New Asus Zenbooks have Ivy Bridge, HD IPS panel, backlit keyboard

By on March 12, 2012, 6:30 PM

With Ivy Bridge due sometime in the coming weeks or months, vendors are preparing a round of obligatory refreshes. Considering its performance-per-watt improvements over Sandy Bridge, it stands to reason that PC makers will trumpet the 22nm architecture with Intel-sanctioned ultrabooks and other mobile machines.

Such is the case with Asus, which has two second-gen Zenbooks in the pipeline. The UX21A and UX31A (successors to last year's decently regarded UX21 and UX31) should be among the finest examples of what Intel wants to achieve with its ultrabook branding by offering premium ultraportables at an affordable price.

Both will reportedly have an optional 1080p IPS screen with a higher brightness (350nit versus 300nit), though it's unclear how much the upgrade will cost. Besides their form factors, the systems are largely identical including Ivy Bridge chips ranging up to the dual-core Core i7-3517U (4MB L3 cache, 3GHz Turbo Boost).

  11.6" Zenbook UX21A 13.3" Zenbook UX31A
Display 1366x768 / 1920x1080 IPS 1600x900 / 1920x1080 IPS
Processor i3-3217U / i5-3317U / i7-3517U i3-3217U / i5-3317U / i7-3517U
Graphics Intel HD Graphics 4000 Intel HD Graphics 4000
Memory 2GB / 4GB DDR3L 1600MHz 2GB / 4GB DDR3L 1600MHz
Storage Up to 256GB SATA 3.0 SSD Up to 256GB SATA 3.0 SSD
Wireless 802.11n / Bluetooth 4.0 / WiDi 802.11n / Bluetooth 4.0 / WiDi
Other I/O SDXC / 2xUSB 3.0 / Micro HDMI SDXC / 2xUSB 3.0 / Micro HDMI
Battery Up to five hours Six to seven hours
Dimensions 0.66" thick and ~2.42lbs 0.76" thick and ~2.86lbs
Base Price $1,050 $1,100

Although a SATA 3.0 SSD up to 256GB is confirmed, a 512GB option is said to be on the table. The backlit chiclet keyboard supposedly improves the previous design with a "deeper key travel," but we're not sure how that'll affect your experience in a practical sense. Size-wise the systems don't seem to be different from their predecessors. Availability remains unknown, but "soon" after Ivy Bridge's launch seems likely.




User Comments: 11

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amstech amstech, TechSpot Enthusiast, said:

Very interested to see how the Intel HD Graphics 4000 performs at 900p/1080p with Ivy pushing the train. I love my little 2430M pushing my GT 550M but I was impressed when shopping and saw the Intel Graphics 3000 performance numbers.

This ain't your onboard 'Rage' anymore!

ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Now we're talking. 1080p at 11.6" is starting to make me think of notebooks as interesting again.

Marnomancer Marnomancer said:

Hopefully there will be something even better by the time I buy my first laptop or notebook.

It just gets better with time, eh? Acer's ultra slim one at CeBit intrigued me.

slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

About time higher resolution IPS panels came out on laptops. That's one thing Apple can be credited for.

madboyv1, TechSpot Paladin, said:

So glad I didn't get the Thinkpad X200 late last year, as ET3D said, the laptop market is getting interesting for me again.

Zilpha Zilpha said:

Looks very promising. I can't wait to see what the price point ends up being.

Guest said:

The Macbook AIR does NOT have an IPS monitor! Actually I don't think any of apple's notebooks have IPS displays. Take that credit away from apple.

cookiedude cookiedude said:

About time higher resolution IPS panels came out on laptops. That's one thing Apple can be credited for.

Which of Apple's laptop line-up have IPS monitors??

Guest said:

He's referring to the new iPad which is unfortunately true... It has finally influenced laptop makers into going for IPS and it is about time..

cookiedude cookiedude said:

He's referring to the new iPad which is unfortunately true... It has finally influenced laptop makers into going for IPS and it is about time..

I doubt that, you don't simply change your entire manufacturing line up in a knee-jerk reaction to a competitor! The choice of screen would massively affect tooling so this is something that would have to be planned for from the outset, if IPS screens are now becoming more popular that is simply down to them becoming economically feasible for manufacturers. It's also worth noting that Apple don't make the screens, they just create the "pretty" box that houses them!

Guest said:

Does this have UPGRADE-ABLE ram? Or is this also soldered on too. They should make it so you can upgrade if you want to. I want to be able to have the option to upgrade to 8 or 16gb later on. Come on this is some not so hard crap to do. Make a slot to upgrade. BOOM sales goes up like crazy.

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