Asus Zenbook UX51VZ review / Asus U500 – top notch 15 inch ultraportable


  1. Tobias

    October 1, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    Hey Mike

    Do u know anything about the price yet? and when this monster comes.

    • Mike

      October 2, 2012 at 5:04 pm

      no, nothing on these for now

  2. Paolo

    October 1, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    Hi Mike, thank you for this preview! Do you know when will you get the final product to rip apart and make a full review? Any idea?

    • Mike

      October 2, 2012 at 5:04 pm

      i do hope to get it around the end of the month, but there’s no guarantee I will get it at all…

  3. tekkie

    October 2, 2012 at 9:08 pm

    Good review. I’d like to see this one reviewed against the Samsung Series 9 NP900X4C-A03US once the Asus is officially released. I’m not expecting that the Samsung can compete in terms of display, but curious about performance, features, etc. for the price.

    • Mike

      October 3, 2012 at 7:24 am

      the samsung 9 is built on an ULV platform and la lacks dedicated graphics. SO it’s no going to compete with the U500 in terms of performances, but should be interesting if you’re after the looks, thinness, etc should also have better battery life

  4. David

    October 4, 2012 at 5:47 am

    Great review Mike! Do you happen to know the width and length of the laptop?

    • Mike

      October 4, 2012 at 8:18 am

      hey David, sry, i don’t have the exact numbers, I forgot to measure it properly when I had the computer around…

  5. Tauhon

    October 10, 2012 at 2:24 am

    Hi Mike,

    Thanks for all your reviews! Given your experience, would you say I’m losing a lot of value for going for the N56VZ over waiting for the U500? I know all the differences, but I’m curious what you feel subjectively over this comparison. Thanks!

    • Mike

      October 11, 2012 at 7:48 am

      Well, I have one big gripe with the N56: the left pal of the palm rest and the left area of the keyboard get very hot when using, and that’s very annoying, since you’ll always have your hand there around the ASD keys.

      ON the other hands, while the U500 gets hot on the bottom, hotter than the N56, the user will hardly feel any discomfort, as the areas he’ll come in contact will only get warm.

      Otherwise, if you’re alright with these, I’d go for the N56. It’s half the price and the same features, while not being a lot heavier. Just bulkier.

  6. Roger

    October 19, 2012 at 9:16 am

    Hi Mike, thanks for the preview!

    Do you think the width and length almost like the N56?



    • Mike

      October 19, 2012 at 1:42 pm

      I haven’t put those side by side, but I think this is going to be close in terms of length, and a bit shorter. Overall though yes, since they are both 15 incher, they should have about the same footprint, give or take a few mm.

  7. Lars

    October 22, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    Why do you also call it asus ux51vz?

    I cant get any official information on that through a google search:-)


    • Mike

      October 22, 2012 at 8:45 pm

      because that’s how it’s going to be sold in the US and on some other markets. Asus Ux51v or Asus UX51VZ. Search for it on google, I can find some results available right now

  8. Grant

    October 23, 2012 at 2:56 am

    Hey Mike, I’m pretty sure that ASUS isn’t offering the gt650m in the GDDR5 version :/ If this is the case, what will be the extent of the power reduction if its GDDR3 instead of GDDR5? Thanks!

    • Mike

      October 24, 2012 at 12:22 am

      Grant, see the print screens., it’s the gdr 5 version

  9. Lars

    October 23, 2012 at 5:05 am

    Okay, makes sense now:-) .

  10. test

    October 24, 2012 at 7:46 am

    Hi Mike,
    the U500 is out now. Do you know if you can get the Notebook for your review? And will it be the touch or non-touch Version?

    • Mike

      October 25, 2012 at 3:41 pm

      I will try and see what’s going to happen. I’ll get back here on the site if I manage to get the final unit, it might take a bit, it’s still not available here yet

      • Paolo

        October 29, 2012 at 9:30 am

        If you manage to get it, could you tell us even before starting to work on it? :D At this point every piece of information is GOLD! :) Thank you!

      • Mike

        October 29, 2012 at 1:46 pm

        Yes, for sure

  11. Eric

    November 2, 2012 at 5:00 am

    For potential US buyers, I've done some extensive searching, and so far Adorama is the only retailer who has stock as well as the cheapest price. I'm tempted to purchase the DH-71 model, but I was hoping to get a hybrid model with just a HDD for a cheaper price. I've bought a Samsung 840 Pro 256GB SSD to install into the other bay. Mike, any ideas when, or if there will be a cheaper UX51VZ model with a standard HDD for those who want to install their own drives? Thanks for the great review!

    • Eric

      November 2, 2012 at 5:02 am

      Essentially I want to do to the UX51VZ what most owners did with their UX32VD’s, minus a RAM upgrade

      • Mike

        November 2, 2012 at 6:52 am

        Hei Eric, I’m not sure if there’s going to be a cheaper version, I will go ahead and ask Asus about that and get back if a find out anything

      • Eric

        November 2, 2012 at 7:36 am

        Thanks for the reply, but when you mentioned this:

        “We do know that the two SSDs are made by Sandisk and we’re probably talking about 2.5 inch SSDs, and not bar drives, like on the UX31, since Asus announced that this laptop will also be available with hybrid storage.”

        Were you referring to the particular model that I was talking about? With the HDD instead of SSD? Looking forward to ASUS’s reply :)

      • Mike

        November 2, 2012 at 9:04 am

        I was referring to the model I got to test, with 256 GB Raid 0 SSDs. I’m not sure if there is going to be a config with hybrid storage and I did not even get to have a look inside the U500 to see exactly what kind of components they put in there…

      • Mike

        November 2, 2012 at 9:05 am

        Oh, sry, i misunderstood you.

        Yeah, the official press release for the U500 talked about hybrid storage. But i don’t know if they’ll actually stick with that or not…

      • lars

        November 2, 2012 at 7:36 pm

        In Denmark you can only buy the one with dual 128 GB ssd’s(at the moment).

  12. Eric

    November 2, 2012 at 10:20 am

    Thanks anyways for your help Mike, your reviews have made me certain that this is the machine I’ve been waiting for.

  13. Paul Van Cotthem

    November 3, 2012 at 10:41 am

    Hi Mike, do you know if there are any free slots inside to add an extra hard disk or SSD?

    • Mike

      November 7, 2012 at 4:31 pm

      Sry, I do not know that but I’ll try to find out

  14. Andreas

    November 3, 2012 at 11:06 pm

    Thank you for an excellent review.
    Awesome. I’ll wait for this baby… Only 4 more days :)

    • Paolo

      November 5, 2012 at 10:35 am

      Why 4 days? Did they announce a release date??

      • Mike

        November 7, 2012 at 4:46 pm

        It’s already available in several countries

  15. John

    November 7, 2012 at 9:53 am

    Is the graphics card really a DDR5? All the retailers seem to have it listed as DDR3 only.

    • Mike

      November 7, 2012 at 4:45 pm

      See the print screen from GPUZ, it says DDR5 on this test unit..

  16. Colton

    November 10, 2012 at 9:55 am

    Hey Mike, I really appreciate the reviews. I’ve been looking at this machine for a while and am just not quite sure whether I want to look at grabbing it or not. A big concern for me is the battery life, have you gotten a chance to test a different unit and see if the 4 hours you got in your tests the actual average capacity?


    • Mike

      November 11, 2012 at 10:47 am

      NO, unfortunately the local Asus PR team has not received another U500 yet. And right now I’m not even sure they will, although back in October they said they will..

    • Paolo

      November 12, 2012 at 10:03 am

      On notebookreview there are some people who have already bought it. One did a real-life battery test: starting from fully charged battery, he played in loop a FullHD (1920×1080) movie, with display at 50% brightness, wifi on and external subwoofer plugged in. The laptop went in sleep mode at 5% battery after 4 hours and 1 minute. So, much better than the 3.5-4 hours in idle of the prototype

      • Mike

        November 15, 2012 at 1:04 pm

        That’s great

  17. Patrick

    November 12, 2012 at 10:38 pm

    Hi Mike!
    I really like your reviews and your “smaller is better” angle, as I started my laptop career with a Soncy PCG-1Xd. But now that laptops have really light I am stuck in a dilemma.

    I am typing a lot in libraries as a researcher and writer. I also use my laptop as TV substitute (so the good sound system of the U500 is luring me). If you compare the UX31A to the U500, are the extra 2″ and the better hardware worth the reduced portability for activities like these? I wouldn’t mind the price as I really like well designed, sleek laptops with good haptics.

  18. Napoleon

    November 14, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    I have read from one user feedback that the fans are making a racket. Would be interesting to know how this one compares with other comps in the same segment. Yes, I hate noise!

    • Mike

      November 15, 2012 at 1:05 pm

      Mine was alright… can’t say that all of them are though

  19. Matt

    November 15, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    Hey, great review. Is there any news yet on when this will be available in the US?

    • Mike

      November 19, 2012 at 6:34 pm

      It should be available already

  20. Alex

    November 15, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    Hi Mike.
    Thanks very much for the great review!

    I’d like to have some information: I know that, as of today, you didn’t have the opportunity to open the cover, but do you know if the battery is replaceable or is soldered?

    FYI, this laptop (U500VZ-CN046H) is available in Mediamarkt in Brussels and in The Nederlands while in Italy is not yet available.


    • Mike

      November 19, 2012 at 6:35 pm

      the battery is for sure soldered

  21. Somebody

    November 16, 2012 at 1:38 am

    does it have a touchscreen?

    • Mike

      November 19, 2012 at 6:35 pm

      My test unit did not, but some of the versions you’ll find in stores have one

  22. Berg

    November 16, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    I am curious if you can use the SSDs in another RAID-configuration to get 256GB capacity. Have you tried this or heard if it is possible?

    • Mike

      November 19, 2012 at 6:36 pm

      Not really sure, I did not try it myself

  23. lars

    November 17, 2012 at 8:42 pm

    I was at a gagdet mess in Denmark today called Beep.
    At Asus’ place the man said that they will make the u500 with a touchscreen. BUT he was’nt told from “above” but it seemed a bit like he assumed it because they a making the other zenbooks with touchscreens.

    But MAN even without the touch that machine kicks ass.:-)

    • lars

      November 19, 2012 at 8:26 pm

      I can confirm that this machine will have a touchscreen:)

  24. Dan

    November 18, 2012 at 12:03 am

    When is this laptop going to be released in US?

    Did you get a chance to test another one to check if the heating issues is still a repro ?


    • Mike

      November 19, 2012 at 6:37 pm

      NO, not yet. The local PR agency did not receive a final unit yet and although they said they will receive one when i first tested the U500, I’m not so sure anymore that’s going to happen :(

  25. Rahul Kapoor

    November 22, 2012 at 12:20 am

    I am planning to buy this laptop but I have a question, does it have switchable graphics because when i saw the specs on asus’s global site it only lists GT 650m. Can you confirm if both intel hd 4000 graphics and gtx 650 are listed in device manager.


    • Mike

      November 24, 2012 at 4:16 pm

      Yep, switchable graphics indeed

  26. Kristos

    November 22, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    Is it possible to upgrade the RAM (i.e. throw out the the 4GB and replace it with an 8GB) in order to get a total of 12GB?

    Memory is dirt cheap, and there should be no reason for not allowing this from a technical perspective, right?

    Great review, btw!!


    • Mike

      November 24, 2012 at 4:17 pm

      Not sure, the memory might be soldered. I wasn’t able to tear the back apart, this test unit was a lease and was not allowed to do that.. maybe you cna check the forums, in the owner’s lounge section

    • Paolo

      November 26, 2012 at 10:10 am

      Yes, you can take out the non-soldered 4GB slot and replace it with a 8GB one, for a total of 12 GB RAM. Confirmed by owners

  27. Paolo

    December 11, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    Hi Mike! I’ve heard that in Romania it should be available the configuration with 128 GB SSD + 500 GB HDD. Can you confirm/deny?
    If it is actually available, do you know how they can fit this storage configuration in the laptop? (i.e. mSATA, soldered cache, or something..)

    Thank you

  28. MP

    January 16, 2013 at 10:19 pm

    Hello Mike thx for review!
    I`m a mac user since long but not on a laptop, my prime workstation is mac/tower. Now i need a portable device and i look beyond MBP. My prime work is adobe CS… photoshop and indesign. Will this computer manage to fulfill my needs?
    From osx to windows 8 might be a problem but not a big issue.
    Dont think retina is neccesery but ips screen is a must for my work.
    thx for good review and hope you can read my english.
    is Asus Zenbook U500VZ/UX51VZ same computer?
    best regards

  29. Darren McInerney

    February 19, 2013 at 7:35 am

    Just throwing this out there, because I know comparisons to the Retina Macbook Pro are inevitable, here’s some random facts that may be lesser known and may help some people.

    Asus U500: 70-watt-hour lithium polymer
    Retina Macbook Pro 15: 95-watt-hour lithium polymer

    Discreet Video Card:
    Asus U500: Nvidia Geforce 650M w/ 2GB GDDR5
    Retina Macbook Pro 15: Overclocked (900MHz GPU clock / 1254MHz memory clock) Nvidia Geforce 650M w/ 1GB GDDR5 – Performs above a GTX 660M.

    Other noteworthy differences:
    – None of the Macbook Pro’s have number pads
    – Asus uses a semi-matte display, Apple uses a reduced-glare glossy by integrating the display with the glass
    – Both use HDMI 1.4a
    – The Retina Macbook Pro has non-replacable/upgradable memory integrated into the motherboard (configurable to 16GB LDDR3 1600MHz)
    – I believe, the Asus U500 has 4GB integrated (i.e. soldered DDR3 1600MHz) and 1 SO-DIMM slot (Their specs page is confusingly worded)
    – The Retina Macbook Pro does not have an integrated Ethernet port
    – The Retina Macbook Pro is configurable for up to 768GB of flash (solid state) storage, also non-replaceable/integrated into motherboard.
    – The speakers on the Retina Macbook Pro have been improved over the speakers that have been used in Macbook Pro’s for years
    – The fans have also been improved over the fans used in Macbook Pro’s for years

    Hope this helps some people. I’m on the fence between the two also. Rumors suggest the Retina MBP may see a redesign this year, despite this year. This is of course a RUMOR but something to consider.

    • Mike

      February 19, 2013 at 8:30 pm

      Hei Darren and thanks for all these details. Is it OK to add this comment as a section in the article, so it will be more visible. I’m giving you all the credit, of course.

  30. Dwayne

    March 31, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    Being that the 2 SSD drives are raided how much disk space did you have with? I would rather have 256 space instead of 128 Raided as I can back up my own stuff.

    • Andrei Girbea

      March 31, 2013 at 6:12 pm

      you can have either 2 x 128 or 2 x 256 by default. and of course you can customize that afterwards if you want to

  31. Paul Scholes

    April 5, 2013 at 4:13 am

    Andrei, thank you so very much for all the info, my old 17.2″Asus is now nearly 7 years old, still going strong and I’m going to repplace with the U500, I cannot see an Acer/Samsung/HP 15″ with the same specs, I have been told the price is around $AUD2950.00, yes, a bit pri old engineer,ng design work, looks well worth the money.

    To all you guys out there with your posts and terrific info, thank you to all.

    Regards from an old Aussie Mech. Engineer, Paul Scholes

    • Andrei Girbea

      April 5, 2013 at 8:39 am

      thanks rot he kind words Paul, I’m glad this post was helpful ;)

    • Rahul Kapoor

      April 5, 2013 at 2:28 pm

      before you buy the u500 check out the new dell xps line and the hp envy dv6-7300; i was planning to buy the u500 as well but due to the limitation of storage space and battery i decided that dv6-7300 was best for me.

      My dv6 has a i7-3740qm, gt650 2gb, 1080p matte display, backlit keyboard, intel wifi/widi card, and a 9cell battery, i went with the standard dvdrw but you could add a bluray burner; these are customer add-ons that i add to my custom build dv6. for the ssd, i bought a 120gb mushkin atlas and added it by self(didnt take the 32gb msata from hp) and its perfect.

      the best part about this laptop is the fingerprint reader, i didnt have to remember any passwords for any sites; it does it for me.

      • Andrei Girbea

        April 6, 2013 at 10:25 am

        Rahul, but how big and heavy is you dv6. you’re comparing a regular laptop with a thin-and-light. they are not the same thing

      • Rahul Kapoor

        April 7, 2013 at 2:33 pm

        thanks for replying

        Size and weight weren’t a real big concern for me because i already own a G74sx, so an used to travelling with a big laptop but believe me when i say this it wasn’t big difference between the u500 and dv6t

        length and weight on both of then were about the same actually the dv6t was a little bit smaller but we are maily concern about the thickness and weight because they both are 15.6″

        dvt6 29mm thick and 2.5kg
        u500 20mm thick and 2.16kg

        That said you cant justify the price of over $2000, my dv6t for under $1200 came with a bluray and a sub built in, unlike the u500 where you would have to carry both with you separably; so when you weight those to in the u500 is actually harder to carry and heavier.

        In the end the both come with the same ips panel, the only advantage i see in the u500 is if you bought the touch version which is another $200 or so expensive but still doesn’t justify the price; and not to mention you can never get it fixed anywhere.

      • Rahul Kapoor

        April 7, 2013 at 2:40 pm

        i am not saying that the u500 is a bad product, i m just saying that it doesn’t justify the price and before anyone point to a macbook retina, its specs are identical to my dv6 and are better than the zenbook for cheaper

        macbook retine with 2.4gh i7 cost $2200
        macbook with 2.7gh i7 same as my dv6 cost $2700

      • Andrei Girbea

        April 8, 2013 at 10:32 am

        For many, those 10mm and .35 of a kilo really matter. They will pay the premium price for the U500 just for that, despite not getting the same hardware they would get in other bulkier laptops. Just because that’s what they need: something powerful, but thin and light. for them, the u500 or the retina MBP are not overpriced as you say it is for you.

        And that’s OK, everyone has it’s own needs to satisfy, luckily there are enough good products on the market to satisfy them all :P

  32. Nitin Sharma

    September 4, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    Dear Andrei,

    Which one has a touch screen :

    ASUS UX51Vz-XH71

    ASUS UX51Vz-DH71

  33. Andrew Campbell

    August 15, 2021 at 1:38 am

    Hi I have the Asus U500V 8gb ram and was wondering how much they are today, as i got mine like new but second hand, i dont want to say how much i paid for it but was wondering how much they are going for today for a bit of peace of mind thank you if anyone knows i will be truly grateful.

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