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Battery run times
We tested battery run times twice: once running TR Browserbench 1.0, a web browsing simulator of our own design, and again looping a 720p Game of Thrones episode in Windows Media Player. (In case you're curious, TR Browserbench is a static version of TR's old home page rigged to refresh every 45 seconds. It cycles through various permutations of text content, images, and Flash ads, with some cache-busting code to keep things realistic.)

Before testing, we conditioned the batteries by fully discharging and then recharging each system twice in a row. We also used our colorimeter to equalize the display luminosity at around 100 cd/m². That meant brightness levels of 25% for the Zenbook Prime, 20% for the UX31E, 25% for the Ivy ultrabook, 45% for the N53S, 25% for the N56VM, 40% for the Trinity system, and 70% for the Llano machine. The N53S and N56VM had larger panels than the other machines, though, which might have affected power consumption.

We should note one other caveat: these systems didn't all have the same battery capacities. The batteries in the two quad-core Intel notebooks both had 56 Wh ratings. The Llano laptop had a 58 Wh battery, and the Trinity system's battery was rated for 54 Wh. As for our ultrabooks, the Ivy whitebook system was rated for 49.4 Wh, and both the Zenbook UX31E and the Zenbook Prime UX31A had 50 Wh battery ratings.

Well, there you have it. The Zenbook Prime's gorgeous, high-density IPS display doesn't seem to curtail battery life one bit. In fact, the system pulls off the best runs times we've measured using our new suite.

These numbers are especially impressive considering the Zenbook Prime has the same battery capacity and roughly the same weight as the old UX31E. The Prime is actually lighter than the Intel ultrabook by a couple of ounces.

Video playback
The video playback tests from our old mobile test suite were originally conceived with netbooks in mind, so we decided to up the ante a little with our new suite. We located two versions of the second trailer for Rian Johnson's Looper: one in 1080p H.264 format from the Apple website and the other, also in 1080p format, on YouTube. We played back the former in Windows Media Player and the latter in Chrome 21 with the built-in Flash 11.3 plug-in, and we used Windows' Performance Monitor utility to record CPU utlization.

CPU % (low) CPU % (high) Result
Looper H.264 1080p 0.0 8.0 Perfect
Looper YouTube 1080p (Flash 11.3) 0.2 20.4 Perfect

No big surprise here; this state-of-the-art Ivy Bridge ultrabook has no problems at all handling 1080p video, even in Flash.

Surface temperatures
We measured temperatures using an infrared thermometer at a distance of 1" from the system after it had been running TR Browserbench 1.0 for about an hour.

32°C
90°F
35°C
95°F
34°C
93°F
31°C
88°F
31°C
88°F
35°C
95°F
34°C
93°F
33°C
91°F
32°C
90°F
32°C
90°F

This puppy runs ever-so-slightly hotter than the original UX31, but the difference amounts to only 4°C at most, and some spots are the exact same temperature on both systems. The Zenbook Prime didn't cause any discomfort when perched on my lap.