ASUS Zenbook Prime UX31A Review Impresses Laptopmag

Posted on 22 May 2012 by

Leaked all the way back in February, the Zenbook refresh news was exciting for many. Full HD displays and a backlit keyboard sounded like the perfect way to improve the popular ASUS Zenbook Ultrabook. At that point we didn’t know if it was going to be a refresh that included the CPU too. Ivy Bridge confirmation followed-up in March and the real deal, the ASUS Zenbook Prime, was seen for the first time in May. Laptopmag.com have now come through with a review of the Zenbook Prime UX31A, and it’s positive.

Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A

There’s lots of new info here so lets take a closer look.

You’ll find the full review here and Laptopmag have done a thorough job.

Coming soon – ASUS Zenbook Prime UX31A in our database

The highlight seems to be the screen which is a full HD IPS model that’s said to be better than the screen on the Apple MacBook Air but I’m even more excited to see that the keyboard has improved. This is not just the backlight we’re talking about. The keyboard was a showstopper for me when I bought the UX31 in Dec and took it back just days later. Do we need to go further because it’s already sounding perfect.

Unfortunately it looks like the SSD isn’t breaking speed records. More information is needed but there’s no mention of it being a problem. Comparison with the class-leading SSD on the original UX31 is likely to be the issue.

On graphics, this Core i7 Ivy Bridge CPU (which is not detailed but likely to be the 1.9 or 2.0Ghz part under non-disclosure agreement) is returning  a 3DMark06 score of 5021, a big step up from 1st-gen Ultrabooks.

Battery life figures are in the ‘good’ range too; improving on the original UX31.

As for prices you’ve got the UX31A starting at $1099 (Core i5 , 128GB SSD) and going to just under $1500 (Core i7, 265GB SSD) model. Laptopmag also says the ASUS Zenbook UX32A will start at $799. That is a Core i3-base device with hybrid hard drive and basic screen. More information on that one and the UX32VD (with discreet graphics) in our recent article here.

It feels like ASUS might have got the premium Ultrabook perfect here.  There are a few niggles being reported which include the touchpad but overall it looks like one hell of an Ultrabook package. Entry level pricing on the UX32A looks positive too.

Lapopmag – ASUS Zenbook Prime Review

  • Jordan

    Wow. Very glad to see they improved the keyboard. If the cheaper models of the UX31A still come with the full 1080p screen, then I don’t see how other ultrabooks of that price range can compete. Heck, I don’t know how the more expensive ultrabooks could even compete with it. I suppose the ports are the most significant thing lacking that other ultrabooks can beat it at.

  • Flo

    Yeaaaaah I found my lover :D

  • Andrew

    Yep, this is the ONE for me too :D
    And I don’t think something else will take the lead when Computex hits on the 5th of June.
    All models with IPS 1080p ? This is epic. :DD :drool:

  • Flo

    The only drawback is the mini (or micro, i don’t know) HDMI..
    And the SSD is quite “slow”..

  • Flesiek

    Why only 4GB Ram?? :(

  • Flo

    Isn’t it sufficient 4GB ? I don’t really know, I’m asking..
    It seems enough, Windows 7 runs with only 1GB on smaller netbooks so..

  • J

    No word of a Core i5 with 256gb SSD?

  • Flesiek

    I need more for work. 8GB and im happy :)

  • DavidC1

    The new Zenbook is looking good. Thanks for the overview Chippy!

  • DavidC1

    Chippy, while the SSD on the new Zenbook might be “slower” but I think we may be able to attribute that as one of the reasons that battery life is improved(among few others).

    Sandforce controller based SSDs aren’t known for battery life and there’s no improvement over traditional HDDs.

  • MP

    Wow, that’s a pretty amazing upgrade from the last version! I didn’t expect the keyboard update – very happy about it. Not so happy about dropping the ADATA SSD and the bezel though.

    What I’d really like to know though is how loud/quiet it is. There wasn’t a mention about it in the review. I’m also curious if the i5 is quieter than the i7. It’s not really a downgrade I’d like to make, but I’d be willing to if it was quieter.

    I am interested in two or three more ultrabooks, but I can’t really see them beating this…

    • MP

      I went back and looked at the LaptopMag review again, and I sort of stuck at part with the SSD:

      “The notebook duplicated a 4.97 GB folder of multimedia files in 1 minute and 39 seconds for a rate of 51.4 MBps. That’s faster than the ultraportable average (46 MBps), but slower than the older UX31 with an ADATA SSD (98 MBps). By comparison, the XPS 13 notched 137.5 MBps and the Air 127 MBps.”

      This, while the Air is rumored to upgrade to the twice as fast Samsung 830 series. On top of that my current two year old SSD is faster as well. I don’t pretend to know how noticeable it will be for me as user, but I really do hope they don’t end up shipping this great laptop with a sub par SSD.

  • krumhur

    impressive ultrabook there, its perfect it seems, they fixed the keyboard and added a very screen too!

    btw, is there any new information on the UX21A? (the 11′ version)
    i was wondering if it will get the same full HD IPS screen and if it will cost less (even a bit)

    • krumhur

      very nice screen too*

    • MP

      As far as I can see – yes, it will have the same 1080p IPS screen and yes, it will cost less.

      • MP

        Actually – I take that back. Don’t know the price yet :P

    • Chippy

      See later article and anandtech review.

  • artaman

    I take it the $1500 model -if it comes to uk- will follow the beloved “1$=1£” currency exchange policy which applies to electronics….?

    • Chippy

      Likely as always!

  • Ron burgandy

    I thought the 1080p screen was going to be an option and not the default….Nonetheless, I am seeing other print that says 1366×768. Not sure if that is the “option” or if that is for the hybrid model. The current UX31 is 1600×900. I would have been fine with that. I am hoping the 1080p screen is not filled with teeny tiny icons that my 46 year old eyes cant see. Then again, I can set W7 to display larger icons and menu text, etc….. I am so looking forward to the Core i5/128gb version!!!

  • for price:

    ASUS UX31A

  • Parvez Iftikhar

    Reading reviews of Asus UX 21A, I fell in love with it. But when I want to buy it I do not find it anywhere – neither on-line nor in the shops.
    Can anybody tell me where to buy UX 21A in UK?

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