Asus has decided to deviate from the standard ultrabook stereotype. Her Zenbook UX32VD features a discrete GeForce GT 620M graphics card. Does this mean that this device can be played, for example, in FIFA 13? Let's try to find out.
In addition to the video card mentioned in the preface, the Asus Zenbook UX32VD is equipped with fairly standard components for an ultrabook. The "heart" of the device is a dual-core Intel Core i5-3317U processor with a clock speed of 1.7 GHz (2.6 GHz in Turbo Boost mode). To this should be added another: 13.3-inch screen with a resolution of 1366x768 pixels, 4 gigabytes of DDR3 RAM (1600 MHz) and 2 drives (a 500 gigabyte hard drive and a 24 gigabyte SSD).
Already from the packaging it becomes clear that inside the device is of the highest price range. The stylish black box hides a nice set of accessories. Together with the ultrabook, the user receives: a charger, a USB to Ethernet adapter (the laptop is not equipped with a LAN connector), a Mini-VGA to VGA adapter, an operation manual and a warranty card. The biggest surprise, however, is the sleek case, which fits perfectly to the size of the device.
Taking the ultrabook out of the box, I was delighted. The case, made entirely of brushed aluminum, looks great. The impression of high strength and reliability is created. I think that there are few people who will not like this laptop. The only thing to which there may be claims is the excessive "rigor" of the design, but personally I really liked everything.
Workmanship is the pinnacle of design excellence. It is difficult to talk about individual elements, since the body has practically no joints, and those that do exist are practically invisible. I also had no complaints about the hinges with which the top cover is attached. They are strong enough to securely fix the screen and exclude the possibility of spontaneous closing.
On the right side of the Asus UX32VD there are: a headphone jack, a Mini-VGA port, an HDMI connector, two USB 3.0 ports and a connector for a network adapter.
On the left side there are: a device for reading memory cards of MMC and SD standards, as well as a third USB 3.0 port.
There are no connectors on the front and back sides of the ultrabook. The manufacturer even abandoned LED indicators, which, I think, is relevant in this case, since flickering lights can negatively affect the elegant appearance of the device.
Keyboard and touchpad
Despite its small size, the Asus UX32VD managed to use a very comfortable island-style keyboard with fairly large spacing between individual keys. It is very comfortable to type text with its help, the keys have a soft and quiet stroke. A nice addition is the backlight, thanks to which there is no need to turn on the lamp in the evenings. The keys themselves are made of high-quality plastic, which eliminates the possibility of chips and damage.
The touchpad is placed exactly in the center of the keyboard. Unfortunately, this is one of the weakest elements of the UX32VD model. The quality of the plastic used is not the worst, but far from ideal. The major drawback is that the buttons are awfully awkward. I was constantly having problems working with them, so I had to use a traditional mouse.
The screen is certainly of a very high quality, as is the case. In our experimental model, a 13.3-inch display with a resolution of 1366x768 pixels was installed. There is also a version with a matrix of IPS 1920x1080 pixels, but unfortunately it was not possible to test it. The screen has a very good brightness reserve and excellent color reproduction. The image is very clear, and the vertical and horizontal viewing angles are at a decent level.An additional advantage is that the user has the ability to very precisely adjust the level of contrast and brightness. The screen has a matte finish, thanks to which the Ultrabook can be safely used even on a sunny day outside. I had no complaints about the screen.
Generally, you shouldn't expect good sound quality in Ultrabooks. The reason for this is simple - it is difficult to accommodate speakers in a small case, which can reproduce loud and clear sound. Asus decided to fix this, so it signed a partnership agreement with Bang & Olufsen. The result of this collaboration is a longitudinal speaker located above the keyboard. Its quality surpasses anything I've encountered in other ultrabooks. Of course, you shouldn't count on deep bass and high dynamic range, but overall the audio system deserves a high rating. The sound is clear, and the music and dialogue are clearly audible. You cannot demand anything more from such a device.
I tested the laptop in the most popular benchmarks: 3D Mark 11 (tests the computer for gaming capabilities), PCMark 7 (measures the overall performance of an ultrabook) and Cinebench 11.5 (tests the capabilities of both the GPU and CPU). In virtually all of these tests, Asus has competed well with other models. The results can be found in the graphs below.
In the UX32VD model, Asus has installed two video cards: an integrated Intel HD 4000 and a discrete Nvidia GeForce GT 620M. This is a rather unusual decision, as Ultrabooks are primarily designed for office work. Does this solution allow you to run the latest games? This question should be answered in the affirmative. The GeForce GT 620M graphics card was powerful enough to comfortably play games like FIFA 13 and Battlefield 3. FIFA 13 can be easily run at the highest settings (in this case, the ultrabook shows a result of 59.8 FPS). I honestly admit that this result pleasantly surprised me.
One of the main requirements for ultrabooks is long battery life. How does the Asus UX32VD cope with this task? I think very good. During "normal" use (for example, browsing the Internet and working with a suite of office applications) the battery lasts about 4-5 hours of continuous operation. If you turn off Wi-Fi and reduce the screen brightness, then this time can be increased to 6-7 hours. Watching a 10-minute 1080p movie on YouTube uses 4% battery. In turn, one match in FIFA 13 (about 15 minutes of play) will use approximately 15% of the charge. These are decent results that should satisfy most users. The charging process does not take long. After 40 minutes the battery showed a level of 50%, and after 85 minutes - 75%. The battery is fully charged in about 2 hours (with the laptop turned on).
Heat and noise
At low load, the laptop is very quiet and practically does not get warm. Under heavy load, the situation changes, you can hear the characteristic noise of the hard disk, but this does not affect the comfort of work. The situation is a little worse with heating. Although the temperatures are not critical and do not cause discomfort, I would like this figure to be slightly lower. If you run a game on an Ultrabook, the case becomes noticeably warmer. Fortunately, this happens at the top of the device. The area around the touchpad heats up the least.
The unit I tested used 2 drives: a 500 gigabyte Hitachi hard drive and a 24 gigabyte SSD system drive (which, by the way, is not available to users). The indicators of the former are not the best. Its top speed is 5400 rpm and, unfortunately, it is noticeable. In HD Tune 2.55, the Hitachi drive achieved an average write speed of 79.9MB per second, which is not a good result. The access time was 20.3 ms, which is a bad indicator at all.
The Asus Zenbook UX32VD is definitely a device worth considering. This is probably the first ultrabook that can run most modern games. The laptop has a solid body, stylish design, a very high-quality screen and a good speaker system. The performance is also very high. Finding fault with something is almost impossible, other than maybe a slightly slow hard drive and touchpad. If you are ready to put up with such shortcomings, be sure to pay attention to the Asus Zenbook UX32VD model.
** Pros: ** reliable case, elegant and attractive appearance, very good screen, high performance, "decent" sound, comfortable keyboard.
** Cons: ** Slow hard drive, poor touchpad.
The main competitors of the Asus UX32VD ultrabook are the following models: Asus VivoBook S550CM, HP ENVY Specter XT 13-2000er, Lenovo ThinkPad T430u.