ASUS UL80Vt Overview

The ASUS UL80Vt slots in between the 13.3" UL30Vt and the 15.6" UL50Vt. It includes a 14.0" LED backlit display, although unfortunately it still runs at 1366x768; we would have liked at least a 1440x900 LCD instead (or 1600x900 if you insist on a 16:9 aspect ratio -- and we don't). The smaller chassis means that it doesn't weigh as much as the UL50Vt, and ASUS has increased the battery capacity to 84Wh, resulting in battery life claims of "up to 12 hours". Sound improbable? You might just be surprised. Here are the detailed specifications for the UL80Vt.


ASUS UL80Vt-A1 Specifications
Processor Intel Core 2 Duo SU7300
(1.3GHz, 45nm, 3MB L2 cache, 800MHz FSB, 10W)
Overclockable to 1.73GHz
Chipset Intel GS45 + ICH9M
Memory 2x2GB DDR3-1066
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce G210M 512MB
(16SPs, 606/1468/1580 Core/Shader/RAM clocks)
Intel GMA 4500MHD (Switchable)
Display 14.0" LED Glossy 16:9 768p (1366x768)
Hard Drive(s) 320GB 5400RPM HDD
Optical Drive 8x DVDR SuperMulti
Networking Gigabit Ethernet
Intel Wifi Link 5100 AGN (5738/DG/PG)
Acer InviLink 802.11n (5738Z)
56K Modem
Audio HD Audio (2 stereo speakers with two audio jacks)
Battery 8-Cell, 15V, 5600mAh, 84Wh battery
Up to 12 Hours
Front Side None
Left Side Headphone/Microphone jacks
2 x USB
HDMI
VGA
Cooling Exhaust
AC Power connection
Right Side Optical Drive (DVDRW)
Flash reader (MMC/MS/MS Pro/SD/xD)
1 x USB 2.0
Gigabit Ethernet
Back Side None
Operating System Windows 7 Home Premium
Dimensions 13.5" x 9.6" x 1.1" (WxDxH)
Weight 4.8 lbs (with 8-cell battery)
Extras Webcam
86-Key keyboard
Flash reader (MMC/MS/MSPro/SD/xD)
Multi-touch touchpad
Brushed aluminum cover (glossy plastic LCD/bezel/palm rest)
ExpressGate OS (8-second boot)
Warranty 2-year global warranty
1-year battery pack warranty
1-year accidental damage
30-day zero bright dot LCD
Pricing ASUS UL80Vt-A1 starting at $819

Obviously, this laptop isn't going to compete with the Dell Studio 14z in terms of raw performance, at least when it comes to CPU power. Running at the default clock speed of 1.30GHz, the Core 2 Duo SU7300 is going to be substantially slower than the P8600 we tested in the Dell 14z. However, the story doesn't end there. First, ASUS overclocks the SU7300 33% by default, so the 85% clock speed advantage of the P8600 is reduced to only 39%. Here's where things get interesting.

ASUS is one of the few companies to support hybrid GPU technologies that allow users to switch between discrete graphics and integrated graphics -- on the fly! We first saw this in the ASUS N10JC (though Sony was the first to actually offer the feature, I believe), but that required a reboot to enable/disable the discrete graphics. It also used a substantially slower Intel Atom N270 CPU; do we even need to explain how much faster the SU7300 is -- without overclocking? Needless to say, Core 2 plus dual cores running at a higher clock speed will end up providing substantially more processing power than any current Intel Atom solution. But let's get back to the GPUs.

The integrated graphics are Intel's GMA 4500MHD, which are adequate for most users, particularly if they don't plan to run any games. The discrete graphics solution is NVIDIA's GeForce G210M, essentially an updated version of the GeForce 9500M G (or a discrete version of the 9400M G if you prefer, with higher clocks). The 9400M performed quite well in our testing of the Dell Studio 14z, coming in roughly 50% faster than the HD 3200 (paired with an AMD Athlon QL-64). The G210M is clocked ~35% higher on the core and shaders, and it has 12.6GB/s of dedicated memory bandwidth. In contrast, the 9400M shares memory bandwidth with the CPU/system (17GB/s on the 14z -- note that the UL80Vt also has 17GB/s of system memory bandwidth). Certainly the P8600 wasn't a bottleneck for the 9400M, and we suspect the overclocked SU7300 will work well with the G210M. We'll have complete performance results later, but we do have a few preliminary scores to report today. The most important aspect of the graphics setup is that users can decide between improved battery life (GMA 4500MHD) or better 3D/video performance (G210M) -- it's a win/win scenario.

Going along with the ULV CPU and hybrid graphics, ASUS ships the UL80Vt with 4GB of DDR3-1066 memory. Performance may not be substantially better than DDR2-667 since CAS latency and other timings are higher (slower), but in DDR3 does require less voltage than DDR2 and that will help battery life. It's also nice to see that 4GB laptops have become ubiquitous; only netbooks and the cheapest laptops offer something other than 2x2GB these days, and the vast majority of new laptops also ship with 64-bit Windows. We have finally reached the inflection point in terms of 64-bit adoption, so hopefully we will see more applications begin to leverage the possibilities a 64-bit environment provides.

The remaining features on the ASUS UL80Vt are pretty much what you would expect from ASUS. The size and weight are good for a 14" laptop -- just slightly larger than the Dell Studio 14z. Battery capacity is 17% greater, users get an optical drive, and like most ASUS laptops the UL80Vt comes with a two-year global warranty. Performance should be more than adequate for most users (the overclocked SU7300 should match any current AMD mobile CPU), but the big selling point is going to be size and mobility. The overclocked CPU might not be quite as fast as the latest MacBook, but we finally have a contender when it comes to battery life.

Index ASUS UL80Vt Design
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  • JarredWalton - Friday, November 20, 2009 - link

    The quick summary is:

    1) Excellent battery life
    2) Good performance (i.e. CPU and discrete GPU are fast enough for most users)
    3) Construction seems a bit weak (flex and such), but I don't think it's horrible.

    For the overall package, I'm giving it a Bronze award - a better LCD and more rigid construction would be needed for Gold. For $800, though, I don't think you can find a better laptop right now.
    Reply
  • juhaz - Wednesday, November 11, 2009 - link

    I used to have Asus M6Ne, loved the thing, I was still happy with it despite the age. I originally bought it because it was one of the few laptops that had a decent SXGA+ display with reasonable price tag.

    That got stolen a while ago, so, I'm in a market for a new laptop. Asus, if you think I'm going to buy a new device that has 40% less resolution than the one I got from you FIVE YEARS ago, you better think again. Not going to happen. So, I'm going to get Stinkpad or Elitebook instead. If you would've had this with a nice WSXGA+ or WUXGA panel it'd been an instant sale, IPS would be nice but I can tolerate TN if it shows in the price.

    I really hate it that display market only caters for the half-blind these days, on both desktop and laptop segments...
    Reply
  • ippikiokami - Tuesday, November 10, 2009 - link

    I would 100% pay more for a better screen! and a whole world of photographers would! Reply
  • Hrel - Sunday, November 08, 2009 - link

    It had the SU9600 CPU instead and it had a decent screen.

    Resolution of at least 1600x900 and a contrast ratio of at least 500:1. I really don't understand why they don't just use the same screen as in the netbook.

    I couldn't possibly agree more with your frustrations about crappy notebook monitors; I swear I'm not buying a new notebook till I can get one with over 5 hours battery life, a dedicated GPU, a resolution of at least 1600x900 and a decent color gamut and contrast ratio screen for less than a thousand bucks.
    Reply
  • Gooberlx2 - Friday, November 06, 2009 - link

    I'd like to see comments about the build quality. Notebookreview.com basically blasted the UL80vt for very poor build quality.

    I don't abuse my laptops but I don't treat them with kid gloves either. I'm interested in the UL series laptops, but can't really consider them if I don't think they'll keep together for longer than a couple years.
    Reply
  • wfarid - Wednesday, November 04, 2009 - link

    yea there are a LOT of people clamoring for just that. Switchable graphics, a high quality IPS MATTE lcd screen, and 10 hour battery life around 4.5lbs and you got me sold!

    Basically just take this laptop, pop a nice Matte Screen on there, change all that damn plastic gloss and replace it with aluminum or magnesium alloy (like that have in high end dslr's)

    I think the HP Probook 5310 (I think) is a great and simple design. Just wish it had the guts of the Asus, with a better panel.
    Reply
  • mobutu - Wednesday, October 28, 2009 - link

    This laptop it's a step in the right direction
    -on the fly switchable graphics (i could go with even better that g210m);
    -good battery life (especially for integrat chipset graphics);
    -very good quality MATTE LCD screen (i would like to see IPS here and NO glossy) - at least make it optional for the people willing to go quality.

    Hear that Asus? You better be.

    I would buy such a machine, for sure.
    Reply
  • Lukeh - Tuesday, November 03, 2009 - link

    Well, actually I've been the proud owner of of Acer Travelmate 8371-G (business version of the Timeline) for a little less than 2 months now. And it does have discrete (switchable) 4330 graphics (though they could be stronger, but that's what my desktop is for), and i've had battery life last as long as 9 hours. Also, screen is matte. But, if this were out when I bought it, really it would all be about price. Reply
  • enki - Tuesday, October 27, 2009 - link

    Now if only they had a multitouch tablet version of this. I really hope with the new multitouch support in 7 more laptops come out to take advantage of it.

    And an option for a better screen would be great, even if it was just a better TN screen that wasn't glossy
    Reply
  • ProDigit - Tuesday, October 27, 2009 - link

    I buy a netbook first and foremost because it's cheap.
    The majority of the people act like this.
    When they see the $800 pricetag, to them it's nothing more than an underpowered laptop, and for that pricetag I can get myself a core2duo notebook that's a lot faster, with 2 extention batteries that will last me about as long!
    Extension batteries are made very cheap these days!

    Second, I buy a laptop because it is small in size, and light in weight.

    Only third, because it has long battery life!

    The good thing about this laptop is, that you can equip it with an SSD, and remove the ext. graphics card.
    This will hopefully boost the battery even more!

    I have an old core2duo 1,66Ghz laptop, with a GMA945Se graphics card or chipset or something, and can run most DX9 games (like WOW, Phantasy Star Unlimited, Prince of Persia, etc... at 1024x600 or 1024x768 resolution, 16 or 32 bit just fine.
    Most sims I can play fullscreen at 1280x800.

    I'm sure the faster processor, and better graphics card will make me be able to play WOW even better on this laptop.
    Reply

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