This is my review of the newest ASUS gadget in the Ultrabook category, the ASUS UX31 Series. I’m currently using this notebook in writing this blog review so that I could test the performance for my daily tasks. This is not a very much detailed and comprehensive review like the other sites, this is only just a feedback on me using this notebook.
What can I say? Like MBA? Nah! It’s different from that, far more different. They might say that its “brushed aluminum”, I say WOW! They say “its tapered”, I still say WOW! Really, that’s all there is. The brushed metal under chassis, the spun metal on top with the bright logo, the tapering wedges… Its MBA in steroids. Since I haven’t seen or knew anyone using this laptop here in the Philippines, I can practically bring this laptop with pride. A statement of my personality. Simple and Elegant.
Thin and Light
When it comes in Ultrabook category, Intel decides to set some standards in order to carry this name. Ultrabook is superior mobility with class; lesser weight, about 1.4 kilograms (3.1 pounds), and thinner that most notebook, 20 millimeter (0.8 inches) thin. The UX31 fits perfectly, like 0.1 kilograms lighter and 3 millimeters thinner (1.3 kilograms, 17 millimeters).
ASUS is averagely generous enough to provide two USB ports, one is 2.0, the other is the latest 3.0 revision (all powered). An SD Card slot is provided to manage your digital contents captured through live motion or stills, comes standard with a mic/stereo headphone combo port. Due to its thinness, ASUS provided two more ports, one is for the VGA, the other is for viewing high definition videos, which are called Micro VGA and Micro HDMI respectively. No ports at the back and front.
You’ll be surprised how obviously wide the screen is. The thick bezel monitor is amazingly bright, 450 nits of brightness, and have a much more higher resolution than standard notebooks in this category. It comes standard with a 1600x900 resolution, able to play 720p movies smoothly. Though I haven’t tried this yet under the bright sun, I’m assured that it will gladly see me through all the images displayed.
The keys are huge! It’s exaggeratedly huge for me ‘cause I only have small average fingers for an Asian. I may need a bit more time to getting used to these huge keys. When I’m typing through this blog, I’m hearing a clacking noise, or maybe its just a bit loose. Its an island type keyboard, spacious enough to fit any fingers. I recommend typing a bit more harder. You do not need to aim to the center of every keys, you just have to press harder. Touch typist may not like this type of keyboard.
Need I say again? The trackpad measures 4 inches diagonally. Yup! Its huge too. Some say that this is a clickpad, though I find it a bit hard pressing down to do the left click while navigating through your screen. The touchpad is smooth enough sliding through windows, dragging items, etc. There are some jitters, unfortunately. The last time ASUS addressed this issue said that a new driver is currently on the way. Meanwhile, other users from the forums suggests that the appropriate driver for this touchpad should be Sentelic, while mine has the latest ELanTech drivers (confused). I’ll post some updates in this blog when an update comes to test it again.
If you have seen a flat speaker, expect it to be integrated in this Ultrabook. The team at the Bang and Olufsen has managed to put in a nice generously sounding flat speakers for this type of notebook. Its called and written as Audio by Bang & Olufsen ICEPower. And yes, its noisy as hell. Sorry for the deep base lovers.
I can’t imagine how could they fit in an Intel Core i5 processor in this form factor. Match that with a 4 gigabytes of DDR3 RAM and a 128 gigabytes of Solid State Drive, you’ll be flying your way out of any tasks that you perform using this Ultrabook. Some may be disappointed with the Intel Integrated Graphics adapter in here, but since the processor is a Sandy Bridge, you’ll flawlessly edit high definition movies like a pro. I encountered some slowdowns while using this as my development machine, but its just the power management feature wherein it can adjust the processor’s usage (by percentage). In battery saving mode, the processor performs only 5-50% of its power to greatly reduce the 50Wh battery usage, and it will bring you the whole day using this notebook. For me, the “whole day” means typing my way onto this blog, then putting it to standby mode while I’m driving on my way home. At home, I immediately turn on the Wi-fi to publish a draft of this article, and it manages to provide me 3-4 hours of usage while in the Entertainment Mode, which boosts the performance of the processor up to 80%. It also comes with browsing some of my favorite websites. All in all, it just gets me through the day. Maybe the next generation of Ultrabooks will become more efficient when it comes to power usage, especially with the arrival of Ivy Bridge of Intel.