While the world waits for thinner, higher-resolution notebooks from Apple, ASUS delivered part of that with its new S-Series Ultrabooks revealed at Computex this year. Priced below $899 (basically covering the $699 - $849 range), the S-Series features an aluminum unibody construction, 21mm thickness, Ivy Bridge Core i3/5/7, and optional GeForce GT 630M. ASUS retains the integrated optical drive. The S-series will be available in both 14 and 15-inch versions, but limited to a display resolution of 1366 x 768. If you want a higher resolution, you'll have to look toward the more expensive Zenbook Prime. 

At these price points solid state storage isn't exactly possible, but ASUS has outfitted these systems with a 24GB SSD cache in addition to the standard mechanical drive. Dimensions, additional specs and more shots can be found in the gallery below.

It is nice to see the Ultrabook trend having a positive impact on notebooks across many price points, although we do still need to see a serious revolution in PCs priced at or below $500.

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  • trane - Thursday, June 7, 2012 - link

    I agree, I have no idea why a $699-$849 laptop is being compared to one that starts at $1199 with a smaller display. If anything this seems much, much more inspired by the HP Folio 13.

    The Zenbook Prime review was full of Macbook Air, Air, Apple, Air, as well, with very little mention of ultrabooks that had been announced up to that point (e.g. Thinkpad X1 Carbon) at all.

    I understand Anand loves Apple products, but we all look forward to more comprehensive opinion.
  • ImSpartacus - Thursday, June 7, 2012 - link

    Yes, I found this article a little tacky. While the comparison is obvious, I think the blunt title did it for me.

    But the Zenbook Prime review was appropriate. The first round of Ultrabooks was terrible. None of them rivaled the Macbook Air in a meaningful way. So when the latest Zenbook seemed promising, the most relevant comparison is with the Macbook Air. Therefore, I see it as a positive that Anand felt the Zenbook was formidable enough to be compared to the industry-leading Macbook Air. Machines like the Folio 13 certainly weren't good enough for such a comparison to be relevant.
  • ananduser - Thursday, June 7, 2012 - link

    The world does not wait for Apple's macs. Their mobile devices yes. But not their macs. Especially the air which by PC standards is a low seller. Hell even on their own lineup it is not such a big seller. The 11"-er is more decent in this respect but that's about it.
  • seapeople - Thursday, June 7, 2012 - link

    Where do you people get your information?

    According to Amazon, the top selling 13" laptop overall is the Macbook Pro 13". The top selling "ultrabook" is the Macbook Air 13", which comes in at #6 overall. These two computers are also literally twice as expensive as the nearest non-Apple competitor in the top six list.

    Now I know Apple gets a boost by not having 30 different models out at one time like most PC companies, but if we're limiting ourselves to specific models, and especially if we're giving weight to the overall amount of money being spent, then yes, more than any other single computer, the world *is* waiting for the next Apple Macbook.

    Therefore, if AnandTech articles *didn't* reference marketing and sales leaders like Macbooks then *that* would be biased.
  • ananduser - Friday, June 8, 2012 - link

    Amazon does not sell computers to the world.
    Amazon is not the only way to get macs.

    The MBA are positioned as the entry level portable macs in Apple's limited line-up. Therefore you have no choice but to get the 11" if you are looking for the cheapest Apple machine. That's why, "a quarter ago", the 11" outsold the 13" 12 to 1(or 10 to 1). The other ultrabooks are positioned as niche, more expensive, machines within their own lineup. It's more likely that people buy something cheaper from HP rather than, say the 1500$ Spectre. Apple doesn't offer you a cheaper choice. Ultrabooks are laptops so, among the top selling laptops they don't even rank. Ranking them as "ultrabooks" for the sake of illustrating the biggest seller is pointless.

    No sooner than you go outside of the US, MB awareness plummets. Think big and don't think your own back yard.
  • ajp_anton - Thursday, June 7, 2012 - link

    About the constant mentioning of Apple, I would understand the Macbook Pro reference if this actually had something to do with it.
    Apple's keyboard layout is very different. Apple's touchpad is centered. Apple is ditching the optical drive. Apple doesn't have crap-resolution screens. Apple doesn't have SSD cache.
    I just don't see why Apple is mentioned here, as this has nothing to do with them...
  • ananduser - Thursday, June 7, 2012 - link

    "Apple doesn't have crap-resolution screens." Yes it does, check the MBP 13".
  • Conficio - Thursday, June 7, 2012 - link

    This was a hopeful read until we hit the resolution limited to 1366 x 768 part (technology or quality is not mentioned)

    Optional dedicated GPU sounded good for all that could care less for gaming.

    Although the SSD Cache also is a waist of money. give me SSD options or a cheap hard drive that I can toss or put into a USB 3.0 housing for extended storage.

    On the plus side, solid case sounds good to me. May be the keyboard and trackpad are of good quality and display is at least IPS and I have to compromise my resolution expectations.
  • karasaj - Tuesday, June 12, 2012 - link

    Is the GT630M a kepler or Fermi variant?

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