ASUS UL80Vt Benchmarked - Battery and LCD

Finally, we have perhaps the most interesting aspect of the UL80Vt. Decent performance and a reasonable size are nice, but there are plenty of laptops to offer those amenities. What truly sets the UL80Vt apart from most other Windows-based laptops is the battery life. ASUS claims "up to 12 hours", and we decided to check their claim.

Battery Life - Idle

Battery Life - Internet

Relative Battery Life

Idle battery life reached nearly 13 hours… and that's what Turbo mode (overclocking) enabled. Granted, the system was sitting idle -- hardly a realistic usage scenario for most users. However, light office use isn't going to be much more taxing than our idle battery life test, and if you decide to disable Turbo mode battery life can only improve. In the far more pertinent Internet battery life, ASUS still achieves record-setting performance. Our initial test (we haven't had time for multiple test runs) came just shy of nine hours of continuous Web surfing. That's with several flash ads on be active website page, which again should be a bit more taxing than what many users view.

Looking at battery capacity and relative battery life, we finally have a true laptop that can actually trade blows with Apple's MacBook line. We never have been able to determine exactly what Apple does in order to achieve their high battery life, but clearly part of it has to be using lower voltage CPUs. ASUS follow suit by using the Core 2 Duo SU7300, which actually surpasses Apple by going with a 10W TDP CPU. Apple currently uses the 25W TDP SP9300, while some previous models used the 17W Core 2 Duo SL9000 series.

Even overclocked the SU7300 practically sips power in comparison to many other CPUs. We measured average power use of 9.5W for the UL80Vt in our internet test compared to 21.1W for the Gateway NV52 and 15.6W for the Gateway NV58. 10.1" and 11.6" netbooks only get down to 8.0-8.5W in the same test, and performance is obviously substantially higher with Core 2 Duo. What's truly impressive is that laptops like the UL80Vt previously sold for nearly $2000 -- sometimes more. With the boom in netbooks sales, manufacturers have apparently realized there's a real market for smaller laptops that get extremely good battery life.

Laptop LCD Quality - Contrast

Laptop LCD Quality - White

Laptop LCD Quality - Black

About the only fly in the ointment with the UL80Vt is the LCD panel. Here you can see our contrast ratio test results, and the results are down in the dumps with many other laptops. Sometimes I feel like a lone voice crying in the wilderness telling manufacturers that laptop LCD quality is a serious concern. I know from responses to previous articles that many of you agree, but unfortunately it's something that's difficult to quantify because many reviews don't ever look at LCD quality with quantitative results. ASUS has used very nice LCD panels on lesser offerings (i.e. the Eee 1005HA has an excellent LCD), and we have seen decent displays on other laptops and notebooks as well. If the system cost $25-$50 more but it had a 1000:1 contrast ratio (with an LCD that could still run at 250 nits), I wouldn't hesitate to give the UL80Vt an unequivocal recommendation. As it stands, it's a great laptop but it isn't quite perfect.

ASUS UL80Vt Benchmarked - Graphics Performance ASUS UL80Vt Thoughts
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  • feelingshorter - Sunday, October 25, 2009 - link

    We understand that it takes a long time to test the battery. Just wanted to know that you are working on it for the final review. Thanks :) Reply
  • CurseTheSky - Sunday, October 25, 2009 - link

    I just bought a UL30A-A2 on Thursday. It's a wonderful laptop, though not quite perfect.

    Unlike the ULxxVt laptops, the non-Vts come with just the X4500MHD, which is abysmal for anything other than general web browsing and watching movies. While I love the smallness of my 13.3", if I had read sooner than the UL80Vt comes with on-the-fly switchable graphics, I probably would have bought it instead. Oh well. Additionally, as far as I know the entire UL series also lacks Bluetooth, which kind of sucks. ASUS stated somewhere (one Amazon, I believe) that they're considering bundling a USB Bluetooth dongle.

    Anyway, what was said in this article about the build quality is very true. It's sort of a mixed bag, but overall much better than most of the competition. The brushed aluminum cover is a very nice touch, and the plastic palm rest doesn't feel all that bad. The glossy black around the LCD is annoying (adds extra glare and really attracts finger prints), but the hinges really feel solid and the keyboard is excellent. The trackpad is a bit odd, but I find that I actually like it. Don't expect a Macbook Pro / Air in terms of fit and finish, but do expect something that'll get your friends or the locals at Starbucks asking "What's an ASUS?" and "That's nice, where did you get that?" Best of all, it doesn't cost as much as a Macbook Pro.

    Really, the best part of these things is the battery life. Several reviews I've read have clocked around 8-9 hours real-world performance (ASUS claims 16 on my particular model, and the consensus seems to be that 12-13 wouldn't be unreasonable in a best-case scenario). I can't wait to read the Anandtech follow-up; I've always loved their testing methodology. The thinness and lightness of the series - particularly the smaller models - is also a huge plus.

    Overall, great article, and great laptop. For anyone that values portability over performance but still wants something that'll fair (much) better than a netbook under stress, I highly recommend the UL series. Nice job ASUS.
    Reply
  • Gooberlx2 - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    http://www.amazon.com/UL30vt/forum/Fx1978M98LGJ2GT...">http://www.amazon.com/UL30vt/forum/Fx19...mp;store...

    Maybe the UL30vt will be available stateside some time in December?

    I don't really put too much stock in to forum postings from sources one can't really verify. But since I won't have any $$$ until at least after the New Year, I'm certainly hoping it's true.
    Reply
  • Uncreative - Sunday, October 25, 2009 - link

    I've been watching this one ever since you guys posted the first look on the UL50VT. I've been looking to buy a laptop for class and a one day charge to last me through lecture and a good couple hours at the library would be perfect. I'm definately with you on the panel, I'd gladly pay more for a better LCD.

    I saw that they had the SU9400 listed as one of the possible models, was wondering if anyone has any idea when/if that model is coming?
    Reply
  • Drizzt321 - Sunday, October 25, 2009 - link

    Wow, I've have been wanting to find a laptop with one of the ULV Intel processors that doesn't cost an arm and a leg. Add to that the switchable graphics, and decent cost, and I think I've found my winner! Except, of course, the LCD. I'd like to do some graphics work (digital photography) on the go, and a good quality panel would be very nice. Hell, just give me a nice TN panel with this laptop and I'll be good. Give me an IPS/MVA/PVA panel and I'll be in heaven. For one of those good panels, I'd happily pay an extra $150-$200. Do you hear that Asus? There are people willing to pay for quality! Reply
  • dtham - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    This is very ideal for schoolwork etc. I would love to see one that has a touchscreen display for taking notes, etc.

    The downside to the touchscreen is that it will be likely to have an even worse screen. However, with battery life for light work like this it would be absolutely awesome for students.

    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    Ugh... I hate touch screens. I can type at 60 WPM, or chicken scratch at about 20 WPM (okay, maybe 30?) Anyway, you can get the Acer Aspire 5738PM with a touch screen, but that has worse battery life and it's not a tablet. I wouldn't buy a touch screen, though, unless things were much better than the last time I used one. Reply
  • chrnochime - Sunday, October 25, 2009 - link

    At a higher price of 1.5k, manufacturers KNOW they can better justify adding that option, since people paying that much for laptop are much more willing to pay a bit more for PVA than those at the 820 USD price.
    Consider this: 200 for a panel option on a laptop that costs 820. That's almost 25% increase. Versus 200 on a 1500, which is ~13.4%. Latter case much more acceptable to buyer when taking original price into account.

    Reply
  • munim - Sunday, October 25, 2009 - link

    Dude: Hey is that a Macbook Air?
    Dudette: No, it's an ASUS UL80Vt
    Dude: You'll what?
    Reply
  • san1s - Saturday, October 24, 2009 - link

    this looks great, and it has an optical drive. I wonder if there's any way to get it past 1.7 ghz? Reply

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