ASUS X401a–Utrabook Alternative at $330

Updated on 29 July 2012 by

Both Acer and ASUS now have budget lightweight notebooks with Ultrabook-like processing capability for a value price. The Acer Aspire V5 is available in many versions and available in many places, both online and off. The ASUS X401a is a little more shy. A Pentium version of the 14” 1.8KG laptop is now available exclusively from Best Buy, for $330



The Pentium B970 is a Sandy Bridge generation  (2011/2012) 2.3Ghz CPU without Turbo Boost that under average conditions, should have comparable battery drain to an Ultrabook. We tested a Core i3 version of the CPU on the Samsung NP350 earlier this year and only saw significant differences when under load – it is a 35W TDP CPU after all.

What you won’t get is the latest generation CPU with HD4000 graphics (only HD 3000 on this) a hybrid HDD, Bluetooth and support for features like Quick Sync Video, AES encryption acceleration, Wi-Di and video playback enhancement. There isn’t even any hyperthreading on this CPU.  The battery is a 47Wh module though and there’s a good set of ports.

There are higher-end models of the X401 listed by ASUS with Core i3 and Bluetooth, 500GB drive and even Windows 7 ultimate but we’ll have to wait and see how long the Best Buy exclusive is right now. We’ll also have to watch out for the ASUS S-Series which, just as the Samsung Series 5 did to the Samsung NP350, bump the lower-cost model out of the market.

For the time being though, check out this owners blog entry at Paralog. They have a comments section!

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5 Comments For This Post

  1. Michael says:

    If we have lightweight notebooks like this and the Samsung NP350, why even bother with all these ultrabook bullshits that are selling for over $1000?

    The ultrabook concept was created because Intel was not making margins of traditional notebooks which were dropping in price rapidly. So $1000 plus ultrabooks were born.

  2. vjachi says:

    I’m sorry, but before the ultrabooks I couldn’t find so small (think&light) device with good battery life (6-7h) while powerful performance in the same time. The market is just evolving. After 2-3h the main devices could be touch screen hybrid ultrabooks :)

  3. vjachi says:

    awful to type on tablet…
    thin*; 2-3years*

  4. James says:

    Low cost light weight notebooks aren’t without their compromises.

    The 14″ screen is only 1366×768 and the Celeron and Pentium processors are more limited with no Turbo Boost for the CPU part, and HyperThreading, AES, Virtualization (VT-x and VT-d), Trusted Execution or Intel Quick Sync are all deactivated.

    The HD GMA is also only based on the HD 2000.

  5. Dan says:

    This has promise… the processor beats the last gen i3 ulv processors in performance, it uses asus active hybrid engine for instant on from sleep mode like an ultrabook. And its only 329 at best buy right now. And its getting about 4hrs of battery life in reviews.

    Add a $70 64gb samsung 830 ssd should get the boot time in a ultrabook friendly range and maybe give another hour of battery life.

    So for $400 you could have something pretty close to an ultrabook. A lenovo 310s is 699-799 and isn’t to far off this spec wise.

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