ASUS just announced its first line of Ultrabook PCs under the new Zenbook brand at a press event in NYC. There are a total of five models in the Zenbook lineup ranging in price from $999 to $1499 and available in both 11.6-inch and 13.3-inch display configurations. Based on specs alone, the Zenbook lineup is very similar to Apple's 2011 MacBook Air. Dimensions are almost identical, although ASUS' 11 is a little heavier than Apple's while its 13 is a little lighter. The entire Zenbook lineup ships with 4GB of DDR3 memory and all of the systems use the same ULV Sandy Bridge parts that Apple uses in the MacBook Air. Battery capacities are identical to the Air models at 35Whr and 50Whr depending on the chassis size. ASUS does claim lower standby numbers than Apple (up to 10 days vs. up to 30 for the MBA), but that's likely an OS limitation. The Zenbooks typically give you a larger SSD than Apple (and 6Gbps on top of that) as well as a single USB 3.0 port to complement its USB 2.0 port. ASUS claims a 2 second resume time for all of the Zenbook models, presumably from a suspend-to-RAM state.

ASUS Zenbook Lineup
  UX21E-DH52 UX21E-DH71 UX31E-DH52 UX31E-DH53 UX31E-DH72
CPU i5-2467M i7-2677M i5-2557M i5-2557M i7-2677M
OS Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Display 11.6-inch 1366 x 768 13.3-inch 1600 x 900
Memory 4GB DDR3
Storage 128GB 6Gbps SSD 256GB 6Gbps SSD
Wireless Connectivity 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0
Battery 35Whr (5+ Hours)
up to 7 day standby
50Whr (7+ Hours)
up to 10 day standby
Camera 0.3MP
Audio Bang and Olufsen ICEpower & ASUS SonicMaster Tech
I/O 1 x USB 2, 1 x USB 3, 1x audio/mic, 1x microHDMI, 1x miniVGA 1 x USB 2, 1 x USB 3, 1 x audio/mic, 1 x microHDMI, 1 x miniVGA, 1 x SD Card reader
Dimensions 11.7 x 7.7 x 0.11-0.67" 12.8 x 8.8 x 0.11-0.71"
Weight 2.43 lbs 2.86 lbs
USA MSRP $999 $1199 $1099 $1349 $1499

The first Zenbooks will be available for order in the US starting October 12th. I've included some head to head comparisons between the various Zenbook models and their MacBook Air counterparts below. For the most part the specs aren't all that different. I don't expect that there are a ton of users who cross-shop similarly priced Macs and PCs, the Zenbook simply looks like a good option for those users who want a MacBook Air but prefer Windows 7.

ASUS' 13-inch offerings do have a higher resolution display than their Apple counterparts (1600 x 900 vs 1440 x 900). We're still waiting to hear back on the panel technology used in the Zenbooks, but I would be surprised if it was anything more than plain-old-TN like the Macs. Compared to the upgraded MBAs however, ASUS' Zenbooks do offer higher clocked CPUs at the same price point.

ASUS Zenbook U31E vs. Apple 13-inch MacBook Air
  UX31E-DH52 UX31E-DH53 Base 13-inch MBA
CPU i5-2557M 1.7GHz/2C/3MB i5-2557M 1.7GHz/2C/3MB i5-2557M 1.7GHz/2C/3MB
Display 13.3-inch 1600 x 900 13.3-inch 1600 x 900 13.3-inch 1440 x 900
Memory 4GB DDR3 4GB DDR3 4GB DDR3
Storage 128GB 6Gbps SSD 256GB 6Gbps SSD 128GB 3Gbps SSD
Wireless Connectivity 802.11 b/g/n 802.11 b/g/n 802.11 a/b/g/n
Battery 50 Whr 50 Whr 50 Whr
Camera 0.3MP 0.3MP 0.3MP
I/O 1 x USB 2, 1 x USB 3, 1 x audio/mic, 1 x microHDMI, 1 x miniVGA, 1 x SD Card reader 1 x USB 2, 1 x USB 3, 1 x audio/mic, 1 x microHDMI, 1 x miniVGA, 1 x SD Card reader 2 x USB 2, 1 x audio/mic, 1 x Thunderbolt, 1 x SD Card reader
Dimensions 12.8 x 8.8 x 0.11-0.71" 12.8 x 8.8 x 0.11-0.71" 12.8 x 8.94 x 0.11-0.68"
Weight 2.86 lbs 2.86 lbs 2.96 lbs
MSRP $1099 $1349 $1299

 

ASUS Zenbook U31E vs. Apple 13-inch MacBook Air
  UX31E-DH72 Upgraded 13-inch MBA
CPU i7-2667M 1.8GHz/2C/4MB i5-2557M 1.7GHz/2C/3MB
Display 13.3-inch 1600 x 900 13.3-inch 1440 x 900
Memory 4GB DDR3 4GB DDR3
Storage 256GB 6Gbps SSD 256GB 3Gbps SSD
Wireless Connectivity 802.11 b/g/n 802.11 a/b/g/n
Battery 50 Whr 50 Whr
Camera 0.3MP 0.3MP
I/O 1 x USB 2, 1 x USB 3, 1 x audio/mic, 1 x microHDMI, 1 x miniVGA, 1 x SD Card reader 2 x USB 2, 1 x audio/mic, 1 x Thunderbolt, 1 x SD Card reader
Dimensions 12.8 x 8.8 x 0.11-0.71" 12.8 x 8.94 x 0.11-0.68"
Weight 2.86 lbs 2.96 lbs
MSRP $1499 $1599

 

ASUS Zenbook U21E vs. Apple 11-inch MacBook Air
  UX21E-DH52 Base 11-inch MBA
CPU i5-2467M 1.6GHz/2C/3MB i5-2467M 1.6GHz/2C/3MB
Display 11.6-inch 1366 x 768 11.6-inch 1366 x 768
Memory 4GB DDR3 2GB DDR3
Storage 128GB 6Gbps SSD 64GB 3Gbps SSD
Wireless Connectivity 802.11 b/g/n 802.11 a/b/g/n
Battery 35 Whr 35Whr
Camera 0.3MP 0.3MP
I/O 1 x USB 2, 1 x USB 3, 1 x audio/mic, 1 x microHDMI, 1 x miniVGA 2 x USB 2, 1 x audio/mic, 1 x Thunderbolt
Dimensions 11.7 x 7.7 x 0.11-0.67" 11.8 x 7.56 x 0.11-0.68"
Weight 2.43 lbs 2.38 lbs
MSRP $999 $999

 

ASUS Zenbook U21E vs. Apple 11-inch MacBook Air
  EX21E-DH71 Upgraded 11-inch MBA
CPU i7-2667M 1.8GHz/2C/4MB i5-2467M 1.6GHz/2C/3MB
Display 11.6-inch 1366 x 768 11.6-inch 1366 x 768
Memory 4GB DDR3 4GB DDR3
Storage 128GB 6Gbps SSD 128GB 3Gbps SSD
Wireless Connectivity 802.11 b/g/n 802.11 a/b/g/n
Battery 35 Whr 35Whr
Camera 0.3MP 0.3MP
I/O 1 x USB 2, 1 x USB 3, 1 x audio/mic, 1 x microHDMI, 1 x miniVGA 2 x USB 2, 1 x audio/mic, 1 x Thunderbolt
Dimensions 11.7 x 7.7 x 0.11-0.67" 11.8 x 7.56 x 0.11-0.68"
Weight 2.43 lbs 2.38 lbs
MSRP $1199 $1199

 

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  • cjb110 - Wednesday, October 12, 2011 - link

    My thoughts exactly, 4gb...very short sighted! Hopefully there will be more customisable ultrabooks from people like Dell.

    But although I like the concept, I'd want a blu-ray drive (and HDMI out) so that the lightweight portable device can serve two jobs: Mobile Work Horse and Entertainment.
    Reply
  • name99 - Wednesday, October 12, 2011 - link

    And I want a car that fly and gets 200 miles to the gallon.

    Do you people not understand the concept of engineering tradeoffs?
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    Do you know if anyone's making an ultrabook in this size?

    It's an akward size lump, but I can (barely) stuff my netbook into my jeans pocket if I want to carry it somewhere and have both hands free without needing to weara backpack. It's a tight enough fit that I'm dubious about doing the same with anything almost an inch larger; and I can't exactly walk into a Best buy and see if it would fit unless I want to chance winning a free ride to the local police station.
    Reply
  • Eletriarnation - Wednesday, October 12, 2011 - link

    One of the things I like about the MBA and would want in any Ultrabook competitor is the backlit keyboard. Do these have backlit keyboards? Reply
  • laok - Wednesday, October 12, 2011 - link

    I hope it has 8GB RAM.

    Wait to see the inside of it.
    Reply
  • BSMonitor - Wednesday, October 12, 2011 - link

    Hopefully they are not lying to me about being in stock! Reply
  • IvanAndreevich - Wednesday, October 12, 2011 - link

    Finally, a high res screen with small dimensions. Now to make it IPS.. Reply
  • Kiers77 - Thursday, October 13, 2011 - link

    what about wifi performance?
    I am told (several sources, including failure of Samsung to replicate this light ultrabook segment) that putting wifi 2x2 or 3x3 antennae behind a slim screen like this is well nigh impossible. result = poor wifi signal strengths.

    Any feedbacks?
    Reply
  • KrisB - Tuesday, January 24, 2012 - link

    Does the Zenbook have the capability for the cover to be closed and not power off when connected to an external monitor? Reply
  • ScandinavianViking - Monday, June 4, 2012 - link

    ASUS Ultrabook UX31E-RY027V discount offer:

    just saw this online :
    http://www.interdiscount.ch/idshop/p...27V/detail....

    ASUS Ultrabook UX31E-RY027V

    Statt CHF 999.00 nur CHF 799.00 minus 10.00 %
    * Preis nur mit Bon gültig. 04.06.2012 bis 24.06.2012

    13.3" TFT, Glare, LED Backlight
    WSXGA (1600 x 900)
    Intel i3-2367M, 1.4 GHz
    4GB DDR3 RAM
    128GB SSD SATA3 2.5"
    Intel GMA HD
    WiFi 802.11bgn / Bluetooth 4.0
    USB 3.0 / mini VGA / micro HDMI
    Windows 7 Premium 64-Bit

    my "old laptop is struggling (2008 model) and I have been seduced by the sleek design and portability promised by the zen-book. however ? need some much wanted advise regarding the above purchase, as i am not a computer buff.. will i regret buying this laptop, as the model above is equipped with a Intel i3-2367M, 1.4 GHz processor..

    really use my laptop mostly for internet browsing, office apps for project work and studies and so on, occasionally watching a film on the move, and yes music player. (guess most new computers will be able to handle this) have a tendency to have 10-20 Firefox sessions running in addition to 2 or three office apps running)

    I must admit I am lured by the price-tag of only 719CHF but cannot decide if i am buying a cat in a bag, and would be better off spending 3-500CHFmore for a higher grade processor..

    any insights, thoughts or comments would be much appreciated
    Reply With Quote
    Reply

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