The ASUS Zenbook UX31 is a pretty decent lappy that packs a punch with a Core i5 processor and a 128GB SSD, as well as a high-res 1600 X 900-pixel display and blasting audio. This Ultrabook’s “moment of zen”, however, definitely lies in its beauty. It is slim and chic with a brushed-aluminum chassis; and the top lid flaunts an elegant circular pattern while the deck is embellished with a pleasing brushed design.
There is a handful of dislikes surrounding the Zenbook, though, and most have to do with the keyboard. It does not have a backlight, and more importantly, the keys are reported to need a harder hit than average in order for letters to register. Plus, the touchpad mouse required more-than-necessary swipes for navigation, two-finger scrolling has been reported as a bit over-sensitive, and pinch-to-zoom motions are glitchy, too.
On the bright side, however, is the display. At 13.3” with impressive resolution (which knocks even the MacBook Air’s 1400 X 900 res outta the ring), more of web pages can be seen and users can even view two documents at the same time. Furthermore, the Zenbook’s audio is supreme with speakers that boom Olufsen’s ICEpower and ASUS SonicMaster audio. In short, the Zenbook UX31 turns out to be a lean, mean, movie-watching machine.
The Zen boots up fairly quickly, too (Windows 7 Home Premium booted in about 29 seconds), which also outdoes the MacBook – and it also awakens from sleep in a split second (or 2). It also sports an SSD and a battery with an almost-six hour lifetime.
Basically, the Zenbook takes everything fabulous about the MacBook Air, and adds crisp audio and resolution not to mention exquisite design – making it easy to throw ASUS a bone for not including a keyboard backlight and giving it a finicky touchpad.