Asus ZenBook UX31 review: Asus ZenBook UX31

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CNET Editors' Rating

3 stars Good

Average User Rating

3.5 stars 9 user reviews
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Excellent performance thanks to the Sandforce-driven SSD and Core i7. Beautiful looks. 1600x900 screen is a nice departure from 1366x768. Good battery life.

The Bad Terrible touch pad and keyboard make the product almost unusable.

The Bottom Line Much like the UX21, the ZenBook UX31 is a beautiful performer trapped in a cage of awful usability. We look forward to Asus' next revision, where it will no doubt refine the experience into a winning product.

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We weren't too impressed by the ZenBook UX21, the 11.6-inch Ultrabook from Asus. It was beautiful, it had a Sandforce SSD and it managed to pack in a Core i7, but the terrible touch pad, bad keyboard and limited viewing angles of the screen massively hampered its usability.

So is anything different with this 13-inch version? Well, it incorporates a 1600x900 screen, for one; a nice increase over the far-too-common 1366x768. We don't know at what stage low-resolution screens became cool, but it's nice to have something with a little more space. Maybe it's only size that allows for this, but viewing angles are superior to the UX21.

By pure virtue of having extra room to play with, it gains an SD card reader, extra battery capacity and reduced operating heat, offering uncomfortable heat instead of scalding. It otherwise contains what the UX21 does — one USB 3.0 port, one USB 2.0, micro VGA and HDMI ports and a headset jack.

Although we found the response a little better on the UX31's keyboard than the UX21, it still frequently dropped keys, and the Sentelic touch pad is as genuinely awful, as it has always been, mixing up multi-touch gestures to the point that you'll need to turn them all off.

Our review sample contained a Core i7 2677M @ 1.8GHz, 4GB of RAM and a 256GB Sandforce-powered drive. While the drive suffers in write speeds compared to its full-sized brothers, the speed is nothing to sneeze at:

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Where to Buy

Asus Zenbook UX31

Part Number: CNETAsus Zenbook UX31

Typical Price: $1,999.00

See manufacturer website for availability.