04172014Headline:

ASUS Zenbook Prime UX31A Review

Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A is a series of pretty good ultrabooks that was launched before the appearance of Windows 8. So for those who aren’t looking for a touch display these models are a pretty nicely performing alternative, running on Windows 7 operating system.

As I was digging to find out more about this series I discovered one inconvenience that really seemed to bother users: the incredibly sensitive touchpad that seemed to get in the way of productive typing activities. That could have been a deal breaker if it weren’t for the driver update so just install it and the problem is fixed or you can use the Samsung driver, which will work out just great.

Now that I’ve gotten this problem out of the way, let’s see some specs and what these Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A models have to offer for the money. I will firstly start with the common features which are many. As usual the price differences are set by CPU and storage space but what’s peculiar in this case is that TPM (Trusted Platform Module) chip is the third factor that differentiates models. It’s an encryption technology for achieving a higher degree of protection.

Another difference is that 3 models include Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit OS while only one comes delivered with Windows 7 Professional. You might have guessed that the model with TPM chip is the one running on Windows 7 Professional because the Home Premium doesn’t support an encrypting file system.

That being said, let’s see the common specs for the four Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A ultrabooks:

  • Silver aluminum design. Overall this thin ultra-portable series will feel sturdy enough.
  • 13.3-inch Full HD (1080p) display. As most ultrabooks still offer just a HD resolution, these models don’t stick to that pattern and it’s great, it’s a really welcomed step forward from the 1366×768 resolution. The image quality is wonderful and with the IPS technology the viewing angles are wide and clear.
  • 4GB DDR3 RAM 1,600MHz. This hardware component limits to a certain extent multitasking activities. And it’s not upgradeable either.
  • Intel HD 4000 Graphics is the GPU integrated in the Processor. Only light gaming can be employed and the professional editing activities are also restricted.
  • 2 built-in speakers accompanied in their performances by the Bang & Olufsen technology. However, as other users put it, the sound quality is definitely not one of the best out there. So if you want to really enjoy a movie or some great music you should plug in at least a 2.1 channel audio system.
  • Backlit keyboard.
  • HD 720p camera.
  • 802.11 /b/g/n Wi-Fi plus WiDi technology and Bluetooth 4.0 for connectivity. No Ethernet port is included when it comes to the Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A series and one of the reasons might be the preservation of that impressive thinness that characterizes these models.
  • 2 USB 3.0 ports one on each side, micro HDMI output, mini VGA port and 1 headphone jack. No microphone jack but you can employ the one built-in.
  • An average of 5 hours on battery which is not brilliant but not mediocre either, it’s a medium level in battery life. The battery life might be extended if you engage only in light activities like browsing.
  • It measures 0.72 inches thin and weighs 2.9 pounds (1.3kg) so this is indeed a very light ultrabook series and probably one of the best companions for the road. I can only think of Acer Aspire S5 and Acer S7, which are even less thick, weigh even less, while incorporating basically the same hardware and features.
  • And 1 year global warranty, 1 year accidental damage protection.

ASUS Zenbook Prime UX31A Models

All four ultrabooks remain an example of great high-end products at a nicely correlated price and when it comes to this segment of the electronics market, I consider this series as one of the best laptop computers.

 UX31A-DB51 – incorporates the so popular CPU among ultrabooks – Dual-Core i5-3317U that runs on 1.7GHz clockspeed, up to 2.6GHZ with the Intel Turbo technology, and has 3MB L3 shared cache. In respect to storage space, 128GB SSD is the number in this case. No possibilities for increasing the internal space so you might need an external hard drive if you have large collections of data. This is also the only one with an i5 Processor. Check price at Amazon

 UX31A-AB71 – has 128GB SSD space for storage and Dual-Core i7-3517U CPU with 1.9GHz core speed, can go as high as 3GHz on Turbo, and has 4MB L3 shared cache. The graphics performances will be slightly improved. Check price at Amazon

 UX31A-DB71 – incorporates the same i7 CPU as does UX31A-AB71 but it features 256GB SSD storage space.  Check price at Amazon

 UX31A-DB72 – is the model with 256GB SSD + TPM and running on W7 Professional. This is the only difference between this last Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A model and UX31A-DB71. Check price at Amazon

Nevertheless, Asus couldn’t miss the ship of targeting customers who have become increasingly interested in touchscreens and subsequently ultra-portable devices that incorporate this particular so it has recently launched the Asus Zenbook Prime Touch UX31A. Basically, these touch enabled models will feature the same 13.3 inches Full HD IPS display, the same alternatives for CPU as in the non-touch models so either i5 1.7GHz or i7 1.9 GHz, 4GB of memory, backlit keyboard, the entire range of connectors from 2 USB 3.0 ports to HDMI output, Wi-Fi plus WiDi technology, and the two options in regards to storage space: 128GB SSD or 256GB SSD.

In addition, these newly released Zenbook Touch UX31A models will weigh 3.1 pounds (1.4kg) so the ultra-portability feature is still there. One of the best improvements, from my point of view, is the extended battery life. If in the previously released above models the average battery life is 5 hours, this time Asus promises 7 hours battery life, which is quite a difference. It all seems wonderful but I think that the price will make a lot of interested buyers stick to the non-touch version so, in the end it all goes down to your budget.

In conclusion, Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A still remains a great high-end ultrabook series with a very good price and this time I believe that the manufacturer didn’t overlook anything so it managed to offer customers the performances and power that they were expecting.

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