Asus DB31 review:

Asus DB31

If you're at all interested in gaming, the UX32VD is the Zenbook for you. Even then, the Nvidia GeForce 620M GPU is an entry-level part, and not great for high-detail settings at full 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution. The Intel HD 3000 integrated graphics in the UX32A ran our very forgiving Street Fighter IV test at 1,366x768 pixels and only 19.9 frames per second, making it not very well suited for anything beyond simple casual games and maybe a few vintage games.

Juice box
Mainstream (Avg watts/hour)  
Off (60%) 0.31
Sleep (10%) 0.39
Idle (25%) 5.45
Load (05%) 23.43
Raw kWh number 24.17
Annual power consumption cost $2.74

Annual power consumption cost

All three of the Asus Zenbook models we tested had solid battery life, to varying degrees. The UX32A ran for 5 hours and 16 minutes -- decent if not spectacular -- in our video-playback battery drain test, while the UX31A ran for 6 hours and 16 minutes. The UX32VD has higher-end components, so it may be forgiven for only running for 5 hours and 13 minutes. Some other ultrabooks can run for 1 to 2 hours longer, but all these times should get you through a full day if you close the lid and put the laptop to sleep when not actively using it.

Asus offers a one-year mail-in warranty on each of these ultrabooks. The Asus Web site can get a little confusing to navigate, but 24-7 phone support is available at 888-678-3688. The simplest way to find the Asus support section for your specific model is to ignore the frustrating pop-up navigation menus and simply type the model number into the support page search box.

The Asus Zenbook UX32A shares a chassis with the UX32VD model we also reviewed, but little else. It's stuck with an older CPU, lacks the graphics and battery-life advantages of Intel's new Ivy Bridge platform, and has a lower-resolution screen. That said, if you love the look and feel, which is nicely MacBook-like, this model is about $500 less.

Multimedia multitasking test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Adobe Photoshop CS5 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Video playback battery drain test (in minutes)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Find out more about how we test laptops.

System configurations:

Asus Zenbook Prime UX32A
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) w/ SP1; 1.4GHz Intel Core i3-2367M; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 64MB (Dedicated) Intel HD 4000; 320GB Hitachi 5,400rpm

Acer Aspire S5-391-9880
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) w/ SP1; 1.7GHz Intel Core i5-3317U; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 128MB (Dedicated) Intel HD 4000; 256GB Lite-On IT SSD (2x RAID 0)

Asus Zenbook Prime UX32VD
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) w/ SP1; 1.9GHz Intel Core i7-3517U; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 1GB Nvidia GeForce GT 620M / 64MB (Dedicated) Intel HD 4000; 500GB Hitachi 5,400rpm

Apple MacBook Air 13.3-inch (Summer 2012)
OS X 10.7.4 Lion; 1.8GHz Intel Core i5; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz; 384MB (Shared) Intel HD 4000; 128GB Apple SSD

Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) w/ SP1; 1.7GHz Intel Core i5-3317U; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz; 64MB (Dedicated) Intel HD 4000; 128GB Adata XM11 SSD

What you'll pay

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