ASUS' slim metallic Zenbook gets a super sharp 13.3-inch screen

ASUS' Zenbook UX301 was already rather impressive with its glass-covered body and 2,560 x 1,440 touchscreen, but its record has just been broken by yet another Zenbook. Announced at IFA today, the new UX305 is a gorgeous all-aluminum Ultrabook that packs an insanely sharp 13.3-inch 3,200 x 1,800 (276 ppi) display (as used by the bulkier UX303LN), and at just 12.3mm thick, it's certainly the world's slimmest laptop to carry this class of screen resolution. The trade-off here is that this isn't a touchscreen, but the 1.2kg weight does beat the 1.35kg 13-inch MacBook Air. Much like the rest of the Zenbook series, the UX305 is also quite the looker with its diamond-cut highlights plus signature spun-metal finish in either "Obsidian Stone" or "Ceramic Alloy" color option. Little else about this laptop has been mentioned so far: All we know is that it'll pack an Intel Core M processor, 10 hours of battery life and a choice of 128GB/256GB SSDs. We'll get back to you guys when we hear more later this year.

Update: We've now had a little time to play with this device in the hustle and bustle of the IFA show, and want to share a few first impressions with you. First up, the lightness and crispness of the hardware cannot be overstated, and everything feels very solidly put together and engineered. Depending on how viciously your hands sweat while typing, you might be overjoyed to learn that the ceramic alloy version that we tried out didn't register a single finger or palm print. That experience wasn't shared on the obsidian stone edition, but at least the company has an option for the sweaty-palmed.

Of course, these devices (I'm loathe to call it an Ultrabook; after all, it doesn't have the requisite touchscreen) live and die by their inputs. The keyboard gets a big thumbs-up from me, having decent travel and a satisfying click at the end of it, and writing a review (or, you know, term paper) on this thing should be a doddle. The trackpad doesn't earn as high a praise, and even after futzing with the sensitivity settings in Windows, still remained a little less accurate and responsive than you'd hope for. Still, trackpad issues are easily solved so we remain hopeful that by the time this device is ready for prime time, our experience is improved.

Obviously, you can't do an in-depth examination of a device's performance using a demo unit while a journalist's elbow is in your face, but we didn't experience any slowdown or chugging while pawing through apps. That's a good thing, right?