Performance and Benchmarks
As with the design, the Asus ZenBook offers a similar configuration to its predecessor. The UX51VZ-XB71 does feature a third-generation processor that is marginally more powerful than its predecessor (2.2 GHz to 2.1 GHz), but the change is negligible. The more noteworthy difference comes from the increase in physical storage as the new model offers 500GB (2 x 250GB) of SSD storage as opposed to the 256GB (2 x 128GB) found in the previous model. However, these changes come at a steep price increase. The current ZenBook is listed at almost $1,000 more than its 2012 counterpart, with XB71 priced at $2,435 and the DH71 listed at $1,500 (prices at time the review was written) respectively.
With a 2.2 GHz third-generation Intel i7 processor the ZenBook is able to run standard word and web functions with relative ease. The notebook also proves more than capable of handling demanding Office task such as complicated Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. With 8GB of DDR3 the ZenBook is able to juggle multiple tasks with no drop in performance. Notebook Review was able to run 10 web browser tabs simultaneously while watching various 1080p video-streams without any noticeable lag.
Equipped with an NVidia GeForce GT650M dedicated GPU the ZenBook also offers much better graphics performance than that the traditional notebook relying on Intel integrated graphics. The 2GB of DDR5 visual memory allow the ZenBook to edit 1080p video and play a wide-selection of games of with suitable performance. However, with many new gaming notebooks offering 4GB of DDR5 and up, the ZenBook will struggle to play newer more demanding titles at higher settings. Additionally, users should know that the notebook is not powerful enough to run most games on its native 2880 x 1620 resolution.
The ZenBook offers considerable internal storage with its dual 256GB SSDs, which practically doubles the storage found on its predecessor. More importantly the SSDs offer strong performance and fast data retrieval times. The Asus ZenBook booted to Windows 8 in a quick 9 seconds, while returning from sleep mode almost instantaneously.
It should be noted, that while the UX51VZ-XB71 does offer slightly improved specs over its predecessor, the device did receive slightly lower benchmark scores. In this instance the lower scores are not indicative of performance; both notebooks should prove to be comparable in terms of real-world performance. The deviation in scores could be a result of the notebook’s higher resolution display or a piece of software that slightly interfered with the scores. Either way users should expect the same high-level of performance form both models.
While the ZenBook offers excellent performance it would have been nice to see the Asus opt for a fourth-generation processor considering the notebook’s high-end price point.
Our Acer ZenBook UX51VZ-XB71 review unit has the following configuration:
- 15.6-inch display (2880 x 1620 resolution; IPS panel, anti-glare surface)
- Windows 8 (64-bit)
- 2.2 GHz Intel Core i7-3632QM
- NVidia GeForce GT650M (2GB DDR5)
- Intel HD Graphics 4000
- 8GB DDR3
- 500GB SSD (2x 256GB SSD in RAID 0)
- Intel Centrino (R) Advanced-N 6235
- Bluetooth 4.0
- Dimensions: 15″ x 10″ x 0.8″
- Weight: 4.6lbs.
- Price: $2,435 (price at time review was written)
- 1-year warranty
wPrime processor comparisons (lower score means better performance):
PCMark 7 is a newer benchmark and measures overall systems performance (higher scores mean better performance):
3DMark 11 is a benchmark that measures overall graphic card performance for gaming (higher scores mean better performance):
Crystal DiskMark storage drive performance test:
To test battery life, we used our new PowerMark benchmark in balanced mode. The test consists of a combination of automated web browsing, word processing, gaming and video playback workloads. The test is far more strenuous than our previous test, measuring the machine under a litany of scenarios to better simulate real life use. With the test being far more demanding, the scores are understandably lower than our previous benchmark.
In our tests, the Asus ZenBook UX51VZ ran for 3 hours and 59 minutes with display set to 110 nits before shutting down. Running just shy of four hours the ZenBook boasts impressive battery life that is competitive with many smaller 14″ and 13.3″ devices. With our tests being far more strenuous than normal conditions users can expect upwards of seven hours of battery life on a single charge. While the notebook will last significantly longer under normal conditions, the Asus ZenBook’s battery will also deplete at a far faster rate when its dedicated GPU is taxed. The ZenBook only ran for 1 hour and 52 minutes in Entertainment mode.