Reviewing laptops and subsequently shopping for one is always about making compromises, trading computer power for battery life, or reducing size and weight at the cost of extra features. For ultrabooks or other ultrathin laptops, this is especially true, and nearly every slim 13-inch laptop experts have reviewed had one or more cut corners and missing features, reminding users of the unavoidable trade-offs.
Asus Zenbook Prime UX32VD is not a new kind of ultrabooks, but rather a lineup of Zenbook Primes with glorious Full HD display and discrete Nvidia graphics at a competitive price of $1299. The review below should help you to find out more of Asus UX32VD main features.
After UX31A customers didn’t expect Asus to cram discrete graphics into super-slim chassis. Good news! The new 13-inch UX32VD is thinner and not much heavier than the previous one. The new Asus ultrabook has a 0.21 to 0.72-inch profile and weighs at least 3.2 pounds compared to 0.44 to 0.66 inches and 3.2 pounds for the UX31A.
The UX32VD features the same sleek spun-metal lid found on previous Zenbooks. The deck and bottom are aluminum, whereas the internal frame structure is plastic aluminum composite instead of the aluminum body design on the UX31A and MacBook Air. As a nice extra, the Asus UX32VD has flat edges that make it more comfortable to hold and carry.
The 1080p ISP matte screen display on the Asus UX32VD is the best you can ever find on any 13-inch laptop, with ultra-wide viewing angels and superb contrast. This panel’s performance is much sharper than the MacBook Air’s, deliveringd deeper, richer colors when, for instance, watching movies or playing games.
As for brightness, the UX32VD is bright enough, not quite as bright as the UX31A, but beating the MacBook Air’s display. Our expert noticed, however, that the full HS resolution can result in very small text on screen when surfing the Web or using other apps. You have to zoom in in order to read.
Keyboard and Touchpad
Concerning the revamped black keyboard, the tests show that the UX32VD layout is plenty spacious and provides snappy tactile feedback. Regarding the function key combos, we recommend users to adjust the screen brightness and other settings with a single press. The keyboard backlight proved very bright while typing documents or e-mails.
Asus is taking touchpad performance very seriously, includingincludes a dedicated Smart Gesture suite in their UX32VD, that lets users toggle all sorts of settings from select, to pinch-up-zoom, to show desktop (three fingers down). Moreover, the clickpad on the UX32VD performs fairly well thanks to a recent driver update.
The large 4.1 x 2.75-inch surface provides smooth and accurate navigation while typing. Pinch-to-zoom gestures are smooth, but two-finger scrolling stutters at times. Flicking through photos with a three-finger swipe and rotating with two fingers works perfectly. User can also show the desktop with a three-finger flick down, and display all open applications with a three-finger swipe up.
The addition of a discrete GPU makes the UX32VD run hotter than the UX31A. After streaming a video for 15 minutes, the touchpad measured a relatively cool 84 degrees Fahrenheit, but between the G and H keys the temperature reached 99 degrees, and the underside registered 97 degrees, while the temperature above 95 is considered to be uncomfortable.
As users might expect, gaming resulted in even higher temperatures. After running a game for 15 minutes, the Asus UX32VD reached 102 degrees between the G and H keys and 100 on the bottom. The lower right bottom corner got as high as 105 degrees.
Ports and Webcam
A full-size HDMI port (no adapter needed), a mini DisplayPort and two more USB 3.0 ports line the right side. Compare to the UX31A, which only has two USB ports and a mini VGA port, while the UV32VD has a USB 3.0 port and a SD Card slot on the left side.
The 2-MP webcam on this ultrabook offers a decent performance, but the included LifeFrame software is confusing. For example, user presses the play button to start recording a 1280 x 720 pixel footstage. User’s face and surroundings look a bit fuzzy, but the colors are accurate.
The Zenbook Prime UX32VD ultrabook in USA goes with a 1.9-GHz Core i7-3517U processor. The UX32VD features 4GB of memory, which is skimpy enough for $1299. However, this model doesn’t use all flash memories like previous UX31A. Instead, Asus pairs a 7.200-rpm 500GB hard drive with a 24GB SSD to speed up boots and application load times. These give gamers more space for storing the latest updates, but affects the overall performance.
The UX32VD is fast enough to boot Windows in 44 seconds. This time is subpar against the ultraportables average. Most ultrabooks with full SSDs take less than 30 seconds. Fortunately, this laptop wakes up from sleep in just 1 to 2 seconds upon opening the lid.
As expected, it takes 3 minutes and 44 seconds for this Zenbook Prime model to duplicate a 4.97 GB folder of multimedia files, which translates to 23 MBps. That’s well below the 58 MBps ultraportable average, which mostly includes full SSD models. It takes the laptop 5 minutes and 26 seconds to complete the Laptop Spreadsheet Macro Test, which uses OpenOffice Calc to match 20.000 names with their addresses.
The UX32VD can also transcode fast. It takes only 17 seconds to convert a 5-minute 1080p video to an iPhone-friendly format using Cyberlink MediaEspresso. That’s notably faster that the UX31A (30 seconds) and Dell XPS 13 (29 seconds).
Graphics and Gaming
If the user wants to get his/her game on, Asus is happy to announce that the UX32VD goes with a GPU inside and Nvidia’s base level GeForce GT620M with Optimus technology, which switches between Intel’s HD 4000 graphics and the discrete chip automatically to save the battery life.
If you ask how good is the gaming performance, at its native full HD resolution, the UX32VD reaches 62 frames per second running a game with the settings on auto. That is nearly double what the UX31A achieved with its integrated GPU (36 fps). The action is a still-smooth 40 fps when we bumped up all the settings on the UX32VD.
Asus puts the Bang & Olufsen’s IcePower technology to use to power the bottom-mounted speakers. The UX32VD has a warmer, more robust quality of sound compared to the MacBook Air, which produces louder volume. In comparison, the MacBook Air sounds harsher and tinnier at a full volume, while the Asus does a better job balancing singer’s vocals with the strings and keyboard.
In new Asus UX32VD preinstalled utilities include Asus WebStorage (which gives users 2 GB of cloud storage, but only for one year) and the more valuable Vibe Fun Center for accessing Music, Games and Books. Users will also find the FaceLogon technology on their new machine, used for logging via facial recognition. The Asus Secure Delete is used for reducing file sizes, and the Power4Gear Hybrid – for switching power modes.
The UX32VD features a 48 watt-hour battery inside. As a result, this ultrabook lasted 5 hours and 16 seconds on the laptop battery test (continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi at 40 percent brightness). In comparison, the UX 31A lasts more than an hour longer (6 hours 28 minutes), while an average ultraportable lasts 6 hours 44 minutes.
Support and Warranty
Asus covers the Zenbook Prime with a one-year warranty that includes parts, craftsmanship and one instance of coverage against accidents, as well as 24/7 support.
The UX32VD-DB71 comes in one configuration for $1299, which includes a 1.9 GHz Core i7 CPU, 4GB of RAM and a 500GB 7.200 rpm Hard Drive augmented with a 24GB SSD, and has a full HD 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution display and a discrete Nvidia 620M GPU.
The $1.299 Asus Zenbook Prime UX32VD is a new model for those who are not satisfied with Intel’s graphics performance, and in this regard it succeeds. Sure, you get the same a 1080p IPS screen and rich Bang & Olufsen speakers as the UX31A, but the Nvidia’s GeForce GT 620M GPU provides enough power to play some games.
However, this Zenbook Prime model with a thicker and heavier design comes with upgraded graphics at the expense of battery life and extra heat produced. It would also fare much better with a full SSD instead of just a SSD cache.
We believe that the new UX32VD will surely satisfy you until the next generation of ultrabooks arrives.