Front of Asus UX21

Asus has released a serious competitor to Apple's MacBook Air, which has been the ultraslim laptop to beat in the mobile computing world. The Asus UX21 is the world's first Ultrabook (read more about Ultrabooks here) and has broken ground in terms of design, features, and performance. Crave Asia met up with Asus' product manager at the company's Computex booth in Taipei to bring you this quick hands-on.

The 11.6-inch model on display has a sleek side profile of about 1.2 inches by 6.7 inches and weighs just 2.4 pounds. A 13.3-inch version will also be available at launch, estimated to be as early as October. The UX21 is also the first laptop on the market to feature a higher-speed SATA 3 solid-state drive, which is fully integrated onto the circuit board to keep the machine slimmer. It has a special trackpad coated with a glass surface, too.

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Photo by: Philip Wong/CNET Asia / Caption by:

Left side of UX21

The left side of the UX21 offers a proprietary VGA socket (requires adapter), USB 2.0 port, and earphone jack. Not shown, further to the right, is a narrow grille for its side speaker. Sound is also projected from the edges of the keyboard, according to an Asus spokesperson.
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Photo by: Philip Wong/CNET Asia / Caption by:

RIght side of UX21

On the right is a micro-HDMI output, a USB 3.0 port, and a power jack. There's also a speaker grille on the left that's not pictured here. Check out the cool brushed metal finishing clearly visible here, too.
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Photo by: Philip Wong/CNET Asia / Caption by:

Asus logo and text

The text reads "UX21 series ultra slim" and is printed on a perforated strip with a metallic Asus logo above it.
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Photo by: Philip Wong/CNET Asia / Caption by:

Cover pattern

The special "spin pattern" on the cover is inspired by the grooves of vinyl records, while the machine has a unibody chassis pressed from a single piece of aluminum.
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Photo by: Philip Wong/CNET Asia / Caption by:

Metallic bottom

Even the metallic bottom is adequately styled with contoured edges and little details that include a unique serial number for each machine. The battery is integrated within the chassis and offers around five hours--even for more power-hungry Core i7 CPUs.
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Photo by: Philip Wong/CNET Asia / Caption by:
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