Hot on the heels of its Taiwanese rival Acer, Asus has pulled the curtain off its first ultrabook—or rather, ultrabooks. The Asus launch actually covers 11.6" and 13.3" Zenbook models available in a total of five configurations.
The base 11.6" config, the Zenbook UX21E-DH52, has a 1366x768 display resolution, a Core i5-2467M processor, 4GB of RAM, 128GB of solid-state storage, and a 35 watt-hour battery rated for over five hours of run time. Asus says it weighs in at 2.43 lbs and measures just 0.11" in thickness at the front and 0.67" at the rear. If you were expecting Asus to undercut Apple with this one, prepare to be disappointed: the machine is launching at $999, the exact same price as the 11.6" Air... and $100 more than the 13.3" Acer ultrabook, although that machine has only 20GB of solid-state storage supplemented by a mechanical hard drive.
What about the base 13.3" Zenbook? The UX31E-DH52 is a little bit beefier, weighing in at 2.86 lbs with a wedge-shaped chassis that ranges from 0.11-0.71" thick. It has a 1600x900 display resolution, a Core i5-2557M processor, 256GB of solid-state storage, and a 50Wh battery rated for over seven hours. Asus does undercut Apple by a hundred bucks here, charging $1,099 for the base configuration.
Perks shared between the 11.6" and 13.3" Zenbooks include Bluetooth 4.0, USB 3.0 connectivity, and microHDMI outputs. Asus touts wake times of "about 2 seconds," and it claims that its "patented Super Hybrid Engine II technology" gives Zenbooks up to 25% longer battery run times than the competition. The machines feature a "custom cooling technology using a V-shaped channel with a unique copper fin design for improved airflow and cooling," too, so they'll hopefully stay chilly without too much fan whine.
Look for these bad boys in listings across North American e-tailers starting tomorrow.