Review Index:

ASUS Zenbook Prime UX31A Review - Execution Matters

Author: Matt Smith
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: ASUS

User Interface, Display And Audio Quality

User Interface

View Full Size

Ultrabook keyboards are rarely great, and the Zenbook is not an exception. It lacks key travel, which makes the typing experience a bit vague and frustrating at times. With that said, there’s a lot of ultrabooks on the market today with keyboards that are terrible. The Zenbook Prime is not one of them.

The layout provides many of the positives. It’s conventional and offers large keys all around. Important keys like Backspace, which are sometimes truncated on small laptops, are given room to expand.

View Full Size

Backlighting is standard. There’s three brightness settings (not including off) which can be controlled via keyboard function keys. Backlight quality isn’t stellar, but the inclusion of brightness options automatically makes the Zenbook Prime better than most competitors.

I was surprised to find (given complaints I've heard from others) that the touchpad on my review unit was good. I found the texture a bit vague but the surface was large and integrated left/right mouse buttons did not require excessive force to activate. Multi-touch scrolling proved very smooth, while zoom was also decent. The touchpad did a good job of detecting right-clicks via a two-finger press.

Display And Audio Quality

View Full Size

I was dismayed to find that the first review unit I received had some rather severe backlight issues. Most UX31A laptops will have visible backlight leading durings boot screens, however, this should go away when in the Windows operating system. Most of the backlight bleed did, but one very noticeable spot in the lower right hand corner persisted. It was extremely visible during movies.

View Full Size

ASUS apologized and replaced the unit swiftly. The second try is much better than the first, but there’s still four tiny spots which bleed through (visible in the image above). I really think ASUS should be able to do better than this, but it appears to be a semi-common issue with the Zenbook Prime.

The display is otherwise outstanding. Black levels are robust, which leads to excellent perceived contrast. Viewing angles are excellent and maximum brightness is more than sufficient to make the surface viewable in a bright room or even outdoors. This is assisted by a semi-glossy coat which obscure reflections significantly.

View Full Size

And then there’s the resolution. I thought 1080p in a display this small would be a problem, but the laptop is configured with the UI scaled to accommodate it. I had absolutely no problem finding icons and text readable. In fact, text sometimes seemed more readable than on a display with a lower resolution because it’s rendered more smoothly.

Audio quality may not be as important as the display, but ASUS hasn’t cheaped out. The provided audio is reasonably loud and manages to be clear when playing most music. It’s above average for an ultrabook. I recommend external speakers for real media enjoyment, but the provided audio is adequate for watching YouTube or playing a game.

August 31, 2012 | 01:20 PM - Posted by Annoyingmouse (not verified)

Nice review. I have the new 32VD, and it's similarly mixed with epic wins and cringe worthy flaws.

September 4, 2012 | 01:15 AM - Posted by Ss3trnks2

I have the UX32VD-DB71 that I upgraded the ram to 6GB and a Samsung 830 256GB SSD...I love it, however even with Optimus and all the other power savings stuff...because of the graphics card it still will only last a few hours on battery. But I wanted the extra graphics performance and knew this is the trade off that had to be made :P So no complaints on mine.

December 22, 2012 | 07:35 AM - Posted by Aden Ryan (not verified)

ASUS Zenbook Prime UX31A Review seems to me pretty cool and I'm very much glad by getting this review indeed as well. Thanks for allocating some valuable points to us.

January 30, 2013 | 11:24 PM - Posted by Scott (not verified)

How can you write this review and not even mention if you have the one with an i5 or an i7?!? AARGH

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <blockquote><p><br>
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.

More information about formatting options

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.