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5 Things I Learned from the ASUS Zenbook launch in El Nido, Palawan

I spent my birthday in El Nido, Palawan together with some media friends and the ASUS crew. Here are 5 things I took home after ASUS presented their product lineup for Q4. In the evening of our first night, Jamie Ysrael together with Gabe Mercado (a good friend and fun host) launched the drool-worthy ASUS Zenbook.

On the side, I was also able to take several underwater photos from a dive fronting Miniloc island together with Intel’s Wowie Wong and Randy Kanapi.

So here’s what I learned:

1. ASUS takes care of its dealers
The tech industry works rather differently from others. It’s the dealers and retailers that push all of these motherboards, notebooks and wireless routers. You could actually say that the lifeblood of an IT company are the dealers. Whenever you buy gadgets, there are always two things to consider when it comes to warranty: the (1) actual warranty offered by the manufacturer and how that warranty (2) is cascaded to the retailer. For instance, some stores may be licensed to open up hardware belonging to different brands thereby making the turnover faster. In this case, the relationship of ASUS with its dealers is pretty strong — can you imagine several nights in El Nido? Giving away plane trips and luxury bags? Epic. Take care of the dealers and they will take care of your products.


A rare crocodile fish rests on a reef. This was a great find by Wowie. Wish I had brought my wide lens but this close up is pretty good.

2. ASUS has been and always will be a trusted brand
I love OEM’s. Before becoming what they are today, ASUS was always in the background, developing motherboards and other parts for other companies including Apple, Dell, and Falcon Northwest, which honestly explains their background as an epic gaming motherboard manufacturer. Let’s call it: ASUS is an Asian company that supplies hardware to some of the biggest names in the computing business, including Falcon Northwest, one of the “standards” in the gaming industry for the past 2 decades.

I love finding correlation between IT companies so for the more consumer oriented, think of how ASUS is like the HTC but in the computing business. HTC started off as an equipment manufacturer for telcos like O2 and Orange (yes HTC made the famous O2 XDA!) and they are now one of the biggest players in the mobile market when they decided to brand HTC for the consumer. It’s the same with ASUS.

Another thing I do love about this company is that they have a unique relationship with Intel as being the only Asian motherboard manufacturer that receives engineering samples of Intel chips way ahead of the other board manufacturers, which is why ASUS really is #1 when it comes to motherboards and other geeky things like gaming and over clocking.


Close up of the huge school of yellow snappers fronting Miniloc island. Truly amazing.

3. ASUS Zenbook: Take my money!

The ASUS Zenbook is best in class. I wrote a short comparison before which you may want to reference, but seeing the Zenbook in person reaffirms my claim that this is the ultrabook to beat.

For those unfamiliar with the ultrabook concept, imagine taking the more affordable Netbook (i.e. ASUS eee) and pumping it up with steroids to give it a bigger screen but with the same light form factor and adding Intel’s latest Core architecture. In other words, if you wanted your Netbook to be more kick ass, the ultrabook is the end result.

Since the Zenbook runs on SSD memory (the hard disk doesn’t spin), this allows faster processing power and 2-seconds instant on from sleep.

SRP:
Available 4th week of November
P53,995 SRP for ASUS Zenbook™ UX21
P59,995 for ASUS Zenbook™ UX31

4. Gabe Mercado’s iPhone can take great underwater photos
This is so unrelated, BUT Gabe Mercado showed me a photo of a nudibranch at 3 feet of water — snorkeling depths, using his iPhone. A nudibranch is a prized find for underwater photographers. It is a type of sea slug that is very colorful and although uncommon in other places, the Philippines has the highest yield of nudibranch species in the world. Fact. The almanac on nudibranchs by Dr. Terry Gosliner was written because of the Philippines.

To those wondering, Gabe was using a LifeProof case for his iPhone. I am now convinced that this is the best case for the iPhone ever made because it looked like a standard case. But waterproof!

Capturing such beauty in what others would only see in photos is definitely a big gift for Filipinos. This is what’s so amazing with our country: the Philippines is one of the most updated countries in consumer tech and we also have great natural resources that we really take for granted. Take it from the foreigners who decide to settle here.

Photo used with permission.

5. El Nido captures the essence of the ultrabook


A Tomato Clownfish vigilant by its anemone — taken in Miniloc Island, El Nido, Palawan

To close, I’d like to point out an observation. During the evening launch of the Zenbook, there was a friendly debate about which ultrabook was “better.” Apart from the Zenbook, there was an ACER S3 and a Macbook Air present and people were comparing the minute differences in speed and power. I dunno. To be honest, as someone who has been writing about technology for so long, I’ve become agnostic to speed and power and rely more on the company’s reputation in terms of taking care of their channels and after sales support when making these buying decisions.

For me, the Zenbook is by far the most elegant ultrabook in its class. It’s light, thin and powerful. And it’s made by a great IT company with a very interesting history.

For me, El Nido as a venue for the Zenbook launch go hand in hand. Why waste a minute to boot up your computer when you have such an amazing view in front of you. This has become my new tech mantra since I started traveling more often and I really think too much time spent waiting for something to happen in your computer is a complete waste of time compared to the paradise we can enjoy in this country.

When I jump in the water, I close my eyes and concentrate on the sensation of floating. I have invisible wings. This together with the sound of my breathing and the bubbles that come forth comprise the zen moment I wish for everyday.

ASUS Zenbook. Two thumbs up.


A black and white “zen” photo of a common reef butterfly fish as a fitting end to this entry.

By Jayvee Fernandez

Jayvee Fernandez is a tech enthusiast, EAN certified SCUBA Diver and underwater photographer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. His photos and videos have appeared in various international and local publications including Random House Germany, Discovery Channel Canada, and CNN.

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