Most Ultrabooks sport very similar specifications, and you can only tell them apart from their physical design, RAM size and screen resolution. SSDs are also a game-changer, but since they come standard with most Ultrabooks, this advantage isn't as pronounced any longer. CPU variety doesn't differ much, while there isn't even discrete graphics to begin with.
However, after testing a whole bunch of Ultrabooks, we found that even though the hardware is more or less the same, performance numbers still vary from machine to machine. To illustrate this point, we’ve gotten two of the better performing Ultrabooks, the Toshiba Portege Z830, and the Lenovo Ideapad U300s, to compare against the Zenbook UX31. It’ll be good to note also that the Portege Z830 has 2GB more RAM (6GB) than the other two Ultrabooks.
|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|
|Dimensions||325 x 223 x 3 - 17mm||325 x 227 x 8 - 16mm||324 x 216 x 14.9mm|
The PCMark Vantage benchmark suite is an all-rounder test that goes through most of components that make up a notebook. It simulates how the machine processes media, games and productivity applications, before coming up with an overall score. We’ve also singled out individual scores to let you see which activity the machine is really good at.
Specs-wise, the Zenbook UX31 is decidedly pretty average. However if you’d look at its phenomenal scores under the HDD test suite, it might seem safe to conclude that the UX31 comes with a very high performance SSD. However when it comes to regular multimedia tasks, it doesn’t represent much improvement over the SSDs that the other two machines use, hence the similar overall scores.
The machines’ 3DMark06 scores here indicate the gaming performance of each Ultrabook. The ASUS Zenbook managed to score a tad bit higher than the other two machines, despite all three using the same Intel HD 3000 integrated graphics. This is possibly due to the better SSD, which allows for faster loading of textures and other data. While the ASUS Zenbook’s performance here seems average, we still wouldn’t recommend anything more than just casual gaming. Apart from games, such as rendering of movies, or some light editing shouldn’t be a problem for its integrated graphics to handle.
The best test of a machine’s capability is to run a graphics intensive game benchmark. Here, the ASUS UX31 may not be the best performer, but it did manage to keep up as expected. That said, if you’re into graphics intensive gaming, it would be best to look away from the ASUS UX31 or any other Ultrabook as they won’t be able to meet your expectations such of churning out even 30fps for medium scale of graphics settings. Of course, if what you need is just a machine that allows for casual gaming, web surfing or movies, then the UX31 and the other compared machines would suit just fine.