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Asus Zenbook UX21 vs. Macbook Air 11.6"

November 4, 2011 11:46am
Now that we’ve personally seen and held the Asus Zenbook UX21, I can personally make a comparison between this one and the Macbook Air. And I have to admit it — it’s very hard not to compare the two because of the striking similarities.  
It is pretty obvious that the Asus Zenbook line-up was inspired by the Macbook Air. The aluminum unibody design, the tapered edges, even the hinge mechanism. They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and nothing could be far from the truth with the Asus Zenbook.

It doesn’t just end there though — Asus took the best of what the Macbook Air offers and made it better though with a few slip-ups, admittedly. The Asus UX21 has a very solid full aluminum alloy and it goes right up to the keyboard. Yeah, it’s the first time I’ve seen chiclet-type keys made of lightweight aluminum (and it actually works!). The lid has this dark-brown color and was sand-basted to form a brushed-metal finish in concentric rings. I am told that this pattern was used to make the top lid appear flat when in fact it’s somewhat curved and tapers towards the edges.

The 11.6″ Asus Zenbook UX21 can be directly compared to the 2011 Macbook Air 11.6″ (the one with an SRP of Php59,990). Asus Zenbook UX21
11.6″ display @ 13366×768 pixels
Intel Core i5 2467M 1.6GHz
Intel HD Graphics 3000
4GB DDR3 RAM
128GB SSD SandForce SF-2281
1 x USB 2.0 port
1 x USB 3.0 port
1 x mini-HDMI port
1 x mini-Display port
Bluetooth 3.0
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
up to 5 hours battery life
Windows 7
SRP: Php53,995
2011 Macbook Air 11.6″
11.6″ display @ 13366×768 pixels
Intel Core i5 2467M 1.6GHz
Intel HD Graphics 3000 384MB
4GB DDR3 RAM
128GB SSD
2 x USB 2.0 ports
Bluetooth 4.0 HS
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
Thunderbolt
up to 5 hours battery
Apple OS X 10.7 Lion
SRP: Php59,990 The Macbook Air got additional points for Bluetooth 4.0, Thunderbolt and a backlit keyboard. The Asus UX21 scores points for the USB 3.0 port, mini-HDMI port and the Bang & Olufsen speakers. The units that were shown to us were still preview units (and runs on Core i7 processor) so we can’t really use the Windows Experience Index here. Our informal tests from last night gave us 23 seconds from cold boot and a really quick 2-second wake time. Pretty impressive for a Windows machine.

So the SRP is cheaper than the equivalent Macbook Air by Php6,000 and the Zenbook also comes with a leather sleeve (probably worth 2k or more). My biggest beef with this one is the absence of the backlit keyboard and I’m willing to give up that really cool Bang & Olufsen speakers for that one. More on this once we get a review unit before the end of the month. Yugatech
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