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Hands-on: Asus Zenbook Prime UX-21A

It was inevitable that Asus would do a refresh on its ultrabook line, the Zenbook, especially since Intel’s new breed of silicon, Ivybridge, is now out and about. Unsurprisingly, that’s exactly what they did with the new Asus Zenbook Prime UX-21A. Not only did the Taiwanese firm yank out Sandybridge and stuff in the 22nm sweetness that is Ivybridge, they also took the opportunity to correct a few of the main complaints that we had when we reviewed it the first time around.

Externally, the Zenbook Prime looks exactly like the previous model, save for minor differences. You’re still looking at a chassis that’s extremely slim at 9mm with a fantastic metallic spun finish.

This time ’round, Asus has decided to chuck the old, horribly unresponsive keyboard with a new, island-style backlit one that’s extremely responsive to key presses. The travel distance could use a bit more work, but to be honest it’s leagues better than the old one, and that’s what counts.

The screen needs to be mentioned as well, as Asus has changed out the old one for a newer, full HD IPS display that’s capable of 350 nits of brightness.

Like we mentioned before, the Asus Zenbook Prime is powered by Intel’s newest slice of silicon, Ivybridge. In the Zenbook Prime’s case, the processor is a Core i7 deal which is paired with 4GB of RAM.

The unit that was shown to us earlier today had a 256GB SSD drive, though we’re sure that there will be other variants made available (though availability is another matter entirely). We’ve also learned that the UX21’s bigger brother, the UX31 will also be getting the same refresh treatment, and might also get a discrete graphics card to increase graphical number crunching.

No word on price and availability for the Philippines has been set yet.