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IFA 2013: Asus intros Zenbook UX301 and UX302 with bigger-than-Full HD display


IFA 2013: Asus intros Zenbook UX301 and UX302 with bigger-than-Full HD display

Asus has refreshed its thin and light 13.3-inch Zenbook range with some really powerful upgrades.

The new models are known as the UX301 and UX302 and have all new latest-generation Haswell Intel processors, beefed-up graphics and a high resolution WQHD display on certain versions.

The new pair of Ultrabooks replace the existing models launched in 2012 and are the third generation versions of Asus’ flagship laptop following on from 2011′s original poster boy for Intel’s Ultrabook dream.

The models are available in two screen versions – a 1,920 x 1,080 Full HD display that we saw on last year’s Zenbook Prime as well as a whopping 2,560 x 1,440 WQHD display. That’s not quite at 13-inch MacBook Pro retina 2,560 x 1,600 resolution, but it’s really not far off. Other screen stats include a 178-degree viewing angle, plus 10-point multi-touch for Windows 8.

Asus Zenbook 2013

As you’d expect, they also have latest-gen Intel Core processors from the Core i5-4200U up to a high-end 28W Core i7-4558U option. And to power that high-end screen, you either get Intel Iris or Nvidia GeForce GT 730M with Optimus auto-switching graphics. That’s some serious power and happily trumps the standard Intel HD 5000 graphics inside the MacBook Air.

Storage can also be specified up to a 512GB RAID0 SSD unit, while 802.11ac Wi-Fi is also included in all the new Zenbooks.

Full specifications

  • Processor UX301: Intel Core i5-4200U / i7-4500U / i7-4558U UX302: Intel Core i5-4200U / i7-4500U
  • Operating system Windows 8 / Windows 8 Pro
  • Display 13.3-inch LED backlit with 10-point capacitive multi-touch UX301: 2560 x 1440 WQHD / 1920 x 1080 Full HD IPS UX302: 1920 x 1080 Full HD IPS
  • Graphics UX301: Intel HD Graphics 5100 UX302: Intel HD Graphics 4400 / Nvidia GeForce GT 730M (2GB VRAM)
  • Memory UX301: 4/8GB DDR3L (1600MHz) UX302: 2/4GB DDR3L (1600MHz)
  • Storage UX301: SATA 3 SSD up to 512GB RAID0 UX302: Up to 750GB hard drive with 16GB SSD cache
  • Connectivity UX301: 802.11ac (dual-band), Bluetooth 4.0, Mini DisplayPort, 2 x USB 3.0, Micro-HDMI 1.4, 3.5mm headphone/mic, SD card reader UX302: 802.11ac (dual-band), Bluetooth 4.0, Mini DisplayPort, 3 x USB 3.0, HDMI 1.4, 3.5mm headphone/mic socket, SD card reader
  • Audio Stereo speakers with Asus SonicMaster audio technology Internal array mic
  • Battery Lithium polymer (50W)
  • Size & weight UX301: 325 x 226 x 15.5mm, 1.38kg UX302: 325 x 226 x 17.2mm, 1.5kg


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Asus Zenbook Infinity to debut with first Gorilla Glass 3 lid


Asus Zenbook Infinity to debut with first Gorilla Glass 3 lid

Asus will bring the all-new Zenbook Infinity Ultrabook to Computex 2013 in June, which the company claims will be slimmer and more durable than previous models.

In an effort to take form and function to the next level, Asus’ Zenbook Infinity will be the first Ultrabook to feature a lid comprised entirely of Corning’s Gorilla Glass 3.

The Gorilla Glass will be fused directly to the the aluminum frame, allowing Asus to cut the thickness of the Zenbook down 14 percent to a slender 15.5mm.

The area surrounding the keyboard will also be covered in Gorilla Glass 3, adding another layer of damage resistance previously unheard of in Ultrabooks.

Infinite strength

Gorilla Glass 3 offers three times the scratch resistance than the previous generation, and offers a 40 percent reduction in visible scratches.

Unfortunately, Asus didn’t share much else in the way of specifics when it came to the Zenbook Infinity.

There’s a chance the debut at Computex will tie in nicely with Intel’s unveiling of the Haswell chips, and could feature the 4th generation Core processor.

An exact size wasn’t given either, though it’s probably safe to assume it will come in at a similar 13.3-inches like the Asus Zenbook Prime.

The Zenbook Infinity is expected to launch during Q3 2013, but more concrete details should become available in just a few weeks when Computex kicks off.

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Updated: Best Ultrabook: 17 top thin and light laptops to choose from


Updated: Best Ultrabook: 17 top thin and light laptops to choose from

Best Ultrabook: 17 top thin and light laptops

Though computers are a part of our everyday lives, most of us don’t actually need the amount of processing power available to us in large, hefty desktops or laptops.

The idea of the Ultrabook is to make laptops a bit more convenient, but powerful enough for most tasks.

The term Ultrabook is actually pure marketing, dreamt up by Intel for a new generation of portable PCs featuring its technology.

The best way to think of an Ultrabook is a MacBook Air that isn’t made by Apple, a netbook that isn’t underpowered or a laptop that’s been on a crash diet.

The term Ultrabook was coined by Intel, and it specifies laptops with particular specifications, separating them from other ultraportable laptops. They’ll all have Intel Core i3, Core i5 or Core i7 processors, fast SSD storage to some degree, and now USB 3.0 connectivity, for speedy file transfers.

The idea is to offer something with the long battery life and and instant-on convenience of a tablet, without having to sacrifice a real, good-sized keyboard or the desktop software you rely on. That said, with Windows 8 touchscreen capabilities, we’re starting to see the lines blur between Ultrabook and tablet.

Ultrabooks tend to be made with design in mind, so come in more expensive than most mid-range home laptops.

They tend to start from around £699 in the lower end, going to nearly £2,000 at the very high end. For the most part, you’re likely to spend between £800 and £1,000 for a newer model, though you can get some older models for good prices.

So which of the many Ultrabooks should you consider? These are the best ones we’ve reviewed, along with some other great ones we’ve gone hands-on with.

1. Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga

The Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga isn’t just a great device in itself, but also a superb flagship for Windows 8. This convertible touchscreen laptop has a 13-inch screen, making for rather a large tablet, but a great-sized Ultrabook. It’s a brilliantly flexible machine all around, and offers good battery life in general use. It’s not particularly powerful, but it’s certainly fast enough for most people, and it looks great, too.

Read our full Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga review

2. Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A

Asus zenbook prime ux31a

When you look at the Asus Zenbook Prime‘s specs, it’s no surprise that it comes at a premium price. You get the latest Intel processor and graphics, a good amount of solid-state storage, great build quality and, most impressively of all, a 1080p screen that blow nearly all other Ultrabooks out of the water. Adding those up equals a price of around £1500, so the Zenbook Prime UX31A is firmly for those looking for something in the high end…

Read our Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A review

3. Gigabyte U2442F

Best Ultrabook

A gaming Ultrabook might seem like too much to ask – it’s a lot of power to fit into a small chassis – but Gigabyte has done it with the U2442F. A strong Intel processor is combined with an Nvidia GeForce GT 650M graphics chip to give really impressive gaming results, getting superb framerates even in new games such as BioShock Infinite. The games look great on the 14-inch 1600 x 900 screen, and the U2442F even manages to deliver good battery life – and all still within a thin and light frame.

Read our Gigabyte U2442F review

4. Asus Taichi

Asus Taichi

It’s fair to say that the Asus Taichi is one of the more unusual Windows 8 devices so far. This 11.6-inch laptop has two screens – one on the front, to use like normal computer, and one on the back of the display, so you can use it as a tablet when it’s closed. Both are crisp 1080p screens, with Core i7 processor to power them. Yet there’s no major hit on the design – the Taichi weighs just 1.1kg.

Read our hands-on Asus Taichi review

5. Gigabyte U2442

Gigabyte U2442

Gigabyte’s first dip in the Ultrabook waters hits an excellent balance between power and affordability. The inclusion of discrete graphics and a load of RAM means performance is exceptional, while clever additions to the OS make day-to-day performance easy – even if you’re new to computing. The screen is a strong point too, but all this mean you’ll end up paying over £1000 for the Gigabyte U2442. It’s not an unreasonable price, but it may be too high for many.

Read our Gigabyte U2442 review

6. Acer Aspire S7

Best Ultrabooks

Coming in both 11.6-inch and 13.3-inch versions, the Aspire S7 is one of the hottest Ultrabooks yet to be released. Designed with Windows 8 in mind, the S7′s screen can fold all the way back so it’s flat in line with the keyboard, and offers a 10-point touch display with Corning Gorilla Glass 2 to protect it. It’s even a 1080p screen, as if it wasn’t impressive enough already, and is one of the lightest Ultraportables we’ve seen yet.

Read our Acer Aspire S7 review

7. Lenovo IdeaPad U510

Lenovo IdeaPad U510

Though it pushes the idea of the Ultrabook to its limit, the Lenovo IdeaPad U510 is all about retaining some of the traditional features of the laptop, but still getting the advantages of Ultrabooks. So, it’s thicker and heavier that most of the Ultrabooks here, and can even pack in a DVD or Blu-ray drive, but still resumes in around a second.

Read our: Hands on: Lenovo IdeaPad U510 review

8. Dell XPS 13

Best Ultrabooks

The Dell XPS 13 might be a little late to the Ultrabook party, but it’s one of the prettiest portables we’ve seen.

Amazingly, Dell has squeezed an Intel Core i5 or i7 inside the trim chassis, along with 4GB of memory and a 128/256GB SSD. How thin is it? 6mm at its slimmest point.

Read our Dell XPS 13 review

9. HP Spectre XT TouchSmart

Best Ultrabooks

As befits the Spectre line, the Spectre XT TouchSmart is packing some notable technology. As its name suggests, it offers a multi-touch display, which means you can make full use of Windows 8, but it’s very much an Ultrabook, boasting the latest Intel processors inside. In fact, it’s HP’s first lapop to offer Intel’s ludicrously fast Thunderbolt connection. The 1080p screen is the real draw, though – it makes it an excellent work machine, and is great for HD movies.

Read our HP Spectre XT TouchSmart review

Ultrabooks from Toshiba, Acer and more

10. Gigabyte X11

Gigabyte X11

Thanks to a carbon fibre shell and 11.6-inch screen, the Gigabyte X11 manages to take the sought-after crown of being the lightest Ultrabook ever – just 975g! It’s pretty thin as well, measuring 17mm at its thickest point. But things haven’t been skimped on much to get it this light: you’ll find an Ivy Bridge Intel Core processor, two USB 3.0 ports and a 128GB SSD. It won’t among the cheaper Ultrabooks, but it’s definitely one of the most notable.

Read our Hands on: Gigabyte X11 review

11. Toshiba Satellite Z930

Toshiba ultrabook

The Toshiba Satellite Z930-10X manages to offer an excellent balance between power and affordability. It’s a very accomplished Ultrabook – thin, light and powerful enough to handle a wide range of tasks simultaneously. The star of the show is undoubtedly the Ivy Bridge processor, which helps to keep the performance in line with other Ultrabooks available on the market, but the wide range of ports it offers are boon as well.

Read our Toshiba Satellite Z930 review

12. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon

Lenpovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon is an attempt to match the lightness and portability of Ultrabooks (which are obviously desirable to road warriors) with the business features expected of corporate laptops. It’s doesn’t entirely succeed (there’s a lack of connectivity, for example), but it comes close enough to be hard to resist. There’s a brilliant keyboard, huge battery life (and rapid charging), a large and fast SSD drive and excellent performance. It’s not cheap, but you get what you pay for.

Read our Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon review

13. Toshiba Z930

Novatech Nfinity

Toshiba’s flagship Ultrabook range is one of the latest recipients of the new Intel Ivy Bridge processors. The result is the Toshiba Satellite Z930-10X. Although the computer keeps the same chassis as the original Toshiba Z830, the internal components have been given a serious shot in the arm. But is the boost enough to keep Toshiba competitive in the evolving and expanding Ultrabook market?

Read our Toshiba Z930 review

14. Asus Zenbook UX32A

Asus Zenbook UX32A

The original Asus Zenbook is an Ultrabook that still takes some beating, so we always knew its successor would be a great offering. The design and usability are great, from the slickness of Windows 7 with the Ivy Bridge processor to the great keyboard with the subtle backlight. Like its predecessor, the Asus Zenbook UX32A is also slim and light enough to carry around all day and the range of connections, especially the three USB 3.0 ports, is excellent.

Read our Asus Zenbook UX32A review

15. Lenovo IdeaPad U410

Lenovo IdeaPad U410

The Lenovo IdeaPad U410′s trick is really bring out a value proposition, offering offering a high-end hardware configuration in a mid-level assembly – it’s an Ultrabook for the masses. The fact that the Lenovo IdeaPad U410 offers both a third-generation Intel core CPU and a dedicated GPU from Nvidia, along with a healthy amount of storage, makes this one of the most-efficient Ultrabooks that we’ve come across yet. The build quality may be pretty average, but this is all about bang for your buck, and it delivers.

Read our Lenovo IdeaPad U410 review

16. Dell XPS Duo 12

Dell XPS Duo 12

We’re going to count the XPS Duo 12 as an Ultrabook, even it is a slightly odd one. Sure, it opens like a laptop, then the touch-enabled screen flips round and you can use it as a tablet. The design isn’t new – Dell’s used something similar before – but getting it with light and powerful Ultrabook innards is, as is the touch-friendly Windows 8. The screen is protect by Gorilla Glass, and it’s a 1080p display, so it’ll look brilliantly crisp. All this will come at a price, predicatably, but it’ll be a great way to make full use of Windows 8.

Read our Hands on: Dell XPS Duo 12 review

17. Sony Vaio S Series 13P

Sony Vaio S Series 13P

The Vaio S Series 13P is one of the most expensive Ultrabooks we’ve seen yet, but if you’ve got the money, it could well prove to be worth it. Both the portability and usability are excellent – so much so, that the excellent specification could almost be forgotten, but you’d be letting yourself down. A Blu-ray drive, a Thunderbolt connection, a backlit keyboard, an SSD and good battery life… the only thing lacking is a 1080p screen.

Read our Sony Vaio S Series 13P review

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Asus VivoBooks, Zenbooks and All-in-One primed for Windows 8 announcement


Asus VivoBooks, Zenbooks and All-in-One primed for Windows 8 announcement

Asus busted out all the stops at a Windows 8-themed event in New York City Tuesday.

Not only did the company reveal pricing and availability for the Taichi and Vivo Tab RT, it threw some new devices into the mix as well.

First up was the Asus VivoBook S200, S400 and S500, a crackling combo made up of 11.6-, 14- and 15-inch laptops with touch-capacitive screens.

The models incorporate the same tapered design found in products like the Zenbook (more on that series later) but with a Vivo feel, including availability in “vibrant colors.”

Viva VivoBooks

The compact S200 runs an Intel Core i3 processor while the S400 can carry the same or an i5 or i7 variant.

Asus also let the S200 get bigger than its britches: though it’s only 11.6-inches, yet it packs speakers intended for a 14- or 15-inch device plus runs a touchpad sized for 14-inch models.

Pre-orders start Tuesday with release expected near the end of October.

Asus is releasing the S200 for $499 (UK£312, AU$484), the S400 for $599 (UK£375, AU$581) and the S500 for $649 (UK£406, AU$630).

All come with 32GB of WebStorage for three years, though it’s worth noting that upgrades beyond the standard configurations will up the cost.

ET, phone home

Also up for Asus Tuesday was the ET2300 All-in-One PC Series, a 23-inch multi-touch displayed desktop.

Running Intel’s i7 processors, the ET2300 incorporates “lifelike audio and user ergonomics” in a sleek design.

What’s really extraordinary about the ET is a double-hinge feature that lets users switch it from a traditional desktop display to a “digital canvas” mode that folds flat and parallel to a table top.

The 178 degree wide-view IPS display provides crystal clear imagery that all can view.

Asus said this is the first All-in-One PC to feature a built-in array speaker and subwoofer, external subwoofer and Asus’ own SonicMaster Technology.

The tech gives the ET2300 “incredible acoustic fidelity unheard from in other PCs.”

Two Intel Thunderbolt, Intel Wireless Display and four USB 3.0 are also part of the ET2300 package, as is HDMI input.

Throw in a third-generation Intel Core i7 processor with discrete Nvidia GT630M (1GB/2GB) or Intel HD 2500.4000 graphics, and the ET2300 is ready to perform.

Asus is staying mum, however, and when and for how much consumers can pick up ET2300 and take it home.

Feeling so Zen

The company also broke out two additions to its Zenbook Ultrabook line: the 14-inch UX42Vs and the 15-inch UX52VS and U500VZ.

The books go on sale next month and should price between $600 (UK£376, AU$582) and $2,000 (UK£1,253, AU$1,942) depending on the model specs.

Weighing 4.19 pounds, the UX42VS has a thin, tapered chassis that’s 6 millimeters at its thinnest. It has an optical drive, Nvidia GT645M graphics and 1GB of dedicated video memory.

Asus is offering it with either Core i3, i5 or i7 processors with up to 6GB of ran and a top out of 1TB hybrid hard drive capacity.

The UX525VS comes with either a Core i5 or i7 Ultrabook-grade CPU and can handle up to 10GB of memory.

Hybrid hard drive storage can hit 1TB, though it shares the same 645M graphics card as the 14-inch version.

Finally, the U500VZ comes with quad-core Core i7 processor, 8GB of memory and a 1080p display.

It’s filled up with a GT650M GPU and 2GB of video memory and despite the hefty innards, weighs only 4.4 pounds and measures 6 millimeters thick.

One last note: Asus also plans to sell touchscreen versions of its Zenbook Prime Ultrabooks, which come in either 11- or 13-inch flavors, but there’s still no word on availability for those devices.



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Asus VivoBooks, Zenbooks and All-in-One primed for Windows 8 announced


Asus VivoBooks, Zenbooks and All-in-One primed for Windows 8 announced

Asus busted out all the stops at a Windows 8-themed event in New York City Tuesday.

Not only did the company reveal pricing and availability for the Taichi and Vivo Tab RT, it threw some new devices into the mix as well.

First up was the Asus VivoBook S200, S400 and S500, a crackling combo made up of 11.6-, 14- and 15-inch laptops with touch-capacitive screens.

The models incorporate the same tapered design found in products like the Zenbook (more on that series later) but with a Vivo feel, including availability in “vibrant colors.”

Viva VivoBooks

The compact S200 runs an Intel Core i3 processor while the S400 can carry the same or an i5 or i7 variant.

Asus also let the S200 get bigger than its britches: though it’s only 11.6-inches, yet it packs speakers intended for a 14- or 15-inch device plus runs a touchpad sized for 14-inch models.

Pre-orders start Tuesday with release expected near the end of October.

Asus is releasing the S200 for $499 (UK£312, AU$484), the S400 for $599 (UK£375, AU$581) and the S500 for $649 (UK£406, AU$630).

All come with 32GB of WebStorage for three years, though it’s worth noting that upgrades beyond the standard configurations will up the cost.

ET, phone home

Also up for Asus Tuesday was the ET2300 All-in-One PC Series, a 23-inch multi-touch displayed desktop.

Running Intel’s i7 processors, the ET2300 incorporates “lifelike audio and user ergonomics” in a sleek design.

What’s really extraordinary about the ET is a double-hinge feature that lets users switch it from a traditional desktop display to a “digital canvas” mode that folds flat and parallel to a table top.

The 178 degree wide-view IPS display provides crystal clear imagery that all can view.

Asus said this is the first All-in-One PC to feature a built-in array speaker and subwoofer, external subwoofer and Asus’ own SonicMaster Technology.

The tech gives the ET2300 “incredible acoustic fidelity unheard from in other PCs.”

Two Intel Thunderbolt, Intel Wireless Display and four USB 3.0 are also part of the ET2300 package, as is HDMI input.

Throw in a third-generation Intel Core i7 processor with discrete Nvidia GT630M (1GB/2GB) or Intel HD 2500.4000 graphics, and the ET2300 is ready to perform.

Asus is staying mum, however, and when and for how much consumers can pick up ET2300 and take it home.

Feeling so Zen

The company also broke out two additions to its Zenbook Ultrabook line: the 14-inch UX42Vs and the 15-inch UX52VS and U500VZ.

The books go on sale next month and should price between $600 (UK£376, AU$582) and $2,000 (UK£1,253, AU$1,942) depending on the model specs.

Weighing 4.19 pounds, the UX42VS has a thin, tapered chassis that’s 6 millimeters at its thinnest. It has an optical drive, Nvidia GT645M graphics and 1GB of dedicated video memory.

Asus is offering it with either Core i3, i5 or i7 processors with up to 6GB of ran and a top out of 1TB hybrid hard drive capacity.

The UX525VS comes with either a Core i5 or i7 Ultrabook-grade CPU and can handle up to 10GB of memory.

Hybrid hard drive storage can hit 1TB, though it shares the same 645M graphics card as the 14-inch version.

Finally, the U500VZ comes with quad-core Core i7 processor, 8GB of memory and a 1080p display.

It’s filled up with a GT650M GPU and 2GB of video memory and despite the hefty innards, weighs only 4.4 pounds and measures 6 millimeters thick.

One last note: Asus also plans to sell touchscreen versions of its Zenbook Prime Ultrabooks, which come in either 11- or 13-inch flavors, but there’s still no word on availability for those devices.



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