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Asus drops Zenbook entry point with Core i3 model

Asus has added yet another model to its burgeoning Zenbook range of Ultrabook laptops, offering a new entry-level option with Intel Core i3 processor to beat off competition from long-time rival Acer.

Asus was one of the first companies to go public with an Ultrabook design, pre-empting even Intel's announcement of the project with the unveiling of its UX21 and UX31 series of MacBook Air-inspired ultra-slim laptops ahead of Computex earlier this year.

As with other Ultrabook designs, however, the devices don't come cheap: available with the choice of Core i5 or Core i7 processor, buyers struggle to get change from a grand with US retail prices for the entry level model sitting at $1,399.

With Acer announcing an entry-level Ultrabook of its own sitting at the magical $999 price point, something needed to be done. That something, it transpires, is a processor downgrade.

The latest Asus Zenbook drops the Core i5 of the current entry-level model for a Core i3, sitting inside its ultra-slim chassis with 11.6-inch display. The remainder of the specifications are roughly similar, with 4GB of RAM, a somewhat small 64GB solid-state storage device, one each of USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports, microHDMI and mini-VGA outputs, and the usual webcam, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.

The company, sadly, has yet to confirm UK pricing, but has launched the device in the US at $1,099 - a major saving over the Core i5 model, but still higher than Acer's rival offering.