Zenbook Prime UX31A Appears on Italian Retailer’s Website, More Evidence for Ivy Bridge and 1080p Display

Posted on 09 May 2012 by

The Zenbook Prime (UX31A, the 13.3″ model) has appeared on the Italaian retailer website Fnac. There has still be not official confirmation of the full specs of the Zenbook Prime series from Asus, but all signs are now pointing to a next-gen Ivy Bridge CPU being on board as well as a full 1920x1080p display. Additionally reworked keyboard with backlight is expected to grace this sleek Ultrabook. The retailer listing also gives us an indication of the prices that we can expect to see at launch.

Asus is expected to refresh both the 11″ (UX21E) and 13.3″ (UX31E) models of the Zenbook with the UX21A and UX31A. Apparently they will take on the title of ‘Zenbook Prime’, likely a hat tip to the 1080p-equipped Transformer Prime tablet. The Verge reported a while back about the refresh, though we’ve been patiently awaiting official confirmation from Asus. It’s not official yet, but now we’ve got some corroborating evidence from the UX31A listing that just popped up on Fnac.

Credit to EeePC.it for spotting this, here’s their original article (in Italian!).

According to both the prior report from The Verge and the listing on Fnac, the UX31A will be equipped with the brand new Ivy Bridge Core i7-3517U CPU. We’ll likely see Core i3 and Core i5 options just like the existing line. The listing says ‘HD3000’ for graphics, but if it’s an Ivy Birdge CPU on board, then it must be using the new and improved HD4000 graphics which Intel claims will double graphics performance from the previous generation of Core processors. Fnac’s listing is 2GB of RAM, though given that the current models support it, an option for 4GB of RAM is almost a certainty — way may even see up to 8GB. Furthermore, Fnac lists a ‘full HD’ display, a term which Asus has often used to refer to the 1920x1080p resoltution. Engadget China, who saw the Zenbook Primes in person (but was barred from touching them) say that the screen will use IPS technology and be matte instead of glossy as the current models are. Intel’s wireless display (WiDi) feature is also expect on the new UX21A and UX31A thanks to the likely use of the HM77 chipset.

The upgrade to Ivy Bridge processors and a full 1080p display are quite exciting, but I’m even more excited by changes to the keyboard. The report from The Verge indicates a new keyboard “offering greater solidity and deeper key travel” in addition to a backlight. The keyboard on the existing models isn’t that bad, but the keys seem to be prone to dead spots where you can occasionally hit a key and it will not register — I find that this most often happens with modifier keys. Hopefully the reworked keyboard will fix the issue.

Aside from the keyboard, I can understand why Asus is refreshing the internals of the Zenbooks while leaving the external design the same — they’ve got a very good looking Ultrabook in the UX21 and UX31. I’ve been using the UX31 for a few weeks now and have been very impressed aside from the keyboard.

See our UX21E and UX31E reviews here (current generation).

Fnac’s Zenbook Prime UX31A listing is priced at €1,499 ($1,952), which seems a bit high for a model which isn’t a top-end configuration (2GB of RAM is likely minimum), but it isn’t clear whether or not the listing includes taxes. Still I think we can say that we’ll see a launch price within 10% of this figure, depending upon the configuration. I’ll be interested to see the difference between the bottom-end and top-end models. Expect to hear more about the Zenbook Prime refresh at Computex during the beginning of next month.

  • krumhur

    Hello there! :)
    The price seems to include taxes.
    If you procede with the order, just before you have to put your account credentials you can see this: http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/801/ux31a.jpg/
    (impressive paint skills on my part, i know)
    Prezzo Iva inclusa means “Price including VAT”
    you can check that on google translate too (unless you trust me, and I’m italian by the way)

    Hope it helps!

    ultrabooknews has been very helpful in finding the “perfect” ultrabook for me, thanks a lot for running such a nice site :)

    • Ben Lang

      Hey krumhur, thanks for confirming this for us! Very glad to hear that you’ve found our information useful, have you decided on the perfect Ultrabook yet?

      • krumhur

        no problem at all!
        at the moments its between Samsung series 9 and Asus Zenbook (both 11′ version) for me.

        i’m going to wait for the Ivy Bridge refresh, hoping Asus uses a different keyboard (the one i tried could have been broken, the response was not good to me and it had a very “plastic” feeling).

        i have a question actually: i could have missed some news but, is there going to be an Ivy Bridge version of the Samsung series 9, 11′ ultrabook?
        thanks for any response and keep up the good work! :)

    • Andrew

      krumhur, yes, there is going to be an update Ivy Bridge version of the 2nd gen Series 9. Keep your eyes pealed at Computex on June 5th, maybe it’ll show up there.

      Also, I too , am currently choosing between The Zenbook Prime and Series 9 Ivy. If nothing else shows up at Computex, I think I’ll stick to the Zenbook. That IPS display has waaaay better viewing angles, even though the Series 9 has a sexier design, from my point of view (oh well, the Zenbook is pretty nice looking too).

  • Andrew

    Can’t wait for the release at Computex. Damn, I so want it now…

  • Morten Andersen

    Some sources say that the new models will have the “availability” of a matt screen, while others say that it will be a matt screen for this new model (and supposedly not a glossy option).

    I really hope that ASUS will provide to all countries that will sell this new model also an option of (still) having a glossy screen, as I clearly prefer that. Is there someone who can assure me of this?

    • Ben Lang

      Hi Morten,

      In my experience, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a company offer a computer with matte and glossy as options. Why do you prefer glossy?

  • Morten Andersen

    Hi, Ben

    I prefer glossy because (according to my taste, of course) the screen’s colors and vision become much more vibrant and saturated, and the pictures become IMO more fresh and clear, also texts on the screen. Furthermore, I don’t experience any problems with the “mirror” effect that many complain about with regard to glossy screens and therefore they prefer matte screens. To me, the matte screens, in general at least, look too dull and lack the “vitality” of the glossy screens. I really hope that the new models will have both options, in all markets.

    • MP

      I’m pretty sure we are in a minority, at least on a tech blogg, but I prefer glossy over matte as well. I rarely work on my laptop outside, and I mostly use it for browsing and movies. As for browsing, I don’t care, but to me movies look better with a glossy screen.

  • Ron Burgandy

    My understanding from everything I have read is that the IPS/matte screen was going to be an option, as well as the 1600×900 (did I get that right) on the current version. That looked good to me so when I get the UX31a, I will choose not to pay extra for the IPS screen. Heck, at 46, the size of the icons on a full HD screen on a 13″ model would be a little small for my taste…..

  • Ron Burgandy

    The pic they have herein is not of the new UX31a. It’s the old UX31 with the old style keyboard. The new keyboard will be backlit and have black keys.

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