We've already extolled the virtues of ASUS's Zenbook Prime UX31A with its speedy Ivy Bridge CPU and gorgeous full HD screen and, though we haven't tested the 11.6-inch Zenbook Prime UX21A, we know it's of similar quality. Today at Computex, ASUS gave us the chance to go hands-on with the upcoming touch screen-enabled, Windows 8 version: the UX21A touch.
As with the non-touch versions of the Zenbook Prime, the UX21A Touch has a gorgeous 1920 x 1080 screen that is extremely bright and colorful. However, this screen supports touch and touch with a lot of fingers. Though we weren't able to find out immediately whether it supports 10-finger touch, we were able to run four fingers across the screen in paint and watch as they all drew lines.
We also took note of just how quickly the SSD-enabled Zenbook PrimeUX21 Touch booted. When we powered it off and cold started it again, it took about 10 seconds.
Other than its speedy boot time, responsive touch screen and Windows 8 OS, the Zenbook Prime UX21A is the same old champagne-colored, aluminum-packing, superthin and light Ultrabook we've come to know and love, complete with an Ivy Bridge CPU and SSD. The notebook measures just 0.68 inches at its thickest point and weighs just 2.64 pounds. The array of ports is the same: HDMI-out and USB 3.0 are there, but not Ethernet.
No word yet on whether ASUS will continue using the slower SanDisk SSD we found in the UX31A or the faster ADATA drive we saw in the original Zenbook UX31.
An ASUS rep told us that the UX21 does use an Elan touchpad like its predecessors; the good news is that when we tried navigating around the Metro UI and desktop, everything seemed really smooth and accurate.
No word yet on pricing, but we expect this notebook to come out sometime around the launch of Windows 8. We look forward to testing the Zenbook Prime UX21A Touch more thoroughly at that time, but until then, check out the video below for a closer look.