"Greta MBA Alternative now a few kinks are worked out."5.0 starson by athletejmc
Pros: Screen, sound, design, battery life, track-pad.
Cons: My first unit was deffective, no back-lit keyboard
Summary: I'd just like to mention that there is another five star review for this device by "anonymous and I too am in much consensus on what they had to say about their review for this product; I will also use a similar outline for my review of the Zenbook. I'm writing this review to offset the negative reviews because I feel it deserves much better of a rating than what has been portrayed so far. Also, this is my second system, my first was defective and I don't even know how it could have passed quality control, the seal on the side of the screen was partially stuck under the screen causing it to bulge out, the speakers had a screeching sound depending on the vibration/frequency that would cause the sound and for some reason it would continually drop my wifi connection. I would have possibly rated this computer four stars because of that, but you must also understand that ASUS as of now has the highest track-record for reliability and I also understand that sometimes you can end up with a lemon as with any company; this is not a common issue that I've had with ASUS in the past and I feel it was a fluke. I just wanted the reader of this review to be aware of this experience and so that I can be as accurate as possible with my personal impression of the product. Also, I have tried the Toshiba z830 ultrabook of which I had originally replaced my macbook air. Its a great system for the price, but after prolonged use, I decided to pay the extra $250 in price difference for the build quality of the ASUS Zenbook and its trackpad.There are 16 updates with this unit straight out of the box performed by Asus's auto-update software. These updates address two major issues that users are reporting with Wifi dropping and the track-pad being buggy and unresponsive. My major issue when I first tried this system was the wifi dropping out. Some of the other updates include software for the bios, standby, power management and other such essential programs that should have been running on this system properly from the factory. I'm disappointed that this was a problem for Asus in that they state that they are dedicated to building quality products before being released on their product warranty page. However, I will give them credit for getting the updates out in a good amount of time and getting this machine fine tuned for perfection.
The track-pad from factory is nearly useless and unmanageable. However there is an update to this that is HUGELY significant to the proper functioning of the device. After the driver update, this is nearly one of the best multi-touch track-pad that I've used on a windows laptop. Asus or Best Buy should really have this fixed before even selling the product as some people are not fully computer literate with the ability or understanding get this machine fully functional. I understand the logistical complications, but there should be some sort of consensus to getting the product to optimal condition before selling it prematurely. However I also understand that the holiday season is here and ASUS is very excited to get there product to the shelves ahead of their competition. Also, the track-pad hardware is very nice, it is glass and is just as high of quality as a mac track-pad. Just like MAC, the track-pad is nearly a duplicate as with the rest of this machine with an Asus spin on their design. It has two-finger right-click, screen lock for dragging and dropping, and the ability to scroll through windows and clear the screen all without the need depress the trackpad. Learning these gestures are familiar if you have used a MAC product before, if not, you can go into settings under mouse. I do feel that this is another short-******* of this device, there should have been a quick overview of gestures in print format or digital on the desktop with the purchase of this system.
The keys on this keyboard are not mushy and are a tad on the stiff side. If you are a confident typist that does not just wave your fingers and stumble across the keys, you should be fine with the keyboard. That's the best way I can describe the keyboard. I think you should definitely try using a demo/floor-model at Best Buy before deciding to purchasing the device to see if you can type comfortably on it. There is nothing with the keyboard, its just the way it was build and I became more comfortable with it after using it for a few minutes.
is a pleasure to work on and to watch videos. There are a couple things worth mentioning though. The color black is more of a grey (large images, not text while typing); all the other colors though are very accurately portrayed after I ran a screen calibration utility. The other thing worth mentioning though is that the screen angle is not nearly as much as what you would find on a macbook air, but it does well none the less. Leaning off to an angle while working on the system is not really enough to affect what you can see. One of my pet-peeves about screens is there brightness level; anything under 350nits is unacceptable. The screen on this machine is more than bright enough and will scorch your retinas just like the Samsung Series 9 screen at maximum setting. Seriously, you can nearly light up an entire room with this screen turned up. The resolution, its higher than the macbook air, need I say more? You are getting a high-quality screen with your purchase.
Appearance, form factor, Convenience:
The machine is beautiful. It is of mac-like quality and I am satisfied with the purchase. The main differences are: the interior is all silver trim, the top cover is a different shade of silver with swirl marking enveloping the ASUS trademark, the edges are more square vs round on the MBA and the bottom panel has vents along the bottom which assists in the longevity to keeping the hardware running cool and efficient. Overall this machine feels very sturdy and I have not fear of placing a book on the top cover or placing it in a backpack with other objects. There is very limited wobble to the screen when it is opened and the hinge feels sturdy/solid when opening and closing the device.
the system comes with the ethernet and VGA dongles as an added bonus. These ports are non-proprietary and there are aftermarket parts if you should need to replace these connectors; this was a huge factor in my decision to purchasing this ultrabook. The two connectors are micro HDMI and micro VGA of which are commonly found on data-phone now.USB 3.0 is a huge and practical plus too. My only gripe is that I'd prefer a larger and sturdier build for the power-plug connector although I don't thing wear should be a problem.
This system is quick and I feel it outperforms the MBA for daily use. It does not get nearly as hot as the MBA 13.3" under heavy use or simple tasks such as watching NETFLIX; my MBA would get unbelievable hot to the touch and the fan would spin up significantly loud enough that I could not comfortably watch a video, youtube etc.. I use my laptop for a lot of media, but had stopped when I purchased my Macbook Air. However this system has no problem keeping cool and quite; I'm very impressed considering this system uses the same processor as the MBA. I'm glad to be able to fully utilize this system's capabilities without fear of it over-heating or becoming embarrassingly loud in quite settings. This is one of my main reasons for selling my less than several month old MBA. Also, USB 3.0 is a little more ideal for day to day use. Although the MBA can outperform this device in several areas, the Zenbook runs more gracefully and cool. This is important for the longevity and reliability of the system.
The battery life seems fairly accurate as advertised as long as you use all of the eco-settings such as lowering the screen to minimum brightness, not doing intensive tasks, etc.
The sound is amazing if your speakers are not defective or there are loose parts inside the machine that rattles the parts to an audible sound. As mentioned in my introduction, my first unit was defective and although the sound quality was good, there was a high-pitched rattling like sound which made it seem the sound quality was poor. The sound is nearly of that of the mac and the speakers can go much louder.
Overall I'm confident with my purchase and I'm glad to own a windows based product from a company that is truly known for innovation in their hardware and reliability.
Updated on Dec 26, 2011
Give this system a second try if you are an earlier adopter and are in a position to do so. I promise it won't disappoint after the windows and Asus driver updates are applied.
Updated on Dec 26, 2011Hey Barkayboy, I would swap the unit if I were you. As much as I like Asus and the Zenbook, I don't feel the quality control has been consistent with their production. Also, Asus released this system pre-maturely which is a disappointment. If you can still exchange it, I highly recommend it. I'm actually on my third one because at the time of this review I began having irritating wifi issues with the signal dropping out on me. This third system has no problems now that the updates have been applied and the sound and build are great even though its embarrassing noting that I had to go through three Zenbooks. I have another buddy who just bought one which is why I gave it a second chance. I think there was a bad start when production began on the Zenbook. I was able to exchange back to the zenbook from a Samsung Series 9 because I have Best-Buy's Reward zone Silver Member's 45 day return policy.