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Asus Zenbook UX21 review

Verdict

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)

Buy it now for: £2695
(see more store prices)

Overall Rating
4 stars out of 6

Features & Design
4 stars out of 6

Value for Money
5 stars out of 6

Performance
4 stars out of 6

The 11.6in display sports a 1,366 x 768 resolution, a comfortable compromise between legibility and desktop size on a screen this small. The glossy panel is eye-searingly bright – we measured it at 547cd/m2 – but closer inspection reveals average image quality. Colour accuracy is unimpressive, with the panel’s high colour temperature leaving images dogged with a bluish tint, and the contrast ratio of 204:1 is poor.

After the disappointing screen, the Asus’ keyboard and touchpad are more refined. The small Scrabble-tile keys remain usable thanks to the wide channels running in between, and the firm, crisp feedback leaves no doubt as to whether you’ve successfully pressed a key. Backlighting would have been a nice touch, though.

Asus Zenbook UX21

The touchpad wasn’t initially impressive; we found it all too easy for a stray finger to snatch the cursor and fling it across the screen. Thankfully, a driver update improved matters. We still saw the cursor ping away on occasion, but the multitouch pinching and scrolling motions became far more reliable. The four-fingered upward swipe worked well, too, allowing us to bring up Flip 3D and switch between applications by brushing left and right.

For all its faults, it isn’t hard to appreciate the Zenbook UX21’s talents. The mediocre display disappoints, but for a first effort this shows immense potential. Pretty, portable and powerful, it’s as fine an Ultrabook as you’ll find for the money.

Author: Sasha Muller

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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

Fan?

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

@Physci

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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