2 Months with the ASUS ZenBook UX31E | John Papa

John Papa

Evangelist on the loose

2 Months with the ASUS ZenBook UX31E

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It’s been over 2 months since I’ve been using my ASUS ZenBook UX31E out and about for blogging, surfing, coding, and presentations. I wrote about the slick look of the UX31E and my (poor) opinion of the keyboard and the screen  last month and frankly that has not changed. However, I have found the UX31E to be ideal for several situations over that time, so I’ll focus my wrap up on what this sub $1000 ultrabook is good for.

Speed

I give a lot of presentations with multiple instances of Visual Studio and heavy loads of software running on my computer. I won’t suffer a laptop that performs sluggishly in front of a room of developers because it needlessly detracts from the presentation. The good news is that the UX31E is really fast for a small lightweight laptop. I have been able to run multiple demos, powerpoint, presentation tools, and other apps during my presentations and the machine has not missed a beat. The best thing I can say about its performance is that I never once paused for concern over how it was performing on stage.

Projection

It frustrates me to no end when a laptop does not work well with projectors. Laptop is ready to go, you are on stage, you plug it into the projector, and the resolution you want to use is not available. Ugh. The UX31E worked great with many of the projectors I connected to it. Now, this is not often just on the laptop. The projector and video card in the laptop have a lot to do with this too. I bring multiple laptops to presentations (call me careful, call me prepared). The point is that when some of my laptops were not working with the resolution I wanted, the UX31E always came up aces.  When giving a presentation the last things you want to worry about are the speed of your laptop and how it will project to the screen. Kudos go to the UX31E on both of these points.

Boot Up / Awake

It really is amazing at how fast this computer comes awake from sleep. Open the lid, count to 3 and before you can do that it’s ready to go. At first I did not appreciate this feature, but after using it for a few months I really grew to appreciate how fast it came awake. I’d be sitting chatting with some folks about code and they’d ask to see a demo. I could just whip out the UX31E, open the lid, and in seconds I was running my demo. Now that is sweet.

Summary

Due to the keyboard responsiveness issue I experienced I found the UX31E not to be good for me for everyday development, but I did find it to be very valuable for travel and presentations. However if you do a lot of presentations and/or travel, this could be an ideal laptop.

… And to be clear …

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe my readers will enjoy. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

tags: asus ux31e review ultrabook
  • http://www.indepthdev.com Jonathan Marbutt

    I have this ultrabook in my office as a spare machine and actually have it listed on craigs list. As I traveled the one thing that drove me crazy to no end was the combination of the keyboard and the trackpad. Everything on this machine is great except for the trackpad.
    I have found that running my macbook pro is so much faster than the ultrabook and isn’t all that large. The trackpad is outstanding and running a VM with Win8 works great. It is the best of both worlds, cost more but is great.

  • Shawn Hubbard

    Have you tried the Dell XPS13 yet? It’s done everything you’ve listed here (though I’ve only tried it on two projectors) but the keyboard experience is fantastic, and even the trackpad is pretty good for a laptop (though I still use a mouse). It is my daily dev machine and handles everything I throw at it flawlessly.

  • http://modul8com.wordpress.com Michael Bruyninckx

    I use the UX31 (Dutch version) too, and I can only confirm that the screen is not the best, but it is still “do-able”… it’s not one of the best, but not one of the worst either, above that you quickly get used to that… let’s say that is the least of my problems with the machine.
    The most frustrating thing is indeed the keyboard, sometimes I notice that the left CTRL keeps pressed, not that the button doesn’t flip up again, no it is as if the microswitch doesn’t always registers the “key up”. Then you have to tap several times on and around the button to “unstick” it again, and you’re good for a while again.
    Also the trackpad is very picky, it’s way to sensitive it registers a touch, when there is no real touch ment – like sometimes your hand or arm may touch the touchpad by accident and that moves your mousecursor and you suddenly start typing somewhere else : VERY anoying.
    I could turn off the trackpad in some cases, but that’s too much hassle… I’d rather like it to respond less sensitive…
    You can easily fix these issue with an extra keyboard and a mouse, something I do anyway, since the keyboard of the laptop is QWERTY and I’m more used to AZERTY. But whenever I’m on the couch or on the move, it’s a fight with the basic input methods, and that’s a real shame.
    In short I really do the speed of the SSD which is really an eye opener if you’re coming from regular hard drives.
    Also the I7 processor is great for what I use it (mainly Windows Phone development).
    I use the laptop as my primary machine and I’m very pleased with it. I would recomend waiting for the next release of the Zenbook, since that one will have illuminated keys… and I hope they still do an SSD.
    I searched for a laptop that was easy to move around, that had a good screenresolution (1600×900 is sooooo much better than 1366×768), and that had an SSD. Especially the SSD made the search pretty tough.
    I found it in the Zenbook, and all in all I’m pretty pleased with it.
    To end with a really positive note : the sound is awesome !
    We went on a plane trip a few months ago, and I had some video’s on it that I wanted to watch during the flight… I had the same video’s on the iPad that we brought along too… the difference in “fullness” in sound is unbelievable !
    Try listening to a song on your iPod or Windows Phone, then try listening to that song on the Zenbook, you’ll be amazed !
    Even through the same ear buts… that soundcard is really top notch and receives way much more credit !

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