Asus Zenbook Prime UX32VD Ultrabook Review

23 thumbs up
For all the performance being packed into today’s super-slim ultrabooks, gaming and multimedia are often the weakest links. Most ultrabooks have Intel integrated graphics that aren’t designed to take on graphics-intensive games. Storage space, graphics processing, and display quality can be key areas in many ultrabooks that leave heavy multimedia users wanting a little more. With the Zenbook Prime UX32VD, Asus is looking to deliver a bit more graphics punch.

Of course, you’ll have to pay for that. At about $1,300, the UX32VD’s price tag puts it at the higher end of the ultrabook price range. We’re seeing many ultrabooks at sub $1,000 and even sub-$800 price points. Obviously, a $1,300 machine has more power and features, and it’s the performance, bells and whistles that we’ll be checking out.

Asus Zenbook Prime UX32VD Ultrabook
Specifications & Features
Processor Options


Chipset


Dimensions


Starting at Weight


Display



Construction


System Memory


Graphics


Battery



AC Adapter


Hard Drive Options



Wireless Connectivity



Sound


Webcam


Ports and Connectors


Productivity & Entertainment Software


 
Operating System 

Pricing
Intel Core i7 3517U (1.9GHz w/Turbo Boost to 3GHz, 4MB L3 cache)
Intel Core i5 3317U (1.7GHz w/Turbo Boost to 2.6GHz, 3MB L3 cache)

Intel HM76 Express


Height: 0.22" - 0.7" / Width: 12.79" / Depth: 8.78"


3.19lbs (with 6-cell battery)


13.3" HD with EWV (1366 x 768)

13.3" IPS FHD (1920 x 1080)

Aluminum and Plastic Composite, Illuminated Keyboard


4GB DDR3 1600MHz (1x DIMM socket)


Nvidia GeForce GT 620M/ Intel HD 4000


48Whr batter: 6-Cell (built-in). Up to 7 hours (usage) and 10 days (standby) battery life claimed.


65W AC Adapter


Up to 500GB HDD & 24GB SSD

Up to 256GB HDD & 256GB SSD

Intel Centrino Advanced - N 6235 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth V2.1 + EDR, support for dual-band Wi-Fi + BT 4.0 on combo card, USB cable adds 10/100 LAN


Bang & Olufsen ICEpower speakers


720p HD Webcam


USB 3.0 (3); HDMI; Mini VGA; mic, headphone; SD Card Reader (SDXC Compatible)


Adobe Reader, AI Recovery Burner, Asus Secure Delete, Asus Vibe Fun Center, Asus WebStorage, CyberLink Media Suite, E-Driver, Instant On, LifeFrame, Microsoft Office Starter 2010, Splendid Utility


Windows 7 Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional 64-bit

$1,300

An Intel Core i7-3517U powers the Zenbook Prime UX32VD. The processor runs at 1.9GHz but bumps to 3GHz with Turbo Boost. The i7 is a good choice for an ultrabook, but what makes the UX32VD stand out is its discrete Nvidia GeForce GT 620M graphics. With CUDA and PhysX support, this GPU also adds gaming oomph that integrated graphics just don’t have. The notebook can also tap its integrated Intel HD 4000 graphics for more mundane tasks, saving power consumption and extending battery life with Nvidia's Optimus dynamic graphics switching technology.

Discrete graphics isn’t the only big deal for the UX32VD. The ultrabook also has some beefier storage options. Our review model UX32VD includes a 500GB hard drive at 5400 RPM, which is a little pokey these days but it's backed by 24GB SSD cache as well. Depending on what you plan to use the system for, this storage setup could be handy. If you work with video or plan to install a few game titles, you’ll need the space.

The UX32VD has three USB 3.0 ports, as well as an HDMI port and SDHC reader, but Asus opted not to include a full-size LAN port. Instead, the ultrabook includes a 10/100 LAN adapter that you can plug into one of the USB 3.0 ports. Wi-Fi (a/b/g/n) is built-in, of course, as is Bluetooth. Plus, Asus tosses in some noteworthy design features like a backlit keyboard, which we’ll get to on the next page.

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