On January 10 my ASUS Zenbook (UX31) arrived at the Microsoft Store in the Valley Fair mall in San Jose. I had to do quite a bit of hustling in order to give the store my money for this little gem. You see, back in December, when I began my search for an Ultrabook -- and eventually decided on the recently released ASUS Zenbook -- I discovered that this PC was in such high demand that they were completely sold out at all local stores1, and online as well. Even Amazon sellers didn't have this particular model available.
The Microsoft Store at the Valley Fair mall had one on display, but none were in stock; I was told that a new shipment (though the store didn't know how many would be in the shipment) should arrive before Christmas. After the Christmas weekend came and went, I was told that the store was still expecting delivery later that week. And then, New Years weekend came and went -- and still no Zenbooks. So I contacted a number of Microsoft Stores across the country and discovered that the Zenbook was in stock in Colorado, and elsewhere. I spoke to a manager at the Colorado store: she was willing to ship a Zenbook to the Santa Clara store, but the request had to be initiated by that store. So, I contacted the Valley Fair store once again, explained the situation, and they agreed to do a stock transfer from another store; the store they chose, for whatever reason(s), was in the District of Columbia.
I was motivated to purchase the Zenbook from the Microsoft Store for a number of reasons: I liked what I saw at the store -- the layout of the store and the hardware on display that was available for hands-on use, the store personnel who were there to assist and answer questions; also, the store was running a special offer that would save me $200, and provide me with two years of free support and maintenance, along with a full copy of Microsoft Office 2010; and lastly, all PCs sold through the store go through a "Microsoft Signature" review -- the PC is tuned, bloatware removed, etc. Given the problems that had been reported with the initially released Zenbooks, I felt the "Microsoft Sig" touch would ensure that my Zenbook wouldn't have bad pixels, problems with the keyboard, etc.
As I said, the Zenbook arrived on January 10; I was handed a brown corrugated ASUS shipping box at the store, which I greedily opened as soon as I arrived home. Unfortunately, in my eagerness, I neglected to snap any unpacking pics, and that outer box has since been disposed of. However, inside this outer box was the nicely crafted Zenbook box (pictured below) -- a multi-level box that contained the Ultrabook, a padded brown fabric carrying case, and a few booklets in an envelope-like enclosure mounted to the bottom. A section along the right side of the box held the power supply, along with a matching brown fabric pouch that contained the VGA and Ethernet adapters.