Intel's ultrabook platform has been around for 9 months now and is still in its infancy as a mobile computing platform. As Intel stated in its press sheet during Computex 2011, the company envisions a "no-compromise, complete, satisfying and secure user experience all in one mobile device." Thus far in the platform's lifespan, first-generation 32nm Sandy Bridge ultrabooks such as the ASUS ZenBook UX31E have benefitted from all of Intel's ambitions, although the "no-compromise" bullet point can be debated by some. For instance, first-generation ultrabooks are only dual-core devices, whereas many ultraportables and premium notebooks on the market feature quad-core Core i7 CPUs with noticeably more compute power. But of course, this is only the first generation, and we expect Intel's second-generation models based on 22nm Ivy Bridge processors will bring the full quad-core "no compromise" experience that many performance enthusiasts have long awaited.
Perhaps the second-generation ASUS ZenBook series will feature 22nm Ivy Bridge quad-core CPUs. Based on AnandTech's findings earlier last month, Intel's Core i7 361x series (3610, 3612, 3615 - QE/QM suffixes) are all 35W TDP quad-core Ivy Bridge models that are supposed to run at either 2.10GHz or 2.30GHz and will feature 6MB L3 cache. Turbo is supported at up to 3.10GHz or 3.30GHz depending on the CPU, and we believe having a 35W quad-core ultrabook with these performance specifications will bring more than enough satisfaction to prospective consumers awaiting these next-gen ultrabooks.
While ASUS in particular has a few kinks to workout with its ZenBook series, the company ultimately delivers a very satisfying and refined mobile product with all the amenities of a premium notebook and the full-fledged functionality of the Microsoft Windows operating system. If one was pressed between the option of buying an Android-powered ASUS Transformer tablet + keyboard docking station, or an ASUS ZenBook UX31E, we strongly insist that the decision should be the latter product. Intel's "no-compromises" agenda can basically be restated to say "productivity without compromises" - and although this first-generation ultrabook only lacks with respect to CPU performance, everything else is functionally intact in an incredibly lightweight and slim device that is nearly impossible to neglect for another type of device.
Intel's ultrabook platform and the ASUS ZenBook UX31E are fine examples of a sleek, minimalist computing philosophy that is much more than the typical critic's response of "a MacBook Air plus Microsoft Windows," and we believe the ultrabook ecosystem will only become more enticing to consumers as average selling prices (ASPs) decrease over time.