Ultrathin Notebook Face-Off: ASUS Zenbook UX31 vs. Apple 13-inch MacBook Air

One of the greatest notebooks we’ve ever tested, Apple’s 13-inch MacBook Air is powerful and stylishly thin, offers exceptional battery life, and features just the right amount of extras that make users swoon. We were so impressed by Apple’s effort, that we awarded the Air an Editors’ Choice award, as well as a rare 5-star rating back in July.

But the Air isn’t the only wafer-thin notebook in town. Intel’s new Ultrabook form factor has begun to hit the streets, with ASUS’ Zenbook line its most interesting representative. Like the MacBook Air, ASUS’ 13-inch Zenbook UX31 also offers great looks, speedy boot/wake times, and solid performance, but it boats a high-resolution display and promises better sound for $200 less (when comparing startng prices).

With so much in common, it seems like these two were destined for a face-off. So, we pitted our supersleek contestants against each other in a 13-round winner-take-all brawl to see which is the best ultraportable around. Let’s get it on!

Design

Since its introduction in 2008, the MacBook Air’s aluminum unibody design has been the go-to style for ultraportable notebooks. You need only look as far as the Zenbook UX31 to see that point illustrated. Because of that, Apple has done little to change the Air’s design aesthetic over the years. For the 2011 edition, the Air measures just 0.11 inches at its thinnest point and 0.68 inches at its thickest and weighs just 3 pounds.

If the Air’s looks had to be summed up in three words they would be: elegance through austerity. From the unibdy aluminum chassis to the glow of the Apple logo on its lid down to its black keys, the Air is one beautiful machine but it’ not as fresh as it once was.

The ASUS Zenbook UX31 is by far the best-looking Ultrabook on the market. That’s due in large part to the circular spun-metal pattern on its dark-gray lid. The UX31’s silver deck and underside feature a linear brushed design that sets them apart from the lid ever so slightly. That same silver coloring is also used on the ASUS’ chiclet-style keyboard.

The one downside we found with the UX31’s design is its cheap plastic black display bezel. For all of the other effort put into the notebook’s design, cutting corners here seems silly. At 3 pounds, the Zenbook weighs as much as the Air, but at 0.1 inches at its thinnest point and 0.7 at its thickest, the ASUS is slightly thicker.

Winner: Zenbook UX31

Despite the slightly thicker size, we give the design battle to the UX31. We still love the Air’s design, but the contrasting brushed-aluminum treatments given to the UX31’s lid and deck give it a more premium look and feel.

Ports

The space constraints put on the Air and the UX31 due to their small size means that they don’t offer the same number of ports as a standard notebook. However, both systems manage to offer most of what users need.

The MacBook Air has two USB 2.0 ports–one it the left side and one on the right. The left side also includes a microphone port and magnetic power connector. The right side houses a full-size SD card slot, as well as Intel’s Thunderbolt port. The inclusion of a Thunderbolt port is a huge plus for the Air, because it offers 20 times the speed of USB 2.0 and can transfer data as well as video and audio signals. Other than a display from Apple and a hard drive from Lacie, though, there aren’t a lot of peripherals yet that support Thunderbolt.

The ASUS UX31 features a USB 2.0 port, microphone port, and a full-size microSD card slot on its left side. A USB 3.0 port, microHDMI port and micro display ports, and power connector line its right side. ASUS also includes a VGA adapter so you can connect this Ultrbook to older monitors and projectors.

UX31 Ports

Winner: Zenbook UX31

Thunderbolt may be 20 times faster than USB 2.0 and 10 times faster than USB 3.0, but there are a lot more devices that suppor the latter standard. If you’re looking for a high-speed connection, for now USB 3.0 is the better choice.

Keyboard

The MacBook Air has one of the best backlit keyboards on the market. The fairly large keys were responsive and springy, and their slightly concave design give them a natural feel. When we ran the Ten Thumbs Typing Tutor test, we scored 73 words per minute with a 2-percent error rate, a little higher than our typical 70-wpm rate. The backlighting illuminates the keys individually, which makes them easy to see in dim lighting.

The good news is that the UX31’s metal keys provided pretty good feedback–and the layout doesn’t suffer from flex like other ASUS laptops. However, we needed to provide more force for our strokes to register. The UX31’s keys are also slightly smaller than the Air’s, with the arrow keys appearing particularly tiny. As a result, we scored 69 words per minute with an error rate of 4 percent on the Ten Thumbs Typing Tutor. Our biggest complaint is that the UX31’s keyboard isn’t backlit like the Air’s.

Winner: MacBook Air

With its larger keys and sturdier construction the MacBook Air’s keyboard made typing easier and faster. Add to that its gentle backlighting, and the MacBook Air wins this round hands down.

Touchpad

MacBook Air ASUS UX31

At 4.1 x 3 inches, the MacBook Air’s glass touchpad is in a class of its own. Its smooth and responsive feel make navigating around Mac OS X a pleasure. Though it has built-in buttons, it doesn’t suffer from the jumpiness we’ve experienced on a number of PC notebooks with “clickpads.” The Air’s touchpad also proved smooth while using multitouch gestures like pinch-to-zoom and three-finger swipe.

While the Air’s touchpad is a strength, the Zenbook UX31′s  4.1 x 2.8-inch clickpad is its biggest weakness. In our review of the UX31 we mentioned that the clickpad was essentially broken out of the box. While navigating around the desktop was smooth; trying to selecting text and performing multitouch gestures was nearly impossible. Instead of performing the motion we wanted, the touchpad would regularly register a right click and in some cases do nothing at all. ASUS released a firmware update for the touchpad, but more work is definitely needed.

Winner: MacBook Air

This category was the Air’s from the get-go thanks to the ASUS touchpad’s inaccuracy.

Display

Apple’s excellent 13-inch, 1440 x 900 display served up some excellent visuals while we a trailer for The Avengers. Thor’s blood-red cape and Captain America’s shield seemed to pop off the screen as the heroes dashed through the streets of Manhattan. Viewing angles were wide enough for us to watch video from any position. Colors splashed across the screen also had a decidedly warm tint to them. In terms of screen brightness, the Air offered an average of 323 lux, making it appropriate for watching movies and other content.

Packing a 1600 x 900 resolution, the UX3’s razor-sharp display provides users with more screen real estate than the Air’s, making viewing long documents and web pages easier. With an average of 381 lux, the Zenbook’s display was also brighter than the Air’s. Images were consistently crisp, with even the most mundane detail able to stand out.

Viewing angles, however, were not nearly as good as the Air’s display. Images washed out easily at a 40-degree angle, making blacks and other dark colors difficult to see. Colors also had a more muted tone on the UX31 than on the Air, with blues and greens easily standing out more than brighter reds and whites.

Winner: Draw

While the Air’s display offers better viewing angles and warmer colors, the UX31’s provides a larger, brighter, and above all sharper viewing area. The UX31, however, also suffered from poor viewing angles. What this round comes down to is whether you would rather have a display with good colors or a sharp resolution.

Speakers

Located beneath its keyboard, the Air’s speakers certainly won’t impress most audiophiles. With the volume cranked up, the clarinets and piano in Sting’s “Englishman in New York” sounded muddled. Ditto for the bass hits and synthesizer in LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem,” which sounded flat and distorted.

With audio courtesy of Bang & Olufsen’s ICEpower and ASUS’s SonicMaster technology, the UX31’s speakers were able to pump out some serious sound. Sting’s vocals were crystal clear, and we could hear easily distinguish the varied beats of “Party Rock Anthem.”

Winner: Zenbook UX31

Neither or these notebooks are meant to replace your stereo. But thanks to its Bang & Olufsen technology, the Zenbook can do just that. If you’re looking for crisp sound and deep bass hits, the UX31 is the way to go.

Performance

Sporting an ultra-low voltage, 1.7-GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor and 4GB of RAM, the MacBook Air is one seriously powerful ultraportable. When we ran the PCMark Vantage benchmark using Boot Camp, it notched a score of 11,230, beating out the category average, as well as Samsung’s Series 9 and Acer’s Aspire S3.

The Air’s 256GB solid state hard drive was equally impressive, managing to transfer data at a rate of 127 MBps. That’s nearly four times faster than the average ultraportable.

Like the Air, the Zenbook UX31 also comes loaded with a 1.7-GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 CPU and 4GB of RAM. And as with the Air, the UX31 smacked around the competition on the PCMark Vantage benchmark test with a score of 10,233.  And while that nearly doubles the category average of 4,902, it’s a bit short of the Air’s 11,230.

The ASUS Zenbook UX31 is the first notebook we’ve seen with a SATA III SSD, and its 128GB drive was an impressive performer, transferring files at a rate of 97.9 MBps. That’s almost three times quicker than the category average, but still not quite as fast as the Air’s speeds.  

Winner: MacBook Air

We give this round to the Air simply because it was the better performer. Not only did it outperform the UX31 in CPU benchmarks, but it also routed the Zenbook in the file transfer test.

Boot and Wake Speeds

One of the benefits of having a solid state drive is that it helps increase your notebook’s boot and wake speeds. The 256GB SSD in the Air helped the system boot in an impressive 17 seconds flat. The Air was equally fast when waking from sleep, coming around in a nearly instant 2.4 seconds after opening the lid.

The Zenbook was no slouch either, with its 128GB SSD booting in 29 seconds. Pop the lid open, and the UX31 will spring to life in just 2.5 seconds.

Winner: MacBook Air

To say that the Zenbook is slow undercuts its impressive speed relative to standard notebooks. But when matched against the Air, the UX31 just can’t keep up. This round goes to the Air.

Graphics

If you’re looking to play the latest and greatest video games, you’ll want to look somewhere else than the Air. With that said, the MacBook and its Intel HD 3000 integrated graphics chip are fully capable of playing less resource intensive games, such as World of Warcraft. With the graphics set to autodetect (low), we were able to run around the world of Azeroth at a speedy 59 frames per second. Crank up the graphics to 11 a la Spinal Tap, and you’ll still be able to fight and slash at a decent 28 fps.

As with the Air, the UX31 features Intel’s integrated Intel HD 3000 graphics chip. Despite that similarity, it was unable to keep up with the Air in our World of Warcraft test. With the graphics set to native resolution (1600 x 900) and the effects at good, the UX31 averaged 26 frames per second. Drop the resolution, however and frame rates increase to a smooth 40 fps.

Winner: MacBook Air
Although both the Air and the UX31 have the same graphics chips, the MacBook was able to perform much better than ASUS’ offering. This is more than likely due to the performance gap established between the Air and UX31’s processors, since rendering graphics is not only a function of a system’s graphics unit, but its CPU as well.

Battery Life
The 50-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery Apple installed in the MacBook Air gave us a solid 6 hours and 25 minutes during our LAPTOP Battery Test, which involves continuously surfing the web with the display’s brightness set to 40 percent. That’s a lot of battery life to come out of a small package and can be attributed to the low-voltage Core i5, Apple pack in the Air.

As if the Zenbook and MacBook didn’t have enough in common, the UX31 also includes a similar 50-watt-hour polymer battery. But when the UX31 was put to the test it only lasted 5 hours and 58 minutes before its battery bit the dust. That’s roughly a half hour less than the Air, but still pretty good.

Winner: MacBook Air

With about a half hour separating the Air and the UX31, the MacBook wins by a narrow margin.

Software

Like all Macs, the MacBook Air comes loaded with Apple’s critically acclaimed OS X Lion. A big step up from Snow Leopard, Lion includes a full-screen mode, new multitouch gestures, as well as the Mac App Store. New Mission Control and Launchpad features help bring the overall operating system experience more in line with what you’ll find on the iPad and iPhone.

You’ll also get the standard Apple suite of applications such as iTunes, Time Machine, Mail, iChat, FaceTime, and iLife. Word processing duties are shouldered by Apple’s TextEdit software, which is adequate, but not nearly as powerful as Microsoft Office.

If it’s not an Apple machine, chances are it’s running Microsoft’s Windows 7; and that’s exactly what you’ll find on ASUS’ Zenbook UX31. In addition to the standard fare that comes bundled with Windows, including Microsoft Office Starter, the UX31 has the added benefit of including ASUS’ suite of programs including the ASUS Vibe Center and ASUS WebStorage for online backup. You also get a trial version of Trend Micro’s Titanium security software. The downside? More advanced users would consider ASUS’s software suite and the Trend Micro trial bloatware that does little more than take up space on the UX31’s hard drive.

Winner: MacBook Air

In our showdown between OS X Lion and Windows 7, it was Lion that took the crown as the best operating system on the market, and that’s still very much the case. While we like the fact that the Zenbook comes loaded with Starter Office, we could do without some of the other unnecessary software that comes along with it.

Support and Warranty

Apple backs the Air with a one-year parts and labor warranty and 90 days of toll-free 24/7 phone support. For an additional $249, you can purchase the Apple Care Protection Plan, complete with three years of parts and labor coverage and phone support.

The UX31 includes a two-year global warranty and one-year of accidental damage protection, 24/7 support, free two-way shipping, and a 30-day dead pixel guarantee.

Winner: Draw

With one-year of accidental damage protection right out of the box, the Zenbook’s warranty is one of the best standard warranties around. But Apple’s $249 optional protection plan and the support offered by the in-store Genius Bar staff is heralded as some of the greatest customer service around. On our tech support showdown, Apple placed first, while ASUS came in fifth.

Pricing and Value

Our MacBook Air review unit’s $1,599 price tag is a hefty chunk of change to swallow up front. For that price you get a thin and elegant notebook with a powerful Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. But most important of all, you get a quality machine that, if previous experiences are any indication, will last you quite a while.

If $1,599 is too expensive, you can always opt for the entry-level $1,299 Air. The difference? Apple cuts the 256GB hard drive in half, giving you a 128GB SSD instead. Looking for something more powerful? For an extra $100 you can upgrade the Air’s processor from a 1.7-GHz dual-core Core i5 to a 1.8-GHz dual-core Core i7.

The Zenbook UX31 comes equipped with a Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 128GB SSD. You also get Microsoft’s Windows 7, as well as a starter version of Office, all in a super-thin package for just $1,099. If you’re not satisfied with that setup, you can upgrade your hard drive to a larger 256GB for $1,349. Not fast enough for you? ASUS lets you up the ante even further with Core i7 processor, 4GB of RAM and the aforementioned 256GB SSD for $1,449.

Winner: Zenbook UX31

With a starting price just north of $1,000, the UX31 offers users some serious bang for the buck. At that price, you get the power of a Core i5 and SSD packed into a great-looking chassis. The difference is all the more striking when you consider that the top-of-the-line UX31 undercuts the best MacBook Air by $200.

Verdict

Out of 13 total rounds, seven went in the Air’s favor. The ASUS did well for itself, managing to take four rounds on its own, while both got credit for their excellent displays and warranties. The Zenbook UX31 has all of the makings of a great notebook. It’s up to ASUS, though, to work out some of the Zenbook’s kinks, namely its lackluster touchpad. 

But the Air’s win here isn’t just a result of ASUS needing to make some basic improvements to its own product, but also a testament to Apple’s legendary quality.  Not only does the Air have a superior touchpad–it really is miles better–and backlit keyboard, it offered better performance and faster boot and wake times. It also lasted longer on a charge.

The UX31 is a very good ultraportable that should be better over time. But the 13-inch Air is the best ultraportable on the market.

 


Apple MacBook Air  ASUS Zenbook UX31 
Design  
Ports  
Keyboard  X  
Touchpad  X  
Display  X
Speakers   X
Performance  X  
Boot/Wake Speeds  X  
Graphics  X  
Battery Life  X  
Software  X  
Warranty  X X
Price & Value    X
Total  7  4



AUTHOR BIO
Daniel P. Howley
Daniel P. Howley
A newspaper man at heart, Dan Howley wrote for Greater Media Newspapers before joining Laptopmag.com. He also served as a news editor with ALM Media’s Law Technology News, and he holds a B.A. in English from The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.
Daniel P. Howley on
Twitter Google+
LEAVE A REPLY
Name*
Email* (will not be published)
Website
*Indicates required field
Comments*
Submit Comments

  1. Ryan Says:

    One of the items that “tech reviewers” so often than not forget is the warranty and support aspect. As an executive in a global semiconductor manufacturing company I know first hand that Apple Care functions without problem worldwide for both hardware and software. However, Asus in comparison has an acceptable but limited support option for global travelers but even their “in country” support is only “lukewarm” at best. Apple support cannot be paralleled at the moment. That itself is worth at least an additional check or two in your comparison.

  2. future mac user Says:

    Great comparison. Nice work. I’ve been looking at these machines for a while now, and I’m about to buy a macbook air, 13.3″ with 128GB SSD. One spot I disagree with this comparison is in the ports section. True, thunderbolt is brand new and there are about 3 peripherals that exist using it. That said, it uses the same hardware as the Mini DisplayPort. So, even though the Zenbook has a micro-HDMI, an adapted VGA, and USB 3.0, the thunderbolt port easily handles adapters for HDMI and VGA, while cutting down on the holes in the body of the machine. I’m not going to run out and buy the apple thunderbolt display (for $1000?!?!), but am totally happy slapping an adapter into the thunderbolt port and connecting to either my HDTV via HDMI or a projector or monitor via VGA. Plus, rather than dealing with MS Office, I can dowload openoffice for free (which I’ve been using for 5 years anyways), and get Keynote from the app store for $20 if I want a really pro presentation software (and I do…).

  3. Bo Says:

    Your graphs in the preformance section are classical examples of manipulated data representation. If you look at the graphs for the pc mark and batteri score it looks like the preformance is almost double in favour of the macbook air. But when you look at the numbers, the difference is more or less about 10-20% at the most.

  4. future mac user Says:

    The other reviwers seems to disagree on yor finings.
    ASUS Zenbook UX31 (1.7 GHz Core i5-2557M, Intel HD Graphics 3000)

    10,508

    4,209

    5:41

    13-inch, 2011 MacBook Air (1.7 GHz Core i5-2557M, Intel HD Graphics 3000)

    9,484

    4,223

    5:32 (Mac OS X) / 4:12 (Windows)

  5. future mac user Says:

    And while the S3 booted in 45 seconds, the UX31 was consistently up and running in just 16.

  6. future mac user Says:

    Boot and Resume Time

    ASUS did a lot of BIOS optimization work to make the UX21 boot as quickly as possible. In its default configuration you don’t see a POST screen; instead you get a quick flash of the ASUS logo before immediately being dumped into the Windows 7 startup sequence. The whole process from power off to desktop takes 16.7 seconds, which is actually marginally little quicker than a MacBook Air from off to OS X (17.2 seconds).

    Resume time is even more impressive. By default the UX21 goes into a suspend-to-RAM state when you shut the lid. Resuming from this state takes just a hair over 2 seconds (I measured anywhere from 2.04—2.22 seconds)—it’s quick. The WiFi usually takes a couple more seconds to become active beyond that, and Windows doesn’t remember your previous brightness setting just whatever setting the active power plan was set to upon resume. Other than those two hiccups, the experience is just awesome

  7. future mac user Says:

    The whole process from power off to desktop takes 16.7 seconds, which is actually marginally little quicker than a MacBook Air from off to OS X (17.2 seconds).

  8. jb82 Says:

    Just what I was thinking Bo!

  9. jb82 Says:

    You can’t give mac os a victory over windows…. for a start there are hundreds of programs people need to use that aren’t on the mac but are on windows. Also many windows versions are superior eg office suites. I love some aspects of the mac os but the fact it can’t run everything a lot of people need is its ultimate downfall.

  10. jb82 Says:

    future mac user – i would be weary of openoffice on the mac… on one file recently i found an entire column of my excel spreadsheet just did not show. I thought i deleted it but when i went into office on windows it was there! Maybe a one off but i just can’t take the chance. I’m using office for mac now but it isn’t as good as the windows version.

  11. Eason Says:

    Zenbook booting in 29 seconds?

    I don’t think so, mine boots in just 16 seconds from shut down.

  12. Ankit Says:

    Not only does the CPU test not make much sense to perform (the CPUs and GPUs are the same, differences in the results would have to do more with OS, drivers, and software than anything else) but also is the file transfer test somewhat flawed.

    Remember that because of the way SSDs are engineered, a higher capacity SSD is typically much faster than an equivalent SSD with lower capacity. A 256 Vertex 3 is MUCH faster, no less than 25% faster, than a 128 Vertex 3.

    You guys compared the 128GB SSD in the UX31-DH52 to the 256GB SSD in the MBA. What? You should have either tested a UX31-DH53 (has a 256GB) or the cheaper MBA with the 128GB SSD. Then the test would simply come down to which is the better SSD brand.

    If you are going to test these devices, you need to test equivalently specced ones. The faster SSD in the DH53 (or slower SSD in the 128GB MBA) would have a noticeable effect on file transfer and boot speeds, possibly giving the ASUS 2 points that were instead given to the MBA, evening out or even giving the advantage to ASUS in the comparison from 7-4-2 (Apple-Asus-Draw) to 5-6-2.

  13. tauny Says:

    As Bo says, the graphs are misleading. Not having them start at 0 ruins the article, makes it look like the work of someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing, or someone who’s trying to manipulate the readers. In any case, it’s not flattering.

  14. Mukumi Says:

    And the graphical performance is biased too… Of course it demands more ressource to make 3D in 1600 x 900 than in 1440*900. That explains the gap and I guess you did the same in PC mark, running the benchmakrs in the native resolution of the screen.

    That makes sense but it’s not a real “head to head” comparison.

  15. ReaderX Says:

    I think the biggest flaw in this review is comparing a $1,099 device with a $1,599 device. What kind of comparison is that, especially when you treat it as if they’re the same price-class.

  16. Jeremy Says:

    I am typing my response from an Asus UX31 right now. I can tell you why I chose this notebook over a Macbook Air. Business Apps. In a business environment almost no one runs Mac. Almost all are PC. And there was no point in me spending $300 more for a Mac that was going to run Windows 7 and get crappier battery life and take up more hard drive space. The *only* things about Mac vs this Asus is the keyboard not being backlit, and the trackpad. Thats it. Asus wins in everything else. Even in battery life its just as good, you just have to set your settings up correcty and turn off things you don’t need, that Mac does by default.

  17. Jason Says:

    Well well

    that review was about as biased as humanly possible

    Even from the start, should have gotton the SAME specced unit, or the SAME priced unit.

    The performance tests are very misleading and not consistant with other reviews

    The GPU performance is misleading, yes it takes more gpu power to drive a higher res yet wasnt mentioned.

    You cannot compare windows to mac. There is hundreds of programs which arnt even avalible on mac os, nor is it in any way as customisable. The mac programs that are avalaible are very good though. This is one of those PURE personal choice categories.

    Every single graph in the review is misleading, on both sides. Its just poor journlism.
    All in all, a terrible review.

  18. Tumba Says:

    This is a very poorly planned, executed, and written comparison article.

    1. You need to have similar speced products if you want to compare their performance.

    2. Your graphs should be better scaled. Look at the PCMark Vantage graph. With a perfunctory glance, you would think Macbook Air providing double the performance of the Asus.

    3. You seem to neglect the price factor. When there is $500 difference as listed in your article, the performance difference between the two products are negligible. Of course if you buy into whole “APPLE PREMIUM,” sure you should go for the Air. But in a real world for real use, choosing the Air over Asus despite the $500 for an average user is extravagant.

  19. Muhen Says:

    Oh… I already decided to buy macbook air until i read the comments

  20. Rodney Backlura Says:

    Backlit keys missing is the biggest mistake. What were ASUS thinking ?
    That overlooked detail can be what tips the user over to the Apple camp.

    /rod

  21. SomeGuy Says:

    When the Zenbook is available with the SAME i7 CPU that is in the Air, as well as being available with a 256gb SSD like the Air, it makes no sense to compare the two units that were reviewed in this article. Either get a higher-specced Zenbook, or a lower specced Air to match them equally, then try the review again. I guarantee the Zenbook would outperform in either case.

  22. Badmiral Says:

    One thing that I think should be factored in is the advantage of having a windows machine which these reviewers failed to mention. Whether its .net or video games, products come to windows FIRST. Granted video, photo, and audio products tend to drive towards Lion, but other than that, you will be waiting a while for your new product. That in itself is a big advantage

  23. Andrew Says:

    Zenbook is the better machine. I just purchased one yesterday and here are my thoughts:

    -The keyboard is fine. I was worried because of all the issues I heard about it.
    -The mouse is not fine. Really a pain. I updated the drivers but it’s still bothering me a bit… but much better. I can get used to it but I understand why it’s so talked about.
    -The screen resolution is great and better than the Air.
    -Boot time is excellent.

    Overall, I think I slightly prefer the look of the Air but the Zenbook is just the better computer at a cheaper price.

  24. Greetings from Norway Says:

    This is Asus UX31E. What about the right-around-the-corner Asus UX31A? Could you run a second face-off, where you compare MB Air and the upgraded Asus UX31A? For some head-ups, the new version is said to contain, among others, the brand new Ivy Bridge-processor from Intel, 256GB SATA III SSD, Full HD 1920×1080 IPS 13,3″ screen, as well as a much better, and actually functioning, touchpad and keyboard – finally backlit!

    I assume the Asus will get it’s vengance. Hehe, Spartacus<3

  25. Lolo Says:

    Hi there,
    I won’t say this is the best comparison, but it has a good point that I can’t see in the comments: it not only compare numbers (processor, GPU, HDspace, etc), which make all comments something boring, but it talks as well about user experience ! For example, an ultrabook is light, and this makes you take wherever you want, almost as a Tablet. I have a MBA, and it’s the first notebook I have that I use in any place, and this includes low lights ambient : I can truly tell you that I really don’t mind if my PBA boots 3, 10 or 60 seconds slower that the ASUS, but having backlight keyboard is a REAL day-to-day enhancement. Trackpad is softer that a women’s skin ! Screen is great. And for the ones talking about software, 90% of the software needed to perform a work day are on Mac not talking about games) and if not enough (as in my case), with 1 hour install perform a 1 key to press at startup, you can have a native windows 7 computer working. Awesome.

  26. bob Says:

    the pic of the asus about the ports. the blue usb port is a 3.0 not a 2.0

  27. objective reviewer Says:

    NICE TRY MAC USER,,,, I STILL GO WITH MY WINDOWS 7 ,, THANKS

FIND A REVIEW
Laptops
All Product Types Accessories Cars Digital Camcorders Digital Cameras eReaders GPS Laptops MP3 & Video Players Projectors Smartphones Software Storage Tablets / MIDs VoIP Wi-Fi
All Subcategories
All Subcategories All-Purpose Budget Business Desktop Replacement Gaming Multimedia Netbook Nettop Rugged Student Tablet PCs Ultraportable
Brand
Acer Alienware Apple Archos ASUS Averatec BenQ CTL Corp. Dell Digital Storm eMachines Emtec Everex Fujitsu GammaTech Gateway General Dynamics Getac Gigabyte Hercules HP HTC iBuyPower Intel Lenovo MSI Nokia Nvidia OCZ OLPC OQO Origin Panasonic Sager Samsung Sony Sylvania Systemax TabletKiosk Toshiba Verizon Viewsonic Viliv VooDoo Workhorse PC ZT Systems
Minimum Rating
Any Rating Editor's Choice 4.5 Stars 4.0 Stars 3.5 Stars 3.0 Stars
Screen Size
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 20 4 5 6 7 8 9
Resolution
1024x576 1024x600 1024x768 1200X800 1280 x 720 1280x1024 1280x768 1280x800 1366x678 1366x768 1440x1050 1440x900 1600x768 1600x900 1680x1050 1680x945 1920x1080 1920x1200 800x400 800x480
Weight Range
10.1 - 12.0 pounds 12.1 - 14.0 pounds 14.1 - 16.0 pounds 2 lbs 2 pounds and under 2+ lbs 2.1 - 4.0 pounds 4.1 - 6.0 pounds 6.1 - 8.0 pounds 8.1 - 10.0 pounds Over 16 pounds Under 2 pounds
more options
SUBSCRIBE