The latest Asus Zenbook is thin, slick and visually attractive, writes Kasmiah Mustapha
THERE is no denying that tablet computer is the in-thing now. But I still like the laptop. Despite having to lug my 1.5kg laptop around, I like it because it has a separate keyboard, a DVD player and a 15-inch screen.
Yes, I’m old-fashioned that way. But as long as it serves me well, I’m not rushing out to buy the tablet just yet.
That is why I like the Asus Zenbook UX31E Ultrabook. It’s a notebook, which of course means it’s small and has no DVD player. However, it has other attributes that win me over.
The Zenbook is made from aluminium, making it light. I am surprised to find it weighs only 1.3kg. It’s also thin and small which means I can fit it inside my tote. I don’t need the backpack that I use to carry my laptop in. The fact that it comes with its own leather case makes it even easier to carry around when I’m not using my bag.
Because of its size, I was able to put it in my sling bag when I went to Hong Kong on an assignment. I wanted to see if it would be a hassle to take it on the move. Because it was light, I didn’t feel any strain when I travelled on the Mass
Transit Railway (MTR) on the island.
With free WiFi at the airport and hotel — even the low-budget hotel that I stayed in — I used the Zenbook all the time. I even carried it around when I went walking in Tsim Sha Sui and Mongkok districts. I would walk into fast food outlets and use it while enjoying a cup of coffee. It was perfect.
As the Zenbook is really slim and trim, its looks alone warranted a comment or two from others when I was using it. A few of my colleagues said they liked the slick look. An Australian, who helped me with the WiFi connection at the hotel in Hong Kong, was also very impressed. He kept saying it was beautiful and asked me for name of the shop where I had bought mine. Not willing to admit this was on loan, I told him I had borrowed it from a friend.
I like the long battery life too — I could browse the Internet for more than three hours. I also love the fact that the second generation Intel Core processors made every download really fast, depending on the Internet connection, of course. I was able to catch up on few of my favourite television shows.
Since I am not good at anything tech-related, I have no idea about other specifications of the Zenbook — such as card reader or graphics although I know it has 256GB storage. But then I don’t need to know all the other details because I only use it for browsing the Internet and nothing else.
However, there are a few things about the Zenbook that I find a bit inconvenient. The charger is a two-pin plug that does not fit into the power socket at home or in the office. So I had to buy a plug adapter to use with the charger.
The extremely sensitive touch pad made scrolling a bit difficult. I had to make sure my finger touched the bottom of the left-pad if I wanted to change a page or browse something else. There were a few times when the font size changed suddenly when I was touching the pad and I had no idea why.
Compared to my laptop, the Zenbook keypad does not have page up and page down buttons. So when I wanted to scroll to the end of the page, I had to use the down arrow button. Or press the control button and press the down arrow. That, I find really bothersome.
The power button is located on the upper right corner of the keyboard - where the delete key is usually at. So the first few times I used it, I accidentally pushed the power button when I wanted to delete something. When this happened, it put the Zenbook in sleep mode and I had to wait a few minutes before rebooting it.
Except for these annoying little details, the Zenbook suited me just fine. But, with a RM3,499 price tag, this fun gadget is beyond my budget.