Review of My ASUS Zenbook UX32VD

ASUS Zenbook 

In April I decided to finally replace my workhorse HP laptop that I purchased back in January of 2010. I wanted smaller, lighter, and more powerful. I tend to work with my computer docked almost all of the time, whether it’s at my standing desk at home or my desk at the warehouse. However, if I’m traveling for any extent of time I also need to be able to get close to that docked experience with just the computer and the contents of a laptop bag. I spent quite a bit of time researching every Windows Ultrabook as well as evaluating the option of installing Windows on the Macbook Air, and the ASUS Zenbook UX32VD was the best balance of price and performance that I could find. After using it for several months now I can unequivocally say it was the right choice – it is great in every single situation I need it to be.

Pros

  • Light – only 3.2 lbs
  • Slim profile – 12.8″ x 8.79″ x 0.72″
  • Intel i7 quad-core processor
  • 6GB of RAM
  • 13.3″ 1920 x 1080 display, a full 1080p!
  • 1x HDMI port plus a display port making two monitors simple
  • Display port adapter and RJ-45 USB adapter included (I like to hard wire my connection at home)
  • 3x USB ports
  • Hardly any crapware installed by ASUS
  • Windows 8 – the performance is so much better than 7, once 8.1 arrives the metro quirks will be cleaned up
  • RAM and hard drive are easily upgradable
  • Carrying sleeve included
  • Purchased mine on Newegg for $1,185.90

Cons

  • Hybrid SSD (500GB HDD + 24GB SSD), although it can be upgraded
  • The Newegg description mistakenly said 4GB of RAM so I purchased an extra 8GB stick for $83 that I wouldn’t have bought had I known it came with 6GB (haven’t installed it yet but I will eventually)
  • Still some ASUS crapware
  • One of the USB ports was really tight, it loosened up after some usage but at first I didn’t know if it would be usable

Would I buy it again? Absolutely. Nothing that has come out in the past five months has changed my mind either.  It is the elusive balance of portability and performance that I’ve been chasing for years.

However, when you spend $1,200 on a laptop there’s always the fear of losing it or having it stolen. In my next post I’ll discuss my $250 insurance policy: the Samsung Chromebook.

8 comments on Review of My ASUS Zenbook UX32VD

  1. Tim says:

    I’m happy you found the right computer for you, but a part of me is sad you didn’t march down the Apple path :-)

    I cannot rave enough about my 13″ MBA for general work duties, I could not realistically ask for a better all around machine – it does everything I want/need so well I don’t know what the first upgrade I would even ask for would be!

    If I end up purchasing another personal computer (which the more time passes the less likely I think it is to happen) I’d probably go Chromebook or 11″ MBA. We recently picked up an Apple TV and it looks like it’s going to replace the majority of our personal computing needs, in conjunction with an iPad and a handful of iPhones. The world of consumer interaction and devices types continues to evolve!

    • Adam McFarland says:

      Absolutely, I am not sure if I’ll end up buying another computer either…or if I do it will be strictly for programming or other aspects of work that need a computer.

      The MBA was my preferred choice when I started looking. It really came down to two things: the total price (which got particularly high after all of the upgrades and peripherals needed to run dual monitors off of it) and the lack of a 1080p screen. For most people that wouldn’t matter, but that extra screen real estate from 1440 x 900 up to 1920 x 1080 is huge when programming, which I wanted the option to do if I’m ever on the road for an extended period of time. The tradeoff I made was not being able to dual-boot, which I did want to be able to do. Oh well!

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  4. Rob says:

    Looks like a stunning laptop. My main computer (desktop) has an SSD in it and 8 GB RAM and even though I was expecting a jump in performance moving to SSD, nothing quite prepared me for just how fast everything is. Before, opening photoshop by accident used to be a pain… now, it’s open and closed again within 2 seconds. I’ve also played around with a relative’s laptop that has a hybrid drive in it and in every-day usage there’s no performance hit vs a proper SSD. Perhaps if you’re processing tons of photos/video files etc you might notice a difference, but I think the extra space you get for a lower price is worth the tradeoff. The laptop you linked says it comes with 2x 256GB SSDs in RAID 0, is that a different model to yours?

    • Adam McFarland says:

      Ah, they must have updated it since I bought it. I didn’t notice that. I obviously do not have the SSDs but I’m OK with it. It is upgradable but from what I’ve read people haven’t had much of a measurable performance improvement so I figure it’s not worth the effort. That would have been a nice feature but you can’t have everything. For me the performance jump was pretty big, there’s nothing I open now that isn’t almost instantaneous!

  5. Pandu Dryad says:

    Beauty! So how about the battery life?

    • Adam McFarland says:

      Good question Pandu, can’t believe I didn’t mention that in the post! I’ve gotten 4 – 6 hours at heavy usage, which is more than enough for me. By not waiting for the new Intel Haswell chips I knew I was probably sacrificing some battery life. Newer computers that have the Haswell chips are getting close to double that from what I’ve heard. Oddly enough, battery life isn’t that big of a deal to me which is likely why I didn’t even think about putting it in the post. Years ago it was hard to get 2 hours. Then I cared! But now almost any laptop is getting you close to 6. I’m almost never in a situation where I need more than 2 – 3 hours of battery life so it really wasn’t a deciding factor for me personally. I’m sure if I traveled more I’d have a different opinion.

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