I have been working on a dual machine setup for some time. I have a powerful tower PC with a 22” screen and an older laptop 13” (upgraded with an SSD) for when I’m on the move. While this has been working well (thanks Dropbox), I wanted to come back to a single machine setup.
I have been searching for a while for the best laptop: portable, powerful and beautiful. It seems PC constructor were not able to produce such a machine until recently and I wanted to avoid Macs. The Macbook Air are nice but I don’t like the keyboard layout, it’s pricey and I don’t like OS X very much.
Asus recently released its new Zenbook Prime. I was not satisfied by the original Zenbook keyboard and was really pleased when I saw that they changed it on the Prime. I bought the UX31A model with an i7 processor, 4G of ram and a 128G SSD. The full specs are available on the Asus website.
The most impressive aspect of this model is its full HD/IPS screen (with a resolution of 1920x1080). The text is crystal clear and there is space to have multiple windows side by side (a luxury on a latptop). The fact that it’s matte is the cherry on top.
Performance wise, I have nothing to say. It’s powerfull enough for my needs (programming, some virtual machines and web browsing). The battery life is descent with Ubuntu but due to some missing drivers it’s not as good as it should be (I get around 5 hours).
The laptop also comes with a sleeve, a USB-to-Ethernet adapter and a MiniVGA-to-VGA adapter. The power adapter is similar to the one with Macs. All-in-all it’s a really nice package (and the box is pretty!).
I quickly reformated the disk to install Ubuntu. Most things work natively. You’ll have to do a little tweaking to get the touchpad to fully work which is the most annoying aspect. There is a wiki page on this laptop with more info on the Ubuntu website.
I’m really impressed with this machine. The screen is perfect, it is powerful and it has an excellent form factor. I would happily recommend it.
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