first to develop it).

    So I think that is a good thing that a business that believes in R+D, tries to protect their investments in both R+D.

    I fact, probably, during the D part you are creating something new, like a fabrication process. A notebook is a notebook. But a traditional notebook chassis is definitely not a unibody chassis, and the technology involved is definitely not the same.

    Why should I spend money and time on trying to improve things, if others will copy my improvement or invention, and I won't get any benefit from the investment I did?

    Patents exist to protect PROGRESS, that is quite much more than just having nice ideas, and putting them on a movie.
    Reply
  • Sunburn74 - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    What tradeoffs are people complaining about? All of these parts are parts found in lots of other notebooks out there. The only actual tradeoff I see here is the battery life for form factor trade.

    Those of you who are asking for HD screens, IPS panels, thunderbolt connectors, external gpus, and etc should realize Asus makes laptops for everyone, not just the 1% who know what an external gpu is. If you are one of those people asking for these things, be told very clearly now, you are in the <1% of people could care, could use, know how to use, and would actually use these things. The rest of us are perfectly happy working on our TN panels at 1366x766 surfing the web, checking email, typing up word documents, talking via skype with our webcams, and enjoying our beautiful form factor PC. We don't care about benchmarks when it comes to laptops, how many gflops my processor does or how many FPS my laptop gets in Civ 5. We care about how much fun it actually is to use the damn thing. My PC desktop screams, absolutely screams, but when it comes to laptops thats the only thing I care about and I'm as close to a normal person as you're gonna get on this forum. Done are my days of lugging around a 17in beast of a powerhouse laptop that was embarassing to pull out when all I wanted to do was check an email at the airport or write a quick note. All I care about now is how fun and easy and reliable the laptop is to use for my simple daily tasks. This represents the viewpoint of most people. If you disagree you are a moron because its that exploiting that very same viewpoints that has propelled apple to where they are today. Apple doesn't make the products with the most badass hardware. They make the products that are the most badass to actuall use.

    There are niches to laptops. Don't forget that. There are gaming laptops, there are pro/workstation laptops, there are ultraportables, and there are now ultrabooks (a refinement, be it more expensive refinement) of the ultraportable. Understand that, get a girlfriend, and shut up.
    Reply
  • madmark4 - Thursday, November 03, 2011 - link

    Yes, exactly.

    If you want a laptop to replace your gaming desktop rig, this isn't for you.

    If you want something you can actually CARRY WITH YOU, and want to take on a plane, or even just drop in a bag for a trip to the coffee shop, this is nearly a perfect machine.

    I have an HP Elitebook 8440W with quad core i7, 8gb ram, and two hard drives. It has a 14" screen, and is smokin fast.

    It sits at home, whenever I go somewhere, because it also weighs 7 pounds, gets about 3 hours of battery life (which requires extra weight carrying the charger everywhere) and won't fit in something the size of a mailing envelope.

    I should also note that 1) no one but apple does anything with Thunderbolt. and 2) all those extra features mean higher costs. Would this be your 'ideal' laptop if it was twice as thick, weighed twice as much, and cost 700$ more because it had an IPS screen, thunderbolt, another USB 3 port, and a docking station plug? If so, they already make those, its called an HP Elitebook 8440W.

    My primary goal in a laptop is to get something that is fast enough to run what I want to run, even if it isn't the fastest at it, but it needs to do that while being portable enough that I will actually take it with me TO run those things. Ease of use and portability are worth more to me than an external GPU plug. I'm not buying this intending to run COD3 on it. I'm buying it to surf, run eclipse for programming jobs, use Word/Excel, and otherwise be productive.
    Reply
  • shompa - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    This machine is silicon art, just like the Macbook Air.

    I wish that Asus supported thunderbolt. With Apples thunderbolt display you get a complete setup, something that Asus can't deliver.

    Thunderbolt --> USB/Firewire and gigabith ethernet. All in just one cable.

    When will BIOS die? UEFI have been around for 10 years. Why play around with a 1970 technology?

    With PCI-E thunderbolt cases. You can buy an macbook air and connect the latest AMD/Nvidia graphic card to it an play games.

    The only reason you should buy this product instead of Apple is if you hate Apple and want a couple % better speed. The reason why you should buy Apple is that you get world class support, can use both Windows and OSX, thunderbolt, rapid start, iCloud, Ilife and so on.
    Reply
  • Fradelius - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    what if i work in a corporative enterprise (90% windows) ? do i have to switch to osx, wich i dont like, coss its not for working?

    btw im a unix sysadmin

    and still prefer windows for workstations.. ALL THE WAY...

    the real question is, why would i go with a portable that has a different os than my workstation?

    you dont have to hate apple to like this thing...
    Reply
  • pdjblum - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    It seems the vast majority of folks responding have a hard-on for apple and believe they are superior because of it. Jobs certainly did, the arrogant bastard. Some of us are still tech enthusiasts and still prefer using Windows and the freedom it affords. This site has become apple-centric, no doubt. Reply
  • lukarak - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    Is Apple forcing you to use their OS? Reply
  • pdjblum - Monday, October 24, 2011 - link

    How twisted are you man? This is a review of a windows laptop. How has it turned into a discussion by a bunch of apple fanboys about how great macs are? No one is forcing you to be a total dick. Reply
  • jconan - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    But then you would have to partition the drive and give away that precious space to Win7 and 64gigs the bare minimum on a MBA is a bit already stranded. Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    I dont understand why so much memory is used in standby. Why not swap most out and then have one single low power DRAM chip powered up to store the ~256MB~512MB that cant be swapped out? Then you can sleep a long time and still have fast resume. Reply
  • pdjblum - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    Some of us who frequent AnandTech still prefer windows. Obviously Anand prefers apple and so do many, if not most, of his readers, or at least his more vocal ones. Comparing a windows machine to an apple machine is like comparing apples to oranges. Apple's control over hardware and software makes it much easier to insure things work just right; however that control is limiting as far as windows users are concerned.

    Of course, many of your apple users will react badly to my sentiment, which is odd since I don't see how I could have offended. You, and your readers, can make out of that sort of reaction what you will, but why be defensive if you have such a great thing, which I am sure it is, at least to you, and your readers.

    Reply
  • lukarak - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    It will not be a bad reaction. However, buying a mac is not limiting, as you are free to use any operating system you wish. Buying any other pc is, because you are generally left without OSX.

    I have been using windows my whole life. And i still use them every day. But they run inside VMs on my Macs and other PCs i have 'equipped' with Mac OS X.
    Reply
  • Sunburn74 - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    Not pcs fault that OSX can't run. Reply
  • lukarak - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    So? It's a fact, i don't care whose fault it is. It is not even a subject of fault. The clear fact is that with a mac i'm not limited in OS selection, either through VMs or 'native', and with a PC i am. So how is buying a mac limiting? Reply
  • rs2 - Monday, October 24, 2011 - link

    That's some quality anti-logic. The problem isn't that PC's are somehow unable to run OSX, it's that OSX has been deliberately crippled to prevent (or at least, attempt to prevent) it from running on any PC's that haven't been assembled by Apple. It is not the PC (or the Mac...after all a Mac is just a PC that's being marketed as something that's not a PC) that is limited, only OS X is limited.

    And if you don't care that this limitation was *intentionally* built into OS X for the sole purpose of *forcing* OS X users to buy their hardware from Apple, then you are a fool.

    Remember all the trouble MS got in for attempting to force people to use Internet Explorer? The thing to note there is that whatever your opinion of IE, it has always been a free product. In that light, Apple's shady business tactics are significantly worse than Microsoft's ever were.
    Reply
  • pdjblum - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    The point is that with windows you don't have any reason to run a osx. For some reason, people using macs still find it necessary to run windows in some fashion. OS X must be limiting in some way, it seems. Reply
  • lukarak - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    Sure you do. The fact you don't know what they are, however, an indicator of how deep your computers usage goes. Reply
  • Fradelius - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    i can tell ya this,

    apple = mostly a not hi techy user who likes to use his system out of the box
    windows = Working, gaming, hi tech users
    Linux = apple + windows if you have the requiered knowledge.(wich 99% of the users dont have)

    if im wrong then why 89% of the world uses Windows on enterprise level?

    im not a mac hater, i just dont like it.. its like cars, or ice cream
    you do.. or you dont.. but still even i fi like it..

    Active directory = Win
    LDAP = Linux

    Mac haves something like active directoy, but like all mac stuff its under the control of apple, in active directoy im on top.
    Reply
  • pdjblum - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    Brilliant. Unfortunately, this is a hard pill for the vast majority of apple users to swallow, especially when they depend on anand for acceptance and approval, as they did jobs. Reply
  • lukarak - Monday, October 24, 2011 - link

    Why does it have to be separated? Are the just three types of users or are the borders a little more fuzzy? Why couldn't you belong in two of the groups. Or three?

    I'm not saying that everybody has to like it. I just don't understand the aggressiveness towards Apple.
    Reply
  • pdjblum - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    Guess you finally got to a bad reaction. I guess I must of struck a nerve. Sorry the truth is so troublesome to you. Sorry you are so insecure. Your defensiveness is quite apparent in the not so kind things you have said. Enjoy your mac and your pathetic existence you sad coward. Reply
  • lukarak - Monday, October 24, 2011 - link

    You didn't strike a nerve, you just revealed your level of knowledge. The rest of the post is really not worthy of a comment, but while it doesn't say anything about me, it say everything about you. Reply
  • Sunburn74 - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    If I'm on an apple pc and want to play most games, I need to install windows. That is an obvious limitation that causes people to install windows.

    Its not PCs fault they can't run OSX out of the box. Its an arbitrary limitation Mac chooses to enforce.
    Reply
  • morousg - Monday, October 24, 2011 - link

    I don't think it is a question of comparing apples to oranges. I think this is a question of understanding R+D or not understanding it.

    I love Apple for many reasons, but I hate it to for many others.
    I love Windows because I can play all the games and run all the Office suite, and is the best OS for easily managing business infrastructures, but I hate it for all the rest.
    I love linux because it's free, OpenSource and internet is full of documentation about it's code and design so I can learn OS design, but I hate not having Microsoft Office software for it and driver troubles and having difficulties to use it on a Mac hardware.

    So, my concerns about this Asus laptop is not a question of comparing or defending Apples against oranges. It is a question of defending R+D, that is my job in the university and business.
    Reply
  • KPOM - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    Nice review, as usual. The ASUS Zenbooks are the first credible competitors to the MacBook Air, in my opinion (far more than the Acer), in that they are nearly identically equipped, with some upgrades (faster SSD, better sound) at a lower price. Hopefully this pushes Apple a bit to do some upgrades for next year's Ivy Bridge MacBook Air (I wouldn't mind a better speaker and 6Gbps SSDs, and perhaps a small price drop for the upgraded models). Reply
  • C300fans - Monday, October 24, 2011 - link

    I fail to see any lower price comparing with AIR. Reply
  • madmark4 - Thursday, November 03, 2011 - link

    Seriously?

    Let me step you through it then:
    1) Base MBA, $999. Slower processor, 64gb SSD, and 2gb ram.
    2) Base UX21, $999. Faster processor, 128gb SSD, and 4gb ram.

    Did you happen to see the lower prices there? I think most do.
    Reply
  • sapi3n - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    my problem with this piece of hardware is in the interface. I've got a core 2 duo Asus laptop that is quite good, but the keyboard is like typing on a rope bridge, forcing me to carry an external keyboard for anything expansive. I wish this wonderful company would start with the keyboard, and work outward. Reply
  • twotwotwo - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    Sounds like you find the bad display contrast pretty maddening. Are you saying you'd advocate Windows users get a Macbook Air just because of it, though? It's $250 more (system cost + getting Windows Home Premium) plus the fuss of setting up Boot Camp, and folks might prefer the Zenbook for the better SSD, the resolution, the USB 3/VGA/HDMI/Ethernet connection options, etc. The Air seems like a choice for graphics-focused folks or people looking for *the* most premium ultraportable there is, but it doesn't seem like the shoo-in choice for a typical mobility-focused Windows user.

    But if the display *is* a total dealbreaker I'd love to hear more about why. A dull grey backlight bleed sounds annoying, but reflections from a glossy screen coating seem worse to me and reviewers seem to mostly accept the trend towards glossy displays. But I can't really do any comparisons since I don't have a Zenbook sitting around (or a ThinkPad X1, which seems to have the same contrast level), so your insight would be interesting here.

    Does sound like a pity about the Asus's touchpad. :/
    Reply
  • agent2099 - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - link

    I'm disappointed with the maximum resolution for the microHDMI port. It only does 1900x1080 which means you cannot connect it ton a 24" monitor at native res (1900x1200). Is this just a limitation of the microHDMI port or for all intel HD graphics. For some of the other laptops out there that have full size HDMI, can you output 1900x1200 native? Reply
  • repoman27 - Monday, October 24, 2011 - link

    The HD Graphics in 2nd Gen Intel Core processors support HDMI 1.4 features, one such feature being the Micro HDMI connector itself. Intel is a bit vague as to the maximum resolution using HDMI, although they clearly note that 2560x1600 is achievable using DisplayPort 1.1. It's odd that the spec here is for less than 1920x1200 since even HDMI 1.0 supported resolutions that high. Although 1920x1200 displays seem to be going the way of the dodo due to the onslaught of 1920x1080 "Full-HD" panels, it's still curious to see such a seemingly arbitrary limitation. Reply
  • Watwatwat - Monday, October 24, 2011 - link

    if you are just using this anywhere, on your lap even, viewing angle becomes key, esp with such a small short display. they really dropped the ball going brighter instead of wider. Reply
  • rs2 - Monday, October 24, 2011 - link

    Sorry, but you must be dreaming. Either that, or your requirements for labeling something "extremely responsive" have seriously been slipping. Extremely responsive doesn't mean "static content scrolls smoothly across the screen and looks pretty", it means more along the lines of "when I launch an app, I don't have to wait 5 to 10 seconds for it to load and become usable" and "I can switch easily and quickly between multiple applications, without losing my view of any of them if I so choose" and "my device doesn't need a full minute to power on from a cold start".

    Today's tablets are a world away from being "extremely responsive" by any reasonable set of criteria.
    Reply
  • alxx - Monday, October 24, 2011 - link

    So any chance of giving this a review with it running linux ?
    fedora 15 or ubuntu ?

    Is it full bluetooth 4 support or limited ?
    Does it support HS , low power and low energy or ???
    Reply
  • C300fans - Monday, October 24, 2011 - link

    a 999$ copycat of AIR. Reply
  • rs2 - Monday, October 24, 2011 - link

    Except with better cooling and an infinitely better OS. Reply
  • morousg - Monday, October 24, 2011 - link

    Sorry... but you shoul read some OS desing books.

    Maybe they would help on understand why Microsoft is trying to get rid of Windows legacy OS, by pushing developers ot HTML5.

    If they succeed, Windows 9 will only support HTML5 apps, so they can put any sort of OS, more stable and safe, that just loads an HTML5 browser. I think is a very smart move.

    And also, I love all the Microsoft Office suit. I only envy Windows for having Visio, Access etc... But windows it self, is a crap, and Microsoft knows it veeeery well.
    Reply
  • Kyrandia - Monday, October 24, 2011 - link

    The lag is not caused by power saving. If you look into the trackpad configuration, you'll find "ASUS SmartSense" or "ASUS Smart Detector", which is some kind of typing detection. If you enable it, trackpad is disabled while you are typing. However, it won't automatically reactivate in a period of time, but you need to touch the "reactivation area" to reactivate it. To make your life easier, you just need to disable this function or customize the activation area. Reply
  • AdamRS - Monday, October 24, 2011 - link

    I'm really looking forward to a review of the UX21's bigger brother....mainly because of the screen. I hope it is an improvement. Reply
  • Ogxite - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    Aren't the screen shots on the Intergrated VGA Camera page from OS X? Reply
  • stevenjklein - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    Anand wrote that he "can't quite pinpoint [the] inspiration for the Zenbook UX21's 45W power brick design."

    Anand, were you being sarcastic?

    It is clearly a clone of the Apple's AC adapter, right down to the fold-up prongs.

    See for yourself: http://www.power2battery.com/images/A1184acadapter...
    Reply
  • Silenus - Wednesday, October 26, 2011 - link

    Lol yes...he was being sarcastic there. Reply
  • komoornik - Wednesday, October 26, 2011 - link

    Heat ? Noise? Reply
  • 996miami - Wednesday, October 26, 2011 - link

    Thanks. Well done. Will share with friends. Reply
  • losonn - Sunday, October 30, 2011 - link

    Any chance the UX31's 900p display is better? Any chance of reviewing the UX31 is the future? Reply
  • losonn - Sunday, October 30, 2011 - link

    Any chance of an UX31 review? Is the screen on the larger model any better / worse than the UX21? Reply
  • cab2012 - Thursday, November 03, 2011 - link

    As a designer this is getting increasing more pathetic. There are many configurations and designs that can be produced without stealing other designs from a competitor who product is widely known for its industrial design. I know there is a lot of copycats, but seriously copying the style of famous Apple transformer?
    Oh wait it is different, its BLACK. The whole thing looks like a MBA only thunderbolt-less, and crappier graphics. Who do they think they are fooling. Only the dumb customers stupid enough to buy one of these and IT does not even have a magsafe power adapter? Who in their right mind would buy a laptop without a magsafe adapter. As someone who has an owned a laptop that was yanked off a countertop by a running dog caught up in the power cord, I would find impossible to believe that a computer laptop company would make a laptop without a magsafe adapter. Absolutely idiotic.

    "While I can't quite pinpoint ASUS' source of inspiration for the Zenbook UX21's 45W power brick design, the end product looks great. Cable management is handled via a standard velcro strap and the power connector itself has an LED on it that glows orange when charging or green when fully charged. "
    seriously really? blatant copying. you mean just like the connector on all mac laptops for how many years now, 6-7? Only not magsafe.

    "Unfortunately It also glows green when it's not connected, which can cause confusion if you plug it in but don't push the connector in all the way. Is it fully charged or just not fully connected? Guessing is half the fun!" copycats and half-assed copycats at that. IF you going to steal others ideas, because your designers are pathetic then at least have good engineers to make the product work, but I guess that is TOO much to ask from thieves.
    Reply
  • netmann - Sunday, November 06, 2011 - link

    Asus Zenbook UX31E-DH52 with 128 GB Adata SSD and Intel i7-2677M CPU is available in UK but not in US!!! Does anyone know the reason?

    Also the Asus Global site has Windows 7 Pro as one of Operating System choices, but not for US!
    Reply
  • ianken - Thursday, November 10, 2011 - link

    ...I'm hitting it. Asus test lab failtrain now boarding on RMA track to newegg.

    RAGE.
    Reply
  • reebsauce - Sunday, November 13, 2011 - link

    Does anyone know if the processor/GPU can handle HD video editing without issues? For example, I use Sony Vegas on my desktop (Core i7 860 2.8GHz, ATI Radeon HD 5700) and I'm wondering if I'll be able to do the same with the Zenbook... if so, will I be able to perform other tasks while videos are processing (like browsing the Web)? Reply
  • KrisB - Tuesday, January 24, 2012 - link

    Does the Zenbook have the capability to close the cover and not power off when an external monitor is connected? Reply
  • Mateusz - Sunday, April 08, 2012 - link

    To begin with you pay more than 1100 euro for this laptop

    1) After 4 weeks of using the power socket breaks... laptop is shutting down randomly, due to problems with socket, and battery is not charging. I have to turn around the plug and play with it, to be able to use laptop
    2) I tried to return it to shop, no its not possible to return it to shop after 6 weeks, but they can replace it, by sending it to Asus, it will take approximately 1 month because there is no real service in Netherlands, and they have to send it to France.
    3) Website is sometimes down, and they don't answer phone calls
    4) They don't give a fuck about Linux users, answer from service is "We don't support Linux platforms" in other words "Go fuck yourself, you already paid loser".
    5) Its hard to open it, it gets dirty very easy, and LCD panel is moving too loosely, and its overheating (i7). I could probably add that auto-updating tool from Asus is crashing on Windows, and some of their software runs MS-DOS command line on startup...

    So currently, since its may daily working tool, I cannot afford to be without laptop for 1 month, I am waiting till it'll break totally, and than maybe I will donate it to some homeless people.
    Reply
  • MikeWoods - Monday, October 29, 2012 - link

    I purchased 3 (2 for sales staff) Asus Zenbook first generation UX21E notebooks (1 I7 and 2 I5s) and have been very dissatisfied with all three. The keyboard problems are incredibly troublesome. It is difficult to type anything without missing letters or having the curser jump to other locations while typing.

    Would I buy again? I don't think so. Asus would have to replace all three laptops for me to ever consider buying Asus again. I do have an office full of desktop computers, all with ASUS motherboards and have been happy with the desktops.

    To ASUS: if you would like to make good on these computers, you can contact me on any phone number you find at the bottom of http://www.mswoods.com.

    Or, contact me by mail
    Mike Woods
    msWoods Real Estate, LLC
    4111 Wythe Ln
    Indianapolis, IN 46250
    Reply

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