Asus Zenbook UX21E


A new look for a notebook

A completely new category of notebook computers emerged a while ago and one of its first representative is the Asus Zenbook UX21E. This device looks very modern with its slick design and the fact that it has the look and feel of the MacBook Air will definitely earn it a lot of points. In our opinion this gadget will be the ideal travel buddy to people who are looking for extreme portability and power. We took the product through a series of tests and came with the following impressions.

Durable, light and solid design

Asus’s Aspire Zenbook UX21E was the company’s first device to offer lightness, thinness and power. The one we tested is thus the second in a future line of popular ultrabooks. The Zenbook model comes in an envelope-like vinyl carrying case and offers 5 versions to pick from: 3 with 13.3″ screens and 2 with 11.6″ displays. The device we reviewed was the 11.6″ version and it cost $999. As specified in the introduction to our article, the new ultrabook bears a close resemblance to the Apple Macbook Air, so if you’re one of those who have ever had such a device, you will have an idea of what the product we rated felt and looked like. Asus-Zenbook-UX21E
Hardened and polished aluminum is the material this laptop is made of, which means that you’ll own a very elegant product indeed. When eying the lid of this gadget we very much liked its polished finish because it showed a striking radial pattern that kept off fingerprints and smudges of any kind. In conclusion, the Zenbook UX21E is, in terms of design, durable, light and solid. One thing that bugged us happened during transportation, since the device felt much too slippery and thin when we carried it in one hand with the lid closed.

1.8GHz Intel Core i7-2677M processor

The 11.6″ display was clear and crisp, though contrast and black levels weren’t that impressive. The keyboard wasn’t as good as we would have liked it to be, especially when typing long strings of text; the reason: during our review, the buttons bottomed out too soon, stopping abruptly on the downward stroke. Another con: the keys aren’t backlit. The touchpad doesn’t have the standard mouse buttons, instead functioning as a key itself; it enables multi-finger gestures.

The UX21E ships with a second-generation Sandy Bridge 1.8GHz Intel Core i7-2677M processor and 20GB SSD storage for the operating system, the data the system stores when it enters sleep mode and the virtual memory partition. There’s also a 350GB hard drive for the rest of the programs, document files and so on. The CPU made the laptop faster than its predecessor and assured a wake-up time of only 2 and a half seconds as well as great multitasking. The Zenbook UX21E has solid 3D-graphic capabilities but if you are an avid gamer, you should get a different laptop than this one.

Just 0.3-megapixel webcam

The 0.3-megapixel webcam sports a much too low resolution which translates into disappointing photos and videos. Sound quality was a different matter altogether: playback was solid and tone and bass were strong.

Normal usage of the UX21E meant 7 hours before the battery needed a recharge. The battery life lasted almost 4 hours with heavy usage.

Review conclusions

These being said, the Asus Zenbook UX21E is among the thinnest and lightest ultrabooks around. It delivers a good performance and, if you’re willing to overlook the somewhat poor keyboard and webcam, you’re in for a pleasant experience.

Technical specifications

OSWindows® 7 Professional 64bit – Genuine version
CPUIntel® Core i7 2677M CPU
Installed RAM MemoryDDR3 1333 MHz SDRAM, OnBoard Memory
ChipsetIntel® QS67 Express Chipset
Screen characteristics11.6″ 16:9 HD (1366×768) LED Backlight
Wireless networkingIntegrated 802.11 b/g/n
Built-in Bluetooth V4.0
Connectivity1 x Mini VGA
1 x USB 3.0 port(s)
1 x Headphone-out jack (Audio-in Combo)
1 x micro HDMI
1 x USB 2.0 port(s)
Battery type35 Whrs Polymer Battery
Power Adapter
Output voltage :19 V DC, 2.37 A, 45 W
Input voltage :100 -240 V AC, 50/60 Hz universal
Total weight1.1 kg
External simensions29.9 x 19.6 x 0.3 ~1.7 cm (WxDxH)