Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A review

Asus gives the Zenbook Ultrabook an Ivy Bridge chip and 1080p screen

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Intel's Core i7-3517U processor has appeared in a few high-end Ultrabooks, including the Samsung Series 9 and Acer Aspire S5, so it's no surprise to see it in the Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A.

It's a dual-core chip, but features Hyperthreading, so has four virtual cores. Its rated clock speed is 1.9GHz, but it can be pushed all the way to 3GHz with Intel's Turbo mode.

Perhaps most importantly for a laptop with a 1080p display, it's an Ivy Bridge chip, and so features Intel's latest and greatest integrated graphics. HD Graphics 4000 might not trouble a dedicated card for grunt, but it's plenty powerful for HD video and casual gaming.

Along with the processor, you get 4GB of DDR3 RAM, clocked at a healthy 1600MHz. While this should be plenty for standard Windows use, this amount of RAM - along with the dual-core processor - are a reminder that this isn't intended to be a portable workstation.

Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A review

The solid state drive is SATA 3, so is capable of taking advantage of the speeds of its flash memory. The 256GB should be enough for most people, but that's not what you get in practice - only 140GB is available for data. This is likely to prove to be an issue for those with large music or video collections.

It's a handy thing, then, that Asus has included two USB 3.0 ports, making it easy to transfer files to and from the Zenbook Prime very, very quickly.

Bluetooth 4.0 is also included, and there's built-in Wi-Fi, of course. There's no Ethernet port, most likely for size reasons, but you can buy an adaptor.

Speaking of adaptors, the micro HDMI and mini VGA ports offer video output, but you'll need to make sure you have the correct connectors, since neither is included in the box.

Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A review

Of course, the Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A's own screen is nothing to be sniffed at. It's a 1080p IPS display - something you rarely see in 13-inch laptops at all, let alone in Ultrabooks. Though it doesn't quite reach the extreme pixel density of Apple's MacBook Pro with Retina display, it's still an extremely high resolution for the screen size. And, being a Full HD display, it's 16:9, so is ideal for watching movies and TV shows on.

Adding to the multimedia credentials is the Bang & Olufsen-powered speaker system.

There's no optical drive, though. This is hardly surprising for such a thin machine, but it does mean you can't make use of that Full HD display to play Blu-rays without buying an external drive.


Tech Specs

Product TypeUltrabook
Green CompliantYes
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ModelHD 4000
Wireless LANYes
Graphics Memory AccessibilityShared
Solid State Drive Capacity256 GB
Backlight TechnologyLED
Product FamilyZENBOOK UX31
Keyboard BacklightYes
Processor Modeli7-3517U
Operating SystemWindows 7 Home Premium
Brand NameAsus
Processor Speed1.90 GHz
Processor TypeCore i7
Screen Size33.8 cm (13.3")
Number of Cells4-cell
Screen Resolution1920 x 1080
Standard Memory4 GB
Weight (Approximate)1.30 kg
Cache4 MB
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityRoHS
64-bit ProcessingYes
Chipset ManufacturerIntel
Chipset ModelHM76 Express
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Display Screen TechnologyIn-plane Switching (IPS) Technology
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 4.0
Ethernet TechnologyFast Ethernet
Total Number of USB Ports2
Memory StandardDDR3-1600/PC3-12800
Height18 mm
Width325 mm
Depth223 mm
Screen ModeFull HD
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
Product SeriesUX31
ManufacturerASUS Computer International
Product ModelUX31A-R4003V
Product NameZENBOOK UX31A-R4003V Ultrabook
Pointing Device TypeTouchPad
Product LineZENBOOK
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberUX31A-R4003V
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

Singularly impactful beauty

Setting new standards in technology and fashion, ZENBOOK Prime measures just 3mm front and 9mm back. It uses precision-crafted aluminum throughout its monoshell build, ensuring light durability. The cover features finely-etched concentric circles that embody the infinite nature of Zen thinking, and the entire design has been optimized to offer a holistic approach towards combining beauty with speed, and balancing work with play. To maintain this look and feel, ASUS has developed a lineup of ZENBOOK Prime accessories that are just as attractive and sophisticated.
Battery ChemistryLithium Polymer (Li-Polymer)
Package Contents
  • ZENBOOK UX31A-R4003V Ultrabook
  • Lithium Polymer Battery
  • AC Adapter