The Zenbook is Asus’ first foray into the Ultrabook world, offering powerful guts wrapped up in a super-slim and sturdy aluminium shell. The Asus Zenbook UX21 is the first 11-inch ultrabook to hit the shelves.
The Asus Zenbook UX21 matches the Apple MacBook Air in every respect. It’s just as well-built, made out of a single piece of aluminium, just as light and oozes the same head-turning style and class that makes people cast admiring glances while you work in public. Asus is offering the UX21 for £849, undercutting the similarly specced 11-inch MacBook Air by £150. We think it just might have a shot.
Design and Features:
That the the Zenbook UX21 looks similar to the Apple MacBook Air 11-inch (Thunderbolt) is no accident. Like the Air, the UX21 is extremely thin and light, measuring only 7 millimeters thick at its thickest point and tapering down to a mere 3 millimeters at the edge. It’s also a scant 2.42 pounds—within 3 ounces of the MacBook. It has several unique features to it as well, like a sound-system designed with Bang & Olufsen’s ICEpower audio technology.
It equipped the Zenbook UX21 with an Intel Core i5-2467M processor, a dual-core 1.6-GHz CPU and one of Intel’s newest Sandy Bridge chips. It’s also the same processor that we saw in the Apple MacBook Air 11-inch (Thunderbolt). It’s paired with 4GB of memory, which doubles the RAM found in the MacBook Air.
The UX21 has a chiclet-style keyboard, and the keys share the same metallic gleam of the aluminum monoshell. The keys type smoothly and easily, but the low height of the keys may take some getting used to. The glass-topped touchpad is very smooth beneath the fingertips, and two separate right and left mouse buttons click quietly.
The 11.6-inch screen has a 1,366×768-pixel resolution that’s both pleasantly sharp and extremely bright. Colours were handled well, so it’ll do the job for Web browsing and streaming TV shows from BBC iPlayer.
Perhaps the most exciting aspects of the Zenbook are the near-instant boot and wake times—two seconds from standby mode—and the amount of time that the Zenbook can stay at the ready. The Asus Zenbook UX21 (UX21E-DH52) is estimated to be able to spend a full two weeks in standby mode, and to last seven hours while browsing the Web.
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