As one might expect, Asus is prepping Ivy Bridge updates for its UX-series ultraportables. In addition to featuring Intel's latest CPU, The Verge has word that the new ultrabooks are due to be available with a couple of display options. Both systems will reportedly be configurable with 1080p IPS panels boasting 350 nits of brightness—50 nits more than the default TN displays. Those lesser screens will offer 1366x768 pixels on the 11.6" model and a 1600x900 display resolution on the 13-incher. Users will also be able to get the Ivy ultrabooks with matte screen coatings, although it's unclear whether those will be confined to the IPS panels.
Intel's WiDi will reportedly make an appearance in the new systems along with the usual assortment of wireless connectivity options. A backlit keyboard will purportedly be on the menu, as well, and it's supposed to offer deeper key travel and "greater solidity." Despite the extra travel, the incoming models will use the same ultra-slim chassis as their predecessors.
The wedge-shaped UX chassis doesn't leave loads of room for battery cells, so don't expect these next-gen ultrabooks to offer substantially longer run times. The Verge quotes 6-7 hours of battery life for the 13" UX31A and about 5 hours for its 11.6" sibling, the UX21A. Expect prices to start at $1,100 and $1,050 for the UX31A and UX21A, respectively.
While a lot of folks are clamoring for cheaper ultrabooks, Asus appears to be taking the UX series upmarket. Given the additions, it's hard to complain. We've long wanted to see high-resolution IPS displays incorported in ultraportables, and I suspect folks will be willing to pay the premium provided the rest of the system is solid. We've heard that Asus is working on some less exotic ultrabook designs for Ivy Bridge, so the UX models shouldn't be the only super-skinny models available with Intel's new CPUs.
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