AVERAGE CONSUMER RATING 3.2 WITH 323 CONSUMER REVIEWS
When the MacBook Air was released, ultraportable laptops had a lot to match up to in terms of size and weight. Since then, however, a lot of laptops have risen to the precedent set by Apple’s game-changing ultrabook, and one of them is the Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A. It has the same styling as that of previous models, including the brushed aluminum that has pretty much become the norm for laptops today. The lid has circles around the Asus log that attract light, and the bottom housing has straight lines. Overall, the design is quite utilitarian, but feels solid and comfortable, which is an important factor because you feel confident when holding the tiny laptop in your hands.
Intel has provided a quad core processor for the Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A that has a clock speed of 1.9 GHz and comes with the third-generation Ivy Bridge architecture. You also get Intel HD 4000 integrated graphics, which does well to support this ultraportable laptop. The 13.3-inch screen supports Full HD 1080p resolution, which is actually quite rare for an ultrabook.
For storage, the Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A comes with a 256 GB SSD that offers faster boot times too. Unfortunately, 256 GB is the maximum storage available with no other higher option for an SSD. Connections available usually confer to the standard list, including a mini VGA port and a micro HDMI port. Two USB 3.0 ports are present on either side, and the three other connections include an audio jack, power plug port, and a card reader for SD/MMC.
At the center of the Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A is the Intel Core i7 3517U processor, which is used in other top-end ultrabooks from Acer and Samsung. Clocked at 1.9 GHz, it can go up to 3 GHz with Turbo Boost activated. The integrated GPU lacks the power of a discrete graphics card, but easily holds its own for casual gaming and playing Full HD videos. The 4 GB DDR3 memory is enough for most jobs, but the SSD is sorely lacking. Although the device has 256 GB storage, you only really get 140 GB for your own data, so using this laptop as your portable office device is out of the question. The connectors are great, but they need specific adapters in order to work.
The 1080p IPS display of the Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A is a rare sight for an ultraportable laptop, or even any 13-inch laptop for that matter. The resolution is incredibly high, although it lacks the density and crispness of the Retina Display used in the Apple MacBook Pro. The Bang & Olufsen speakers work well too as a pair of integrated speakers. The optical drive is missing, which is expected, but takes away a lot of the potential for the Full HD display.
Other key specifications in the model we reviewed include:
- Operating System – Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Edition
- CPU – Intel Core i7-3517U/1.9 GHz
- Hard Drive – 256 GB SSD
- Memory – 4 GB
- Optical Drive – BD-RE + DVD+/-RW +/-DL, DVD+/-RW +/-DL
- Maximum Resolution: 1920 X 1080 (Full HD)
The performance of the Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A is strictly decent; where it really shines the best is when it comes to the screen. It is bright and vivid with really sharp details thanks to the display resolution. In fact, the text becomes so crisp and detailed that you may have to scale up the text in order to avoid squinting at the screen. Images and videos, of course, look beautiful on the laptop. The viewing angles are great too, which is another nice addition. Apart from the screen, the Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A offers decent performance in benchmark tests. The Ivy bridge processor holds its own, and actually performs better than the same processor used in other competitors. It is powerful enough for multi-tasking, as long as it is not video and image editing. The 4 GB of RAM is nice and fast, but once again limits the usage of the laptop to strictly those programs you would usually run in a standard ultrabook or at home. In fact, it does most home tasks with ease, and the 64-bit Windows 7 OS utilizes the Intel quad core processor to its fullest.
A large part of the speed of the Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A comes from its SSD drive. It takes a few seconds to boot up the laptop, and less than that to resume. Ultrabooks have been designed for speed, and Asus’s model delivers just that. The keyboard, while not perfect and a little too compact, is great to use. The keys are sizeable and responsive, and key travel is with the comfortable range. The backlight for the keyboard seems minor, but it adds a lot to the value of the laptop.
VerdictThe Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A offers a great display with fast performance, along with good build quality. On the down side, battery life is way behind that of the competition and speakers are disappointing. The price is the biggest hurdle, and it is up to the customer to decide whether it provides enough value for money.
Where to buy?
You an purchase from Amazon right here.