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Asus Ultrabook "Zenbooks" Arriving With Five Models

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.

  • Pyree
    3mm at the front, that should earn a "Caution! Sharp edge." sticker.
    Reply
  • zubikov
    I've been waiting for Ultrabooks to hit the market for 3 or so months since the new Macbook Air release. I really want a Windows based system for its keyboard and no need for virtualization, but I feel like the PCs are TRYING to give away their business to Apple.

    First, it's been a slow, uneventful rollout. Lenovo's been marketing U300s for two months, with no updates, no dates, no prices. Acer and Asus took their sweet time also, and didn't even give any specs (meanwhile Apple was eating their lunch). Second, now that Acer and Asus have released their ultrabooks, there's no place to go buy them. I went to Asus website and tried clicking all the retailer links from the product page...all of them broken links. Are you kidding me? I'm trying to throw money at them and they won't take it! Third, they're not even trying to compete on price. Even though the starter ultrabooks might beat MB Airs by $100 or so, when you load them up with i7 and 256 SSD, we're right back to the 1600 - 1700 price. No wonder so many people are saying "f'k this, I'm buying an Apple".
    Reply
  • At those prices, they'll be total flops. Apple can command prices like that, but the PC market is different. It's been a race to the bottom for too long for hardware manufacturers, and despite the pros of such a small form factor, when people see that they can get a fast Core i5 based 15" laptop for less than $600 if they watch for sales, they'll pass on these expensive little netbooks.

    At least with Apple, you get a much better and sleeker experience, not to mention their unbelievable customer service. Asus isn't know for their customer service. When I look at hardware to buy, I compare, and when I can get Apple for the around the same price, it's a no-brainer. I know an Apple product will be high quality throughout and they stand behind their product. You even get someone in the good old USA on the other end of the phone that speaks and sounds just like I do when you call, or you can just drop by an Apple Store and see a Genius.
    Reply
  • tomrippity02
    ruel24or you can just drop by an Apple Store and see a Genius.
    Assuming you live in a major city with an apple Genius store. If they sell these at Best Buy its pretty simple to find a store near you, and while the sales staff knows jack about anything, the people in the tech department actually seem to know how to solve most problems on a PC.

    Is blaming the way people hold their products as the cause of malfunction "standing behind their product"?
    Reply
  • burnley14
    Too expensive. I am a big fan of these ultrabooks, I like the computers I use to look nice and can't stomach paying the Apple tax for a laptop, but this isn't any better.
    Reply
  • del35
    Definitely not getting an Ultrabook. A good laptop will do.
    Reply
  • amk-aka-Phantom
    Thank Asus for including some good SSD and sound! And 1600x900 is good; not full HD but definitely better than stupid 1366x768 that messes up my wallpapers and games (yes, I WOULD game on this, too... it can definitely take some of my favorite older games maxed out!)

    However, I REFUSE to understand why all new Asus laptops and netbooks have this crappy 0.3 MP webcam... 2MP too difficult?

    Nice specs. Now, if only they'd cost what they're really worth...

    ruel24At least with Apple, you get a much better and sleeker experience, not to mention their unbelievable customer service. Asus isn't know for their customer service. When I look at hardware to buy, I compare, and when I can get Apple for the around the same price, it's a no-brainer. I know an Apple product will be high quality throughout and they stand behind their product. You even get someone in the good old USA on the other end of the phone that speaks and sounds just like I do when you call, or you can just drop by an Apple Store and see a Genius.
    Apple fanboy detected. Asus customer service is sweet, the product rocks (except those ultrabooks - too expensive) and I don't need to phone someone to figure out the problem. As for crApple "geniuses", I'm looking forward to heavily trolling them one day - let's see if they can brainwash a PC enthusiast into buying any of their underpowered junk! :D
    Reply
  • xpslover007
    I waited all this time to find out they're expensive? ugh. Getting the Acer S3 instead.Pre-ordering on amazon now ;)
    Reply
  • back_by_demand
    amk-aka-phantomAs for crApple "geniuses", I'm looking forward to heavily trolling them one day - let's see if they can brainwash a PC enthusiast into buying any of their underpowered junk!Please, please, please, arrange for a friend to video it and get it up on Youtube, I would pay to see the "Genius" begging for mercy
    Reply
  • amk-aka-Phantom
    9316774 said:
    Please, please, please, arrange for a friend to video it and get it up on Youtube, I would pay to see the "Genius" begging for mercy

    Me: "Wow, this MacBook right here is so cool! I bet it has all kinds of sick hardware inside, this 17'' chassis can fit loads of stuff!"

    Genius: "Of course! Apple Mac allows for the best user experience possible!"

    Me: "ZOMG, great!" *simulates iZombie Apple-awe* "Is the CPU here cooled properly? I hate it when laptops heat up and ruin my pr0n browsing experience..."

    Genius, a little worried since the customer mentioned something named a "CPU": "Apple guarantees that MacBook will provide the most pleasant user experience available on the market."

    Me: "Great! Now I'm DEFINITELY sure I want to buy it!"

    Genius, glad that he brainwashed another client: "All right! You've made the right choice!"

    Me: "Of course I did! So, how much?"

    Genius (proudly): "Apple customizes your MacBook to suit your needs. The price depends on what you want from it!"

    Me: "Cool! Let's see what I can customize here!"

    Genius: "You have a choice between three chips: fast, faster and very fast. Which one would you like to add to your MacBook?"

    Me: "Of course, the fastest!"

    Genius: "Done! What about the graphics card?" *makes a disgusted face since the existence of dedicated graphics cards is not approved by Apple* "Your graphics card will enhance your MacBook visual experience: do you want to watch online videos, edit photo and video content or maybe even work with 3D design? Whatever you want to do, Apple has a graphics card just for you!"

    Me: "I want to do everything, because Macs can do everything! Give me a fastest graphics card you have!"

    Genius: *amazed by the customer's seeming idiocy, but pleased with the amount of money Apple will get* "Alright. What about storage space? Mac allows you to store your photos, movies and music bought in Apple iTunes™©® store!"

    Me: "That's great! I love watching movies, I want to have lots of space!"

    Genius: "Sure! And last thing, what about memory? You know, RAM? Ah, it's fine, you don't need to get into details. Apple will provide you with the best user exp-"

    Me: *cutting him off* "Oh, RAM is very important! I want to have loads of it! My friends say that the more RAM you have, the better your computer works!"

    Genius: "Apple will make sure your Mac has enough RAM for the most pleasant user experience! Now that we're done with customizing your Mac, why don't you take a tour of Mac OS X on this Mac test machine while your Mac is being prepared?"

    Me: "Eh? Oh, no, thank you. I won't really use Mac OS. I mean, it doesn't support SLI..."

    Genius: "What. Did. You. Just. Say?!"

    Me: "That Mac OS doesn't support SLI."

    Genius: "No, before that!"

    Me: "That I won't use Mac OS?"

    Genius, raging: "YES! Your Mac comes with Mac OS X and you must use it in order to achieve the best user experience..."

    Me: "No, that's cool, bro. If I'd want another Linux distro, I'd go for Ubuntu. 11.10 comes out tomorrow, ya know? Gotta try it, though I've heard they removed the classic desktop and I'll have to screw around with the repositories again to get it back. But actually I'll use Windows 7."

    Genius, dumbstruck: "But Windows is such a vulnerable OS! Surely you don't want to risk malware infection!"

    Me: "Nah, I don't really care about that, I know my way around my computer and remove malware manually, in a rare case it gets onto my machine.. didn't happen since I switched to Windows 7, actually... what a weird coincidence... and it has great driver support and gaming. SLI works there, and so does Crysis."

    Genius: (speechless)

    Apple employee: *comes in with the Mac* "Sir, your Mac is ready!"

    Me: "Cool! Let's see the specs! <curses at the pointlessly huge touchpad and navigate to hardware specs> What's that?"

    Apple employee: "But sir, you requested the best chip and the graphics card possible!"

    Me: "Yes, I did. In that case, what are GT555M and Core i7 non-Extreme series doing here along with only 8GB RAM? And what's this price tag, $3K? GTFO n00bs, I'm off to the Asus store... I'll get a VX7 or a G74+desktop rig for this price... see ya! :lol:"

    AE and Genius: "FFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!!!!"

    Me: *takes a picture of rage with a Galaxy S2* "And your phones suck, too!" *leaves an Asus ROG laptop advertisement booklet on the table and leaves*

    That's the way I picture it. The only thing stopping me is that my country doesn't have any Apple stores :D Maybe it's for the best, less Apple = less blight.
    Reply