ASUS expands its Zenbook line of Ultrabooks to include 14- and 15-inch models

About a year ago, when Ultrabooks were first starting to go on sale, ASUS was one of the first out of the gate with some lightweight, Intel-approved ultraportables. Since then, it's released a handful of iterations, including redesigned models with improved keyboards and sharper screens. That's a lot for a 12-month period, but there's one area where it fell behind: it tended to ignore larger-screened ultraportables, even as its competitors started selling models with 14- and 15-inch screens. That changed today, as the company announced three new Zenbooks, the 14-inch UX42VS and the 15-inch UX52VS and U500VZ, all of which will go on sale next month. Though the company hasn't issued granular pricing for each possible configuration, we know that prices in the US will range from $699 at the low end all the way up to $2,000.

So what do these have to offer, aside from a larger footprint? For starters, the UX42VS weighs 1.9kg (4.19 pounds) and has a chassis that whittles down to 6mm. It makes room for an optical drive, unlike ASUS' smaller Zenbooks, and features NVIDIA GT645M graphics with 1GB of dedicated video memory. Like any other ultaportable worth its salt, it will be offered with Core i3, i5 and i7 processors, though this guys steps up to 6GB of RAM and up to 1TB of hybrid hard drive storage.

Moving on, the 15-inch UX525VS (pictured) has a Core i5 or i7 Ultrabook-grade CPU, up to 10GB of memory (!) and up to 1TB in hybrid hard drive storage. The graphics card is the same 645M as on the 14-inch model. As for the U500VZ, it isn't an Ultrabook at all, as it has a standard-voltage, quad-core Core i7 processor. Other specs include 8GB of memory, a 1080p display and a beefier GT650M GPU, this time with 2GB of video memory. Despite the horsepower, though, it weighs in at a relatively light 2kg (4.4 pounds) and measures 6mm thick. Finally, wrapping things up, ASUS still plans to sell touchscreen versions of its 11- and 13-inch Zenbook Prime Ultrabooks. No word on availability for any of these, but we'll follow up with more details as they come in.