Asus ZenBook UX31

Blog Mar 28, 2012

Asus ZenBook UX31£1,000uk.asus.comFEATURES ★★★★★  PERFORMANCE ★★★★  EASE OF USE ★★★★★  VALUE FOR MONEY ★★★★★ The Asus Zenbook UX31

Asus ZenBook UX31
£1,000
uk.asus.com
FEATURES ★★★★★  PERFORMANCE ★★★★  
EASE OF USE ★★★★★  VALUE FOR MONEY ★★★★★ 

The Asus Zenbook UX31’s slim, brushed aluminium chassis gives it a tough look that’s reminiscent of Apple’s MacBook Air. It contains most of the ports we’d expect, with two USB sockets (one of which supports USB 3.0), a multi-format memory-card reader and a headphone socket, but no Ethernet port. It has HDMI and VGA ports, but both are mini versions that need special cables or adapters.

Its 13.3in display looks fantastic. It has a 1,600 x 900 pixel resolution that’s the best in this group, making text look sharp. The contrast is good too, showing fine detail, even in darker images. The only niggle is that it’s very glossy, so reflections can be visible.

The keyboard is spacious and comfortable to type on. Even better is the touchpad, which is made from a single piece of aluminium. The integrated buttons work well and don’t interfere with the position of the mouse, which is a flaw we saw too often on other laptops in this test.

The computer is powered by a dual-core i7-2677M processor. It has 4GB of memory and a fast 128GB SSD (solid-state drive). This combination powered it through our 2D benchmark tests, putting it in second place behind the vastly more expensive Lenovo ThinkPad X1. It was also second to the Toshiba Portege in our 3D-gaming test with 14.5 frames per second, about half the ideal minimum frame rate of 30fps. However, none of the laptops in this group performed well in this test, so anyone buying a computer for its gaming performance should steer clear of Ultrabooks.

The only thing that stopped the UX31 getting full marks for performance was its battery life. In our tests, this lasted seven hours and six minutes, which is just below average.

VERDICT ★★★★★ 
The Asus Zenbook UX31 isn’t the cheapest Ultrabook in this group, but it has the performance and features to make it good value for money. The most disappointing thing about it is its battery life, which was the sixth-longest here, lasting over seven hours. That’s a little disappointing, but the superb screen, comfortable keyboard and smoothly responsive touchpad more than make up for it.