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

Posted by Rhuaridh Marr
September 4, 2013 12:47 PM |

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, 2560x1440 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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