Asus Zenbook UX21 review
Despite plenty of room for improvement, Asus' adorable Zenbook UX21 is an 11.6in Ultrabook with an obvious allure
As the first 11.6in Ultrabook to hit the shelves, Asus’ Zenbook UX21 is deliciously petite.
It’s just as attractive as its larger sibling, the 13.3in UX31, with its all-metal construction tapering from 11mm at the front to 20mm at the rear, and the same swirl of dark-grey metal spinning across its lid. Asus’ shrinking ray has dropped the weight down to a barely there 1.15kg; in tandem with the smaller chassis, it makes for a more endearingly portable companion.
Build quality hasn’t suffered in the slightest either. Heaving at the base and lid reveals barely any flex at all, and compared to the rest of the current crop of Ultrabooks, nothing else comes close. In fact, only one other laptop matches it for build, and it has an Apple badge on it.
The Bang & Olufsen ICEpower logo hints at another talent: the sounds that emanate from the UX21’s slender frame are surprisingly solid. The tiny speaker drivers have their limitations – they don’t go particularly loud, for one – but there’s enough clarity and body to the presentation to make music and movie soundtracks entirely listenable.
The smaller chassis does bring with it certain compromises. The first is the mid-range Core i5 processor, the same model as found in most of the Ultrabooks we've seen. It’s still no slouch, though, and a result of 0.55 in our Real World Benchmarks keeps it competitive. Battery life suffers, though, with the Zenbook lasting 6hrs 37mins in our light-use test.
In everyday use, performance is a non-issue. The 4GB of memory and 128GB SSD keep the system punching well above its weight, and the speed of that SSD allows the system to boot from cold with unnerving haste.
|Price ex VAT||£680|
|Price inc VAT||£816|
|Features & Design||4|
|Value for Money||5|
|Warranty||2yr collect and return|
|Dimensions||299 x 197 x 20mm (WDH)|
Processor and memory
|Processor||Intel Core i5-2467M|
Screen and video
|Resolution screen horizontal||1,366|
|Resolution screen vertical||768|
|Resolution||1366 x 768|
|Graphics chipset||Intel HD Graphics 3000|
|VGA (D-SUB) outputs||1|
|Replacement battery price inc VAT||£0|
|Wired adapter speed||100Mbits/sec|
|802.11 draft-n support||yes|
|Integrated 3G adapter||no|
|Wireless hardware on/off switch||no|
|Wireless key-combination switch||yes|
|USB ports (downstream)||2|
|3.5mm audio jacks||1|
|SD card reader||no|
|Memory Stick reader||no|
|MMC (multimedia card) reader||no|
|Smart Media reader||no|
|Compact Flash reader||no|
|Pointing device type||Touchpad|
|Hardware volume control?||no|
|Camera megapixel rating||1.3mp|
Battery and performance tests
|Battery life, light use||6hr 37min|
|Overall Real World Benchmark score||0.62|
Operating system and software
|Operating system||Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit|
|OS family||Windows 7|