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305 of 311 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A nice, solid machine
June 7, 2012 Update: As one person pointed out, Asus is about the release the Zen Prime, or the second generation of the Zen Book. The following review pertains ONLY to the first generation. Some of it may still apply (I'm pretty certain Asus will still include a bucket load of crap bloatware) but as I haven't seen one I feel it's important to note it so I don't confuse...
Published on October 29, 2011 by Yippy Effin Skippy

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112 of 120 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars One flaw overshadows what could have been a great ultrabook
I have purchased a UX31E and UX21E for my office with high hopes. If they were good enough, I was going to purchase several more for my staff. I very much wanted to like these ultrabooks. They look nice, the shell has a very solid feel and they were very light (which was very important to me, since I am usually out of my office a lot). The screen is very crisp and bright...
Published on January 21, 2012 by Mark


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305 of 311 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A nice, solid machine, October 29, 2011
This review is from: ASUS Zenbook UX31E-DH72 13.3-Inch Thin and Light Ultrabook (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
June 7, 2012 Update: As one person pointed out, Asus is about the release the Zen Prime, or the second generation of the Zen Book. The following review pertains ONLY to the first generation. Some of it may still apply (I'm pretty certain Asus will still include a bucket load of crap bloatware) but as I haven't seen one I feel it's important to note it so I don't confuse people.

Also, as part of this update I'd like to say that I still have the Zen Book and I still like it. I've found that the keyboard is a bit touchy but works MUCH better if you put the thing on a hard, flat surface like a desk. Typing in your lap you may miss more keys than typing on a table or desk. In the time since this review first showed up, I've managed to put a couple of scratches in the spun aluminum lid of the machine as well. Obviously scratches make no real impact but they certainly do stand out. Everything else... pretty much still awesome!

Oh yeah, you can see the screen outside on a sunny day!

And now, back to my regularly scheduled (and unedited) review:

By now there are quite a few people reviewing these machines and there are some common themes. But before I get into it, for those that haven't really paid attention there are a number of models and you may wonder "Does THIS review for this model really apply to the one I'm looking at?"

The short answer is pretty much yes. There are really only a few variations and the biggest is how big the screen is. There's an 11 inch and a 13 inch. The other two variables are which processor you have and which hard drive you have. That's it. So for the most part a review for one model of Zenbook applies fairly well to all other models.

So, the common themes you may have seen in order:

1. The track pad sucks. No it doesn't. Per the recommendations I upgraded the driver and it works just fine. By default the cursor speed is slow but that is a simple setting in Windows. Once that was changed I've had no problems other than getting used to it. My old Toshiba had separate buttons so I got used to driving with one hand and clicking with the other. Because the buttons and pad are all one piece, when I try that it confuses the pad. Don't do that and it's fine. Two finger tap works great for a right click. So it does not suck. It's just different. People who are complaining about it either want it to be exactly like what they had or haven't even bothered to use it.

2. The keyboard is hard to type on/uncomfortable. It has taken me some getting used to. I'm a touch typist and can usually hit about 70 words a minute pretty regularly. The keys on this keyboard do take more force than on the Toshiba I'm replacing. But I'm not a featherweight typist so I haven't had much trouble. I do miss keys once in a while but it's not a problem for me. Mostly I miss the keys on the bottom row near the home keys. So cvb and nm, Also the keys are not back lit. Would be nice if they were but the screen is bright enough to see them without.

3. It comes with lots of junk pre-installed. Yes. It does. But so does every other factory computer I've ever purchased. Most I just uninstalled. Honestly there were more programs than I care for and it's a bit of a hassle to remove them but it's not a deal breaker for me. Just make sure you know what you're uninstalling as some are kind of necessary. For the record: HP's come with more junk thank this did.

4. Its wireless doesn't work. I have had ZERO problems. Missed the m) I took it out of the box and it connected to Boise State's wireless network immediately. Granted my office is less than 20 feet from the WAP. I updated the drivers and brought it home to my craptastic Lynksys G band router. It saw that and picked it up right away. It's got about the same signal strength as my Samsung Focus and my old Toshiba laptop. It's picked up every wireless signal I've tried to attach to without a single problem.

5. The edges are kind of sharp. Yes they are. It's not completely uncomfortable but it would be nice if they were rounded over. At least along the front edge where your wrists tend to be. They're not going to cut you but they can dig in a little (missed the l) bit.

Over all it's a great machine. It comes with a nice nylon bag/case to carry it in so before you buy the machine and a case check out what (missed the a) comes along with it.

The screen is nice. BRIGHT. Very bright I found myself turning that down a little as it's brighter than I like. But that's a nice change. Usually you turn screens up full to 10 and wish there was an 11. The fact that I'm down around 2 or 3 in a dark room and 5 or 6 in a lighter (missed the t) bodes well for use outside.

The audio is far nicer than a machine this size deserves. It's a little on the quiet side from what I came (missed the m) from but the sound is great. The Toshiba had larger speakers by Harmon/Kardon. By comparison this is a little quieter and has a slightly hollow sound but is not at all "tinny". The volume isn't as loud as the last laptop but the actual quality is great.

My actual biggest gripe is that on the 256 gig hard drive Asus actually partitioned the into a C: and a D: drive. It's an old school way of thinking which says software gets installed to C: and data gets saved to D:. In practice it doesn't work as well since Windows just likes to save stuff to your user library which by default is located in C:\Users. You can extend that library if you want but I chose to delete the D: partition and extend C: to the whole drive. I find that a better way of working. That's a personal preference and it took all of a minute to fix it.

So, is it a good machine? Absolutely. I got mine from BB because they were in stock. Does it have some faults? Yeah but what machine doesn't? The perfect machine for me may not be the perfect machine for you. Is it better than a MacBook Air? Depends on your preference. That's like asking if Ford is better than Chevy. From a purely objective point of view I'd have to argue that they're pretty much (missed the m) on par with each other. The ZenBook is a little cheaper, has a higher resolution screen and comes with a few extras the Mac doesn't. The Mac is... well it's a Mac and I have no idea why you'd spend extra because of that. I'm not a Mac guy. I can tell you that the two compared side by side have very similar stats so that's simply a matter of preference.

Over all, it's a good, well built machine with a lot of features, a good price point and a few flaws that I consider pretty small. For the record, I do IT work for Boise State so I see a LOT of laptops on my desk ranging from ultra cheap netbooks to the super high end MacBook Pro.

My personal choice said this was the best machine (missed the m) for me. It may not be for you but it's a great machine and I have no problems with 4.5 out of 5 stars. Fix the edges, reduce the needless software and maybe tweak the keyboard a bit and I'd give it a 5.
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112 of 120 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars One flaw overshadows what could have been a great ultrabook, January 21, 2012
This review is from: ASUS Zenbook UX31E-DH72 13.3-Inch Thin and Light Ultrabook (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
I have purchased a UX31E and UX21E for my office with high hopes. If they were good enough, I was going to purchase several more for my staff. I very much wanted to like these ultrabooks. They look nice, the shell has a very solid feel and they were very light (which was very important to me, since I am usually out of my office a lot). The screen is very crisp and bright. I love the fast start-up times from boot and hibernate. I have read many reviews talking about how bad the touchpads were, but I figured it would eventually be fixed with driver updates, so I purchased these laptops anyway. There are two types of touchpads out their for these ultrabooks. Luckily both of the ones I ordered came with Elantech, which everyone seems to say is the better of the two. The first thing I did was go to Asus's web site and download the latest drivers. I had no problems with the touchpad or network connectivity that some have reported - but that is probably because I updated the drivers first thing, which is supposed to solve those problems.

The performance of both machines were better than I expected, but I will say the UX21E had the faster hard drive. It came with 128GB SSD and after running some benchmarks, it showed it was much faster than the 256GB SSD in the UX31E. They probably were made by different manufactures, but I did not try to verify that. Battery life wasn't as good as I hoped, but certainly seemed to do a respectable 4-6 hours under constant use and much longer on standby. The variance in how long the battery lasted just dependied on how much of a workload I put on it. For instance, if I was just checking email and editing Office, Powerpoint & Excel files, then it would be closer to 6. But if used it for more intense workloads, then it would last closer to 4 hours.

After my initial testing, I wiped windows off of one of the machines and re-installed it from scratch to get rid of all the bloatware (extra programs that just take up space and slow performance of you machine. You probably don't even want to use most of those programs anyway). By doing so, I certainly saved a lot of hard drive space, which I needed on the 128GB SSD, but did not need on the 256GB SSD. The newly installed Windows 7 also seemed to run faster than the factory install, which I expected from what I said above. If you do reinstall windows, please go to Asus web site and download all the drivers for these laptops first and put them on some type of USB drive or memory stick for later install. Your ultrabook will not work well without installing a few of these Asus drivers (such as touchpad drivers, chipset drivers, USB drivers, wireless and USB ethernet drivers)

With all of that you are probably thinking this is a great laptop. I wish that were the case - I wanted it to be so. But it has one major flaw that can not be fixed with a driver update. The keyboard is very sub-par. A keyboard is such a key part of any computer, it just has to work and work well, but this one doesn't - which is unacceptable. While typing, I kept noticing that keys that I pressed were not registering. I kept having to back up and re-press the appropriate key. I am a fast typist and this was slowing me down tremendously. I found it very frustrating.

I then started testing to figure out why this was happening. I quickly noticed that if you hit the keys dead center, they all work. But if you press them on the corners, some work all the time and some work some of the time and some hardly ever work. I have never used a keyboard that would not work if you pressed the key off center - except for keyboards that were years and years old and were starting to fail. I had this experience on both ultrabooks I bought (UX21E and UX31E). It was more pronounced on the 21E, but that was probably because it isn't a full size keyboard, so I would be more prone to not hitting the exact center on a smaller keyboard.

If you have this laptop, you can test this yourself. Just open up notepad or some other editor; press every key in the center and then in the corners. You will find many don't register the key presses very well in the corners, with some worse than others. When I did this test, I found each of the ultrabooks I bought had a different set of keys that were worse than the others, but both had the problem. Now if you are not a typist and only finger peck, you will probably hit dead center on all of the keys the majority of the time, so this won't effect you as much. If you are a slow typist to where you the exact center of the key 99% of the time or just pound the heck out of the keys when you type, then it will work more often for you than for me. But if you are a moderately fast to very fast typist and your key presses are average in pressure to light, then the keyboard on these laptops are going to be very frustrating to you. Most of the fast typists I know, including myself, press moderate to light on the keys, which helps them move their fingers to the next key faster - and hence type faster. Everyone will sometimes not hit the direct center of the keys - especially when typing very fast and we shouldn't have to!

I have NEVER typed on any keyboard that so poorly registered keystrokes. And as I said previously, since a keyboard is such a vital part of any computer it just must work and work flawlessly. Unfortunately the keyboards on the UX21 and UX31 are not good, so it is a showstopper for me. It is really disappointing. I really liked these laptops otherwise.

For Linux users, new laptops sometimes take a while to get fully supported under Linux to where they work well and it seems that is the case with these laptops as well. Besides Windows 7, I did also install Linux on these laptops. I installed Linux Mint 12, with kernel 3.0.0.12. The touchpad worked fine for me - even two finger scrolling. I know most of the Ubuntu posts I read, said two finger scrolling doesn't work for them, which surprised me, since Mint uses Ubuntu repositories. But I am having no problem with the touchpad on Linux Mint. The only issues I have run into is that battery life is nowhere near as good on Linux Mint as it is on Windows 7 (with the Asus drivers installed) and I have had one sudden and unexplained shutdown on Linux Mint. When I installed the latest Ubuntu kernel, which is supposed to solve the poor battery life issue on Linux, the touchpad stopped working properly. So I decided to deal with the worse battery life and keep using the 3.0.0.12 kernel that came with Linux Mint, because a usable touchpad was more important to me that longer battery life. I know eventually (I expect this year) a new kernel will be released that enables both good touchpad use and long battery life, so I know my 2-3 hour battery life on Linux would improve later this year. I was willing to live with it until then.

Unfortunately, since the keyboard issue is not a driver issue, but just a poorly constructed keyboard, I also had a lot of missed key presses under Linux too. Because of the keyboard issue, I won't be using this laptop as my main laptop. It will go into the pool of laptops my office uses as floaters (a temporary use laptop that staff may borrow - usually when they forget their regular one at home or it breaks).
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73 of 77 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, but take the time to do a bit of configuration out of the box, November 8, 2011
By 
D. POOLE (Fairbanks, AK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: ASUS Zenbook UX31E-DH72 13.3-Inch Thin and Light Ultrabook (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
I won't harp on the appearance of the materials, font's used, etc. Yes the weight may be different then Asus has advertised, there are alot of variants of the machines in each form factor (ux21 or ux31) and this may explain the discrepancy in the specs. Either way the design is impressive and it is a stunning notebook.

Other reviewers have been accurate regarding the poor performance of the atheros 9485 wireless card. I have had a similar experience with my unit running it in it's unboxed condition.

I flashed the BIOS from 204 to 206 (using winflash), updated drivers for the sentellic track-pad, the atheros 9485 WiFi, bluetooth, and etc, removed alot of Asus bloatware, specifically "Power4Gear" & "LiveUpdate".

Now this thing is starting to impress me. Network card is running as fast as the netgear card on my PC. Track-pad is working as it's designed (although I'll admit it takes some practice to get accustomed to it).

It's hard to believe that people overreacted and sent them back before even updating the software. Do realize that you are what's considered an "early adopter" if you purchase the first machines off of the production line. If you don't realize this then you are unworthy of this machine, go get an apple.
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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nearly Perfect Out of the Box, November 5, 2011
By 
Ben Durham (Evanston, Illinois United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: ASUS Zenbook UX31E-DH72 13.3-Inch Thin and Light Ultrabook (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
I read a lot of reviews of other models of this laptop while I was waiting for it to arrive in the mail and I began to worry that I had just spent a lot of money on something that was released prematurely and had a lot of design flaws. Let me just say that from my experience this has turned out to be not true. Like any new laptop you have to set it up to work best for you. If you don't want to spend the few seconds customizing it to your tastes then get a Mac. Apple works great out of the box but offers the user little in the way of customization.

1) The keyboard is fine. The keys are not misaligned. Although it does take about 10 minutes of getting used to a different layout, this is no different than any other new laptop. Laptop keyboards vary due to size differences. That is all. They keyboard is nice, comfortable and works well.

2)Bad internet connection: not true. If you are running off the battery the laptop goes into a power saving mode. However, you have the option of putting it back into high performance mode. The power saving mode is fine for word processing but if you want to use the internet and get your normal performance you need to switch it to high performance mode (Fn+Space). And even if you do run it in high performance mode while unplugged you still get 4 or 5 hours out of the battery, which is pretty amazing.

3) Track-pad issues: Better than the one I had on my Dell. Update the drivers and it is fine. In fact, I didn't even update the drivers for about 2 days and it was still fine. The one initial problem I had was that when I tried to scroll up or down (a two-finger swipe gesture) sometimes I would inadvertently zoom in or out on the page. This was corrected by a simple settings adjustment.

The ONLY design flaw I would even mention is that the power button is in the spot where you usually find the delete button. Kind of odd placement, but it hasn't been a problem yet.

All in all, a great machine with a great screen, great sound for a laptop and brilliantly fast.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great ultrabook!, December 21, 2011
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This review is from: ASUS Zenbook UX31E-DH72 13.3-Inch Thin and Light Ultrabook (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
Hello everyone, I actually felt obligated to write a review about this Zenbook, it's fantastic!

My wife's netbook was stolen so I bought this one as a xmas gift, I think she'll be realle happy with it.

I'm a really techie guy, I'm constantly reading about technology and I also work on the field, so I know a thing or two about computers. At first, like many others, I had concerns about spending 1300+ on a computer which got many bad reviews, especially about the trackpad, but I can say that none of those are true, at least for me.

Of course it's inevitable to compare this to the Macbook Air, which I've worked on too, but I actually find this one to be a superior offer, so forgive me if I keep comparing the two.

Ok, first things first, the one I got is UX31E-DH72, it has the core i7 and 256GB SSD. From what I've read the difference in performance with the DH53, which has the core i5, is not really noticeable for the price difference, but I haven't used the DH53, so I really cannot make that assesment.

I wish the description of the product would be more detailed, especially about the items included in the box, because at first I didn't know about the adapters and I was actually going to buy a LAN adapter and the miniVGA-VGA adapter. Luckily, on the unboxing videos you can find on youtube, you will see that they are both provided in the box, which seems like a big plus to me. So, in the box you get the carrying bag, which is nice, a cleaning cloth (useful), the USB to LAN adapter, the miniVGA to VGA adapter (as well as a little carrying bag for both of them), the power adapter and the usual papers.

The box is really pretty, and I guess we would all agree that they kind of went Apple on those. Like I said, nice packaging.

The laptop itself is beautiful, made of aluminum, like you have surely read elsewhere, and it is delightfully light. I can really see someone taking this baby around all day with no complaints.

The laptop comes preinstalled with Windows 7 Home Premium x64, I went through the usual first startup just to test everything and see for myself if the trackpad had any issues out of the box. I'm glad to report that it worked flawlessly, not jumpy or anything, it actually felt great. My zenbook came with bios version 2.06, I was prepared to update because I read that all the trackpad issues were resolved with the update, but like I said, I had no issues with version 2.06. I still upgraded to bios 2.09, which is the latest available from Asus. I guess I should mention that my Zenbook has the Elantech trackpad, don't know if the Sentelic would be any different.

I had previously donwloaded all drivers and apps from Asus site because I was going to perform a clean install anyway, so I did. I had to do a clean install because I needed the OS in spanish, and I prefer to install the apps I need the way I like them. In my experience Asus laptops usually come with some bloatware, but that doesn't seem to be the case with the Zenbook.

So, all the windows updates, drivers, apps and everything installed smoothly. The laptop is very quick and responsive, and I think the Solid State Drive really makes a difference. The computer starts fast from cold boot in a breeze, and it is AMAZING with the Instant On app. Instant On makes it wake up in under two seconds, and I love it, it saves battery too, so you don't have to carry around the AC adapter everywhere. What you have to do is get in the habit of closing the laptop when you are not using it, and open it when you need it again. With Instant On you are back in your desktop in 2 secs, so there is no need to have the computer running all the time.

The keyboard seems great to me too. I agree that sometimes you miss a key stroke, and you have to press a little more, but it's not something that bothers me, like I said, it's a rare happening.

The screen resolution is great: 1600x900, so it is exactly widescreen (16:9), and I've enjoyed seeing movies, pictures and working on it. Since the screen is 13.3" some might find that using 1600x900 makes the letter too small, but that's not the case for me, I like it a lot.

Sound is fabulous, for a laptop that is, it usually isn't as rich or loud on laptops, it sounds great in this.

The trackpad is awesome. I really cannot stress enough the fact that it is not at all like some descriptions out there. The multi gestures are great, you can pinch to zoom in or out, you can tap to clik or right click, you can go back and forth in a browser or book, you can scroll up and down and sideways, you can tap and drag or click and drag, you can go directly to the desktop or bring up the open windows to change apps; all with finger gestures, and being so responsive as it is I haven't had any issues with it.

And now for the Macbook Air comparisons, I find it that this involves a lot of personal taste. If you are an apple guy then you'd prefer the Mac, and if you are a Windows guy I'm sure you'll prefer the Zenbook. For the sake of comparison I'm gonna compare the DH72 with the equivalent Macbook air, that is with a Mac with a core i7, 256 GB SSD, 4 GB RAM.

They are both really light and thin, and both made of aluminum, so like I said it is a matter of personal preference. The Asus, like I said, is beautiful, but then again also is the Macbook air, I personally think that the Air looks a little better.

The screen is definitely better in the Zenbook, 1600x900 as opposed to 1440x900 in the Air. I find that viewing angles are similar on both.

Sound is better on the Zenbook.

I think the keyboard is about the same, but if you are really picky about it then I guess you would find the Air better.

I prefer the trackpad in the Zenbook, not only it feels good, I'm a Windows guy and I need my right click, it really bothers me that you have to hold CTRL and click on a Mac. Tapping with both fingers in the Zenbook is great for righ clicking.

I think the ports are better on the Zenbook, 1xUSB3, 1xUSB2, miniVGA (adapter included), miniHDMI (buy cable separately), and Mic/Headphones.

The webcam is better in the Mac, this is really a weak point in Asus, they use the 0.3 MP camera in most of their laptops. And also the backlit keyboard is nice on the Mac, Zenbook's keyboard is not backlit.

And regarding performance, I really find it dumb to compare the two because one uses Windows and the other OS X, we all know that apple lovers say the OS is much better, it doesn't have any viruses and blah, blah. I actually think OS X is a great OS but I prefer Windows, again a matter of personal taste.

And finally, most of all, I just wouldn't spend the extra bucks for a Mac, being that I can get something better or equal for a lot less. If you want a Macbook Air similar as the DH72, you would have to buy the adapters for VGA, and LAN and you would pay about USD 1800, those USD 400 make a big difference to me, like I said, I wouldn't pay the extra money for the "Apple" experience.

Ok, just my two cents, hope you find it helpful.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Near Perfect Machine, December 18, 2011
By 
This review is from: ASUS Zenbook UX31E-DH72 13.3-Inch Thin and Light Ultrabook (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
Let me start by saying that I belong to the software developer geekdom and know a thing or two about computers. I've personally built several computers to get my way through college and enjoy technology trends.

For the longest time I've stayed away from laptops due to the simple reason that they are either not fast enough or end up roasting your lap if you demand the slightest bit more than seeing youtube videos.

The ultrabooks are a major, major step towards bringing the goal of achieving performance, lighter weights and low heat all in the single package and Asus doesnt disappoint here. Infact, while there are abundant comparsions for this machine to the mac book air, the buck stops at the price and the comfort you have with an operating system. And for me personally ASUS wins BIG on both accounts. But since we are talking about hardware, I'll stick to that.

Out of box the UX31 is amazing to hold and feel. I just finished downloading the much needed updates from ASUS and Microsoft without which I felt like throwing this in the trash can and I'll explain why in a bit.

The BIGGEST positives are :
1. The screen (1600*900 which is the best practical resolution in 13.3 inches of real estate)
2. The processor - industry leading Intel i7 (which performs even better when you over clock it)
3. The SSD hard drive! (Believe me this is the biggest performance boost you can gift yourself over regular hard drives)
4. The Bang & Olufsen speakers (you'd be surprised at how loud this thing can get in a small room)
5. The cool temperature (If you are looking for a lap warmer, look somewhere else - this thing barely goes over body temperature when running on full steam)

And now the negatives:
There aren't too many to begin with, but bear with me since these are software developer centeric negatives:
1. The keyboard as everyone suggests takes getting some used to since its definitely softer than I'd want. I reach about 50-70 words per minute but I still haven't missed too many key strokes.
2. The first impression on the touchpad wasn't great at all! I'd suffer from 'cursor jump' pretty much anytime my palm touched it while typing. BUT with the ready to download update - everything is perfectly in order now.
3. NO TPM and hence no bit locker support :( . This makes it hard to trust the laptop with any confidential data that you'd rather keep encrypted. Again, this is not your typical consumer scenario but matters to most folks for whom the data is more costly than the laptop itself.

Overall in the configuration it is I don't believe there is a better laptop out there for the price. Even a mac book air for that matter. :)

-------------------------------------------------------
Update after a week of use:
There are a few things that I forgot to mention:
I bought this at a Microsoft Store where they have a promotion until Jan 2nd, 2012. I got 25% of the retail price so it was especially a sweet deal.
ASUS has a driver update program pre-installed so it was breeze to update.
The charging plug doesn't inspire confidence. I'm not sure if this is going to be an issue if I take a little care when plugging the charger in, but definitely not the best score on that.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ASUS Zenbook UX31E-DH72, November 29, 2011
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This review is from: ASUS Zenbook UX31E-DH72 13.3-Inch Thin and Light Ultrabook (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
Despite the mix of reviews, I decided to purchase the i7/256GB SSD version of the Zenbook. After a day I have come to the conclusion that either some of the reviews were of a completely different computer than the one I have or the reviewers were from competitors. Out of the box the unit worked with no problems.
For those keeping tabs on the hardware, my unit has the Elan touchpad, the SanDisk U100 256GB SSD, and the Atheros AR9485WB-EG wireless network adapter.

The touchpad exhibits no problems and works as advertised. The WIFI connection has been no problem connecting on a WPA-2 network. It connects right away and speed testing of the throughput matches what I have seen from other computers on the same connection. Web video is flawless.

The SSD is more interesting. Initially I got the same WEI rating of 5.9 that I have read about on several reviews and user sites. However, doing all the windows updates, updating the hardware, updating the BIOS to 207, deleting the D partition, and expanding the C partition to the full size of the SSD, I now get a WEI of 7.5. I have not run any more sophisticated benchmarks or tried to tune the drive. As it should be by default, the drive had TRIM enabled. While this is not a 7.9, it is in line with the ratings I get on other SSD's from Patriot and Kingston in other systems I have, albeit the speed ratings on the U100 would indicate it should be faster. In real world use the speed seems very acceptable.
The WEI ratings I get are:
Processor 6.9
Ram 5.9
Graphics for Aero: 5.6
Gaming Graphics: 6.3
Drive: 7.5
For a system with a low voltage processor and integrated graphics that seems pretty decent.

The system runs cool, which is a surprise. Running in high performance mode with the charger connected and exercising an external DVD and external HDD, it still runs cool. I used an infrared thermometer to look for the hottest spot on the chassis which seems to be on the bottom about two inches in from the left side along the vent holes and has been running around 92 deg F normally with the highest I have seen being around 98 deg F.

I have no screen defects and the display is excellent. I don't see the viewing angle issues that have been noted, the screen is very readable throughout a 150-160 degree arc both horizontally and vertically. The glossy screen is a bit of an issue for me, but nothing serious. The display is very sharp and very small fonts are clear and readable.
I don't have any crooked keys and the keyboard is fine for this touch typist. I can hit 80-90 WPM no problem. The key travel is not as much as on my desktop keyboard, but not an issue.

The web cam and microphone are about the norm for laptops. Camera is clear, but colors are a bit washed out in a reasonably bright room.

The USB 2.0 port provided adequate power for an external DVD drive with a single connection. The USB 3.0 port worked fine with a USB 3.0 external drive. I have not done a drive speed test on the USB 3.0 port to compare with the speeds I see elsewhere, but in use is seems comparable to the USB 3.0 ports I have on my desktop system.

Fortunately I already had every combination of HDMI cable and was able to connect the micro HDMI output to two projectors and a monitor. The system automatically detected the connected device and changed resolution to match the device. It also automatically returned to the native resolution when the external display device was disconnected. I don't use analog VGA, so I have not tested the dongle for that.
I have seen no sparks flying or other issues. So either I am lucky to have gotten a "good one" or the sparking was a "bad one". I would want to avoid getting something conductive into the vent holes on the bottom.

The chassis is very nice looking, IMHO more professional looking than the other ultrabooks (Acer S3 and Toshiba Z835or the monotone MBA. The fit and finish is excellent. The chassis is very solid and exhibits little if any flex. The edges are not sharp enough to be an issue. The spun metal look of the top is very nice and the unit seems to change color based on the amount of light in the room. The sleeve that came with the unit is very nice (I almost ordered one when I bought the unit because it was not mentioned or pictured, but I decided to wait and that was a good idea. and the small power supply is a nice change from the bricks that some manufacturers supply with notebooks. But seeing the Windows sticker on the power supply is a little weird. I wonder how long it will remain there, the power supply does get hot when charging and running at the same time with a mostly discharged battery.

I plan to do some cleanup and optimization, but the bloatware was not excessive.

So, what is wrong with the ASUS UX31-DH72. I think all computers should have a hardware network connection. The USB dongle is small, light and has its own bag, but I would have preferred to have had just an adapter from a small port on the computer to RJ-45. Having to use one of only 2 USB ports for a wired network connection really is a compromise.
Backlit keys would be nice, but I don't get too excited about them. They seem like a bit of a waste of power to me, but I am a touch typist, so that might color my option.

Update: After three weeks of use, I can definitely raise the review to 5 stars. Everything works like a champ. The computer is even fun to use. I still wish there was a hardware network jack, but it is great.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exactly what I needed, November 9, 2011
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This review is from: ASUS Zenbook UX31E-DH72 13.3-Inch Thin and Light Ultrabook (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
Great design. The only real difference you'll notice if you hold it next to a Macbook Air is that the edges are less rounded.

High resolution. 1600x900 is excellent for a notebook, especially with a 13" screen. (Note: this is higher than the Macbook Air resolution, which I believe is 1440x900)

I'm running IIS, ColdFusion server, SQL Server, MySQL, Visual Studio, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Media Player, and a few web browsers all at the same time and everything still runs smoothly. I needed LOTS of power in a machine small enough to comfortably travel with and this notebook is perfect.

Computer turns on pretty much instantly.

Small power adapter... just like an iPad charger but slightly bigger.

Cons: When I use the touchpad, I use two hands, and sometimes when I click with my left hand while another finger is on it, it thinks I'm trying to move the cursor down and left. You can, however, push down anywhere on the touchpad to click / drag. (Note that I hate using all touchpads in general anyway.)

You have to use the Fn key to use home/end/pg up/pg down. I use the Home and End keys a lot, and they could have easily made them seperate keys rather than making you use Fn+left arrow and Fn+Right arrow. This probably isn't a big deal for most people.

You have to buy a micro-HDMI to HDMI adapter seperately. (It's only a few bucks, though.)

There's no microphone input, but this isn't a big deal for me since my headset is USB.

Other Thoughts: I had been wanting something like this for a while: basically a MacBook Air, but PC. I didn't get a MacBook Air because I can't get any work done on it -- it would end up just being a "toy". This laptop fit my needs perfectly. There are some minor improvements that could be made, but nothing major, no deal breakers.

Since the design and size is almost exactly the same as a Macbook Air, you can probably just buy a Macbook Air case to carry it around.

I'm so glad I bought this... no need to drag my ultra-heavy 17" monster laptop around anymore.
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67 of 83 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I gave Zenbook a second chance for me to love it at first sight... But, I was heartbroken, November 23, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: ASUS Zenbook UX31E-DH72 13.3-Inch Thin and Light Ultrabook (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
Length:: 1:25 Mins

~~~~This part of review is for UX31-DH53 (bought previously but returned)~~~~

First of all, there's have been a lot of dispute regarding this laptop. Many have said that this laptop is a pure copy of the Macbook Air. I personally think not. Just because Apple was the first company to make something so small and so thin like the MBA, it doesn't mean that any other company who does something similar is a copy. The build quality on the chassis seems much stronger and of much more quality when compared to MBA. And, I must claim that this is the best looking notebook on the block. Much better looking than any computer with the Apple logo on it.

Touchpad - Update the driver (downloading it from the Asus website). Before doing anything, do updates on the computer first. Some may say that this is absurd and that it should work out of the box. But, I think it's correct to say that you need to update the driver! Same goes for keeping your virus definitions updated for your anti-virus program! After the update, almost flawless trackpad. It's just as good as any Windows trackpad. Obviously not as good as a Macbook with it comes to smoothness (but Mac trackpad doesn't work well in Windows either since it doesn't have the drivers).

Sound - Very very good sound for the form factor. For something so thin, I don't think you can find anything that matches the quality of these speakers!

Screen - I personally did not have any viewing angle problems. The screen is very bright and high resolution, but I did have a dead pixel on the top left edge of the screen. This can be verify by the video I made for it! Also, there's a small quirk... The screen hinge is a little loose and when typing on your lap at a wider angle, you might experience the screen to fall backward. I also made a video of this.

Now, the worst of all! Keyboard! What were they doing with the keyboard? There's very little travel on the keyboard and absolutely zero support on the side of the keys. Longer keys like "Enter", "Shift", and "Spacebar" would experience problems where the key is pressed but it doesn't registered. This happens on other keys as well, but less occasionally. I made 2 videos of this problem and posted it on Youtube as well. You can see a few examples where FN + F11 (volume), I should be able to adjust the volume. But, when the FN key is pressed on the side and not in the dead center, it won't register. Therefore instead of changing volume, I get full screen! This goes the same for the enter Key where pressing it on the side or edge it doesn't move the words to the next line. Yes, you can argue that I just need to adjust my typing, but how hard is it to make a keyboard that works? Other manufacturers who use chiclet keyboard don't have this problem (Sony, Apple, HP). Also, how are you to guarantee that while typing 50-75 words a minute, your hitting dead center of every key including enter or shift.

Realistically, if keyboard is 100% registering every key, dead pixel wasn't there, and tigher hinge... I would recommend this as the Number 1 laptop in it's form factor (including price). I will be returning the laptop because of the problems above as I think it's pretty annoying correcting my typing as the keys don't register!...

~If you want to check out my video of the problems I listed above. Go to youtube website and int he search bar, look for "twkidM3". You should be able to pull up my username and it will have 5 videos of the problems. Enjoy!

**A week later**
Need to write an update. I ended up sending this thing back because the keyboard and a dead pixel problem. I did not have WIFI issues or other issues such as the computer shocking you when plugging in the power. But those two reason I listed which I did not like ended up to be a real pain in the butt. Key registering problem was huge and I would miss enter key or shift key left and right. Even FN+F9 sometimes did not register volume buttons.

Now many of you may ask, "Why don't you contact ASUS before returning it to Amazon? Get them to RMA the system because of DEAD Pixel Guarantee!" Truth be told, I did all that. I submitted a query to ASUS 2 days after I bought the system and made the videos. I posted all the videos on all the ASUS fanpages that you can find on facebook. I've also contacted Asus Corporate in Taiwan. They called me at midnight and told me that they will resolve the issue and have someone from Fremont, CA contact me regarding my issues. 3 days later, no response and no contact. So technically I was expecting someone to talk to me around the 9th of Nov. No response so I send it back to Amazon. Customer service? yes or no? you decide!

~~~~This part of review is for UX31-DH72~~~~

After returning it a week ago, I decided I needed to give ASUS Zenbook one more chance! I decided to upgrade and bought a UX31-DH72. This model is with the i7 + 4gb + 256gb. First thing I noticed is the WEI score in windows to register the SSD at a lower rating of "5.9!" My previous DH53 version rated the 256gb ssd at "7.9"! What's going on? Did they swap to a lower quality Sandisk SSD? I made sure all drivers are up to date.

Second thing I noticed is that they changed the trackpad to another company called Elantech. 100% better than the Sentelic trackpad on my previous DH53 version. It didn't jump or have any problems with the drivers out of the box. But I did notice a assembly quality control problem. This one had a weird trackpad flex on the top left of the trackpad. If you press on the top left, the trackpad falls below the flush body. This doesn't happen on the right side. Because it has this problem, it always feels like something is wrong with the trackpad. When using the trackpad you can also feel a slight wobbling when moving from right to left and vice versa. ~You can find videos of this by typing my youtube name "twkidM3"~

So what's going on here? How about the keyboard? Yes, the keyboard still have the flimsy problem and the same problem of keys not registering. But this keyboard wasn't as bad as the previous one. i did not have as much problems typing on this one compared to the other ones.

I did notice one or two wifi disconnects and a quick reconnect. It would show "no internet access" but it was connected. I did make sure the drivers were up to date...

Once again, contacted ASUS, they didn't care via RMA... I returned this unit couple days ago!
2 days after returning this laptop, Asus called me regarding my first issue of keyboard on the DH53. What fail?
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ASUS UX31-DH72 a love story, November 20, 2011
This review is from: ASUS Zenbook UX31E-DH72 13.3-Inch Thin and Light Ultrabook (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
I was a little worried after reading some of the reviews. I rarely write reviews but just had to for this product. ASUS has created a fantastic product. This is the most beautiful windows computer i have ever used. It is very fast and elegant. I love how light the computer is. I can take it anywhere and work anywhere without a lot of equipment or tools. It is more productive than a tablet or a larger laptop. Ultrabook is a very cool new computer. The keyboard is quite nice actually as it has a good tactile feel to it. The lightness of the computer is very important. The instant on also gives you the sense that you can work at anytime and anywhere. I am a developer and this is a great computer for windows development running vs2010 Ultimate, Azure tools, Expression. I am quite happy with the performance and battery life.

The screen is super bright and clear. The resolution is perfect
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