Asus UX21 "Ultrabook" features Intel i7 CPU, new SanDisk U100 SSD

Summary:Asus' UX Series launches with the ultra thin UX21, powered by the Intel i7 CPU and mini SanDisk SSD, for the 2011 holiday shopping season. But can it compete with the Macbook Air?

Asus's ultra slim UX21 laptop is not just a Macbook Air clone: it packs some of the latest innovations in laptop computing that were just announced this week at Computex 2011.

The UX21channels the Air's aesthetics with an aluminum alloy case and a slight profile but has its own unique look: its "spun" finish is inspired by luxury timepieces, "displaying sharp edges, an oversized keyboard and smartphone-like touchpad." Engadget reports that the demo model weighs 2.4lb, has a 13" display, USB 3.0, no optical drive, no removable battery, a glass touchpad and metal chiclet keys. Asus' proprietary Instant On feature means the UX21 can wake up within an impressive two-seconds, and can hibernate for up to a week. (Here is Engadget's hands-on of the UX21 at Computex.)

What contributes to the UX21's slight profile and status as an "Ultrabook" -- measuring only 17mm at its thickest point -- is the use of second-generation Intel Core processor (up to the i7) and SanDisk's latest mini solid state hard drive that was designed in collaboration with Asus.

According to S. Y. Shian, Asus's corporate vice president and general manager of the notebook unit, “SanDisk’s U100 drive allows our notebook to achieve the thin size, fast performance and long battery life needed to produce an enjoyable user experience.” The U100 has 450 megabyte per second sequential read and up to 340MB/sec sequential write speeds, which is twice the speed of previous P4 SSDs.

In declaring a new category of upcoming laptops as Ultrabooks at Computex, Intel Corporation Executive Vice President Sean Maloney also singled out the UX21 for exemplifying the "the performance and capabilities of today's laptops with tablet-like features and deliver a highly responsive and secure experience, in a thin, light and elegant design." Ultrabooks like the UX21 are expected to cost less than $1000 (that i7 chip will probably cost more) and should be available for the 2011 holiday shopping season.

The Asus UX21 certainly looks and sounds like a great alternative for those who desire the style and portability of the Air but not the price tag. Which Ultrabook will be in your Christmas stocking this year?

[Source: Intel, BusinessWire, Engadget]

Topics: Laptops, Hardware, Intel, Processors, Tablets

About

Gloria Sin is a New York-based freelance journalist who writes about the tech toys that you can't live without for ZDNet. She has little patience for poorly designed user experiences, and is not afraid of opening the guts of her own machines for repair or hacking her gadgets for new uses.She has written for FastCompany.com, Popular Scienc... Full Bio

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