Notebooks Guide

ASUS Zenbook UX31 (Core i7) review

ASUS Zenbook UX31 - Keeping it Zen

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Overall rating 8.5/10
Design:
9
Features:
8.5
Performance:
8
Value:
7.5
Mobility:
8.5
THE GOOD
Solid build
Good looks
Aluminum chassis
High resolution screen
THE BAD
Wonky trackpad
Mushy keyboard
Sharp edges
Expensive


Battery Life and Portability Index

Battery Life and Portability Index

When it comes to Ultrabooks, we place extra emphasis on its battery life. That's because they are meant to be ultra portable and effective on the road for long durations. And when a machine is ultra portable, any extra weight (e.g power brick) could be the straw that breaks the camel’s (your) back. To let you see how well the ASUS counterpart fares against other Ultrabooks, we’ve got the Toshiba Portege Z830, and the Lenovo Ideapad U300s as examples. These two Ultrabooks are two of our top performers when it comes to battery life. Here we have the comparison table for you to munch over specs before digesting the results coming after the jump.

Ultrabooks' Tech Specs Compared
Specifications/Notebook Asus Zenbook UX31 Toshiba Portege Z830

Lenovo Ideapad U300s

Processor Intel Core i7-2677M (1.8GHz) Intel Core i7-2677M (1.8GHz) Intel Core i7-2677M (1.8GHz)
Chipset Intel QS67 Intel QM67 Intel QS67
Memory 4GB DDR3 6GB DDR3 4GB DDR3
HDD 256GB SSD 128GB SSD 256GB SSD
Video Intel HD 3000 Intel HD 3000 Intel HD 3000
Battery 50Whr 47Whr 54Whr
Dimensions 325 x 223 x 3 - 17mm 325 x 227 x 8 - 16mm 324 x 216 x 14.9mm
Weight 1.3kg 1.12kg 1.32kg

 

Battery Life

When you’re not using your notebook, the machine is idle, and hardly drawing any power. So a much more challenging battery test would be when it's actually doing something - like looping a movie perhaps where its audio, video, processing and storage subsystem are constantly in use. The machines are charged till they’re 100% full, and a movie loop was played till the battery drew its final breath, and powered down.

Unfortunately, the UX31 proved that continuously watching a movie is indeed taxing task. It lasted almost 40 minutes less than the Lenovo Ideapad U300s, or the thinner, lighter Z830, when it powered off after 247 minutes. While 40 minutes isn’t a lot of time, the gap could potentially widen dramatically when it comes to doing actual work on a productivity application. All you need to know however, is that if you really like everything else about the UX31, this wouldn’t present itself as much of a problem.

 

Power Consumption

One of the reasons why the UX31 doesn't last as long as the other Ultrabooks is because it draws more power than the other two. However you've also got to consider the fact that it actually needs more juice to power up its higher resolution screen, which naturally needs more power. Though the discrepancy in needing more power for a higher resolution display isn't usually as pronounced.

Also contributing to its battery life (or lack of) is the fact that it packs a rather limited battery capacity While it's not much different from the comparison, when considering a higher power draw, it becomes a liability. What we do know is that the Zenbook UX31 needs to find the space for a higher battery capacity in its second wave of Ultrabooks coming in 2012.

 

Portability Index

The portability index which you see now, is a chart that is unique to HardwareZone. It's basically a mathematical formula that calculates whether or not it’s worth your time to lug the machine around with you where ever you go. The higher the score, the more confident you will be when bringing the machine out without its power brick.

As you can see from the chart, portability isn’t the Zenbook’s strongest feature. We'd even go so far to say that it’s half as portable as the Z830, which has set recent portability records with its very impressive battery life. That's not to say however, that the ASUS Zenbook UX31 isn’t worth of your time and money. As far as notebooks go, a score like this is still one if the better scores in the charts, especially when compared to non-Ultrabooks types. It's just that the Zenbook doesn't shine if you truly need an outstanding notebook in terms of portability. If you like its build, and feel, the UX31 is still a good personal choice for you.