First ultrabook on sale

Written by Clive Webster

October 14, 2011 // 3:38 p.m.

Tags: #asus #first-ultrabook-in-sale #intel #on-sale #release-dat #specs #ultrabook #ux21 #ux31

Ars Technica managed to get its hands on the first ultrabook to make it to market yesterday. According to the site, the $999 Asus Zenbook has an 11in screen, a Core i5 CPU and a weight of 2.43 pounds.

The ‘ultrabook’ is Intel’s latest attempt to develop a thin and light laptop concept that can compete with the MacBook Air in terms of style, sleekness and performance, while also offering decent value for money.

However, the basic 11in MacBook Air also costs $999, so the Zenbook is going to have its work cut out. Like the Air, Ars Technica says the Zenbook comes in 11in and 13in flavours, both of which can be configured with Core i5 and i7 processors. Unlike the Air, though, which comes with 2GB of RAM in its basic configuration, all the models of Zenbook will come with 4GB of memory as standard.

The basic 11in Zenbook also has a 128GB SSD, while the basic MacBook Air has a 64GB drive. Basically, in terms of specs, the vanilla Zenbook is more comparable to the $1,199 11in MacBook Air than the $999 model. Meanwhile, the 13in Zenbook is comparable in terms of specs with the two models of 13in MacBook Air, although there’s no information on pricing for 13in Zenbooks yet.

At least the Zenbook looks the part, with a ‘monoshell’ aluminium body, thin dimensions of 0.11in to 0.67 or 0.71in (depending on screen size) and a 1,366 x 768 11in screen or 1,600 x 900 13in screen.

Ars criticises the Zenbook for its battery life in standby mode, however, saying that the 11in and 13in Zenbooks last for up to seven and ten days respectively, while all MacBook Airs can last for up to 30 days on standby. On the plus side, at least the Zenbook has the ultrabook-standard ‘Instant On’ feature, which restores the laptop from a standby state in under two seconds.

Like what you see, or is the MacBook Air still the most desirable ultra-portable laptop? Let us know in the forum.

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