ASUS Zenbook Prime UX31A db71 First Impressions

I'm going back to school to get a degree in computer science, and I definitely needed an upgrade from my old laptop. Based on Verge reviews and some research I decided to get the Zeenbook Prime.

Design

This Ultrabook is just beautifully designed. The Zenbook has a wonderful wedge shaped aluminum body and the lid is adorned with concentric circles. Aesthetically it is amazing. Having said that, this is not the most comfortable laptop I've owned. As I lie here typing my first impressions the sharp edges of the Zenbook is digging into my wrists. It is not painful by any means, but I can see this getting annoying during periods of long use.

Display

This screen! This glorious screen! Reviews did not prepare me for how glorious this screen is. It is the best display on a laptop I have ever used. Everything seems more detailed, the colors are great, and good luck finding those pixels. On the downside because of the high resolution (1920 x 1080) everything is tiny. On the browser it isn't too much of an issue thanks to the ability to pinch to zoom, but on the desktop if you don't adjust your display you might have a hard time reading text.

Also my laptop definitely has screen bleed issues, but I don't think I'll be returning it because it doesn't bother me too much. Besides I might return it only to get another laptop with a different issue. I also have a three year accidental warranty damage on this thing, so if it bothers me in the future I'll just drop this sucker down a flight of stairs and get it exchanged for a brand new one!

Keyboard/Trackpad

The keys on the keyboard are spaced nicely and background illumination is a nice touch. On a curious note, Asus added the power button to the right of the delete key on the keyboard so every time I use the delete key I have to make a conscious effort not to press it. I find that the keyboard is a little stiffer than I would want but it is not terribly stiff.

After reading laptop reviews on The Verge, it is hard not to notice that every single windows laptop trackpad is compared to those found on Apple's offerings. I have never owned a Mac, so I couldn't tell you which is better. In my use, I've found it to be very good. Scrolling is great, finger gestures are a smooth and responsive with the exception being two finger pinch to zoom. There is always a slight stutter when using pinch to zoom. Maybe Asus can get a helping of Android's project butter (see what I did there? No? Ok let's move on...).

One thing I was worried about before deciding to buy this laptop was the palm rejection issue brought up in Sean Hollister's review. I am happy to report that I haven't had any problems with palm rejection. I typed this entire piece (at least up to this point... stay tuned for updates further down) without an issue.

I have to give extra points to Asus for centering their trackpad. I don't know why most laptops these days have an off-center track pad it just bothers me to no end. It may just be my obsessive longing for symmetry but I cannot buy a laptop with an off-center track pad no matter how awesome it is (I'm looking at you Samsung Series 9).

Processor / Hard Drive/ Speed

This model (ux31a db71) comes with an Intel core i7-3517U 1.90 GHz processor, and an ADATA XM11 256GB SSD hardrive. The 1.90GHz is found on the top end models (db71 and db72) and is very fast. My laptop scored 13192 on PCMARKVANTAGE which pwns Sean Hollister's 13128 score for his review unit (Ha take that... lol).

This is the first laptop with an SSD that I've owned, so it is definitely faster than anything I've used before. I've read that this isn't the best hard drive in terms of specs, but first world problems like this don't bother me much (time to feed my high horse).

Heat / Noise

So far the laptop has only gotten too hot, and from the reviews I don't expect it to. In terms of noise this laptop is like my girlfriend... nice and quiet (she really isn't though and I love her for it) for the most part.

Conclusion

This is definitely the best laptop I've had so far. Are there better ones out there? I'm sure there are. But technology moves so fast, that the best doesn't stay the best for long. I would definitely recommend this laptop. It is beautiful, light, fast, and powerful.

It's all about scores these days, so my subjective score for the Zenbook is 9/10 (anyone who says otherwise is just WRONG!!!).