Asus excels at making ultrathin ultrabooks, and the Asus Zenbook UX31 is one of the thinnest around. The Zenbook UX31 measures just 17mm (0.6 inches) at its thickest point and a staggering 3mm (0.11 inches) at the tip. The UX31 ultrabook's sound is fantastic, and it can blast audio with the best of them. Compared to some other ultrathin latptops, the display does need some work, but the obvious focus with the Zenbook is speed.
At 1600 x 900, the display's resolution on the Zenbook ultrabook is one of the largest we found. However, the integrated graphics card lacks the intense graphics you'd see with higher-end cards. This can make a difference if you plan on doing a lot of photo or video editing, but since ultrabooks won't typically support extensive gaming anyway, the less-than-stellar graphics card isn't a huge setback. However, you may notice that the blacker portions of video tend to be slightly pixilated in some areas.
The speakers on this thin and light laptop are hidden, but the sound is definitely not. SonicMaster and ICEpower team up to emit sound from underneath the keyboard. The speakers aren't as powerful as the MacBook Air's, but they are surprisingly loud considering the narrow profile of the UX31.
The time it takes to reboot from sleep mode is a lightning-quick two seconds. A quick start up is one of the qualifications of any ultrabook, and the UX31 is the quickest of the quick.
The keyboard is not backlit, which can be big omission, depending on your computing habits. The keys are well spaced and flat enough to make typing easy and natural. Also, the webcam only features a 0.3-megapixel camera, so the images are flat and tend to be grainy at best.
When it comes to design, this is how an ultrabook should look. The aluminum-brushed outer casing and slim design give it a hint of a futuristic feel. In fact, the super-thin design is a nice approximation of the MacBook Air's signature look.
It weighs only 3 pounds and has a screen size of 13.3 inches. Inside you will find 128GB of SSD storage space and 4GB of RAM. The battery can last for 7 hours, but that is with very minimal use. With heavy use, you can get 4.5 hours out of the battery, and when it drains to below five percent, the computer will automatically save everything you're working on.
The Asus website offers a lot of resources so you can get help if you run into issues with your Zenbook. There are phone hotlines and even an escalated mailbox for issues that you may feel need immediate attention. The FAQs section goes on for days, and you can even locate service centers if your computer needs physical attention. You can expect about 48 hours to pass before you get a reply to an email.
The Asus Zenbook UX31 can stack up against other ultrabooks, and the design alone is enough to set it apart from others. However, it does lack a few of the features that the best ultrabooks have, such as a backlit keyboard and a high quality webcam. Even though the screen resolution is better than others, this ultrathin laptop struggles to express black contrast and can pixelate darker portions of some images. The strong and quick processor makes up for some of these drawbacks, making this a great ultrabook to consider.
Rapid start with this ultrabook is quicker than the competition, and its design nicely mirrors the MacBook Air.
The keyboard is not backlight, and the webcam has a resolution of only 0.3 megapixels.
The Zenbook UX31 by Asus is as gorgeous as they come. Fast wake time and strong audio give this ultrabook an edge on the opposition.