Asus Zenbook UX21 Ultrabook, The New Thin

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Introduction and Specifications

We're fortunate enough to get hands-on time with some pretty sexy hardware here at HH and we're not going to make any apologies for using the "s word" as it relates to this hot new notebook from Asus. Though some industry pundits might take issue with us describing this machine as "sexy," you'd have to agree this 12-inch slice of aluminum and cutting-edge technology is pretty damn sleek and pretty.

The Asus Zenbook UX21E is a new ultra-slim notebook by Asus, that fits into the new "Ultrabook" class of machines, to use a term coined by Intel. The Zenbook UX21E is an incredible 3mm thick at the front and 9mm at the rear and has spun metal and hairline aluminum for a strikingly sleek appearance. It's also built with Intel's new low-power Sandy Bridge Core i7 2677M mobile dual-core processor, 4GB of DDR3-1333 memory, a 128GB SATA 3 SSD and an 11.6-inch LCD with a native resolution of 1366x768. 

Here's a quick-take demo of the product in action, but be sure to journey on through the pages ahead for our detailed review with all the analysis and our usual benchmark gauntlet.

Asus Zenbook UX21E-DH71
Specifications & Features
Processor Intel® Core™ i7 2677M Processor
Operating System Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium 64bit
Chipset Intel® QS67 Express Chipset
Graphics Integrated Intel HD Graphics 3000
Memory 4GB DDR3 1333 MHz DRAM
Display 11.6" 16:9 HD (1366x768) LED Backlight
Storage SATA3 - 128GB SSD
Networking Integrated 802.11 b/g/n
Built-in Bluetooth™ V4.0
Interface 1 x Headphone-out jack (Audio-in Combo)
1 x USB 3.0 port
1 x USB 2.0 port
1 x micro HDMI
1 x Mini VGA
Battery 35 Whrs Polymer Battery
Power Adapter Output: 19 V DC, 2.37 A, 45 W
Dimensions 3mm at the front and 9mm rear - 29.9 x 19.6 x 0.3 ~1.7 cm (WxDxH)
Weight 1.1 kg (2.43 lbs.)
Manufacturer Warranty 2-year limited global hardware warranty, 1-year battery pack warranty
Pricing: $1199 as tested

Intel's QS67 Express chipset offers a power-optimized version of the Sandy Bridge 2nd generation Core mobile platform solutions that have been shipping in the market for some time.  Specifically, the chipset supports things like Intel's RST (Rapid Storage Technology) with SATA 6Gb/s and 3Gb/s support, as well as eSATA (though eSATA is not available on the UX21).  The chipset also doesn't support USB 3.0 technology natively, but Asus offers one port of SS USB 3.0 connectivity via a discrete controller. Other notables with the UX21 are Bluetooth v4.0 for high speed connectivity up to 24Mbit/s with low energy protocol support and the machine's 128GB SSD (other models ship with larger and smaller capacities). This SSD is a 6Gbps "SATA 3" drive, that as you'll see shortly, offers impressive performance.

Asus bundles a nice kit with the UX21E, that includes a nylon and leather carrying case, minimalistic literature pack, a tiny AC adapter that helps you appreciate just how little power this baby draws and a pair of external dongles for wired Gigabit Ethernet and VGA connectivity.

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