I think I just saw the most beautiful notebook at Computex this year. Although it went unannounced in ASUS' Computex 2013 press conference, the Zenbook Infinity garnered a lot of attention from behind its glass case. I managed to come across a fully functional system, equipped with 13.3-inch 2560 x 1440 capacitive touch IPS panel. The back of the display panel is actually covered with Gorilla Glass 3:

The Zenbook Infinity maintains ASUS' radial brushed finish, but thanks to the piece of Gorilla Glass 3 the feel is substantially improved. The combination of the metal and the glass cover results in an almost jewelry-like finish, which looks amazing in person. Photos really don't do this thing justice at all. I sincerely hope this marriage of Zenbook design and a glass finish is part of a new design direction for ASUS. If we had a best of show award, I'd totally give it to ASUS for the Zenbook Infinity.

Although it looked black at the press event, in person the Infinity actually has a blue finish to it. The keyboard and trackpad both felt great, as did the build quality of the prototype machine. The ASUS logo on the back uses the display's backlight for illumination.

The ultra high resolution panel would normally be a mixed blessing on a Windows notebook thanks to horrible DPI scaling in Windows 8 desktop mode, but I'm actually wondering if that's a problem Microsoft will address with Windows 8.1 later this year. Given the way the PC ecosystem works, I can't imagine notebook vendors and Intel putting this much effort into driving high DPI displays without proper support from Microsoft. We'll find out for certain shortly here, but I'm getting a good feeling that the solution to this problem may be close.

Internally, the Zenbook Infinity is also pretty cool. Unlike all other Haswell Ultrabooks we've seen, the ZBI is home to a 28W Haswell ULT: the Core i7-4558U. The dual-core part features Intel's Iris 5100 graphics (GT3 without Crystalwell) as well as a higher base CPU clock frequency. The result should be a very interesting combination of power efficiency and GPU performance on tap. ASUS seems to always pick the right parts to integrate into its mobile devices, and the i7-4558U is definitely an interesting one.

There's no word on when we can expect to see the Zenbook Infinity, but I'm getting the impression that many Haswell Ultrabooks are slated to arrive closer to the launch of Windows 8.1. Between the Zenbook Infinity and some of the other Haswell ULT designs I've played with at the show, I'm very excited about the state of Ultrabooks in the second half of the year.

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  • DigitalFreak - Thursday, June 06, 2013 - link

    Based on how Asus has been lately, you probably won't see this thing until Q2 2014. Reply
  • Homeles - Thursday, June 06, 2013 - link

    Asus has been fine lately. Reply
  • B3an - Saturday, June 08, 2013 - link

    They took forever to get the damn Taichi out. Reply
  • evilspoons - Thursday, June 06, 2013 - link

    OK... nice. Very nice.

    Now, can I have this in a thicker chassis with a dedicated GPU and a 45-watt quad-core i7?
    Reply
  • MrSpadge - Thursday, June 06, 2013 - link

    An Ultrabook with a 28 W CPU is actually the first I'd really consider.. altough it won't be quiet under load. Also needs a silent mode (cTDP). Oh, and the Thinkpad Helix chassis ;) Reply
  • Freddo - Thursday, June 06, 2013 - link

    Really like the design of this, at the moment it feels like the chances of me buying this device are very high. That said, I would actually prefer to have a lower 1080p resolution, since my laptop is connected to the TV a lot. Reply
  • MrSpadge - Thursday, June 06, 2013 - link

    Agreed - that resolution seems crazily-unneeded to me. Reply
  • peterfares - Friday, June 07, 2013 - link

    2560x1440 makes sense. That way you can set 200% scaling. This has a huge benefit. Older programs that are not DPI-aware will be able to be rendered at 1280x720 and pixel-doubled to 2560x1440 without re-sizing artifacts. Reply
  • jramskov - Thursday, June 06, 2013 - link

    Love the look of this, but I'm quite worried about having glass (even though it is gorilla glass) on the back. Reply
  • B3an - Thursday, June 06, 2013 - link

    If only the screen was also a detachable tablet. Not going back to a plain old laptop. Reply

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