Latest Ultrabooks still fail to make it under $1000

ASUS Zenbooks launched in Australia, priced from $1399 to $1999

The Zenbook is super-thin and very stylish, yet it's also quite powerful. It packs Intel Core i5 or Core i7 processors and 4GB of RAM, and solid state drives are standard across all models.

The Zenbook is super-thin and very stylish, yet it's also quite powerful. It packs Intel Core i5 or Core i7 processors and 4GB of RAM, and solid state drives are standard across all models.

ASUS launched its much vaunted Zenbook in Sydney last night, releasing pricing for four models covering two sizes: 11.6in and 13.3in. Like the Acer Aspire S3 that we reviewed recently, the new Zenbooks come in well over $1000, with the cheapest model in the range, the 11in UX21E-RY004V, costing $1399 — $200 more than it does in the United States.

When Ultrabooks were first envisioned, $1000 price points were often talked about, but this has failed to materialise (so far). Most vendors will be offering their 'sweet spot' model in Australia at around $1499 — $50 more than the similarly-configured 13in MacBook Air. The new models from ASUS are sure to generate a buzz, even at this price point, mainly due to their classy metal build quality and smooth looks.

The ASUS Zenbook UX31E-RY009V is the model that we think will be the most popular among Aussie buyers. For $1499 you get a 13.3in Ultrabook with an Intel Core i5-2557M CPU, 4GB of DDR3 SDRAM, a 128GB solid state drive (SATA 3), single-band 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth (4.0), USB 3.0, USB 2.0, micro HDMI, mini VGA, an SD card slot and a combined headphone and microphone port.

All this stuff will come in a body that's 18mm thick (at its thickest point), 325mm wide and 223mm deep. It will only weigh 1.1kg and be perfect for carting to and from the office or lecture theatre. An Ethernet adapter will also be part of the package, as will a VGA webcam. ASUS claims a brightness rating of 450 nits for its LED-backlit screen, which means it will be a lot brighter than most other notebooks on the market, and it will have a slightly larger resolution that similarly-sized notebooks: 1600x900.

Other models in the Zenbook range include:

• CUX31E-RY010V: a 13in, 1600x900, Core i7-2677M model with 4GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD that costs $1999
• UX21E-RY008V: an 11in, 1366x768, Core i7-2677M model with 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD that costs $1599
• UX21E-RY004V: an 11in, 1366x768, Core i5-2467M model with 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD that costs $1399

ASUS rates the battery life for the 13in models at seven hours; the 11in models have a rating of five hours. ASUS also claims a standby time of 14 days.

From what we've seen so far in brief encounters with the Zenbooks, they appear to be very solidly build and well crafted. The higher-than-usual resolution screen on the 13in models is a draw card and we like that solid state drives are standard across the board. ASUS also reckons that the sound quality from these small laptops will be better than expected due to the rigidness of the chassis eliminating distortion. We're very much looking forward to testing these models.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Elias Plastiras
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Crucial Ballistix Elite 32GB Kit (4 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 UDIMM

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Plox Star Wars Death Star Levitating Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?