Customer Review

31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sleek, Snappy, and Slim!, June 26, 2012
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This review is from: ASUS Zenbook UX31A-DB51 13.3-Inch Ultrabook (OLD VERSION) (Personal Computers)
[Original review with updates]

If you're looking for a laptop that fits the description of the title I wrote above, this is it!

I've had this laptop for about 4 days now and after playing around with it and adjusting the settings to my liking, I'm in love with this machine!

The display, is fantastic. The matte screen + the resolution makes this a wonderful choice for watching movies or working outdoors. Everything is very responsive and runs extremely smoothly and quiet for the most part. The instant on is an awesome feature as well. I never realized how much I would need something like this until I got this laptop. Now I can't imagine going back to my old one with its slow restart and resuming speed.

I never owned the previous Zenbook UX31e so I can't compare, but from what I've heard, the Zenbook Prime UX31a has fixed some of the keyboard issues that people were complaining about with the older model. I don't know if it's true since I haven't tried typing on the older model, but I have no problems typing on this.

With that said, I just wanted to address a couple of issues that people have been mentioning on various sites on the web.

1. Backlight bleeding [updated] - If you're extremely lucky, you'll get a unit with hardly noticeable backlight bleeding. My first unit that I had to send back due to problems with wifi was great, but the unit I received after that had terrible backlight bleeding. My sister has also ordered the same ultrabook and she has had terrible bleeding on hers too. ASUS needs apply better quality control to their products and figure out a way to fix this it seems. However, if you're not going to be watching movies with dark screens or do things like photo editing, you'll probably have no issues with the backlight bleeding for you won't see it, if you aren't looking for it! For those who will be watching movies in the dark (unless you have your brightness setting on low or you're running off the battery saving power plan) you'll definitely see the bleeding that can distract. If you get a screen with little bleeding, KEEP IT! Don't exchange it in hopes that you'll get a PERFECT screen with absolutely no bleeding because you won't. I totally regret sending my first unit back, but I had to with the wifi issue which seemed to be a hardware issue.

2. Fan noise - this seems to be a hit and miss for people as well. So far, mine has been relatively quiet. However between yesterday and today the fan was running for long periods of times at full speed. I looked into the resources list and found out that the bluetooth device manager was acting up for no reason, so once I killed that, the laptop has gone back to being almost silent again. I'm in a quiet room right now and I can't hear it at all. So if you think the fan is acting up for no reason, go into your task manager and look through the resources list.

UPDATE - My sister received a unit with a fan noise issue that some on the web have been describing. Her fan was spinning at max speed, extremely loudly for 5-15 second periods every minute for no reason at all. If you're experiencing this issue, send it back. It is not something that should be happening.

3. Keyboard Flex - this issue seems to be more reported among UX32VD purchasers, but just in case people were wondering, I cannot get the keyboard to flex at all on my UX31A unless I'm intentionally pushing down with a lot of force, which would probably end up breaking the laptop before you experience the amount of flexing people have been worried about.

So if you're looking for a light, extremely portable machine that still packs enough power to carry out your everyday tasks and a bit more with a great screen that's matte (which will cut out glare associated with glossy displays) you just can't get any better than this ultrabook. However, if you're looking for a laptop you can replace parts with, such as upgrading the RAM and such, but still want the look and feel of this model, check out the Zenbook Prime UX32VD.

P.S. I got the ADATA Sandforce SSD as well. It seems so far everyone who has received this model at least has gotten the ADATA rather than the Sandisk unlike previous generation Zenbooks.

[6/28/2012 UPDATE - I started noticing a wi-fi issue. I noticed that it started getting slower and slower at connecting to the internet. I would have to wait an extra 20 seconds or so for the wi-fi to connect after I revived it from standby (this is 20 seconds after windows had all loaded up). Not something I noticed when I had first gotten it. Then today, we changed our internet service provider. The Zenbook Prime struggled very hard to connect when the 2 other laptops in our house connected with no problem. Once it managed to connect, the connection was so slow, I couldn't even load a google search. I tried to restore everything to the factory condition just to see if that would help with anything in case the driver settings somehow got messed with (although highly unlikely), but then it got stuck on and endless cycle of restarting and shutting down with no way to stop it unless I force shut it down. It was absolutely bizarre.

As this is a new laptop, it shouldn't be having issues like this to start with, so it's going back. I still love this thing though, so I'll be ordering the same model again and hope that the new one will have the fantastic no bleed screen + perfectly lit up keys + no dead pixels like my current one, but without the wi-fi issue and the endless rebooting! Will update when I get the new one.

[6/30/2012 UPDATE - Just got my new one today as Amazon is amazing with their customer service and overnighted the replacement to me! Anyways, this one had the other wifi issue that people had been talking about in the later reviews here and on the UX31A-AB71 page. The wifi connection arrived disabled to start with, and I had to manually go into the driver settings to enable it. Once that was enabled, I was able to connect but the connection was extremely slow and the wifi dropped off and on. The wireless adapter seems to be unstable when using N setting on routers.

Thanks to user 'foot attack' who pointed out this work around the connectivity issues with N-routers, I was able to get it working with my other router. If your router is on the N mode, change it to the G mode through your router settings and see if that works. I tried setting up the internet connection with my other router with the N enabled and noticed that the connectivity issue was only solved once I switched back to G through the router settings. Quite annoying, I hope ASUS will be able to fix this soon with a new update as N-routers are pretty much the standard these days.

So far so good on the replacement laptop minus the N wifi connection issue. The only thing driving me insane right now is my space bar is squeaky! Hopefully it'll stop squeaking on its own, or I guess I'll have to try putting some oil under it to see if it helps. Oh, also, the trackpad/touchpad on this replacement seems much easier to physically click on than my previous one, which I had to press on really firmly to get the click to register.

P.S. There is backlight bleeding this time on the new unit while my previous unit had a perfect screen :( , but you only see it on dark screens so oh wells, doesn't matter.

Nevermind, turned up the brightness setting and tried watching a movie on it. The bleeding is really really bad. It totally distracted from the movie whenever the scene was a bit dark. I could have dealt with little backlight bleeding, but not this.

I loved almost all features about this laptop except for the sensitivity of the touchpad and the backlight bleeding (Out of the 4 units my sister and I've had between us for this laptop, only one had little backlight bleeding that didn't distract. Rest of the units had pretty bad bleeding with other issues on top of it. ASUS needs to take into the issue of quality control with this model for we've experienced random issues on top of major backlight bleeding. However besides those two factors, this notebook is definitely one of my favorites I've ever owned. It's quiet, responds instantly, and the display is amazing (when not watching a movie with dark screens in a dark room), and looks ultra sleek and feels extremely well made.

However, I've gotten tired of trying to receive the perfect unit, so I've sent my second unit back for a refund and will probably wait until later on in the future to repurchase. My sister, however, is a bit more patient than I am, and is waiting for a new unit.
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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 26, 2012 7:57:22 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 26, 2012 8:00:15 PM PDT
Ricardo says:
The previous comments about backlight bleed have nothing to do with the keyboard backlight. These are about the LED display backlight bleeding around the edges of the display. This happens in laptops and conventional displays with LED and fluorescent displays.

If you want to see if it occurs turn off the keyboard backlight and in a darkened room look at a black background on the screen.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 27, 2012 12:44:25 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 27, 2012 1:37:07 AM PDT
James H. Cho says:
I've done that as well and didn't see any noticeable bleeding issues. The reason why I mentioned the keyboard backlighting is because some people on various sites and forums over the web were mentioning that the bleeding was particularly worse on this model due to the additional lights added for the keyboard backlighting. But yes, whether or not the keyboard backlight is on, I haven't experienced noticeable bleeding on the screen. This all seems to depend on each individual laptop though as some are reporting severe bleeding issues while some are not seeing any noticeable bleeding like me. Hopefully ASUS can apply a bit better quality control on their products in the future!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 28, 2012 10:14:29 AM PDT
Conway Mai says:
James, what sort of battery life are you getting? Also does the UX31A run hot?


In reply to an earlier post on Jun 28, 2012 1:01:28 PM PDT
James H. Cho says:
With light use, I can get about 6 hours or a bit more depending on all my settings and what I'm doing. With moderate use I'm getting about 5. It doesn't run hot at all! The warmest part is where the adapter plugs in when it's charging. The other parts stay quite cool, it's never felt more than just warm before, definitely not hot.

Posted on Jun 30, 2012 11:24:36 PM PDT
Imran says:
Question... when you returned your original UX31A and got the replacement, how much did the replacement cost you? I'm getting my defective model replaced but I can't find any information about how much strictly the restocking and shipping of the defective model will cost.

Also, I thought that I had an endless cycle of shutting down after factory resetting, but if you give it around 30 minutes, everything goes back to normal. It looks like it's stuck in a bootloop because the laptop constantly has to restart to apply the new system updates. Just letting you know in case you ever decide to factory reset in the future - the restarting is something that is supposed to happen. Anyways, you had a good reason to return though.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 1, 2012 7:46:16 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 1, 2012 7:46:33 PM PDT
James H. Cho says:
^ good to know, I left it running for about 15 minutes before I shut it down and i had the same message pop up every time before it shut down again, did you get that too? I had a friend of mine look at it and he said that never happened when he factory restored his other ASUS laptop.. different model, but I figure the process should be the same? But yeah, the slowing down of the wifi connection was definitely a weird issue. The new replacement I got does not not take an extra 20 seconds everytime I wake it up from sleep! But the bleeding is extremely bad.

As for the returning and replacing, I didn't get charged anything for it. I talked to Amazon after I put in a request for a refund stating my issue with the device and asked them for an exchange, and they sent me a new one right away. Amazing customer service, this is why I order from them even though there are sites that have this same model for less.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 6, 2012 8:07:42 PM PDT
There's a hotspot on the bottom-center-towards the screen part of the Prime that gets to about 101 F, otherwise its cool.

Posted on Jul 12, 2012 8:56:28 AM PDT
Saint04 says:
I tried the 1st Gen Zenbook. I went through three of them with all the same issues. I also tried the transformer prime tablet and had similar issues. Although Asus seems like a really neat and innovative product, their quality control is one of the worst. Unfortunately, I will no longer bother with Asus products anytime soon.
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