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Asus Zenbook UX31A Touch Review

The 13.3" screen has a 1080p IPS TFT backlit panel with a rated 350nits of brightness. This is better than virtually every other competing Ultrabook in the market today and just a smudge under Apple's Retina MacBook Pro 13. My pet peeve and the main reason why this doesn't get an Editor's Choice award at the end of this review is that it has a rather reflective layer of glass/fingerprint magnet in front of it, which I guess is supposed to act as a protection of sorts (the touch enabled Aspire S7 doesn't have this problem though). The hinge is stiff enough for 10-point touchscreen operation but doesn't fold all the way down like some do.

Another irritation that I encountered was the over enthusiastic adaptive brightness (uses ambient sensors to control brightness) which kept interfering with my desired setting, especially when outdoors. Fortunately it can be switched off in the power management dialog.


Apart from the above, I have no complaints about the clarity or colour accuracy about the screen. Personally I like small and sharp fonts but those without 20/20 eyesight might want to play around with the Windows 8 font scaling. The Tech Report has a pretty comprehensive walkthrough of Windows 8's UI quirks with high PPI displays.


Compared to my first generation Zenbook, the well spaced back-lit keys on the latest one is a joy to use, with a comfortable amount of key travel and feedback. In fact, I'm typing this review from it now and haven't got sore fingers or carpal tunnel syndrome. The full-sized right shift key is something that all notebook manufacturers should have on their offerings, even on the more compact ones.


The touchpad is recycled from the previous generations and nothing to shout about, with an old fashioned ELAN PS/2 controller struggling to keep up with the multi-finger gestures of today's usage patterns.


The so-called B&O tuned twin downward firing speakers at the bottom disappointed much as well, both in lacking in clarity and output volume levels compared to the previous generations which featured Asus SonicMaster technology also.

Lennard Seah
Why can't I have sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to their heads

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