Here we take a look at the ASUS UX31A-R4003V 13.3″ Ultrabook, Asus’s most expensive and best-equipped Ultrabook on the market.
If you have over £1000 to splash out on a new Ultrabook and Apple’s range of Macbook’s don’t float your boat and the mere sight of a hulking gaming laptop sends you running in the opposite direction, you can do much worse than look to Asus for a premium Ultrabook.
Asus is the world’s fifth largest PC manufacturer behind HP, Lenovo, Dell and Acer and they got there through jumping on to market trends and actually defining them, with the Asus EEE PC line of netbooks being a key example.
Now that the netbook is essentially a dying technology however with tablets replacing them (Asus have a great line of tablets), the company set its sights on the Ultrabook market in late 2011 and set out to create spectacular machines. In 2012, the ASUS UX31A-R4003V 13.3″ Ultrabook is the companies latest and greatest, and also the most powerful.
ASUS UX31A-R4003V 13.3″ Ultrabook
Asus have a range of different Ultrabooks on the market, each of them sporting the same design, apart from being available in 11″ and 13″ form factors. Processor level also differentiates each model and sets each Ultrabooks price along with SSD capacity, with Core i5 models being the most affordable and Core i7 models being the most expensive respectively.
The UX31A-R4003V 13.3″ is Asus’s most expensive Ultrabook on the market, retailing at around £1499.99 online. That’s one heck of a lot of money, I think you will agree, so let’s take a look at what you get for all of that money.
The Asus Zenbook line is arguably the best looking line of laptops available today, even more so than Apple’s offerings. They feature a wedge shaped design enabling them to be extremely thin and light however extremely rigid and durable with thanks to premium materials.
The UX31A-R4003V 13.3″ Ultrabook measures 325 x 233 x 233 mm (W x D x H) with a weight of just 1450g. Although that initially may seem quite heavy compared to some 13.3″ Ultrabooks on the market, that weight is justified when you move on to the specifications that this Ultrabook ships with.
The Asus UX31A-R4003V is the first ever 13.3″ Ultrabook to have a resolution of 1920 x 1080, and it is also widely acclaimed to be the best ever display on a laptop, period. Sporting beautiful colour reproduction, decent viewing angles and pin sharp images thanks to that resolution, any normal laptop sat next to this Asus offering just looks cheap. If you are after a fantastic looking screen, this 1080 one from Asus should be top of your list. Editing photos or viewing movies on the system is a real treat thanks to the display, and made better by the reasonably good built-in speakers.
The keyboard on the Asus Zenbook Prime is good too, if a little lacking in places. The keyboard is a chiclet island style board’, which is backlit, offering good travel between the keys. The only niggles noted amongst expert reviewers with the keyboard is that it is a little shallow, however that is to be expected from an Ultrabook this thin.
Powering the laptop is an Intel Core i7 3517U 1.9GHz Processor with 4GB of RAM and Intel HD 4000 integrated graphics, allowing seamless application operation and multitasking on Windows 7 and also Windows 8, Microsoft’a very latest operating system. Thanks to the processor in this machine being Ivy Bridge, battery life is excellent on this Ultrabook, offering up 5 and a half hours during heavy – moderate usage, which whilst far from the claimed 7 hours battery life, is more than enough for most people and certainly a lot better than some laptops as of late.
Connectivity wise the Asus UX31S Prime features a good selection of ports for such a thin machine. There are two USB 3.0 ports, 1 mini HDMI port, 1 mini VGA port and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
As with the previous Asus Zenbook this model features Bluetooth 4.o making it perfect for anybody with Bluteooth headphones, or those who would like to pair this machine with a Bluetooth mouse. You may not want to, though, because the trackpad has been much improved compared to the machine it replaces and what’s more it has been reviewed as being extremely accurate, and generally decent to use for prolonged periods.
The Asus Zenbook is the best 13 inch Ultrabook in the world today. Arguably, it is also the best Ultrabook period, however the Lenovo Carbon X1 and full fat Acer S3 put up a good fight, whilst the Dell XPS series offers something unique; gorilla glass displays.
In the end, if we had to pick one Ultrabook out of all Ultrabooks to back our corner in a fight, the Zenbook would be picked first.
ASUS UX31A-R4003V 13.3″ Ultrabook specs
Processor – Intel® Core™ i7 3517U 1.9GHz Processor
RAM – 4GB
Graphics card – Intel® HD 4000
Screen type – Full HD LED Display
Screen resolution – 1920 x 1080
Screen size – 13.3″
Hard drive – 256GB SSD
Memory card reader – SD Card
USB – 2 X USB 3.0
Size 325 x 233 x 233 mm (W x D x H)
Weight 1.45 kg