Last week we reported that Asus planned to re-brand the ultrabook form factor as "Zenbook," and on Tuesday Asus Chairman Jonney Shih officially confirmed the new name at a global launch event in New York. The ultra-slim Zenbooks will go on sale here in the States on October 12, starting at $999 for the 11.6-inch UX21 and $1,099 for the 13.3-inch UX31. The company will offer two UX21 configurations and three UX31 models.
According to Asus, the new Zenbook form factor will offer the same base features across all five configurations including a thickness of 0.11-inches at the front and 0.67-inches at the back. The 11.6-inch model will weigh 2.4 pounds whereas the 13.3-inch model will weigh 2.9 pounds, yet both will sport a silver aluminum alloy body, glass trackpads and all-metal keyboards.
As for other common specs, the UX21 and UX31 Zenbooks will feature ultra low voltage Core i7 and i5 processors, 4 GB of 1333 MHz DDR3 memory (non-upgradeable), a USB 3.0 port and a USB 2.0 port, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, an SATA 6Gbps SSD starting at 128 GB, stereo speakers with Bang & Olufsen's ICEpower technology, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit and a two-second resume time. There will also be a 0.3MP webcam, a micro HDMI port and a custom "mini" VGA port.
As for differences, the 11.6-inch UX21 model will boast a resolution of 1366 x 768 and a battery charge of five hours of runtime (or seven days). Consumers will also have a choice of two processors: the Core i7 2677M and the Core i5 2467M (and later the Core i3 2367M). As for the 13.3-inch UX31, it will have a resolution of 1600 x 900, a battery charge for seven hours (or ten days) and an additional SD card reader. This model will also offer a choice of the Core i7 2677M and the Core i5 2557M.
"To accommodate all of these technologies, Asus engineers designed custom cooling technology using a V-shaped channel with a unique copper fin design for improved airflow and cooling," the company said Tuesday. "When battery life dips below 5 percent, the Zenbook will automatically save files in progress to prevent data loss."
The two UX21 models will cost $999 (UX21E-DH52) and $1,199 (UX21E-DH71), and the three UX31 models will cost $1,099 (UX31E-DH52), $1,349 (UX31E-DH53) and $1,449 (UX31E-DH72). Hey, at least one of the Zenbooks meets Intel's preferred sub-$1000 price point.