A couple of years ago the term ultrabook was merely a marketing phrase developed by Intel to combat the MacBook Air and an opportunity for OEMS’s to sell expensive laptops. The marketing promise of the ultrabook was to offer reduced bulk without compromising battery life. Back in 2012 the ultrabooks being sold were marginally thinner than non-ultrabooks and delivered nominal battery life improvements. A lot has changed in the world of ultrabooks in the past few years, and it looks like OEM’s are finally delivering on the original promise of the ultrabook.
Today, Asus announced their new ultrabook offering, the ZenBook Pro UX501. The new Asus offering features an industry aluminum chassis that has used the similarly spun metal that can be found in other Asus devices. The laptop is 2.03cm at its thickest point and weighs about 2.27kg. The ZenBook Pro UX501 also features a 15.6” 3840×2160 IPS panel that offers 282ppi with an extremely high-resolution display. When it comes to storage and ports, the new ZenBook offers a couple of configurations. The laptop comes with a quad-core Intel ‘Haswell’ Core i7-4720HQ processor, up to 16GB of DDR3 RAM, up to a 1TB HDD or 512GB SSD, a NVIDIA GTX 960M GPU with 2GB of VRAM, and of course runs Windows 8.1. Ports-wise; the laptop includes a single Thunderbolt 2 port alongside a SD card slot, HDMI, microphone/earphone jack and 3 USB 3.0 ports.
Unfortunately, the battery life on UX501 is less than impressive. In a display spec race, many OEM’s are sacrificing battery for beautiful screens, and the UX501 is no exception. With these specs, this laptop isn’t necessarily the traveling person’s laptop, but it is a very comparable desktop replacement. The 15.6 screen also offers more real estate for easier multi-tasking and creative workspaces with decent portability when necessary. The Asus ZenBook UX501 is available for purchase in North America from online at ASUS.com as well as other retailers. There is no word yet as to international availability.