First the rumor mill revealed ASUS had plans to refresh Ultrabooks with Ivy Bridge and 1080p IPS displays. Then the company confirmed the news itself when it brought some new Zenbook Prime laptops out for a demo and promised they'd go on sale in ASUS' native Taiwan. Now we've got some splendid news for our readers here in the US: those fresh ultraportables are making their way stateside too... eventually. ASUS just confirmed it's bringing four models to the states: the 11-inch UX21A, the 13-inch UX31A / UX32A and the UX32VD. What's the difference between the UX31A and the UX32A, you ask? It all comes down to storage: the UX32A uses hybrid hard drives, while the UX31A packs an SSD. Meanwhile, the UX32VD is nearly identical to the UX31A except that it packs an NVIDIA GT 620M GPU.
As rumored, the lineup includes Core i5 and i7 Ivy Bridge processors, with 1920 x 1080 IPS displays offered even on the 11-incher. (If you don't need that kind of pixel density, 1366 x 768 displays will be available as well.) Another thing they all have in common: ASUS has tweaked the touchpad and re-tooled the keyboard, making the pitch 12 percent deeper. Also, the keys are now backlit, for what that's worth.
Tentatively, ASUS is saying the 13-inch variations will start at $999 with Ivy Bridge (that lone $799 13-inch model comes with a Sandy Bridge CPU). Still no word on pricing for the smaller UX21A, though we know it will be offered in two flavors: one with Core i5 and a 128GB SSD, and one with Core i7 and an optional 256GB drive. Of course, ASUS is careful to warn that these prices are subject to change, though we're presuming they're at least in the same ballpark as what you'll ultimately pay. Additionally, ASUS isn't saying when, exactly, these models will be available, but it's obvious that Intel needs to formally unveil its remaining Ivy Bridge CPUs before these laptops can see the light of day. We'll hit you back with more details as we receive them, but in the meantime head over to our preview of the UX21A for hands-on photos, benchmark scores and detailed impressions.