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Asus Zenbook UX21 review


Despite plenty of room for improvement, Asus' adorable Zenbook UX21 is an 11.6in Ultrabook with an obvious allure

Review Date: 8 Mar 2012

Reviewed By: Sasha Muller

Price when reviewed: £680 (£816 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
4 stars out of 6

Features & Design
4 stars out of 6

Value for Money
5 stars out of 6

4 stars out of 6

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.

Asus Zenbook UX21

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.

Asus Zenbook UX21

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.

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User comments

Second photo is upside down

And don't say you put it that way for effect!

By JohnGray7581 on 8 Mar 2012


What about the fan noise?

By rhythm on 8 Mar 2012

If ASUS are trying to win the "Apple Cloan" aware then they will be pleased with my experience today - sitting in an airport lounge and have twice been complimented on my "MacBook Air".

Seriously though, can't see what is wrong with the screen, the picture is sharp and no problem with the contrast. The sound/speakers are much better than my last Sony and there is no real fan noise.

Overall a great ultrabook.

By Physci on 8 Mar 2012

If I could type it would help!

Meant ' "Apple Clone" award'

By Physci on 8 Mar 2012


Oh right so you have one of these and two people mistook it for a MacBook Air?

By TimoGunt on 13 Mar 2012

It's very sharp!

Looks good, small and light, screen a bit on the small side (and viewing angles could be better). Power connector flimsy. White Wi-fi light is bright and in the middle of the keyboard as is a power light - slightly distracting. The real deal-breaker for me is that you'll be slitting your wrists when you start using it - literally! Edges are very sharp making it uncomfortable to use - buy some emery cloth or a file to blunt them down!

By Chris_M on 13 May 2012

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