Prizefight: Asus UX31 vs. Apple MacBook Air
In this edition of CNET Prizefight, we compare Apple's 13-inch MacBook Air with the suspiciously similar (but less expensive) Asus Zenbook UX31.
Our latest Prizefight pits one of the new generation of superthin Ultrabook laptops, the Apple's 13-inch MacBook Air., against the system it was clearly designed to emulate,
The Prizefight scoring system is as follows: Each judge rates on a zero to five scale. At the end of each round, we will take an average of the three judges' scores. The final score for each laptop will be an average of all five rounds.
Round 1: Design
Asus UX31: Amazing design, which could almost be mistaken for the MacBook Air, but difficulty opening the lid smoothly put us off; its touch pad and keyboard aren't as good. Score: 4.3
Apple MacBook Air: That everyone is now trying to copy it says a lot about this product; it's still the benchmark for the best design in the business. Score: 5
Round 2: Features
Asus UX31: The ZenBook brings more features to the table, with USB 3.0, an included dongle for Ethernet, a high-res screen, and Micro-HDMI. Score: 4.7
Apple MacBook Air: The Air's got a multipurpose, high-speed Thunderbolt port, but not much else, save for a best-in-the-biz trackpad. Score: 4
Round 3: Performance
Asus UX31: This Zenbook's got plenty of speed, but the 13-inch MacBook Air beats it in benchmark tests. Score: 3.7
Apple MacBook Air: The latest-generation Air stands side by side with the entry-level MacBook Pro; the performance tests speak for themselves. Score: 4.7
Round 4: Battery life
Asus UX31: Reasonably good; a little under 5 hours of battery life is OK, but we expected more. Score: 3
Apple MacBook Air: The Air's 7 hours of battery life is an industry leader for the category, and standby time is also excellent. The clear victor. Score: 5
Round 5: Value
Asus UX31: For $1,099, Asus throws everything in here except the kitchen sink; the $200 savings over the Air makes it seem like a real bargain. Score: 4
Apple MacBook Air: Apple's premium product comes at a premium price; there's no way around it--the Air's expensive. At least you still get a couple of Apple stickers in the box. Score: 3
The final score:
Asus Zenbook UX31: 5.9 points
Apple MacBook Air: 6.5 points
The MacBook Air took this contest on account of its better battery life and performance, but the Zenbook comes close, thanks to better ports and connections, and a lower price. Do you agree or disagree with our verdict? Share your take in the comments section below.