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Asus UX21E Zenbook 11.6in Ultrabook

Thin! Small! Mad! Gorgeous!

Sleeping well

The UX21E, like other Ultrabooks, makes use of solid-state storage instead of a hard disk. While this invariably means you get less storage space, the performance of the SSD drive in the UX21E wavered between remarkable and awesome. Indeed, it seriously skewed my benchmark tests, as the results are insane. Take a look at the same chip used on the Acer and Samsung, outperforming the latter that also features an SSD, by a 20 per cent margin. Asus even offers a Core i7 version of this model with a 256GB SSD, if you really need it.

Benchmark Tests

PCMark 7 Results

Asus UX21E Zenbook Core i5 laptop

Longer bars are better

On the other hand, the one thing this computer is not good at is 3D gaming. Don’t do it: you will only be disappointed. 3DMark 11 didn't play nice but 3DMark 06 notched up a score of 4084. As for battery life Futuremark's new Powermark benchmarking application ran for a respectable 184 minutes.

What it’s amazing at is resuming from sleep. Asus claims it can wake from Sleep mode in two seconds, but my own test result of four seconds (from closed case to working Windows 7 desktop) is no slouch. Waking from full Hibernate took 15 seconds; starting up from cold took a mere 23 seconds, and it’s not accompanied by urgent fan whirring or farty hard disk noises. I used the UX21E throughout a week, here and there, putting it into Sleep when not it use, and I only had to recharge it once.

Asus UX21E Zenbook Core i5 laptop

Asus is fairly generous with its bundled extras, including this tough slipcase

Verdict

RH Recommended Medal

The Asus Zenbook UX21E is thinner, lighter and much more fun to use than I thought possible for an 11in notebook. Built to last and to impress, it manages to look amazing and cute at the same time. If the viewing angle on the display had been a few degrees wider, I would have rated the computer 90 per cent: I liked it that much. Asus also deserves kudos for including a tough slipcase, a USB-to-Ethernet adapter and a mini VGA-to-VGA adapter in the box, rather than charging for these as optional extras. ®

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Asus UX21E Zenbook Core i5 laptop

Asus UX21E Zenbook 11.6in Ultrabook

Ultra-thin notebook that’s so cute you’ll want to give it a rusk.
Price: £850 RRP