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Showing 1-10 of 256 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 337 reviews
on July 9, 2012
I have had this laptop for about 3 days now. I had been wanting the zenbook since the original UX31E had come out, but held back after the reviews about the keyboard and the touchpad.

The new display on the ux31a was an instant sell. Having used nothing but high resolution laptops, i had hung on to my trusty HP 6820p for 4+ years.

The reviews for UX31 are mostly on the mark, but strangely somehow still fail to point the one "true" issue.

Now moving on to something more useful..

1) The display is to die for. I spent an hour with the retina mac pro, while i didn't see both the screens side by side. I'm ecstatic that ASUS is finally pushing laptops to move up from the resolution backsliding going on for the last 5 years. You will not miss the retina display on a mac with this. Half the price is just a bonus.

2) It is _light_.

3) The biggest showstopper is the touchpad out of the box. Yes, i'm referring to the touchpad on ux31, not the older ux31e. Multi touch etc. etc. works well. (have two macs at home for comparison). The thing that just about ruins this little gem is the horrendous behavior of the touchpad when your palm brushes it during typing. There is no way you can really avoid this, and it is impossible to do any typing without the cursor moving and the tap to touch causing irritating behavior. (like prematurely sending an email, closing the email, clicking a background app into focus). How this went past anyone in any QA dept. is beyond me. It's that bad, just typing a 2 line sentence is near impossible. This was entirely preventable with just a bit more diligence by ASUS. This one problem is bad enough to warrant a return if it weren't the fix that later became available.

I upgraded the drivers to the THEN latest on the ux31a page on asus support. They didn't work any better. Update: ASUS has finally put an updated version that addresses the issue much better.

Initially i was concerned that I was out of luck and that this could be a trackpad hardware limitation. Thankfully a bit of investigation digging through the registry in the HKLM\CurrentControlSet\Services\ElanTech revealed a plethora of values that seeemed promising.

Further investigation led to a rather huge thread on this topic on the laptop support forums for the elan trackpads on Samsung laptops. A bit of spelunking revealed an updated driver (10.7.16.1). This one proved to be a winner. Not sure if it was the actual driver update, or the very significantly different configuration settings in the registry that made the difference, but at the end of the day the problem is mitigated nearly completely (and without disabling the trackpad while you are typing).

I think there is still some fine tuning to do with the relatively sensitive trackpad, but am a bit more at ease as I think it's just a matter of tweaking the settings just right. I think the elan folks will get it right with just a bit more time. I wish the control panel utility gave you more tuning options without having to figure it out on a trial and error approach with the registry variables. The newer version samsung is using has an 'advanced' tab which seems to be heading in this direction

This is my first ever review and I am only writing it because I really dig this laptop. I'd hate to have this not succeed due to the egregious trackpad palm detection issue. Asus's strength is clearly not software QA.

A few other observations that I haven't seen mentioned before.

4) The adapter when plugging into socket always seems to spark as it's plugged in. I haven't seen this from any other adapter, so am wondering about the reliability. It also seems to run a bit hot compared the mac one. This is just an observation, not an issue (i had no less than 5 adapters fail with the HP). Update: I was looking for additional adapters so I don't have to keep carrying the one around, they seem to extremely expensive online, ~$120. There are non ASUS brands available all the way down to $15, so will probably try one of those, I wonder what the difference is. I suspect it's to do with the charging logic / led indicator on the OEM one. I thought the charging controller was in the laptop and not the adapter, but not entirely sure about this now.

5) The keyboard is just fine, I saw some posts ranting about ux31 keyboard, and i don't know what they are talking about. It's pretty good, and i type reams.

6) There is bleeding of light at the bottom of the lcd, but it's a non issue and an observation i made only because I read about it on other reviews.

7) The keyboard backlighting is nice to have.. but again, don't think it's as big a deal as it's been made out to be when it was missing in ux31e.

8) The display hinge is just fine, it holds up well. If you suddenly lift it, then there might be a tad amount of sway. I think it's only because this laptop is so thin and light that people apply more g's. (I couldn't do that with my old laptop with both my hands if i wanted to because it was so heavy). It feels pretty sturdy compared to the luddite laptop i am used to.

9) I had tried win 8 for a short period on this laptop, seemed to work about the same. (Reverted to win 7 for work reasons after an hour or so).

10) The battery seems to last 6+ hours with just web browsing / email..

11) The wifi has been working well, no problems so far. The previous HP laptop I had would lose WIFI connection whenever the microwave went on for a minute. This one hasn't exhibited that problem.

12) The USB to Ethernet adapter is unfortunately 10/100, not Gigabit.. and for me it's a big deal. Copying around large VMs is the norm and this limitation is a rather big issue. The limitation seems to be from the PHY ASUS is sourcing from 'asix'? They seem to have a new USB3 to GBE part available, so I'm sure in future models this limitation will be addressed. I wonder why they didn't go with USB 2 to GBE phy as it seems to have been available for a while. It works well, counter intuitively its actually proving to be nicer to use the USB connection than the RJ45 jack.

13) The built in VGA adapter worked great when using a projector. Haven't tried out the HDMI out yet, need to go buy a micro HDMI cable.

14) Headphone out works fine, another reviewer mentioned an issue so tested it just in case.

Rating a 4, due to the trackpad runaround that's now resolved. Folks with trackpad issues should just get the latest version from ASUS or Samsung support site. I prefer the Samsung driver.
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on June 26, 2012
I've owned probably 20 laptops in the past (my wife would probably say that's 17 more than I've needed). But to be honest, I've not loved any one of them. Each has come with some sort of compromise that kept it from fully meeting my expectations. Lightweight machines have been underpowered; small screens have had low resolution--leaving me yearning to plug into a full size LCD panel whenever I could; machines with fast CPUs burned my lap and had horrible battery life....and so on.

The Zenbook UX31A is the first computer I've owned that has everything I want: super light weight, solid build quality, fast performance, beautiful display, decent battery life, high performance SSD and (I am a touch typist) a keyboard with great tactile response. Using the UX31A is like driving a German car: everywhere you look, you notice the level of attention to detail in design, and you just know the designers really cared about the end-user experience and didn't simply set out to meet a specification as cheaply as possible.

Asus may have shot themselves in the foot, though: I'm so satisfied, I may not feel the urge to replace this computer for a long, long time.

What you'll love:
1. The full HD IPS display with matte finish is dreamy. Maybe you think 1920 x 1080 is too high a resolution for a 13" display? It's not! With text set to 125%, text is the "right" size, and the fonts are as smooth as a printed page--I can't see the individual pixels. The IPS makes for a screen that's readable at any angle--a godsend for me when the person in front leans their seat back in coach!

2. The keyboard is much improved from the last version, and has the exact feel of my MacBook (which to me is a good thing). The backlighting on the keyboard is a nice addition as well.

3. Instant on. After opening the lid, the computer is usable in around 1 second. Amazing.

4. The aluminum case is impossibly thin, making it super portable. Everyone who sees this machine can't believe it's a real, full Windows PC.

5. The DC power supply. I'm in love with a DC power supply? If you travel a lot like I do, then you understand. This isn't just a generic $2 item Asus sourced from eBay. It's an impossibly tiny power supply that weighs almost nothing and has an 8 foot cord that will reach from any conference room table all the way to a wall outlet. Yes, it's a small detail, but something I appreciate every time I use it.

6. Build quality. The solid metal case is completely rigid and exudes quality industrial design. A $1,000 product shouldn't feel like you got it in a box of cereal, and this one doesn't! Great job, Asus!

7. Bang & Olufsen audio. Remember when choosing a 13" laptop meant you live with a speaker originally designed for a wristwatch? Those days are over--watching video on this laptop is like watching it on your TV! Audio is loud, clear and has a full range of sound. You'll only use your headphones when you don't want to disturb others.

8. The included fabric envelope to carry the notebook is so good you'll actually use it! It's a heavy fabric envelope that I find superb for taking the notebook on short trips to the coffee shop or to a meeting where I only need to take some notes.

9. Runs Windows 8 (June Preview edition) perfectly. I scratch-loaded Windows 8, and while it takes some patience to get all the Windows 7 drivers and utilities installed on Windows 8, everything works beautifully.

What you may not love as much:
1. There's a downside to making a laptop that's thinner than legacy VGA, Ethernet and HDMI connectors--there's no room for them!! Instead, a Micro-HDMI and Mini-VGA connections are provided along with dongles that adapt to standard sized connectors. For wired Ethernet, a USB-to-Ethernet adapter is provided. Some ultrabooks are specifically made thicker expressly to include legacy connectors. For me, that's a little silly...an ultrabook should be as thin as possible! But if you disagree and don't like the idea of a dongle for making VGA connections, then you may want one of the thicker Ultrabooks instead.

2. The Zenbook doesn't have the longest battery life among all Ultrabooks. Maybe the thin case has a smaller battery than others? You'll probably get 5 hours or so of battery life on continuous usage. If you need another hour or two, there are ultrabooks can last longer. For me, I find that with the instant on enabled, I can go all day between charges...I just shut the lid when I'm not using the computer and open it when using it (similar to using an iPad).

3. The UX31A, like most Ultrabooks, has 4GB RAM soldered to the motherboard, and no way to upgrade RAM. I think this is really a shame, since I'd gladly have paid more to get more RAM as an insurance policy against what I might want to use the machine for in the future. However I find 4GB is enough for what I'm doing day-to-day, and I doubt most people using an Ultrabook for business scenarios will find they need more than 4GB RAM with Windows 8. However if you're editing video, this might not be the right machine for you.

Overall, I think Asus took the best Ultrabook and made it even better. The last version (the "E" model) was, in my mind, the best small Windows notebook on the market...but fell just a little short of the elegant design of the MacBook Air. This new model, however, has moved the bar up insanely high for other Ultrabooks, and in my mind eliminated any reason why a Windows user would switch to a Mac to get superior hardware designs. I have a MacBook Pro...and this is the first time I can honestly say I like a Windows laptop more than a MacBook!
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on July 19, 2012
This Asus ultrabook met many of my expectations. It is incredibly thin and light and has a brilliant 1080p screen with excellent horizontal and vertical viewing angles - much improved from the earlier models. The backlit keyboard is a nice feature and it has multiple brightness settings. The keyboard has a great tactile response that makes it easy to use. Power management is superb as is the standby mode, which is effectively unlimited. There are actually 2 standby modes: instant on and powersave. The powersave lasts much longer and although the instant on is a smidge faster, the difference is really negligible with the fast processor and solid state drive so I just keep it on the standard standby mode. There's a lot of talk about the B&O sound on this device but if you're an audiophile like me your response will likely be, "meh." It's not horribly compressed and tinny like most laptop speakers but it certainly does not replace a good set of headphones for music. The camera is good enough for skype but not the best I've seen. WiFi and Bluetooth have a toggle button that allows them to be conveniently turned off when not in use.

The biggest area of concern for many people will be the touchpad. It is quite responsive and the multitouch works well in most programs. It is not as customizable as I would like but this is an Elan driver limitation shared by all the laptops which use their touchpads. One thing of note, however, is that there are competing control panel utilities for the touch function: the built in windows "pen and touch" control panel and the Elan manufacturer specific control panel. When I first started using the device both were enabled and this caused major misbehavior in Microsoft Word / Excel where the touchpad would fail to inactivate during typing causing the cursor to randomly wind up in different parts of text along with random highlights and deletions. This was so bad that it was basically a deal-breaker and I was ready to return the laptop. I then noticed the windows "pen and touch" options and disabled the touch input there and all was well - almost. The Elan drivers allow you to tweak the sensitivity and size of the automatic touchpad disabling feature during keyboard input. You can customize the area very well and get it perfect for your palm size and typical position so that the annoying random clicks go away. However, the Elan driver's multitouch DOES NOT WORK IN MICROSOFT OFFICE 2007. It will, however, work if you enable the windows touch control panel but then you're back to the annoying random click behavior. I'm not sure about newer office versions, but if you're a heavy Excel user having to decide between multitouch bidirectional scrolling (which is awesome) and randomly deleting cells by accident then you may want to look elsewhere. If I notice an improvement with newer drivers or a newer version of Office I will post an update to this review accrodingly.

Except for the reservations regarding the touchpad control panel issue, this is an excellent execution of the ultrabook platform and the best one currently out there, in my opinion.

[ADDENDUM 9/24/2012]
I wanted to update this review specifically about the touchpad issues I raised above, but will also say in general that after several months of using this laptop my overall opinion of it has not changed at all - it's amazing.

I updated windows and installed the latest touchpad driver from Elantech, version 10.5.10.0. This version eliminated the conflict with the "pen and touch" control panel and works amazingly well. I can scroll, swipe, rotate, and zoom in every program without issue, including Office 2007. I don't notice any of the accidental cursor movement issues that I had to endure in certain situations with prior drivers (after changing the palmcheck settings appropriately for my hand size and typing practices). If you're still on the fence about this laptop - don't be. Get it and make sure to install the latest Elantech drivers!
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on July 2, 2012
I was doing weeks of research before deciding to purchase the UX31A. I wanted something light to carry around, but big enough to watch movies and type notes for school on. This is my initial review of the Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A:

Design (9/10) - It doesn't get much better than this. I love the brushed aluminum design, which without it looks like a MacBook Air, which is without a doubt the best looking ultrabook out there.

The 2 USB 3.0 ports are crazy fast when moving files around and the mini hdmi is a nice plus to keep this thing thin. I feel like they could have fit another USB port on here, but a man can dream.

Display (8/10) - The display is amazing and the contrast ratios are the best I've ever seen on a computer before. Of course, I use the 1080p resolution so I have to zoom in to view my text in Chrome, but it's worth it. My only gripe is it's only 'bright' when you have it plugged in, otherwise the screen is somewhat dim but it saves your battery. Another issue I have is the bottom of the screen is prone to show the white LED's very easily when I'm watching darker videos. I looked it up, some call it backlit keyboard bleeding but I'll see if it persists.

Battery life (7/10) - I know I need to give it some time to calibrate, but I've been getting around 5 hours with Pandora streaming in the background, web browsing and downloading the necessary computer updates.

Keyboard (9/10) - It's not bad at all. This is actually the longest written thing I've done on it so far and I'm having no problem typing on the keys. They're a bit thin, but that helps keep the design thin as well. The backlit keyboard can be quite annoying sometimes and turn itself on for no reason, but I usually just keep it off unless I'm in a darker room.

Touchpad (6/10) - This thing is wishy washy. It's definitely big enough but it's not as response and doesn't feel as smooth as my 2 year old laptop but I think like many of this computer's features, I just have to get used to. It has up to 3 finger gestures, but I'm not sure if they're configurable; 2 down (scroll), 2 fingers click (right click), 3 up (multitasing), 3 down (minimize app), 3 left (back), 3 right (forward)

*Sloppy, unbiased review complete
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on July 2, 2013
This computer is gorgeous. Absolutely gorgeous.

I bought this Zenbook Prime to replace a 2011 11" Macbook Air which, after a bit of water damage, was going to cost $750 to repair. For that same amount I was able to buy this fella used through Amazon Warehouse. It was a no-brainer and I still have no regrets, though I primarily used Windows 8 on the MBA as I find it to be preferable to OSX.

I would like to first emphasize how amazing Amazon Warehouse Deals are. This computer came completely refurbished--the only difference between the refurbished Apple products I've bought and this one was the amount of accessories that came with this thing. For the price paid it was absolutely excellent, especially considering it was actually cheaper than the UX31 sporting an i5. It was like new, with no scratches or anything, and it very clearly had a roto-rooter refurb job done on it for much cheaper than the models listed as refurbished.

This computer is physically gorgeous. The screen on this thing is life-changing. It is, in my opinion, a prettier package than the Macbook Air--while the Apple aluminum look is now dated, this brushed aluminum look is a head-turner. While the new Haswell chips are excellent for battery life, Apple's failure to incorporate a full HD screen makes the MBA not even worth considering when compared to the UX31. It comes with what would have been $100 worth of accessories--cases, adapters, etc. The backlit keyboard is a nice touch, and the keyboard itself is stately and aesthetically pleasing.

Performance is good. While the integrated graphics aren't powerful enough to handle full HD gaming, by lowering the settings slightly Super Meat Boy was playable, and the screen made playing (wandering around?) Fez a great experience. I'm not a real gamer but it has thus far suited my needs. The computer can handle any multimedia one throws at it, and Photoshop runs so easily on this computer I fear it would get bored if it were sentient. I'd highly recommend upgrading to Windows 8 as the vivid colors of the OS really pop. The screen isn't as great as the Chromebook Pixel, and I haven't compared it to the Retna, but for $750 used it's impressive enough to make me forgo watching things on my HDTV. I haven't experienced the leaks around the edges of the screen others have mentioned--the exterior construction is flawless and gorgeous.

There is, however, one fatal flaw with the quality control--there is none. I nearly returned this computer, and certainly would have if it weren't for my roommate's torx wrench and a little technical proficiency. There are many reoccurring issues into which buyers of these computers have run (both used and new, leading me to blame Asus rather than Amazon), ranging from light leaks on the outer parts of the screen and the one with which I had an issue--the keyboard just isn't connected strong enough and random keys stopped working (D, delete, and the direction pad) consistently but intermittently. This issue was so common I was able to Google the issue and find out how to fix it. I had to pop open the back of the computer (something I'd assume most would agree shouldn't be necessary with a brand new computer, and something with which many wouldn't be comfortable), take off the MASKING TAPE WHICH HELD TOGETHER THE KEYBOARD CONNECTOR and reconnect it. Since I've done this I have absolutely zero complaints about the computer, but for a computer that typically retails for over $1000 this seems a bit egregious. I know if virtually any of my relatives had purchased this computer it would be considered "broken."

It is really tough to recommend this laptop to anyone without a bit of technical proficiency due to these sort of quality control issues. I nearly returned it, knowing I can't trust the innards to not fall apart when a piece of tape dries. If you're going to buy this laptop, the most must-have accessory is a torx wrench. If I had the option for half stars it'd have been 3.5, but I can't suggest it's nearly perfect. Now that 1080p is becoming the industry standard for screens, and everyone's producing ultrabooks, it's likely worth looking at some of the competition. I wouldn't discourage you from buying this laptop if you're confident you can handle some minor internal maintenance but that really shouldn't be necessary. [Consider this review to be four stars if you're the type who doesn't get anxiety when opening the back of a laptop.] If Asus spent as much time on quality control as it did on the excellent screen and gorgeous aesthetics this would've been five stars.
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on March 22, 2013
I ended up getting the i5/125GB variant on Amazon a few months ago due to a hard drive failure on the older model (UX31e) which I previously owned. Although this probably should have been a red flag, I truly loved the UX31e and thought I'd give the newest Zenbook another shot. Right off the bat I was not disappointed. In fact, this was one of the best laptops I ever had the pleasure of using. The brushed aluminum form factor is very appealing, yet it remains very lightweight and perfect for travel. The backlit keyboard is wonderful to use, especially when compared to the very disappointing keyboard of its predecessor. I never had any issues with the trackpad even out of the box, contrary to a few other reviews. And there isn't enough that can be said of the 1080p matte screen... it's outstanding. Boot time takes less than 15 seconds and real world performance is snappy. All in all, this is a phenomenal PC that is perfect for all my needs.

So why the 3 stars then? Simply put, Asus didn't put enough time into its quality assurance practices. Randomly, only a few months after purchasing this PC, the "d" and backspace keys stopped working altogether. A quick Google search revealed this was a common occurrence among UX31a owners, as a few other reviewers can testify. It's mind boggling to think that Asus didn't once come across this during testing, seeing as this is a major problem. Luckily, the good folks at iFixit have come up with a solution to the problem which involves opening up the computer and re-taping (yes, Asus used masking tape) a connector so it is securely fastened. I consider myself a techie and already had a T5 Torx screwdriver (which you will need to open the bottom of the laptop), so for me the fix was relatively easy. But what about the average non technical person? If my mother had this PC, there would be a zero percent chance she would have the wherewithal to fix it.

The bottom line is this is an outstanding laptop, but I cannot recommend paying for a premium product such as this if you don't have any desire to possibly fix it yourself. If this wasn't such a widespread and well documented problem this would be a 5 star product, but unfortunately Asus didn't give it their due diligence in testing.
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on October 15, 2012
UPDATES: SO, I just sent my 3rd (my THIRD!) Zenbook Prime back to Amazon. I've sent back enough by now that Amazon will no longer permit me to just send it back and overnight a replacement. They actually just told me they're going to refund my money because they figure future replacements would probably also be faulty too. That's how bad it is with this thing. Not sure what I'm going to do next, but I may give the Thinkpad X1 Carbon a whirl. It's really a shame, because for the brief window that my Zenbook did work, it was basically the perfect computer. This is, hands down, a 5-star product - IF it worked. But apparently, it just straight-up doesn't. I really, really want to just order another one, because I'd be so happy if I actually got one that f$*@ing worked, but I honestly believe that I might have to order ten of these things to have a shot at one working product.

Doesn't that make this whole line a lemon? Right? I mean, I've never seen anything like this - a laptop that you can potentially go through a half dozen of without ever getting one that functions properly. I've also never had Amazon tell me that, in effect, the product is so hopeless they're just going to give my money back without even attempting another replacement. I wanted to love this laptop. I really did. I still do. But I just can't keep ordering it over and over again when I have so little faith that I'll ever find one that works. This whole thing is a travesty. I never imagined Asus would allow such across-the-board hardware failure in one of their products. My god.

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ORIGINAL REVIEW (written during the brief time that the original item actually worked):

I did a great deal of research when I was shopping for my new computer. I knew I wanted an ultrabook and wanted a Windows machine. That, right there, narrowed it down to the Asus Zenbook Prime, the Samsung Series 9, and the forthcoming Thinkpad X1 Carbon. Even though the shortcomings of the Zenbook Prime are very thoroughly documented and, some say, crippling to the user experience, I took the plunge. I am here to tell you I adore this computer and have zero regrets.

First, a very general overview of performance: The thing is fast. Very fast. I am not going to split hairs by comparing it directly in measurables to its primary competitor, the better-respected Series 9, but suffice to say that they're comparable. The 9 is faster booting and faster recovering from sleep, and not by a small margin, percentage-wise, but the Zenbook is so fast to boot and recover I frankly couldn't care less. You are into Windows almost instantly upon pressing the power button.

The main selling point of this particular machine is its 1920x1080 screen. It does not disappoint. I am not a fan of LCD technology, even the most advanced IPS offerings: my TV is a Pioneer plasma and my phone has a Super AMOLED+ display. Needless to say, I am spoiled in that regard. However, I can say with confidence that the Zenbook Prime's FHD IPS LCD display is not only gorgeous in its own right, it's probably the best LCD computer monitor I've ever SEEN. Black levels are excellent, colors are shockingly accurate and vibrant, and the level of detail it's capable of presenting is genuinely stunning. The only display on the market superior to this one is Apple's Retina, which, at an even higher resolution and with even better black levels and color gamut, is superior in all regards on paper. But I should note that I've used both and, frankly, the differences are imperceptible in real-world use. My only complaint is that the resolution on this screen is so high, it's impossible to comfortably view most content at 100% size levels. The computer comes pre-loaded with Windows already set to 125%, which works. After that, you'll want to set your preferences in Chrome, IE9, or Firefox, do default all Web pages also to 125%, otherwise you'll find yourself zooming in on literally everything you see. Be aware that some programs don't support different zoom levels right now: like Google Talk, which I ultimately just had to replace with Trillian, because the text was so impossible to read in Google Talk and Trillian would let me make the whole thing bigger.

In terms of general real-world performance, this computer leaves nothing wanting. The Core i7 processor is more than adept to do basically anything, you can expand the RAM from 4 GB to 10 GB by inserting a new SODIMM, leaving you with more ram than you'll probably need at any point in this laptop's life. The SSD is adequately sized but comes preloaded with, no joke, probably 60 gigabytes of bloatware. I wasn't able to get rid of much of it just by removing programs; not sure what's eating up all the space. However, when Windows 8 officially launches, I plan to do a fresh install and hopefully reclaim a chunk of that space. The SSD is, itself, a standard size - so you can swap it out with a bigger, faster one if you're so inclined. I stuck with the 128 GB model with the intention of eventually buying a 512 GB aftermarket drive.

Finally, I'd like to clear up some bad misconceptions about this computer:

1) THE TRACKPAD IS NOT A PROBLEM. Seriously. This is not a bad trackpad. Don't get me wrong - it's not GOOD, either. But if you look around online you'll see plenty of user reviews and professional reviews basically declaring this unit an unusable paperweight because of the horrifyingly dysfunctional trackpad. Yes, when you open the box, the trackpad is horrible. But then all you do is go to ASUS's website, download the updated driver, and download the Beta of ASUS Gesture, and the trackpad is 80% better right there. If you're still not happy with how it works, nothing is stopping you from poopping over to Samsung's website, downloading the Synaptics drivers and installing them to your Zenbook. This will cause the trackpad to behave like any other Synaptics device, which, for the record, is not without its own flaws. I'm happy enough with ASUS's new drivers that I have stuck with them and, actually, the gesture controls are robust and slick. It supports two- and three-finger touch for cycling up and down windows, between programs and pages, and rotating images. Very slick. I will complain that sometimes the amount of pressure and movement required to get the cursor to go where you expect it to is unpredictable, and that the reaction on-screen is not always what you want, but I have never met a trackpad that didn't present you with similar issues from time to time. The point is, this trackpad is by no means precise and helpful, but it is not worse than par for the course, either. It should not prevent you from buying this laptop, that's for sure.

2) The other main criticism I've heard of this device is that it's killed by a bargain-basement SSD drive. I can't claim to be an expert on SSD performance, but there is nothing about the user experience here that would suggest that the OEM SSD is holding this thing back significantly. I may change my opinion when I eventually upgrade it to an after-market model that meets beefy performance benchmarks, if that creates a noticeable improvement. But for now - it's an SSD. It blows away any 7200 RPM drive ever, of course, and that's what we're all pretty much used to. Again, like with the trackpad, people have made this sound like a deal-breaker, ad it just flat-out is not. It's fine. Maybe you find yourself wanting to replace it with something faster; that's fine. It's replaceable. But nothing about it has suggested to me that I'll want to.

3) Finally, there IS light-bleed at the bottom and side edges of the screen. There's quite a bit of it, actually, and it's eminently noticeable when you start Windows and see the black Windows-logo splash screen. However, it is literally totally unnoticeable in basically every other usage scenario. It only comes out when the outside edges of the screen are completely black and there is very little picture information populating the rest of the screen. Even watching letterboxed movies, it's there, but it's barely noticeable against the backdrop of this panel's gorgeous reproduction of HD video.

Some people inevitably come back to the thinking: you know, it's so expensive, and it does have some problems - why wouldn't I just buy a MacBook Air? That is a perfectly valid choice. Indeed, the MacBook Air has NONE of the shortcomings that this laptop does, and the prices are very comparable. But can you get a MacBook Air with a Core i7 for this price? No. Can you get a MacBook Air with the Retina display at all? No. Here, you can have an i7 and a borderline indistinguishable equivalent to a Retina display in a 13.3" ultrabook for very close to the base MacBook Air price. For someone like me, who prefers Windows, that is a no-brainer.
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on June 24, 2012
I have been looking for a new ultrabook since my prior unit stopped booting randomly four years ago. I picked up a cheap Asus a few months after beginning my search due to budget restrictions that came upon me. When the first generation Asus Zenbook launched, I loved the appearance of it and the majority of aspects surrounding it. After a few months, letting the reviews come in, I went into a Best Buy, where I was talked out of buying it because there was rumors of a new version, this unit, that would be released. I obsessed over this ultrabook, and the day it was posted on Amazon, I jumped at it.

Overall Appearance: Sleek and stylish with sharp edges, a very modern looking design. I love the solid body aluminum design. While it does resemble the Macbook Air in a lot of ways, that is what I like about it. Apple did things right, and other companies are following suit, while making improvements at the same time.

Display: The display is amazing on this ultrabook. I have always utilized a high resolution on my desktops and previous ultrabooks, and the full 1080p resolution tops it for me on this one. As for the brightness, I actually had to turn it down in a dimly lit room, finding it too bright for my eyes. I took it outside on the patio, and the contrast and display allowed for use without a lot of glare. Very versatile, can be used anywhere, which could be one if its flaws. Because of the wide angle view, public use may be difficult if you are working on something sensitive or private, luckily neither of which I don't have to worry much about.

Performance: This thing is great for everything I have thrown at it. I installed Diablo 3 on it, and with a quick tweaking of the settings (mainly upping the resolution to match the display) it was working great. The ssd tied in with the improved integrated graphics engine have really made this one of the best ultrabooks on the market right now. I have played through some of the more intensive quests with no stuttering and only very very minor screen tearing which is common on even some higher end lcd displays. This unit can handle everything that I need it for, from gaming to casual web use, so I am thrilled.

Other: The battery life is more than adequate for what I require. After the initial charge, I got 5 hours from it, and that was with some Diablo 3 and youtube mixed in there, so it was as close to "real world" results as I could personally get for me. I haven't messed with any of the settings, so getting more out of it is surely possible. The addition of the backlit keyboard on this new version was a great idea, with the option of changing the brightness setting allows for even more versatility.

Solid ultrabook for every day and performance use. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a product that can perform.
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on January 1, 2013
Update: February 10, 2013...I worked with the customer service specialist below and I have had my computer repaired. I didn't have to use my other warranty. I'm still not wholly happy that the computer had so many things wrong with it, but I was glad that they replaced everything. I WILL KEEP UPDATING.

I
I purchased this computer in October 2012 and I've been disappointed with the constant small problems this machine has had out of the box.

I assumed when buying a premium laptop, that I would receive a premium product, but I've been very disappointed.

I primarily bought the Asus Zenbook because I'm disabled and self employed and I needed a very light but fast laptop.

I'm not a programmer, but I run an internet consulting and research business, and I am entirely dependent on the computer for my income.

I've been primarily a dell latitude user for the past 10 years, but wanted to treat myself to something that was more state of the art. I was attracted to the ASUS Zenbook as an apple alternative. This is the most expensive computer I've purchased and I had very high hopes for it.

The good

1) This is a beautiful machine and I loved unboxing it. People compliment me on its beauty all the time.

2) I love the responsiveness of the solid state drive. I'm never going back to a traditional hard drive again. The programs and the operating speed is fast fast fast.

3) the keyboard is a good size and is easy to type on.

4) The computer is really lightweight!

5) The audio is pretty good for a laptop.

The bad

1) The screen is beautiful but very fragile. I've had two six inch white marks spontaneously appear on the screen and I've only owned the computer since October

2) From the start I've have a really difficult time with the virtual wi-fi miniport. Although the system usually hooks up to my wifi when the machine is booted up, after putting it in sleep mode I've needed to continually troubleshoot my wifi to get it to reconnect. The troubleshooter has given me various solutions including reloading the wifi card (which is internal). I've used ASUS's online technical suppor which suggested I download new drivers, which I did with no improvement.

3) The last straw is that tonight, after less than 3 months of use, the ac adapter has started to misbehave in that way where you need to jiggle to adapter input and pull the wires to get the adapter to recharge the battery, so you have to push and pull at the adapter and it continually stops recharging, and you have to jiggle and jiggle it. I've had this problem with Dells before, and it could be the adapter or it could be a bad soldering job and unlike the other problems, I can't work around this one and still use the machine.

I went through a lot of things with the Dell Latitudes, but not in the first three months! I'm really disappointed because I've heard many good things about ASUS and this machine has been a disappointment.

I'm currently trying to figure out whether I should deal with ASUS or deal with Square Deal (where I also purchased a warranty) to have these problems fixed.

I've tried to contact ASUS by email about my original wifi problem and the person tried to be helpful, but didn't acknowledge that I had already reinstalled the drivers etc. I'd rather go through ASUS so I don't invalidate my Square Deal Warranty, but although they offer accident protection, You need to sign up in several different places, and I'm concerned that I might have missed the deadline by a few days on the accident protection (I'm assuming the screen issue will be considered an "accident" even though I have no idea how it got there.

Anyway, if you need a laptop for business purposes, you probably want to buy something more reliable, and where you sign up in just ONE place for services vs. multiple place.

Maybe I just got a lemon, but I'm sad I'll need to go through the hassle of backing up, boxing up and returning a new computer for a handful of manufacturing or design issues. I'm especially unhappy because it is a premium machine. My dell latitude just keeps plugging along, and I guess i'm going to go back to that while this gets fixed.
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on July 14, 2012
First of all, I have to tell you that I'm no computer expert. Just a guy that needed a portable ultrabook that would serve my purposes for both work and fun. I researched like crazy and like many of you, I looked at Mac, HP Envy, Samsung 7 series, Sony, and the rest of the usual suspects. My first criteria was to get a machine that was a well built unibody with no seams or style that would prevent me from being able to just lay back in bed with it sitting on my stomach and typing away. It needed to have a processor that was fast enough to do any jobs that I deal with and also provide above average sound for watching videos and listen to music from itunes and Wolfgang's Vault. I'm 60 years old and wanted a bright, well defined screen with nice color. I had to have a backlit keyboard so I could type in the drak without disturbing my wife and also just to be able to see when working in dimly lit rooms. And I have to admit, I wanted a machine that looked beautiful and would take the everyday types of bumps and bruises without marks, fingerprints, etc. I have read the reviews that are present on this site. I can see why if something doesn't work or Asus doesn't respond to concerns that folks would give negative reviews as would I. I have given the Zen Prime 5 stars for the following reasons. First of all, it's absolutely the perfect size for both portability and for bedroom computing which I'm doing as I write this review, with the machine resting on my legs and belly! It is very comfortable and solid without seams or misfitting parts. The Zen Prime is also absolutely beautiful to look at. The pics you see don't do it justice! It resists fingerprints and scratches and exudes fine art and quality. The LCD screen resolution is absolutely outstanding with superb brightness and color. I don't know where someone would think that this machine would not be bright enough. If I can see it so well at my age then I think you'll find it very pleasing indeed. Sound quality is very nice for a 13 inch laptop. Bass is lacking but mids and highs are great for the space they have to work with. I have found the keyboard to be almost perfect for my tastes. I never used the previous Zens so can't compare with them, but I find it far more comfortable than typing on a regular desktop keyboard or the one on the Toshiba Satellite I was using before. The backlit keyboard is a Godsend! I don't know how I,ve lived without one before now. It has responded to every task I've dealt with with plenty of speed and no hesitations. I bought an inexpensive Samsung external DVD drive and everything worked first time, plug and play! Finally, I would tell you that everything has worked and worked right since I bought the Zen. No foulups, dead pixels, microphone/headphone issues, keyboard malfunctions, nothing. It has worked perfectly which is after all what we're all looking for. The only thing I wish I could change is having the USB ports on the same rather than opposite sides in case I run into needing more juice than one port can provide. Thus far, the 3.0 USB port has been enough to power everything I've hooked up so it's not been an issue where I've needed the splitter to run from both sides. I hope that this review will be of help to some of you who want a functional and beautiful machine and struggle to decide between the various machines at this level. I couldn't be happier!
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