Asus Zenbook Prime UX32VD Ultrabook Review

Design, Construction and Layout

The Zenbook Prime UX32VD is very slim: it is 0.22 inches thick at the back and tapers to only 0.7 inches thick at the front. But no one will mistake it for a MacBook, even with its mostly aluminum shell. For one thing, the back of the ultrabook's lid and the back of its body aren’t flush when the lid is closed, giving the system an unusual look. The screen also has a darker outer shell than the body of the system. The effect works, aesthetically. Another exterior feature worth mentioning is an unobtrusive grip at the front of the system (the top of the display). It makes opening the ultrabook easy, resolving complaints users had about opening its predecessor.


As we mentioned earlier, Asus skipped the LAN port in favor of an adapter. That’s not surprising, given the ultrabook’s slim design, and it helps keep the side of the system from looking cluttered, but it’s obviously a hassle for anyone who plugs in regularly.

Asus offers two options for the display, which is 13.3 inches in both cases. One display has wide viewing angles, but a native resolution of 1366 x 768, while the other is an IPS FHD display at 1920 x 1080. The In-Plane Switching provides the best viewing angles and color, making it a must-have at this price point. We found viewing angles to be excellent. The display is bright, vibrant, and sharp, playing movies, games or editing text.


The keyboard keys are spaced out and the keystrokes are soft enough, though typing on the UX32VD’s keyboard didn’t feel quite as comfortable to us as some ultrabook designs we've tested. Key travel was a bit shallow. As is the case with many Ultrabooks, the UX32VD lacks a number pad. On the upside, the keyboard has a bright white backlight. It’s stylish and helpful – the characters are easy to see whether you’re in daylight or darkness.


We like the touchpad here as well. It has received mixed reactions from users, but in our experience, it was very responsive. Swiping was fluid – in fact, it was one of the best touchpads we’ve used and offered pinch and zoom functionality that nearly competes with MacBook designs. Another highlight is the Bang & Olufsen ICEpower speakers, which struck us as relatively powerful for an ultrabook though lacking satisfying bass as you'd expect.

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