Asus has introduced a new line of thin and light laptops which will go on sale October 12th for $999 and up. These are the Asus UX21 and Asus UX31 laptops the company first introduced in June, but Asus is giving the laptops a new name: Zenbook.

The Asus Zenbook line will come in 5 different flavors. Two notebooks will be available with 11.6 inch displays, while there will be three models with 13.3 inch screens.

These will be among the first notebooks to launch as part of the Intel ultrabook platform. Intel defines the product category as laptops that weigh less than 3 pounds, measure less than 0.8 inches thick, and cost less than $1000. While the cheapest of the new Zenbooks definitely fits the bill, higher-end models will run as much as $1449.

All of the new laptops feature solid state disks, 4GB of RAM, 802.11b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, and 0.3MP webcams. They each feature 1 USB 2.0 port and a USB 3.0 port, an audio jack, microHDMI port, and xmini VGA port and run Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit. All three models will have Intel GMA 3000 HD graphics.

Asus says the laptops resume from sleep in 2 seconds, and the laptops automatically backup your data to the solid state disk when battery power reaches 5 percent capacity so that you won’t lose any data in the event of an unexpected shutdown.

The Zenbooks feature the latest version of the Asus Super Hybrid Engine technology which adjusts the CPU speed and other settings to prioritize battery life or performance depending on what you need. Asus CEO Jerry Shen says the idea is to deliver a smartphone-like, instant-on, ultraportable experience in a notebook-like form factor.

All of the laptops also measure just 0.11 inches thick at the thinnest point and feature metallic finishes. The 13.3 inch model also features a high resolution 1600 x 900 pixel display, which sets it apart from all of the other ultrabooks I’ve seen so far. Asus is also the only company I’m aware of that’s even making an 11.6 inch ultrabook model.

Here’s a run-down of the different models:

Asus UX21E-DH52

  • 11.6 inch, 1366 x 768 pixel display
  • Intel Core i5-2467M CPU
  • 128GB SSD
  • 35Whr battery (5 hours continuous use, 7 days standby)
  • 11.7″ x 7.7″ x 0.67″
  • 2.43 pounds
  • $999

Asus UX21E-DH71

  • 11.6 inch, 1366 x 768 pixel display
  • Intel Core i7-2677M
  • 128GB SSD
  • 35 Whr battery
  • 11.7″ x 7.7″ x 0.67″
  • 2.43 pounds
  • $1199

Asus UX31E-DH52

  • 13.3 inch, 1600 x 900 pixel display
  • Intel Core i5-2557M CPU
  • 128GB SSD
  • 50Whr battery
  • 12.8″ x 8.8″ x 0.71″
  • 2.86 pounds
  • $1099

Asus UX31E-DH53

  • 13.3 inch, 1600 x 900 pixel display
  • Intel Core i5-2557M
  • 256GB SSD
  • 50Whr battery
  • 12.8″ x 8.8″ x 0.71″
  • 2.86 pounds
  • $1349

Asus UX31E-DH72

  • 13.3 inch, 1600 x 900 pixel display
  • Intel Core i7-2677M
  • 256GB SSD
  • 50Whr battery
  • 12.8″ x 8.8″ x 0.71″
  • 2.86 pounds
  • $1449

All five models should be available starting October 12th. Acer’s Aspire S3 ultrabook is also expected to go on sale this week. That laptop has a 13.3 inch, 1366 x 768 pixel display. an Intel Core i5-2467M processor, and an $899 price tag.



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14 replies on “Asus introduces the Zenbook ultraportable laptop line for $999 and up”

  1. Is it easier to make these thin 11.6 inch notebooks or a thicker netbook form factor with a Core-i3/i5? I prefer a smaller footprunt than a slightly thinner notebook.

    1. Thinner and smaller both increase difficulty in designing these systems.

      You can check out models from Panasonic for examples of 10″ Sandy Bridge systems, but be prepared for sticker shock…

  2. Those are some sexy specs… any word on if they’ll have discrete video cards or are we solely onboard?

    1. Intel GMA 3000 HD graphics.

      Should be good enough for HD video and some games and other GPU-heavy tasks, but I wouldn’t expect bleeding edge graphics performance. 

  3. First of all, I think Panasonic laptops are Toughbooks, which can survive drops, water, etc.. Duh! No wonder they cost more… This is the stuff they use in the military.

    Second, these will be an incredible flop. For just about the same price, you can get a Macbook Air? With absolute quality and little corner cutting in the design/manufacture? With Apple’s first rate customer service? With an actual person on the other end of the phone who speaks American English natively? With support at your nearby Apple Store? Are you f&*king kidding me? No one in their right mind would pay what a Macbook Air costs with these factors in mind, plus the market awareness of how slick Apple products are thrown in for good measure. Why would they? Obviously, Asus hasn’t learned from Motorola’s experience with the Xoom…

    1. The Lets Note series  are also expensive and aren’t Toughbooks.

      The Macbook Air is nice for OS X users. Some may need help getting boot camp to work. The “geniuses” and phone support at Apple aren’t much different than other companies. At least from my experience trying to get a replacement for my recalled expanding MBP battery and other issues.

    2. Why would Asus learn anything from the Motorola Xoom?  They did a lot better with their Transformer!  So they’re already further ahead than Motorola.

      While the MBA is not the first or only Ultra Portable laptop ever made.  Sony and other companies did so ahead of Apple and continue to make their own Ultra Portable models.

      The Ultrabook category is just setting up standards that Intel wants to establish to better push the Ultra Portable market.  Since up to now it has always been a niche product range.

      Whether they will succeed or fail is uncertain right now.  All we know for sure is people like choices and that’s not something Apple is well known for.  So don’t assume there is no market for these other products at this point.  It’s more likely a concern as to whether it will be a niche product or a truly successful mainstream product.

      Asus probably has more to worry about from itself, since they are reportedly coming out with even cheaper models once Ivy Bridge becomes available.  So potential customers may have to weigh getting a Zenbook now or a better deal from a Ivy Bridge Ultrabooks only 6-9 months from now.

    3. Why not? Better specs, better performance and better price will draw right minds.
      Only blind worshipers will stick to something because of brand and because of “NATIVELY” American English speaker. Hmm by the way macbook air is made by Foxconn too. Where is Foxconn? A Taiwanese company in China. Dont forget it is insanely rich company like apple who chose to outsource their production to oversea that contributed to huge unemployment in the US for 3 simple reasons: profit, more profit and best profit.

      1. So, I should spend my money on Asus, who’s both a Taiwan company and produces in China? Okay… That’s about as dumb an argument you can have.

        Yes, NATIVELY speaking English, compared to the India born person that was difficult to understand and couldn’t understand me so well, either, that I got when I called Dell? He did nothing but read a script. When I told him the facts about what was going on, his response was, “I understand sir, but…” and went back to the script. What a joke, and it’ll be the last time I ever buy anything from Dell, who was once a very good company with great customer service.

        I can stroll down to my local Apple Store and talk to someone about my problem. I can call Apple and speak to someone that can relate what I’m saying and deal with me on a more personable level. That’s customer service. That’s part of what you pay for when you buy a product. Obviously, it costs Apple more to provide that level of service than it does Dell for theirs.

        Better specs and performance? Huh? The processors are the _same_ as those in the Macbook Air. The top model is spec for spec the same as the top Macbook Air except the Zenbook lacks the Thunderbolt port and Macbook Air lacks USB 3.0. I’m willing to bet, typical Asus, it has a much cheaper keyboard, and a dimmer screen.

        What are you smoking?

        1. Hmm another apple worshiper. It is your choice to adopt apple religion, but for your god’s sake: leave others alone. If you don’t like others, just say it in your Apple temple’s compound. There’s no need to belittle others in public forum. Indian or american, some provide wonderful service, some are just plain arrogant, rude, cocky, brainless flesh.

        2. Hardware can be the same but system optimization often differs, so an actual head to head comparison would be needed to determine which had the better performance.

          However, keep in mind some PC vendors, Asus and MSI usually, tend to use features like built in over clocking on demand functionality.  Something Apple doesn’t really cater to.

          Apple systems are also not always designed well, take the times they decided to use plastic instead of aluminum.  They were often plagued with cracking and other issues.  While the MBA is better designed but it’s also very proprietary and that’s not always a good thing for those who prefer more choices in components.

          While Apple does have one of the most highest rated customer service, it’s mainly those who are either new to computers or have had previous bad experiences that tend to consider that when purchasing a new product.

          Though even then those who have had bad experience also tend to provide their own tech support as they gave up on company provided tech support and decided to do it themselves or found a community of fellow users who collectively know more about the system than even Apple reps would know.

          The later grouping also tending to buy systems that provide more flexibility of choices.  Again, something Apple doesn’t really cater to.

          Basic point is there are lots of types of users out there and just because you don’t fit the target market doesn’t mean there isn’t a market for it! 

          Everyone has their own preferences and considerations when deciding what to buy and everyone ultimately does what is best for them and their reasons won’t always be the same as those for you or me!

  4. Sorry guys if I write long comments, this is just my appreciation to Asus.

    1. I knew Asus produced great motherboards that won you many great fans
    many years ago, though I did not have chance to experience it.

    2. I have been using Asus UL series Notebook for 2 years now, still
    looks good now, great finishing, great performance, no
    excessive heat like many other notebook.

    3. Bought Asus Transformer tablet with the unique
    keyboad docking,  many months ago. Fantastic performance and
    exceptionally reliable (except the stock web browser which eventually I
    replaced with others). The keyboard docking cum battery extender is a
    fantastic accessories, work seamlessly with the tablet itself with any
    combination of usage (touchscreen, keyboard, touchpad). It performs
    perfectly. Smart power feature drawing power from the docking.  Has HDMI and fully functional USB ports. DLNA
    allows me to show pictures/videos on my Samsung TV. Always get the
    latest version of Android updates. Fantastic!

    4. Now comes this Zenbook, already temped to replace my Asus UL notebook.

    Thank you Asus, you keep producing exceptionally good products, reliable, beautiful and most of all: value for money.

    Better specs and performance but lower price that is impossible to beat. 

    1. Agreed!  Although I have not purchased an Asus, I have kept my eye on this company develop their product lines and now they really are hitting their stride!  I can’t decide whether to get the ux21 or the transformer prime or wait for a dual booting transformer with win8.  Kudos to Asus!

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