Asus Zenbook UX31A

Verge Review

Eight months ago, Asus was one of the first to build a credible MacBook Air alternative with a similar look and feel. The 13-inch Asus Zenbook UX31 and 11-inch UX21 delivered extremely rigid all-metal frames, power-sipping Intel Sandy Bridge processors, speedy solid state storage, and unfortunately, an incredibly frustrating trackpad. Ultimately, we couldn't recommend them over their Apple competitors in any particular way, and that trackpad threw a wrench in the formula. In March, however, w...

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Basic Specs

Laptop type Ultraportable
Thickness 0.71 inches
Weight 2.87 pounds
Operating system Windows 7
Screen size (diagonal) 13.3 inches
CPU brand Intel
CPU family Ivy Bridge
Graphics type Integrated
Integrated GPU model HD Graphics 4000
The Verge Battery Test 5 hours and 46 minutes

Recent News

No recent news about Asus Zenbook UX31A.

Recent Discussions

No recent discussions about Asus Zenbook UX31A.

Tech Specs

Hardware

Laptop type Ultraportable
Width 12.8 inches
Depth 8.78 inches
Thickness 0.71 inches
Weight 2.87 pounds
Color Silver

Software

Operating system Windows 7

Display (base)

Screen size (diagonal) 13.3 inches
Display surface Matte
Technology LCD
Backlight LED
Resolution (X) 1600 px
Resolution (Y) 900 px

Display (max)

Size (diagonal) 13.3 inches
Technology IPS LCD
Backlit LED
Resolution (X) 1920 px
Resolution (Y) 1080 px

Keyboard

Type Chiclet
Backlit Yes
Number pad No

Mouse

Type(s) Trackpad
Multitouch Yes

Processor (base)

CPU brand Intel
CPU family Ivy Bridge
Model Core i5-3317U
Cores 2
Clockspeed 1.7 GHz
Turbo clockspeed 2.6 GHz

Processor (max)

Brand Intel
Family Ivy Bridge
Model Core i7-3517U
Cores 2
Clockspeed 1.9 GHz
Turbo clockspeed 3 GHz

GPU (base)

Graphics type Integrated
Integrated GPU brand Intel
Integrated GPU model HD Graphics 4000

Memory

Base RAM size 4 GB
RAM type DDR3
Base RAM speed 1600 MHz

Storage

Base drive type Flash (SSD)
Base drive capacity 128 GB
Max. config SSD 256 GB
Card reader Yes
Card reader support SD, MMC

Audio

Speakers 2
Audio brand Bang & Olufsen ICEpower

Webcam

Video resolution 720p

Sensors

Ambient light Yes

Port options

USB 3.0 2
Mini VGA 1
Mini DisplayPort 1
Micro HDMI 1
3.5mm mic / headphone combo 1

Connectivity

Wi-Fi Yes
Wi-Fi options 802.11n, 802.11g, 802.11b, 802.11a
802.11n frequencies 2.4GHz
Bluetooth Yes
Bluetooth version 4.0
Wireless video WiDi

Security

Trusted platform module Optional

Battery

Size 50 Wh
Chemistry Lithium Polymer (Li-Po)
Removable No
Quoted time 6 hr

Bundled Accessories

Bundled Accessories Gigabit ethernet to USB 3.0 dongle, Mini VGA to VGA dongle

Benchmarks

PCMarkVantage 13128
3DMarkVantage (GPU) 3316
The Verge Battery Test 5 hours and 46 minutes

Recent News

No recent news about Asus Zenbook UX31A.

Recent Discussions

No recent discussions about Asus Zenbook UX31A.

9.2

Average User Review

of 6 total reviews
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  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • Design 10
  • Keyboard 9
  • Touchpad 9
  • Display 9
  • Performance 9
  • Heat / noise 9
  • Battery life 9
  • Software 9

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  • 8.0
    Show all User reviews

    Reviewed by nklenchik (Currently owns)

    Since Windows 8

    Since I've upgraded to Windows 8, I can't really complain about the little things. This is a great laptop, even without the touch screen capability. I'm a grad student, and in a normal day's use with it, it lasts me throughout my classes and then some; 6 solid hours most likely. I torrented Microsoft Office 13, since I have the Pro version of Windows 8, and it works just fine with the new software. However, I did have to manually update some drivers throughout this process.

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 9
    • Keyboard 7
    • Touchpad 6
    • Display 10
    • Performance 8
    • Heat / noise 8
    • Battery life 8
    • Software 9
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
  • 10.0
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    Reviewed by TheAshaman (Currently owns)

    This Ultrabook is everything I wanted in a laptop.

    The display of course is the biggest selling point of the laptop. The alternative for me was a new Air but after seeing the display it had to be the Zenbook Prime.

    I do not understand the trouble TheVerge editor had with the touchpad. It works flawlessly for me.

    For me this Ultrabook is a 10/10.

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 10
    • Keyboard 10
    • Touchpad 10
    • Display 10
    • Performance 10
    • Heat / noise 10
    • Battery life 10
    • Software 10
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
  • 10.0
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    Reviewed by Sorr (Currently owns)

    +
    Display Display Display
    Design, size and weight
    Backlit keyboard, and touchpad (it is really good, just update to the software)
    Power USB3.0, Bluetooth 4.0, HDMI
    Charger weight and size
    Sleeve that comes with it

    =
    Battery time
    Webcam
    Speakers
    Software

    -
    VGA port (Really?)
    Only 4GB RAM

    Conclusion: The best Ultrabook in the market today

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 10
    • Keyboard 10
    • Touchpad 10
    • Display 10
    • Performance 10
    • Heat / noise 10
    • Battery life 10
    • Software 10
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
  • 10.0
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    Reviewed by robbieelias (Currently owns)

    The review on this site is harsh...

    This ultrabook is amazing. I am loving just about everything about it. The design is beautiful and incredibly lick. The screen is wonderful in every way. Amazing viewing angles, perfect colors, high resolution, etc. The keyboard is the best I've ever used personally as it feels very good and there is more than enough cushion. The trackpad started off weird, but I updated the driver and adjusted the settings to my preferences and it works great now. Only issue is palm rejection which is decent but not great, although it is not a problem for me because my hands float around it. Yes there is some bloatware, but most of it can be useful for some, I uninstalled about half of it though. The speakers are more than loud enough of this category of device and the quality is actually pretty good. As for performance, it is faster than I expected for the specs. After lowering the resolution to 1600x900, not only is the display more comfortable for my eyes, but everything runs smoother, especially web browsing which is now a very pleasant experience. I haven't done much gaming, but I did try Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 and it worked great, which was expected. Battery life seems awesome so far. On low brightness I managed to get over 8 hours of web browsing done.

    Overall, this is my favorite machine that I've ever used. On the hardware side, it equals the MacBook Air and it can be found for 200$ cheaper (bhphotovideo). Also, the display makes Windows look a lot better and I'm actually excited to see Windows 8 on this thing. Still no major flaws to be found and hopefully none to be found!

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 10
    • Keyboard 10
    • Touchpad 9
    • Display 10
    • Performance 9
    • Heat / noise 10
    • Battery life 10
    • Software 8
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
  • 9.0
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    Reviewed by schroederrock (Currently owns)

    The Zenbook Prime UX31A is a piece of art. There isn't a better designed ultrabook on the market, and it rivals the similarly designed Macbook Air. For some, it may even trump it. The raised keyboard keys, backlit keys, 1920x1080 resolution screen with IPS and a soft matte finish, Ivy Bridge i7, and 256GB SSD make it a feature-rich computer. It's on the pricier side, but that's to be expected with an i7 and double the standard ultrabook storage capacity. Once manufacturers can push this hardware out to retailer to be sold for $1299 and under, the battle for light & portable will be over in the PC's favor. But for now, it remains a close race. If the trackpad didn't ship with a quirk or two (which have been patched already) and Windows 7/8 did more with trackpad gesturing, and the battery could challenge the mighty Folio 13 this would be a perfect 10 computer.

    But since it's so close, it's worth buying. Well, if you are looking for a premium experience @ $1499. Otherwise a Samsung Series 9 13" is a nice option if you're looking to get decent specs for a couple hundred dollars less.

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 10
    • Keyboard 9
    • Touchpad 8
    • Display 10
    • Performance 9
    • Heat / noise 8
    • Battery life 8
    • Software 9
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
  • 8.0
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    Reviewed by shawngee (Currently owns)

    I have recently purchased a Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A - R150 from Best Buy. I really like this laptop, but it has both positives and negatives. I personally feel that the positives completely outweigh the negatives, but ASUS does need better quality control.

    Pro:
    1. Amazing quality of the screen. (I do have a small amount of light bleeding when in pitch dark).
    2. Nice processor.
    3. Increased speed of Sandisk SSD from a 5.9 windows experience in the UX31E to a 7.5 on this new UX31A.
    4. Keyboard is much better and back light nicely.
    5. No more sound distortion at high levels, but look at 6 in the Cons section.
    6. Trackpad is Elan and works fine.

    Con:
    1. Small amount of light bleeding when completely dark and in a dark room.
    2. Slower bootup time.
    3. Battery life doesn't seem as good, but it might still be calibrating.... so not sure yet.
    4. Does not seem to trickle charge while constantly plugged in like the UX31E.
    5. Space is an issue on this model. Out of the box with my UX31E I had around 80 and this one is about 65....
    6. The sound is flat and lifeless.

    Overall this is a good computer. I am trying to decide if I will return this one for another because of the light bleeding, but I am not sure due to the fact that it doesn't bother me that much. In addition, I have seen reviews of people returning the item, only to get a worse bleed.

    The Breakdown

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    • Design 10
    • Keyboard 10
    • Touchpad 10
    • Display 6
    • Performance 6
    • Heat / noise 7
    • Battery life 7
    • Software 8
    Show the rest of this review and the breakdown
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