ASUS announces glass-coated Ultrabook, clumsy owners need not apply

IFA is well under way in Berlin, and ASUS has taken the time to reveal its latest Ultrabook, the Zenbook UX301. Catchy name, we know, but the Zenbook has a couple of features that may arouse your intrigue.

Starting with the most obvious feature, the Zenbook’s lid features ASUS’s hallmark spun-metal design, encased under a layer of Gorilla Glass 3. Yup, a glass lid on a laptop. Following in HP’s footsteps, ASUS clearly believes that glass is the next word in luxury — and after looking at the Zenbook, it’s very easy to agree with them. Promising to be scratch-resistant, strong and reasonably light, the Gorilla Glass adds a unique flavor to overall design, standing out among a sea of aluminium me-too Ultrabooks and laptops. It continues inside, as well, with the palm rest coated in glass — though here it’s mixed with a ceramic coating to provide a smooth, but not slippery, resting spot for weary digits.

Above that shines a 13.3-inch, 2560×1440 IPS screen, with touch capability built-in. Just shy of the MacBook Pro’s Retina display, the dense display is powered by a Haswell dual-core Core i7 CPU, with Intel’s Iris graphics — though a NVIDIA GT730M is available for those who require more gaming grunt on the go. Storage comes from a 512GB SSD, and there is a choice of white or dark navy for the Ultrabook’s casing.

There’s no mention of price — never a good thing — or availability in the US, though ASUS is expecting to have it in stores before the holiday season. If the price proves too much of a shock for some, there are also plans for a cheaper UX3012 model, with a similar design but a lower-res screen and likely reduced internal specs.

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Rhuaridh Marr is Metro Weekly's managing editor. He is usually found with a game controller in one hand and a smartphone in the other, and can be reached at rmarr@metroweekly.com.

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