Hot on the heels of Acer's announcement, Asus has unveiled its own line of ultrabooks under the new Zenbook brand, with a total of five models ranging in price from $999 to $1499. The Zenbook UX21 offers a 11.6-inch (1366 x 768) display configuration, 128GB of SSD storage and comes with either a Core i5-2467M or Core i7-2677M, while the Zenbook UX31 sports a 13.3-inch (1600 x 900) screen and comes in three variants: a Core i5-2557M model with 128GB of SSD storage, a similar model that ups storage to 256GB SSD and another one topping it off with a Core i7-2677M.

The 11.6-inch Zenbook UX21 and 13.3-inch Zenbook UX31 weigh in at just 2.4 pounds and 2.9 pounds, respectively. Thanks to their aluminum alloy bodies, glass trackpads and all-metal keyboards, they are also among the sleekest-looking notebooks we've seen to date. The 11-inch UX21 ranges in thickness from 0.11 inch at the front to 0.67 inch at the rear, while the 13-inch UX31 is 0.11 inch at the front and 0.71 inch at the rear.

All models have an instant-on feature that Asus says will allow the system to resume from sleep in about 2 seconds. In terms of battery life the UX21 models are rated for five hours of runtime, with up to 7 days of standby time, while the UX31 unit lasts bit a longer at seven hours of runtime or ten days in standby with a single charge.

Other specs include 4GB of RAM, one USB 2.0 and a USB 3.0 port, microHDMI and miniVGA outputs, a 0.3MP webcam, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, and stereo speakers with Bang and Olufsen's ICEpower technology.

The first Zenbooks will be available for order in the US starting October 12th. Comparing the base 13.3-inch Zenbook UX31 to its MacBook Air rival, specs aren't all that different, although the Asus comes in $200 cheaper at $1,099 and offers a higher resolution display (1600x900 vs 1440x900). Its SSD also supports the faster 6Gbps SATA III interface.

Check out this post at Anandtech for more side side-by-side comparisons.