Ultrabook reviews 2014, scoops and comparisons

Asus Zenbook UX32A review – the most affordable Asus ultrabook

Asus Zenbook UX32A review – the most affordable Asus ultrabook
By Andrei Girbea - @andreigirbea , last updated on 8 Oct 2012
Summary: The Asus Zenbook UX32A is the most affordable Zenbook you could get right now. Starting at $700, it keeps most of the looks and overall build quality of the Primes, but ditches the IPS screen and top-notch hardware specs. Still, for the money, it's a good pick, although there are alternatives you should also consider.
Rating: 3.5 / 5   Price range: $699 - $899

THE GOOD

beautiful and fairly solid built; decent trackpad and keyboard; alright screen, but short of impressive; good speakers; 5+ hours of everyday battery life; affordable

THE BAD

not as sturdy as the Zenbook Primes; the Core i3 config is quite slow; tons of bloatware preinstalled

Today we’re taking a detailed look at the Asus Zenbook UX32A. This is Asus’s most affordable ultrabook available right now, starting at around $700, and while it looks pretty much like the Zenbook Prime UX31A on the outside, there are some corners Asus had to cut in order to meet the lower price point.

But that was for sure expected, since the UX31A sells for $1100 and up, while the UX32A is 400 bucks cheaper (and if you’re looking for discounts on the UX32A, this article should come in handy).

However, what’s really important is how much will those cut corners affect your everyday experience with this laptop.

And that you’ll find by reading this review.

Spoiler alert: the Asus Zenbook UX32A is one of the best budget ultrabooks out there and definitely the sleekest looking. However, if you’re looking for the best performances for the buck, there’s at least a better alternative. Read along for in depth details.

Asus Zenbook UX32A video review

Design and exterior

We’re going to start of course by taking a look at the exterior. Like I already mentioned, the UX32A looks a lot like the premium Asus Zenbook Prime, bundling pretty much the same design and overall shape. But appearances are misleading and in reality there are some slight differences between the two.

The Asus UX32A is just as beautiful as the other Zenbooks

The Asus UX32A is just as beautiful as the other Zenbooks

First of all, the UX32A no longer sports a unibody design, but offers an aluminum outershell with a plastic-aluminum composite inner frame. As a result, the laptop does not feel just as sturdy as the Prime and bends a bit when squeezed harder, but it’s still fairly solid overall. Also, the overall coating feels a bit more prone to scratches, so you should treat this one with baby gloves.

While it might look as all the other Zenbooks, this one is not really as sturdy

While it might look as all the other Zenbooks, this one is not really as sturdy

Besides that, the UX32A is also a tad thicker and heavier then the UX31A, weighing about 3.2 pounds and measuring just over 0.7 inches in thickness, but the differences are so small you’ll barely see them even when having the two laptops side by side.

Having the slightly beefier body helped Asus fit more ports on the Asus Zenbook UX32A. On the left, there’s an USB connector and a card-reader, that still can’t properly fit an entire SD card. On the right you now find the DC-IN, two more USB ports, a full-size HDMI, a mini-VGA port, the headphone/microphone jack and a tiny status LED. There’s still no Ethernet and full-size VGA, but Asus offers adapters for those and the extra USB and proper HDMI connectors are definitely appreciated.

Flipping the laptop upside-down you’ll notice a clean underbelly, with some cooling grills on top and two speakers carved on the sides. You can’t easily access the internals but it’s not really that complicated either. You’ll have to get rid of about a dozen Torx T5 screws and then you’ll be able to access the memory and the storage drive and you’ll be able to upgrade them, but more about those a bit later.

Lifting the lid-cover, you’ll notice a rather familiar interior, the only thing that this laptop has and the Prime didn’t being a small HDD LED indicator on the top-right side. Besides that, there’s the same large palm-rest, the same keyboard and trackpad.

A familiar and well done interior

A familiar interior

Keyboard and trackpad

We’re not going to focus on those that much, but they are fairly good overall. Not as good as you can find on the HP or Lenovo ultrabooks, but still alright. The chiclet styled keyboard is accurate and the keys offer good feedback, although they feel just a bit wobbly. The keyboard is also backlit and you can adjust the intensity using the f3/f4 keys.

Of course, the Power button is still integrated withing the keyboard, so you’ll have to get used to that when looking for that Delete, and the arrow keys are still tiny, but I think you’ll be fine with these in time.

As for the trackpad, it’s large, smooth and most of the time accurate. It can get all crazy and jumpy from time to time and it can sometimes miss a couple of gestures, but it’s better than what we’ve seen on older Zenbooks or even on many other ultraportable laptops.

Screen

As for the screen, you won’t find that gorgeous IPS Full HD panel that comes with the Zenbook Prime on the UX32A, but it’s not a bad one either. Yes, this is a 1366 x 768 px display, but it’s fairly bright and offers good contrast.

However, like all TN panels, the viewing angles are quite narrow and the colors are a bit dull, with a slight blueish tint in this case. Still, this screen is for sure better than what you get on other cheap ultrabooks and comes with a matt coating, another rare commodity in this price range.

Hardware and performances

With those aside, let’s have a look at what you’ll get inside the UX32A Zenbook. Our test unit is the base config, the cheapest one you’ll be able to find in stores. It packs an Intel Core i3-2367M processor, 4 GB of RAM and hybrid storage, plus Windows 7 Home Premium as the OS.

The Core i3 platform inside this laptop will handle daily tasks, but might choke with heavier chors

The Core i3 platform inside this laptop will handle daily tasks, but might choke with heavier chores

Now, this configuration is not as powerful as you usually get on the premium ultrabooks these days. The CPU is part of the older Intel Sandy Bridge architecture and only comes bundled with Intel’s HD 3000 graphics chip, while most other ultrabooks are built on Intel’s newer Ivy Bridge platforms.

In practice, the Asus UX32A will perform alright as long as you don’t expect much out of it. Especially after you’ll remove most of the bloatware that comes preinstalled on this one, and there’s a fair amount of that.

The Core i3 processor will quickly show its limits when dealing with heavy multitasking or complex programs and the hybrid storage, with a 24 GB SSD and a 500 GB HDD, adds it share of sluggishness as well.

For everyday tasks though, like browsing, watching movies, editing texts and photos, chatting with your friends, the UX32A will do just fine. It will even deal with games, as long as they’re not the latest titles and you’ll trim the details and the resolution. In fact, I’ve tried both Dirt 3 and COD:Modern Warfare 3 on 13 x 7 resolution with Medium details and both ran alright on this one, with only some occasional hiccups.

Below you’ll also find the results of the tests I ran on the Asus UX32A. The numbers are low, when compared to the IvyBridge ultrabooks, but they are still better than what I got on the Vaio T13 I tested, which was built on the same platform. So overall, Asus’s implementation looks better.

  • PCMark Vantage: 4335 pts;
  • PCMark 07: 1993 marks;
  • CineBench 11.5: OpenGL 8.46 fps, CPU 1.34 pts;

And if this config is too slow for your needs, you can always buy the more powerful version of the Asus UX32A, built on an Intel Core i5 Ivy Bridge platform. And you can upgrade the memory (2GBs are soldered and there’s another usable module; the Core i3 config only takes 4 GB of memory, but the Core I5 one will take up to 8) and the storage, as there’s a standard 2.5 inch 7 mm drive inside this unit and compatible SSDs are not that expensive.

Heat, Noise, Speakers and others

The UX32A we have here might not be the fastest ultrabook out there, but it certainly runs cool and quiet. Yes, you’ll hear the cooling fans when working in a quiet room, but they were never annoying.

The cooling system is efficient and quiet

The cooling system is efficient and quiet

The UX32A will not get hot

The UX32A will not get hot

As for the heat, the laptop gets only warm on its back even when running some HD movies or games for hours, so extreme heat is never going to be a massive issue with it.

Talking about the other tiny details that can make or break a laptop, the UX32A packs good speakers, loud and I’d say punchier than the ones on the UX31A Prime. The Webcam on top of the screen is alright as well, just make sure you’re using it when there’s enough light around of you don’t want your images to get excessively noisy.

The speakers are loud and punchy for an ultrabook in this price range

The speakers are loud and punchy for an ultrabook in this price range

As for the connectivity options, the Intel Centrino N6235 module integrated on the UX32A works great and also adds Bluetooth 4.0 and WiDi to the mix.

Battery life

There’s a 45 Wh battery inside the Asus UX32A and our unit managed to run for a bit over 5 hours on a charge, while performing basic daily tasks, with Power4Gear Entertainment mode ON, the screen at 60% and Wi-Fi ON.

Same scenario, while looping a 720p movie, will get you going for just a bit under 5 hours.

And that’s actually quite good, especially since the laptop can be pushed towards 6+ hours while used lightly, with the screen dimmed and the keyboard’s back-lightning turned OFF.

Compact charger and 5+ hours of battery life. That's good!

Compact charger and 5+ hours of battery life. That’s good!

Prices and availability

With all those in mind, it’s now time to mention the prices. The Asus Zenbook UX32A config we tested here goes right now for around $750 and I expect that to drop a bit in the near future. See this link for up to date prices and some discounts.

If you’re looking for the Core i5 config, you’re going to have to add about $150 – $200 extra for  it.

With the Asus Zenbook UX32A, you get the looks for only $700

With the Asus Zenbook UX32A, you get the looks for only $700

Wrap-up

Having a look at some of other budget ultrabooks on the market, you’ll notice that you can get better equipped laptops for around $700. In fact, the Lenovo IdeaPad U310 and the Sony Vaio T13 offer a Core i5 Ivy Bridge CPU for that kind of money. But those are slightly bulkier and heavier, plus don’t look as good as this Zenbook.

So in the end, it’s up to you. If you like the Asus Zenbooks but don’t feel like dropping more than one grand for the UX31A Zenbook Prime, the UX32A is an interesting offer, although it lacks the IPS screen and packs slower hardware. But it is good looking, overall solid built, packs a decent keyboard and trackpad, a not so bad screen and offers above average battery life.

There are plenty of things you're getting with the Asus UX32A, but not the best performances/price ratio

There are plenty of things you’re getting with the Asus UX32A, but not the best performances/price ratio

Still, I for one would stay away from the cheaper Core i3 configuration and hope that Asus will make the IvyBridge option more affordable in the next months.

However, if you’re after a bargain laptop and only expect to use it for casual tasks, the cheaper Asus UX32A will do. Just know that there are options out there, other budget prices ultrabooks that could be better suited for your needs. And there are also some powerful ultrabook alternatives going for similar prices.

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Andrei Girbea, aka Mike, Editor-in-Chief and a huge fan of mobile computers. Since 2007, I've only owned smaller than 12.5" laptops and I've been testing tens, if not hundreds of mini laptops. You'll find mostly reviews and guides written by me here on the site.

31 Comments

  1. Josef

    November 9, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    Hey man,

    first of all, thanks for your reviews, it contributed significantly to my decision to choose the cheapest zenbook, and it is pretty cool piece, I like it so much…

    However, I have got one question for you regarding the “bloatware” as you call it. I hate this kind of soft, so I would like to remove as much of it as possible.

    The question is, what software would you recommend to get rid of? I don´t wanna screw something, and maybe there are some useful apps amongst them as well.

    Thanks for your reply,

    Regards

    Josef

    • Mike

      November 11, 2012 at 10:45 am

      it’s a bit difficult to tell without having the computer in front. You should get rid of the preinstalled antivirus, the trials and most of the Asus programs. I for one uninstall, Asus storage, cloud, bla bla and only keep Power 4 gear and the apps that have something to do with the sound and network.

      Anyway, even if you uninstall something that you shouldn’t, you can always find the programs on Asus’s website, so you should be OK

  2. Kadir

    November 27, 2012 at 11:51 am

    I think this piece says it all, the whole tech industry is sadly lciakng ideas. I bet it took ASUS longer to think up the watch’ design excuse in their marketing than to actually design this thing. I can’t believe how similar this is to the AIr design, no innovation at all, not even an attempt at pushing the idea further.

    • Tomaz

      April 6, 2014 at 3:42 pm

      The design of all of them actually comes from Intel. Apple included.

  3. Lyal

    December 2, 2012 at 11:04 am

    I am looking at this model for my daughter who requires a notebook as she enters high school. I have limited knowledge of computers so I am somewhat confused by references to ‘performances’. Would I be correct in assuming that the reviewer and most people who comment on this site have high demands and requirements in terms of what they utilise their computers for, well beyond what high school students would require for everyday schoolwork and presentations – although, having said that, what kids do at school these days on computers really is extraordinary. When you say the i3 sandy bridge procesor is slower than the i5 Ivy Bridge, are you referring to mere seconds slower, or time to go make a cup of tea while you wait for the computer to respond? Is the X32A adequate (with 320GB HDD + 24 GB SSD) as opposed to the UX31A (128GB + SSD)?

    • Mike

      December 3, 2012 at 11:12 am

      Yes, you can assume that I have very high demands (I’m the reviewer) :P

      When I say slower, that’s usually fractions of a seconds to seconds slower, so for the average user, that should be fine. For me though it’s not…

      On the storage, I’d go for the 320 GB HDD + small SSD, because that offers more room for programs, videos, music and other types of content. Yes, the full SSD option is faster, but like I said, for your daughter, that shouldn’t matter that much.

      Still, there are some important reasons why i advise people to go for the i5 version rather than the i3. The i3 a tested here is the older generation platform and it will struggle with movies and even light games. For daily tasks, it should be OK, but for anything with intense graphics, not so much. The i5 option is newer, faster and with better graphics, and since you’re probably planning to keep the computer for a while (2-3 years, maybe more), I’d say it’s the smarter pick (thinking long term, the i3 is going to get quicker obsolete and won’t be able to face the future programs that easily as the i5). But it really depends in how much more expensive is the i5 over there.

      In both cases I’m talking about the Asus UX32A, not the UX31A prime, the latter is a different kind of computer, with a different case and screen.

      Anyway, hope this helps, get back if you have any other questions ;)

      Mike

  4. Mark Brown

    December 8, 2012 at 10:30 am

    Hi Mike

    If I was to update to an ssd would I just replace the cache ssd?

    Also how many ram slots does it have, easy to upgrade?

    Will the number of ram slots be the same for all ux32a sub models?

    Thanks

    Mark

    • Tomaz

      April 6, 2014 at 3:40 pm

      You can replace HDD for an SSD. It’s standard 7 mm high SATA drive. So when choosing SSD make sure to pick 7 and not 9 mm high ones, or you’ll have to take it out of casing (voiding warranty) to get it installed.

      This is only half of the story – the other half is that you will need to use Windows 8 or custom build installer for Windows 7, which only comes with USB 2 drivers, but this notebook has no USB 2 ports. All are USB 3, so you need to pre-load the USB 3 drivers into the USB stick (or DVD, if you prefer) to be able to recognise the installation disc. Messy.

      Windows 8 installs smooth, though.

      Cache SSD is iSSD (a 2.5 cm square chip, soldered on mainboard) and cannot be replaced. You can only replace the stock hard disk, which, as said, is a standard SATA drive.

      As for the RAM – 2 GB is soldered on mainboard and cannot be replaced. But the other 2 GB is on a standard notebook RAM stick, and can be removed and replaced. Laptop takes 4 and 8 GB sticks (for total of 6 or 10 GB RAM). There is only 1 RAM socket that you can replace RAM in.

      I believe (but of course can not claim) that all of the UX32 models share the same mainboard, and should as such share the number of RAM slots.

      Obviously, the new models that come with Windows 8 and different CPU are likely using different mainboard. I am talking about the same generation of the Zenbooks, just with different CPU specs.

      Hope this is of any use.

      Cheers,
      Tomaz

  5. Wilhelm

    April 16, 2013 at 8:43 am

    Dear Mike,
    I want to state at first that I really appreciate your reviews and that I think, as you, that laptops must be really portable and light.
    Once said this, I’d like to ask you if this version of the Zenbook that I found in Italy (where I come from) has better performances: it has the Intel Core i3 3217U. I wuoldn’t use the laptop to execute programs like “Photoshop” or play “Bioshock: Infinite”, but I would anyway use it for the editing of videos (whith Pinnacle Studio, the lastest version), for graphics programs (like Autocad) or even play, sometimes (titles like Dirt 3 that you have shown in the videoreview). How wuold this newer version of the Zenbook deal with it?
    Thanks for your reply,
    Wilhelm van der Rohe

    • Andrei Girbea

      April 17, 2013 at 2:23 pm

      Hei Willhelm.

      I think I already replied to you on Youtube. Anyway, the Core i3 is going to be too slow for your requirements. All those programs will run, but the system might get sluggish. So I’d choose a device with an Intel Core i5 processor, if possible. Also, both Autocad and Pinnacle require a lot of memory to run smoothly. So if you can find a configuration with 8 GB of RAM, it would help on the long run. Or at least get a machine that allows you to upgrade the RAM yourself afterwards.

  6. Tomaz

    May 24, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    I have the i5 version of this ultrabook, and have swapped out the 500 GB hard drive for an SSD, dropping in an extra 8 GB RAM while already having it open.

    What reviewer is saying is true, the original Windows came with loads of crap that even when uninstalling didn’t do much of a justice to the notebook. So I swapped the drive and plugged in external USB DVD drive. What an idiot, me.

    So here’s a spoiler for anyone who thinks of doing the same – This notebook only has USB 3 sockets. Windows 7 installation disc only comes with USB 2 drivers. So… what you’ll need to do is build a USB installation disc, with one file custom built to insert the drivers in it. That might be a pain, but you can find instructions on Google :)

    Anyway, apart from loading much quicker than from hard drive (alas using that 32 GB iSSD cache earlier, which I now don’t), it is still a sluggish machine. And it has a nasty issue – it often forgets to switch video card on.

    This demonstrates itself when it goes to sleep, you wake it up, lights come up but the screen is blank. Or when booting up, you can see ASUS logo, the Windows 7 loading logo, but when the login prompt should show (and you hear that familiar Windows start sound), the screen is – blank.

    To get it back to life, one needs to close the lid, wait 10 seconds and open it again. Utterly annoying. This was happening on the original configuration as well and I stupidly thought Windows reinstall would fix it…

    Screen is actually IPS, although standard resolution, not FullHD of the Prime series. Wifi and bluetooth receiption are fine, but there’s no LAN. It has a USB3 to LAN adapter (as well as some micro display port to VGA) included, but it is disappointingly only 100 mbps. For VGA doesn’t matter so much, as there’s also mini-HDMI (which can output full HD) there.

    While the body of laptop seems quite durable, the plastic casing of the power supply is really scratch magnet. And overall the plug seems very insecure. I wish ASUS copied MagSafe adapter from Apple, if they already stole most of the rest of design.

    As said earlier, speakers are very good for the size of notebook, microphone is clear, and iPhone headset or standard headphones can be used if that’s not enough. Using V-Moda Crossfades XP the sound quality was excellent. Webcam is somewhat standard quality, nothing to write home about, and wish it had privacy shutter, which it does not.

    Keyboard is way below par, compared to MacBook Air/Pro one, and has power button built in top right. Like Caps Lock and Wireless (F2) there’s a tiny light in the button to show function is on. But Wifi light often “forgets” to turn on… which is annoying a bit. Like mentioned, the top line of buttons is really small, and easy to press wrong button, especially if you don’t illuminate them. On the good side, it has backlighting, although not as good as MacBook Pro/Air. It is not even. Also the clicking when typing isn’t particularly reassuring. Let’s say it this way – Mac keyboard is miles ahead of this one.

    The sleep light is on the right side. Strange place to put it.

    With SSD inside and using USB 3 thumbdrive, the transfer speeds were amazing between stick and SSD, and vice versa. One of the USBs (on the left) is high powered, to charge ASUS tablet. It also stays on when you power off laptop. Great way to flatten battery unintentionally.

    The best features for which I can even forget screen not coming up half of the time, slow CPU performance, crappy keyboard and barely passable trackpad (it is now, that I turned off tap to click), as well as not too solid construction, are these:
    - light (below 1.5 kg, after having switched from MacBook Pro, I often thought I forgot to take laptop with me or someone stole it…)
    - battery life (easily exceeding 5 hours even at moderate usage)
    - upgradeable (the fact that you can change HDD for SSD or another HDD (as long as it’s 7 mm high) and replace one stick of RAM (2 GB is soldered on board, another 2 GB is on standard SO-DIMM card) without voiding warranty is wonderful
    - easy to replace battery, despite speakers attached to it (let’s face it, battery will die one day, and you don’t want to have MacBook Pro Retina, when that happens)

    Honestly – I was tempted with UX31, for sleeker look, lower weight and stronger casing, but – it’s only 128 GB (of slow Sandisk SSD – PS: that 32 GB iSSD on UX32 is also Sandisk), which can’t really be changed, being custom format; and all the RAM soldered on board, limiting the notebook to 4 GB RAM. Had there been 256/512 GB SSD model with a reasonably speedy SSD (Samsung, OCZ, Intel, Crucial…), and at least 8 GB RAM version – I would find it hard to resist.

    Am I happy with it? Now that I’ve put my own, clean Windows on, installed SSD and more RAM – yes, it’s a lovely thing that is never missing in my backpack when I travel. It is more than adequate for what I do on the road. But it is certainly not something that would replace the speedy desktop that I am just sitting in front of. Not even close.

    • Andrei Girbea

      May 25, 2013 at 10:11 am

      Hey Thomasz. Thanks a lot for your detailed opinion. Much appreciated. Is it OK with you to move it at the bottom of the actual review, in a section called user reviews? I will credit you for it of course, and if you have a site/twitter account or something, I’d gladly link to it as well.

  7. Primo

    July 8, 2013 at 6:48 pm

    Really liked your open comments and I bought ux32A-DB31 this.
    I didn’t get the Ethernet adapter, brown Sleeve pouch, small pouch of cables when I bought this, but I got another UX31A where all these three were there.

    • Andrei Girbea

      July 10, 2013 at 8:07 am

      over here they include all those things. looks like things differ from country to country…

  8. Trunk

    September 18, 2013 at 11:40 pm

    Hey, I have a question regarding the RAM: does this ux32a with the iCore 3 accepts the 8gb stick RAM upgrade, or just the 4gb one? I read around the web and it’s inconclusive. Some said that the iCore 3 configuration can have up to 10gb RAM total (8gb RAM stick upgrade), while some said that it’s just 6gb RAM (4gb stick) total. Also, the screen capture of your configuration clearly shows that the RAM is PC3-12800, while others said (without proof) that it’s PC3-10666. Do you have any insights to this RAM curiosity regarding to this specific iCore 3 configuration?

    • Trunk

      September 18, 2013 at 11:48 pm

      I think I switched the i and the Core around, so it’s Core i3. On Asus’s website, it stated that up to 4gb for the available slot and the speed is 12800. However, some reviews, both pro and consumer, stated otherwise. Since your review has screen capture, it’s can be surely confirmed that it’s in fact, runs at 12800.

  9. Ale

    October 2, 2013 at 8:56 am

    Hi, first of all, congrats for making a great review! I’m about to buy the ASUS Zenbook UX32A-RHI5N31 on Office Depot, but they told me there is no way to upgrade this laptop RAM to 8Gb. Can you tell me if that’s true? I’ve seen some comments on upgrading RAM on the i5 version, but I don’t know if that particular model (UX32A-RHI5N31) has some kind of restriction for doing that.

    Thanks in advance!

    • Andrei Girbea

      October 2, 2013 at 11:57 am

      Not sure about that particular model. From what I know, the UX32A has one memory slot that can take up to 4 GB modules, plus the 4 GB soldered on the MB. So i can’t see why you won’t be able to upgrade it… maybe they just don’t know what they’re saying? I don’t know

      • Ale

        October 2, 2013 at 6:44 pm

        Thanks for your reply. I’ve checked on Asus website and this is what they say about memory: “DDR3 1600 MHz SDRAM, OnBoard Memory GB , 1 x DIMM socket for expansion up to 4 GB SDRAM”.

        For me it’s a little bit confussing, as I don’t understand if the 1 x DIMM socket is the one that can get a 4gb additional module or if the expansion up to 4gb is the total amount of RAM the laptop can have.

        Can you clarify me on that?

        Thanks again!

        • Andrei Girbea

          October 2, 2013 at 8:35 pm

          you get 4 GB soldered on the motherboard and one extra slot that can take an up to 4 GB DIMM. For a total of 8.

          • Christian

            October 26, 2013 at 11:56 am

            Hello,
            What I had understood is that there is 2GB of RAM soldered on the motherboard, with a 2GB stick coming along with it. This is replaceable with a 8GB RAM stick (i.e. Crucial, Mushkin), giving up to 10GB. Is this not correct?

          • Andrei Girbea

            October 28, 2013 at 3:23 pm

            it is correct

  10. Tomaz

    October 29, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    @Christian, having opened mine up, I can confirm that UX32-VR has 2 GB soldered onboard, as well as another RAM socket (standard notebook DDR-3 SO-DIMM socket) which accepted 8 GB Corsair stick without complaints.

    Upgrade is pretty painless.

    Remove all the screws at the bottom. Lift the lid from front of computer first, as there is a bit of double-sided tape holding the lid in place at the back. Carefully remove it, and you will see RAM stick wrapped in aluminium foil right in front of you.

    You may remove foil from stock RAM and put it on your RAM, or don’t bother with it. Just unlock the socket, remove stick, place new one in and make sure it clips into the socket.

    Place the lid back and make sure to align it properly, not pressing the back yet. Screw it back, but don’t tighten it yet, to allow you a bit of movement to align it perfectly. When all the screws are in, tighten it.

    Flip and test :)

    It should not take more than 10 minutes in all. But recommend you to place notebook on something soft, so you don’t scratch it.

    • christian

      October 30, 2013 at 10:10 am

      Thanks @Tomaz!
      That’s what I thought, can’t wait to try to upgrade mine. I mean I have the ux32a, but after doing some research changing the ram stick seems to be the same simple operation on nearly all these models.

      Now I was wondering whether this will have a great impact on my computer’s performance? At the beginning it felt a little sluggish, and at times actually froze completely. I thought that this was because of the slow processor, but it still seemed odd cause I wasn’t running the laptop too hard either. Checking cpu usage showed that this would usually peak at around 60% while lagging was being detected, and usually even stay at around 30%.

      Also, I noticed that RAM usage was very high, peaking at over 90% even. So would upgrading the RAM fix this issue? I understand the processors clock speed will remain the same, meaning it won’t suddenly turn into a power house. But I’m not expecting wonders either.

      Thanks for your help!

      • Tomaz

        October 31, 2013 at 9:09 am

        Dear Christian,

        Actually I can’t say that it’s any faster or any slower after adding RAM.

        The reason you upgrade RAM is… well, because you can ;) In my case I planned to use vmware on it, which I do, but rarely.

        The CPU is a little bit limited. Not a little. It may be a little too conservative on the clock, to extend battery life, and that has quite significant toll on performance. With or without 10 GB RAM.

        I can say that with 10 GB RAM the usage (unless loading vmware) doesn’t exceed 4 GB usually, so that said, for normal work you won’t see much of a difference in performance. But for that 50$ to make it 10 GB… why not.

        And to make it perfectly clear – the slowdowns will still happen with or without extra RAM or even SSD. If you can turn on the showing of CPU clock and not only utilisation percentage, you will get a hint on why – often CPU is running far below 1 GHz and has some lag (or at least so it seems) before raising clock.

        The above is said for Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit (retail box, not one included with laptop)

        Finally – to see how to take the laptop apart, and how it looks on the inside, before deciding on whether to open it or not, it’s worth taking a look at this: http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/Asus+Zenbook+UX32VD+Teardown/10120

        It is a guide of taking the laptop apart, picture by picture.

  11. Erkan Pinar

    January 24, 2014 at 11:57 am

    I just purchased the Asus Zenbook UX32A-R3038H.
    On the website were i purchased my Zenbook it clearly mentioned that the memory was not upgradeble and was max of 4 GB.
    I Still purchased additional 8 GB Kingston ValueRAM SODIMM DDR3-1600.
    And just removed the 2gb on the socket.
    It works now fluently and very fast without any glitch whatsoever as I work with heavy programs such as adobe photoshop and illustrator.
    The system shows that i have 10 GB on memory now.

  12. Ivan

    March 26, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    The mini-VGA looks a lot like a mini-DisplayPort. Has anyone tried to connect it to the DisplayPort end of a monitor? Are there adapters for DVI?

    • Andrei Girbea

      March 31, 2014 at 8:47 am

      it’s a Mini VGA port for sure, although it looms like DP

    • Tomaz

      April 6, 2014 at 3:46 pm

      DisplayPort is a completely different thing to Mini-VGA, and contains some circuits inside to process signal, which mini-VGA does not – it just connects pins one by one from one side of the cable to another, to plug the VGA monitor in.

      Personal recommendation – nowadays more or less every screens supports HDMI or if not, rather get HDMI to DVI adapter. It will allow you to use full resolution, which VGA does not support anyway.

      If you manage to get DisplayPort adapter somehow into the mini-VGA socket, you are risking damaging both the screen and the VGA card in your laptop.

  13. Sandy

    May 8, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    Hi, fantastic review, I love my zenbook! Unfortunately one of the screws at the back has fallen out and disappeared somewhere, leaving a gap at the back and the fan is slowly getting louder (I assume because dust is going into the fan). Which screws should I be searching for if I need a replacement? Are torx screws all the same?

    Thanks :_

    • Andrei Girbea

      May 10, 2014 at 9:54 pm

      What zenbook do you have? The UX32A? If I’m not mistaken, this one uses T5 Torx screws, and no, not all Torx screws are the same. besides the size, there’s also the matter of length. Maybe you can go to a computer service with one of your screws and see if they can help you out

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