Product Asus Zenbook UX21E ultrabook
Specifications 11.6in LED backlit 1366x768 HD display, Intel Core i5 2467M dual-core 1.6GHz processor, 4GB of DDR3 RAM, 128GB SSD, headphone out, audio out, 1 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 2.0, HDMI, VGA, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit, 1.1kg.
TAIWANESE LAPTOP MAKER Asus is the latest vendor to release a Windows equivalent of the 11in Apple Macbook Air, which was a surprise hit in The INQUIRER office.
Despite a valiant effort, the firm's latest offering isn't quite a MacBook killer. The UX21E Zenbook is a smaller version of the Asus UX31E Zenbook in design, performance and build quality. For the most part this is a positive, but it also means that the UX21E Zenbook has the same flaws as the larger model, especially in terms of the usability of its keyboard and trackpad.
Thin and light design
Of course the first thing that you'll notice is the shiny aluminium finish, which helps the device to stand out when showcased against rival machines, even Apple's Macbook Air range. The V-shaped design of the chassis means that the thickness of the device varies. The front-edge has a thickness of 3mm and gets increasingly thicker as you approach the rear, maxing out at 9mm. The device weighs 1.1kg, making it 200g lighter than the 13in ultrabook and just a tad heavier than the equivalent Macbook Air at 1.08kg. It's easy to carry around and comes with a handy little sleeve.
A common trend among manufacturers has been to seal the back cover, which stops users from swapping batteries on the move and also makes it impossible to install any upgrades such as adding RAM without taking the device to a specialist. The UX21E Zenbook will not be the last laptop to have this design feature, and although it is very annoying it looks like something users are just going to have to get used to.