It’s not every day that we see a whole new category of notebook computers emerge. Nonetheless, here in late 2011, off we go headfirst into the “ultrabook” era.
A few weeks before we looked at the subject of this review, we tested the first machine to meet the ultrabook outlines as defined by Intel: Acer’s $899.99 Aspire S3-951. As we promised then, Acer’s offering would be the first in what looks to be a long line of thin, light, and powerful laptops hitting the market just in time for the 2011 holidays.
The next thin, light model to meet the ultrabook criteria is Asus’ $1,199 ZenBook UX21E. The ZenBook comes in five basic versions: two models with 11.6-inch screens, and three with 13.3-inchers. The $999 base model (UX21E-DH52) comes with an 11.6-inch screen, Intel’s Core i5-2467M processor, 4GB of DDR3 memory, and a 128GB solid-state drive (SSD). The 13.3-inch models, depending on their processor speed and the capacity of the SSD, range in price from $1,099 to $1,499. The top model of those three, the $1,499 UX31E-DH72, comes with the Intel Core i7-2677M processor and a 256GB SSD. Across all five models, the specifications comply with Intel’s requirements for donning the “ultrabook” name.