Please read the comparison before you vote for the poll, thank you! Greetings MacRumor Community. 2012 is halfway passed and Apple took the opportunity to release a Laptop with very high pixel density, during their announcement they said that no other Laptop has yet achieved such a high pixel density... but Asus released the 2012 Zenbook (UX32VD) before WWDC and it has a FULL-HD resolution in a 13inch Case. This lead to a pixel density of about 160-170 while the Retina-Macbook has a pixel density of 220. So actually there has been a contender before the WWDC. The human eye can actually recognize huge differences between a pixel density of 0-120, when a pixel density of 120 is achieved the human eye can no longer diverse single pixels (during computer normal usage: viewing distance about arm length)... every further increase leads to only small differences (if any!). So basically the viewing experience of both laptops will be about the same. As both, UX32VD and rMBP have an IPS-Panel their display statistics share about the same specs. The Asus UX21A (11inch) shares the Display-Panel with the UX32VD Version (13inch). Anandtech.com actually has shown that the Asus-Panel achieves better specs than the Apple-Panel. Source: http://www.anandtech.com/show/6023/the-nextgen-macbook-pro-with-retina-display-review/5 ...so when it comes to Display comparison the Asus UX32VD has a better Image while the rMBR has more Image-Space cause of the 15,4inch Case. ______________________________________________ In this thread I will compare those 3 outstanding devices. Most significant attributes during this comparison are: "Performance", "Value" and "Portability". Lets see who is "my" personal winner mid 2012. A few words about me: I am 21 years old, and I'm studying computer science. Lets go! _________________________________________________________________________________ Apple Macbook-Retina (~2200€) Specs: Intel Quadcore-I7 @2,3 GHZ (Turboboost 3,3 GHZ), 8GB RAM @1600MHZ, 15inch IPS-Display with 2,880x1,800 Pixel (16:10) Retina-Resolution. Geforce 650M @1GB + Intel 4000HD. 256GB SSD. Bluetooth, HDMI, USB 3.0, Thunderbolt, Display-Port. + Case: Unibody + OSX + 16:10 DisplayRatio + 1GB 650M Graphics + Quad Core I7 @2,3 GHz. 3,3GHZ Turboboost. + IPS-Panel + 7 Hours Battery-Life + SSD 256GB + Display-Port + 2x Thunderbolt + Ultra-portable + Backlid Keyboard + Multitouch Trackpad - Expensive - No Customization (RAM soldered/Apple SSD) - 1 Year Warranty Neutral: * Glossy (moderate glare) * Zenbook is thinner and weight 0,5kg (1,1pound) less. Conclusion: The Macbook-Retina start a new decade of portable devices, it would be downgraded by calling it Macbook-Air 15inch. There has never been a Laptop which such a high pixel density, yet is is not the perfect laptop. The RAM is soldered on the Mainboard and the Custom SSD is hard to replace, once you buy this laptop you are limited to your chosen spec at the initial purchase. The Retina-Display although suffers from Burn-Ins and Ghosting, so what first seems to be the perfect machine turns out to have too many faults to claim this throne. Apple will most likely do its best to fix those problems... its still a prototype machine. If the listed problems do not really derail you, than you may chose this device and be as happy as never before. Apple Macbook-AIR (1650€) Specs: Intel Dualcore-I5 @1,8 GHZ (Turboboost 2,8 GHZ), 8GB RAM @1600MHZ, 13inch TN-Display with 1440 x 900 Pixel (16:10). Onboard Intel 4000HD. 256GB SSD. Bluetooth, 1x USB 3.0, Thunderbolt. + Case: Unibody + OSX + Anti-Glare Screen + 16:10 DisplayRatio + 7 Hours Battery-Life + SSD 256GB + 1x Thunderbolt + Very Thin/Portable + Backlid Keyboard + Multitouch Trackpad - No Customization (RAM soldered/Apple-SSD) - Expensive - 1 Year Warranty - Dual Core I5 @1,8 GHz. 2,8GHZ Turboboost. - 1440 x 900 Resolution - TN-Panel - Intel 4000 GPU Conclusion: The Macbook-Air seems to be the weakest device in this comparison. Its display resolution seems a bit outdated and the TN-Panel does not offer the same quality as an IPS-Panel. Trackpad and Keyboard are outstanding and if you need a portable device while you cant disclaim OS-X, well than this is maybe your best valued choice. When only Specs are taken into consideration, the Macbook-Air sadly is falling behind. Asus ZENBOOK (900-1000€) Specs: Intel Dualcore-I7 @1,9 GHZ (Turboboost 3,0 GHZ), 4GB RAM @1600MHZ, 13inch IPS-Display with 1920 x 1080 Pixel (16:9) Full-HD Resolution. Geforce 620M @1GB DDR5 + Intel 4000HD. 500GB HDD + 32GB SSD (Cache). Bluetooth, Full-Size HDMI, 3x USB 3.0, Mini-VGA, SD-Card Slot. + Cheap Price + Customization (RAM/HDD can be replaced) + Anti-Glare Screen + 2 Years Warranty + 7 Hours Battery-Life (with Linux ~8-9 Hours!) + Very Thin/Portable (same as Air) + Weights only 1,5kg! (equals 3,30 pounds) + IPS-Panel + Dedicated SSD 32GB (can be used as secondary partition) + 1GB 620M Graphics (clocked @same performance as 540M) + Backlid Keyboard + Multitouch Trackpad + High quality Synthetic-Sleeve is part of the Assembly - HDD 500GB @5400rpm (can be replaced with SSD [+200€)) - 4GB DDR3 RAM (can be replaced with custom RAM [+50€]) - 16:9 DisplayRatio. - Lacks Display-Port (instead it has a Mini-VGA) - Dualcore I7 @1,9GHZ. 3,0GHZ Turboboost. Neutral: * Case: Aluminum-Sandwich * SSD Cache soldered (neutral because it's dedicated) Sleeve: Huge Zenbook UX32 Review: http://www.notebookcheck.net/Review-Asus-Zenbook-UX32VD-Ultrabook.75591.0.html Upgrade-Source: SSD Replacement: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqe1-X_klr4 Transform SSD-Cache into normal SSD: http://ultrabooknews.com/2012/06/28/mod-your-asus-ux32vd-from-hybrid-to-ssd-for-free/ RAM Replacement: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EEUgI...eature=related Example for Updated UX32VD: i7@1,9GHZ (Turboboost 3,0GHZ) + 10GB DDR3 1600MHZ RAM + Nvidia 620M@1GB + 256GB (Samsung 830) SSD + 32GB Custom-SSD + Full-Size HDMI + 3x USB 3.0 + Mini VGA + SD Card Slot. Overall Cost: 1250-1300€ for this price you basically get the fastest Ultrabook on the market with the best laptop Screen on the market (except Macbook-Retina). Its even possible to toggle the SSD-Cache into a normal SSD-Drive, which enables the option to install a OS on that component, so the user is able to use the 32GB for Linux and the 256GB SSD for Windows 8. Conclusion: Asus... whats that? Well, its not a Apple-Company. Rumors do state that a sub-company of Asus was initially addressed by Apple to build the Macbook-Air Unibody-Cases that Macintosh Laptop's use these days, it seems like those guys are not bad in building an enclosure. The Zenbook is not build in a Unibody-Case but its Aluminium-Sandwich Appearance does look very good. The building quality is really outstanding. The Keyboard has some very small flex, but only with high pressure, it still feels very comfortable and the Multitouch Trackpad is offering a solid performance. The main factor about this device is the Full-HD Display which looks outstanding and offers a really good viewing experience, some buyers do claim that their display suffers from bleeding. The special thing about this Laptop is that regardless of the very small enclosure, its possible to switch HDD and RAM. The sleeve which is part of the purchase is a nice gift apart from this outstanding windows PC... and that's the last aspect, regardless of its specs it is still a windows PC. _________________________________________________________________________________ Comparison As the Asus UX32VD has lower hardware specs than the rMBP, it will be outperformed in intense operations... so when it comes to performances the rMBP wins hands down. When the Zenbook gets compared to the Macbook-Air it wins in every aspect... and with SSD (256GB) and 10GB RAM upgrade the Zenbook would still even cost about 350€ less than the Air! Overall performance Notice: The Asus Zenbook can be customized with an SSD/Ram Upgrade. The SSD-Cache is a dedicated component, so when the HDD gets removed the SSD-Cache will still be attached to the computer, when you install a Samsung 830SSD with 256GB space, than you basically get 286GB of space (+30GB SSD Cache). Although the Zenbook has two Ram-Slots which each 2GB of Ram at 1600MHZ Clock speed... one of those DIMM's can be replaced with a 8GB DIMM, the other one is part of the Mainboard, so you basically can upgrade up to 10GB of RAM. Asus UX32VD with Samsung 830 SSD [256GB] and 10GB Ram (overall cost 1200-1300€) vs. Base Retina Macbook (2200€). Does the Retina Macbook perform better? Lets see: 1. Net-Browsing -> No! 2. Writing/Coding -> No! 3. Rendering -> No! 4. Photo Editing -> No! 5. Video Editing -> Yes! 6. 3D Programming -> Yes! 7. Gaming -> Yes! If you really need a Powerhouse-Portable, than the rMBP will be the way to go but I've you don't use 3D Programming / Video Editing than you don't need that power. 3D Perfomance (UX 32VD) As I've mentioned before, the Zenbook loses against the rMBP in 3D/Video processes, but that was about to be expected... but regarding the UX32VD and Videogames... I am not a gamer... but actually this video is quite interesting! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xw-2wdZ0MdU 30 Frames on Skyrim with ULTRA-Settings and Full-HD Resolution! This can be obtained because most applications nowadays only use a single core (especially video games)... and the Turboboost of both systems has only a difference of 300MHZ. When you are a gamer you should be able to game with that machine... when you chose a lower Resolution it should get even better frames. Customization: Huge advantage towards the UX32VD... as its RAM and HDD can be replaced.... with SSD and RAM Upgrade the Performance (outside of Videogames/Video editing) is comparable with the rMBR Performance. When the SSD price drops there will be the option to insert a huge SSD into the case, the rMBR lacks that option. Operating System: Of course... the UX32VD lacks the OS-X operating system, which basically makes it uninteresting for most Macintosh users. But it should be possible to overcome that situation... and still, windows is not as bad as many people are claiming it to be. As "All-Time" Mac-user you will most likely not waste a glance at the Zenbook, and I do understand that position. Best for Performance: Macbook Retina __________________________________________________ Value If you do care about Value than than you can't avoid the Asus Zenbook. It offers insanely good amount of hardware for this amount of money. Even when you customize it with SSD and RAM it will still only cost about 1300€. The Macbook-Retina does although offer a satisfying value in regards of the given specs, but 2200€ for a Laptop is still a Line that many people are not willing to cross. Its only worth it if you need this powerful hardware. When the Macbook-Air is taken into consideration it seems to be the most unsatisfying solution. Best for Value: Zenbook __________________________________________________ Portability Both, Macbook Air and Zenbook share about the same specs in weight and size. As the Zenbook has better hardware components it will be the better overall choice. The Macbook-Retina is although a very portable machine but its 15inch size makes it a little bit more uncomfortable in transportation. Best for Portability: Zenbook __________________________________________________ Summary: I personally lean towards the Zenbook (Asus UX32VD) as it is more portable and can be upgraded. But that's my personal experience as a Student who although cares for value. The Zenbook can get pretty fast when upgraded... Windows 8 has better Scaling-Options than Windows 7, there will be no issues regarding small images on the 13inch screen when Windows 8 is released. I really like OS-X but when it comes towards Design I personally would really like to remove the Apple-Logo on the back... I don't feel comfortable with it, the other downside is that there are many prejudices against Apple-Users. The Zenbook Design is more unique and does actually fit my personal style a lot better, so when it comes to Design and my personal preferences, Zenbook-Design wins against Mac-Design. The Zenbook is a ultra portable windows laptop with very good specs, this rarely happens and that is why it is basically a bargain. Well, It does lack OS-X but as a technically minded person this shouldn't be a real problem. I do think that Apple should make the turn to officially offer OS-X as standalone software version... but I guess that will never happen, as it is the main reason to pick a mac ___________ Why do I compare those both different machines? Its all about the intended usage of both devices, on a normal usage surface the Zenbook is the better device. The RetinaPro is not worth it... who need powerhouse laptops these days (its a minority!). If you really need this powerful hardware than you will most likely work on an external screen which makes the Retina-Screen useless. Somebody said that the rMBP is a 2200€ Facebook machine and I need to agree with this guy at some point... I guess that overall maybe 20-30% of the buyers do even know what a virtual machine is (no insulting intended!)... There are Musicians/DJ's and App-Programmers who really need OSX... those guys don't need good hardware in most cases, although its not really useful for Photo editors... cause the Retina-Screen will affect the photo appearance when viewed on a normal full HD screen, who has a 2k Screen at home? So basically the user edits a Photo on 2k and needs to render it back on HD, so where is the reason for using 2k? The technology is not ready for such a high screen resolution on a computer device and everyone who uses the retina Macbook will limit himself in usage, cause the software will need to get upgraded to that resolution which can takes months (or even years, who knows). Who is the Retina-Macbook meant for? Journalists and Coders. They stare at monitors for hours and the Retina-Screen will reduce Eye strain. The funny thing is that both do not need the hardware, but there is no alternative on the market as a 13 inch (Zenbook) for example is too small do be viewed for several hours. For the majority the Retina Macbook is a waste of money, and is defiantly a waste of money for a student. That's all I'm saying. Whats your opinion?