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November 04, 2011

Asus Zenbook UX21 vs. Macbook Air 11.6″

Now that we’ve personally seen and held the Asus Zenbook UX21, I can personally make a comparison between this one and the Macbook Air. And I have to admit it — it’s very hard not to compare the two because of the striking similarities.

It is pretty obvious that the Asus Zenbook line-up was inspired by the Macbook Air. The aluminum unibody design, the tapered edges, even the hinge mechanism.

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and nothing could be far from the truth with the Asus Zenbook.

It doesn’t just end there though — Asus took the best of what the Macbook Air offers and made it better though with a few slip-ups, admittedly.

The Asus UX21 has a very solid full aluminum alloy and it goes right up to the keyboard. Yeah, it’s the first time I’ve seen chiclet-type keys made of lightweight aluminum (and it actually works!).

The lid has this dark-brown color and was sand-basted to form a brushed-metal finish in concentric rings. I am told that this pattern was used to make the top lid appear flat when in fact it’s somewhat curved and tapers towards the edges.

The 11.6″ Asus Zenbook UX21 can be directly compared to the 2011 Macbook Air 11.6″ (the one with an SRP of Php59,990).

Asus Zenbook UX21
11.6″ display @ 1366×768 pixels
Intel Core i5 2467M 1.6GHz
Intel HD Graphics 3000
4GB DDR3 RAM
128GB SSD SandForce SF-2281
1 x USB 2.0 port
1 x USB 3.0 port
1 x micro-HDMI port
1 x mini-VGA port
Bluetooth 4.0
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
up to 5 hours battery life
Windows 7
SRP: Php53,995

2011 Macbook Air 11.6″
11.6″ display @ 13366×768 pixels
Intel Core i5 2467M 1.6GHz
Intel HD Graphics 3000 384MB
4GB DDR3 RAM
128GB SSD
2 x USB 2.0 ports
Bluetooth 4.0 HS
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
Thunderbolt
up to 5 hours battery
Apple OS X 10.7 Lion
SRP: Php59,990

The Macbook Air got additional points for Bluetooth 4.0, Thunderbolt and a backlit keyboard. The Asus UX21 scores points for the USB 3.0 port, Bluetooth 4.0, micro-HDMI port and the Bang & Olufsen speakers.

The units that were shown to us were still preview units (and runs on Core i7 processor) so we can’t really use the Windows Experience Index here.

Our informal tests from last night gave us 23 seconds from cold boot and a really quick 2-second wake time. Pretty impressive for a Windows machine.

So the SRP is cheaper than the equivalent Macbook Air by Php6,000 and the Zenbook also comes with a leather sleeve (probably worth 2k or more).

My biggest beef with this one is the absence of the backlit keyboard and I’m willing to give up that really cool Bang & Olufsen speakers for that one. More on this once we get a review unit before the end of the month.

Asus UX21: a Mac Air look-alike on Core i7
Breaking: Asus Zenbook Ultrabook launching today!
Asus Zenbook UX31 vs. Acer Aspire S3

26 Responses to “Asus Zenbook UX21 vs. Macbook Air 11.6″”

  1. tipler says:

    “They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and nothing could be far from the truth with the Asus Zenbook.”

    Farther? Doesn’t jive with the rest of the article. You say this if the asus is bad.

  2. sani G says:

    Nice place you got there sir Abe

  3. yuga says:

    @tipler – i thought it does. the mac air is really good. asus copied it really well, then it follows the zenbook is also good.

  4. Sonn
    Twitter: richardson_chan
    says:

    Thunderbolt + Bluetooth 4.0 + Backlit Keyboard + Mac OS X Lion

    versus

    mini-HDMI + USB 3.0 + Bang & Olufsen speaker + cheaper price + Windows 7

    My biased choice: Mac OS X Lion. So, MacBook Air for me.

    Unbiased choice: The potential of Thunderbolt + Backlit Keyboard + the ability to run both Mac OS X & Windows on the same machine. MacBook Air for me. Worth the extra 6k

  5. tipler says:

    @yuga

    Well, when you say “… imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”. You take imitation in a positive light. (flattery, sincerest)

    But when you follow it up with “… nothing could be far (farther) from the truth”. You mean to say that the asus is the opposite. (far/farther, truth)

    • JohnD says:

      @Tippler, I teach grammar and I say Yuga is correct. “Nothing could be farther from the truth,” means that something is true. And in this case, it is the statement that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

    • tipler says:

      How can something be true when nothing aside from it could be farther from the truth? It’s the farthest from the truth. It’s not true.

      Nothing. Farther. From the truth.

  6. dan says:

    i smell an apple lawsuit!!!

  7. camhiliciouz says:

    i say, i’ll still go for MBA. you can dual-boot it if u want Windows 7.

    ASUS do make great units, i just dont understand the imitation thing?

    i mean, why follow when you can lead, right?

    despite that Zenbook is one great ultrabook, it is still a copycat…

    sorry.

    cheers guys.

    AND PLEASE PASS ME FOR GRAMMAR CORRECTION! that’s way overboard

  8. dan_md says:

    This is imitation done right. The Asus Zenbook appears as if it’s the future version of the Mac Book Air. Haha! Nice one Asus!

  9. biospc says:

    mga gago! anong imitation ba ang pinagsasabi ninyo….imitation ba yung pa nipisin mo ang laptop dahil ito ang mas in ngayon, they just only get some ideas from MBA, when you say imitation, pareho lahat pati brand…

    what a bum….morons

    • despitenmorons says:

      i’ll give you a heads up my dear.
      you seemed confused about the word IMITATION!

      IMITATION:

      Im·i·ta·tion   [im-i-tey-shuhn]
      1. a result or product of imitating.
      2. the act of imitating.
      3. a counterfeit; copy.
      4. a literary composition that imitates the manner or subject of another author or work.
      [-dictionalry.com]

      FROM THE ROOT WORD IMITATE:

      1: to follow as a pattern, model, or example
      2: to be or appear like : resemble
      3: to produce a copy of : reproduce
      4: mimic, counterfeit

      well, if you studied your vocabulary first, you might not assumed we’re stupid.

      and by the way, please refrain using such awful words. the people here deserves better than that.

  10. Robin Lim says:

    Looks too much like a copy. They could have made it in black at least.

  11. jcruze057 says:

    I like the unit but hardly trust the brand, if Asus says 5hrs of battery life, maybe because everything was set to minimum settings and the real battery life with everything set to default would 45 mins, I’ve had bad experiences with Asus laptops before so to be sure to get really good quality products, I still prefer Apple brands

    • Randy Kanapi says:

      Comparison to a MBA will be but normal, although the sand blasted lid is still different from the MBA. Likewise, one should see beyond the form factor. To be branded an ultrabook, there are minimum specifications which Intel has established with the vendors/OEMs/manufacturers. 5 hrs is not based on minimal settings. The minimum requirements involve size/thickness (z-height); response time from SLEEP mode (for Asus its 2 secs), processor (should be a 2nd gen core at a minimum)….there will be 3 phases in the ultrabook evolution entering into 2012 with touchscreen capability, lesser power consumption, thinner form factors, better battery life, security features (previously only in enterprise notebooks) and performance. Hopefully, we also get to see them bring down pricing to the sub 40k level…

  12. jovas33 says:

    Wow! I miss El Nido, nice background of a foreigner resting there…:)

  13. Les says:

    The huge difference here in my opinion is the air vents. I don’t see them with the Macbook Air.

  14. Abigail
    Twitter: jesuisabby
    says:

    The price range is so close. If Asus would want to sell the ZenBook they must have priced it significantly less than MBA. With the 6k difference I’d pick up the MBA.

  15. Japong says:

    it’s not imitation but seems to be a trend. Apple set a trend and consumers loved it “and patent it” then others follow, while apple has iphone well samsung has galaxy & others, the same goes for macbook & zenbook, there are always competitors giving you choices. Macbook’s can boot windows with bootcamp though but not wintel laptops, actually you can but installing it is such a pain specially driver’s but with osx its just next next & done with bootcamp. When you say imitation then look in chinese market lots of knock off gadgets there.

  16. GensanBoy
    Twitter: gensanboy
    says:

    This thing is great for diehard pc users. It does look like the MBA. However I did not notice in this article how it weight. It could be as small or as sleek as the MBA but remember it was called MacBook Air because it is also very light. The MBA (11 inches) is very light that it almost is comparable to the IPad in weight.

  17. Max says:

    Uhh…. for those who say that others copy Apple, pls check the ff:

    1. Sony X505 (circa 2003/04?)
    2. Compaq TC1000 (circa (2002/03?)

    You may be surprised where the Macbook Air and the iPad was inspired from.

    Do I hate Apple? No. But I really rather that statements are given in the proper context. Apple is NOT original. The good they did was make things look cooler and made aware to the general public.

  18. Max says:

    @GensanBoy

    From what I read elsewhere, the MBA is slightly lighter in the 11″ dept while the Zenbook is slightly lighter in the 13″ dept.

    I suppose the weight difference hardly matters between the two.

    @Japong, glad your post wasn’t one sided. True that Wintel can boot Mac OS just like a Mac can boot Windows… after all, Apple already imitated Windows by using the SAME hardware tech that Windows uses. Unfortunately, people don’t literally see that and that gives Apple the illusion of being on top due to its unparalled marketing.

    It’s kind of like people saying that LED is superior to LCD while being ignorant of the fact that it’s simply the backlighting that is different. Poor LCD – victim of marketing.

  19. josh says:

    Great article, however You might wanna check this link below

    http://itworldcom.com/macbook-air-vs-asus-zenbook

    warm regards!

  20. Chel says:

    It’s what people are looking for and ASUS probably don’t want to gamble yet until they make a name for themselves. Apple is Apple. Whatever they make, people buy. If ASUS becomes a trusted brand, it’s probably going to be easy to innovate and start the trend. :)

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