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ASUS Zenbook UX31

 

Although ASUS doesn't really market the Zenbook as a powerful gaming rig, it still performs well with most games, even the more recent ones at decent resolutions. We loaded up games like DoTA 2, Diablo III (beta version), StarCraft II (yep, we're Blizzard fans), Mirror's Edge, Left for Dead 2, and older games like Neverwinter Nights 2 and Halo 2 and gameplay for each one is smooth overall at mid-settings.

In the multimedia department, the Zenbook is up to the task. Watching HD videos on this baby is a joy with nary a hitch every time. The downside is, there's no optical disk drive so you'd have to use a flash drive or the cloud to load movies, a trade-off to achieve the slim frame. Special mention goes to 13-inch (1600 x 900) LED backlit display which is among the sharpest we've seen on this kind of device. Sound quality is crisp and, even if the speaker system looks to be cramped, it still produced clear sounds even if you're 3 or 4 feet away. However, bass seems to be a bit lacking which is understandable given the Zenbook's size.

Looks to be smooth sailing for the Zenbook (so far, at least), however, we still encountered a few problems that revolve around the more basic features. While the keyboard looks great, the individual keys themselves are too shallow and not "tactile" enough that you might end up pushing down several times (or very hard) just to be sure you hit the right button. Also, the trackpad is a a little too sensitive for its own good and sometimes we end up clicking or making commands unintentionally. We also noticed a bit of heat coming from the Zenbook's base which could've been enhanced by the all-metal construction. 

Numbers

With its innards, we were expecting a pretty good score from NovaBench. Lo and behold, we only got a rating of 289 on the average, which is really surprising. We ran the program several times just to be sure but we never got a score above 300. We were looking at a score of at least 350 on this one, to be honest.

The Windows Experience Index told a different story with the Zenbook grabbing a 5.5 rating, which is pretty impressive for its class. The graphics dept. got the lowest subscores (the basis for the score) at 5.5 while the processor and disk drive got the highest at 6.9 and 7.9, respectively. No surprises there.

 

 

 

Batter life

ASUS claims we can get up to 7 hours of battery life on the Zenbook, our real-life tests back this up. With basic computing and putting ASUS' energy-saving feature on, we were able to get a little bit over 7.5 hours from a single charge. With moderate use, that number drops to about 6 hours. We say, good enough.

Verdict

From our experience we can safely say that the Zenbook packs more than just looks. It performs, given its size, really well, is great for multimedia purposes, has above-average battery life and, of course, is a real looker, too. It's not perfect (no gadget is), but its strong points overshadow the negative ones.

However, its price tag (for the UX31) of P59,995 would obviously discourage more than a few patrons. Still, with the overall performance and build quality, the Zenbook's asking price could very well be justified. For those looking for a laptop that will warrant second, even third looks, has great hardware and won't be left behind in terms of performance, the Zenbook is a great buy, for those who can afford it at least.

Click here to view the ASUS Zenbook UX31 in the Buyer's Guide

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