Asus ZenBook UX32VD

The UX32VD is a decent attempt at an all-rounder ultrabook, though its battery life is uninspiring and it doesn't live up to its full potential.


7.5
CNET Rating

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About The Author

CNET Editor

Craig was sucked into the endless vortex of tech at an early age, only to be spat back out babbling things like "phase-locked-loop crystal oscillators!". Mostly this receives a pat on the head from the listener, followed closely by a question about what laptop they should buy.


The ZenBook UX32VD is a little chunkier than its ZenBook Prime cousins, on account of having discrete graphics inside — not particularly strong discrete graphics, given it's a GeForce GT 620M, but still discrete.

Connectivity

  • USB 3.0: 3
  • USB 2.0: 0
  • Optical: none
  • Video: HDMI
  • Ethernet: 100Mbps via USB 2.0 adapter
  • Wireless: dual-channel 802.11n, Bluetooth 4.0

The extra height has allowed Asus to also squeeze in some extra ports, for a total of three USB 3.0 ports, an SD card reader, a full-sized HDMI port, a mini VGA port (which Asus thankfully includes the adapter for) and a headset jack.

Also included in the box is a USB 2.0 to 100Mbps Ethernet adapter (we're still hanging out for the USB 3.0 gigabit version), a carry pouch for both adapters and another for the ZenBook itself.

While the UX32VD has made a name for itself in the US due to its upgradeability (providing you have a small Torx screwdriver on hand), our North American friends seem to have a one-up on us, with a Core i7, 1080p model being available. Our review sample was the 1366x768 version, and, from what we can ascertain, the 1080p one is more than a little difficult to find in this country, despite some shops listing it.

The screen we did get is 13.3 inches, matte, TN-based and is decent for what it is. Audio isn't spectacular, but it isn't terrible, either. Headphones will always be better, but Asus has done an OK job of balancing the tone here.

Application performance

Choose a benchmark: Handbrake | iTunes | Photoshop | Multimedia


The UX32VD performs as it should. While the Core i5 inside isn't taking pole position, it's perfectly fine for all but the most taxing of tasks.

Gaming performance

Batman: Arkham Asylum
Playable on:
MEDIUM
settings
FPS
Max Avg Min
97 64 33
1366x768, 4x AA, Detail level: Medium, PhysX off.
Metro 2033
NOT
PLAYABLE
FPS
Max Avg Min
78 27 5
1366x768, DirectX 9, 0x AA, Quality: Low, PhysX: Off.
The Witcher 2
NOT
PLAYABLE
FPS
Max Avg Min
23 18 14
1366x768, low spec.
Skyrim
Playable on:
VERY LOW
settings
FPS
Max Avg Min
69 46 36
1366x768, low detail.

The 620M is faster than Intel HD Graphics, but you're not going to be doing any high-level gaming on it.

Battery life


We really would have thought that with the extra thickness, Asus would have been able to improve on the battery life of the UX31A. Sadly, it's not to be, with the GeForce GT 620M and mechanical hard drive punishing the final scores.

Conclusion

The UX32VD is a decent attempt at an all-rounder ultrabook, though its battery life is uninspiring, and unless you can find the higher-resolution version, do some GPU overclocking and plan to do some home upgrades, it doesn't quite live up to its potential.



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CampbellS posted a comment   

You're revew is a but contrite considering on the Aus tech forums everyone is screaming for it.
I purchased mine last week from Austin Computers and it has the 1080 IPS and the corei7 plus the 620M GT. Its certainly lighter than my last 13.3inch. The fact that its potrayed as an ultrabook probably gives it the 7.5 score. I would think its between a standard notebook and a ultrabook. Maybe call it a portablebook. Anyway its carved out its own niche.

Im loving it at the moment.

 

zzjp89 posted a comment   
Australia

Not really the best review, I had no problems buying the i7 model here and I got it at Harvey Norman weeks ago. The extra thickness which is actually because of the 500gb mechanical hdd (which I replaced with an SSD) also allows you to be able to upgrade the RAM up to 10GB. Seems a bit unfair to beat up on the GT620M when most other ultrabooks only use the Intel HD 4000 (considering it's the equivalent of the old GT540M). While the battery life is a little on the weak side, I'm more than happy to sacrifice battery life for that gorgeous IPS 1920x1080 screen which doesn't help battery life. Horses for courses.

I LOVE IT!

 

thesorehead posted a comment   
Australia

Wow, was expecting it to be pricier. TBH this has everything I need, and for the price I can live without a FHD panel. I'd rather a beefier GPU, but it's still a substantial upgrade on what I have now so overall this is topping my list!




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User Reviews / Comments  Asus ZenBook UX32VD

  • CampbellS

    CampbellS

    "You're revew is a but contrite considering on the Aus tech forums everyone is screaming for it.
    I purchased mine last week from Austin Computers and it has the 1080 IPS and the corei7 plus ..."

  • zzjp89

    zzjp89

    "Not really the best review, I had no problems buying the i7 model here and I got it at Harvey Norman weeks ago. The extra thickness which is actually because of the 500gb mechanical hdd (which I r..."

  • thesorehead

    thesorehead

    "Wow, was expecting it to be pricier. TBH this has everything I need, and for the price I can live without a FHD panel. I'd rather a beefier GPU, but it's still a substantial upgrade on what I have ..."

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