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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  • The0ne - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    This would be nice as my 2nd business laptop. My Vostro 17 is very nice, especially with the UW screen but it's heavy on busy days :) The weight, performance and battery life are amazing. Going to have to convince the Boss to get one hahah Reply
  • vectorm12 - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    Unlike most people who commented thus far I'm willing to live with the sub-par display at this point. I'm in dire need to replacing my old Vaio VGN-FZ19VN and this looks to be even better value than the Acer 3810T series.

    Something I am desperate to find out though is if VT-x is enabled in this machine(it's for unknown reasons disabled in my Vaio) or not since I need to run a virtual linux machine for work.

    Not mentioning finding someone who retails it in Stockholm,Sweden ofc.
    Reply
  • aapocketz - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    [quote]ASUS has informed us that the Best Buy model of the UL80Vt will have a rubberized palm rest. [/quote]

    That helps, I hate the glossy plastic feel. I will have to check it out at best buy, I am skeptical about the bumpy touchpad too (I am not crazy about the new apple touchpads either, I prefer tap to click).

    If this thing had the same panel as the 1005HA, I would snap this up in a second. Seriously the LCD panel is the most important component on your laptop, and they want to skimp on it. Seriously if this is to compete with the macbook, they will need a better screen, my brother's new macbook pro has an incredible looking screen for a laptop.

    I am looking to upgrade my old 701 eeepc to something that can run windows 7, handle 1080 video streaming on my wireless network, and have much improved battery life.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    Keep in mind that the standard MacBook (historically) doesn't have a good screen; that's only on MacBook Pro, which costs significantly more. I wouldn't be surprised if the MacBook LCD is very similar in terms of contrast ratio -- mostly because that's the type of panel I see on 95% of notebooks/laptops costing under $1500. Reply
  • 6cef - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link


    I had heard about the ul80vt months ago, and I was excited with everything about it: disk drive, dedicated graphics, ulv cpu, great battery life, chiclet keyboard... but I held off because of the screen.

    Instead, I went with an HP HDX16T, which I got on sale for $800 with a 1920x1080 screen, 1GB GT 130M, and a Bluray drive... it's nice enough, but it's a whole lot bulkier than a UL80, and battry life sucks.

    If ASUS continues improving the UL line though, I absolutely would pay a premium for one. Once they're on 32nm cpus... if they can kick up the resolution and lcd quality... these would be such a value.
    Reply
  • DukeN - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    Just really wish there would be a nice light, well built, relatively small and light notebook without a glossy screen and a decent panel.

    I'll keep waiting I guess.
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    I know ASUS and others are limited by what the companies that make the panels offer, but please push to make better quality screens at least an option. An extra $100-200 (even on an $800 laptop) would be worth it to me for a display I would be looking at for the next 3-4 years. Reply
  • BikeDude - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    The quality of the LCD matters to me.

    I hate many of these big LCDs with ridiculous low (TV) resolution. Last time I bought a laptop, I went with a MacBook Pro since I assumed it had a decent panel.

    I see little point in having the exact same sloppy product line as all the other notebook manufacturers out there.

    Another annoyance is the utilities that comes bundled with many of these machines. I had to return a Asus because of the ridiculous setup it was boggled with. Removing the anti-virus package gave me a serious bump in performance. Clean install please!
    Reply
  • Visual - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    Now all that I want from ASUS is to replace the screen with hybrid multi-touch/stylus sensitive one, and preferably higher-resolution, maybe 1680x1050 so that it can work well in portrait mode and fit the many 1024 pixel wide websites.
    I'd probably pay almost double the current price for such a thing, but if they can surprise me and get the price lower, that's even better.
    Reply
  • Pirks - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    Given that this is unusually ultra long battery life Windows notebook based on C2D, not on Atom, could you make one exception and include comparison with MacBook's legendary battery efficiency metric? I mean that cool graph that you used to put in your recent laptop reviews that said "Internet usage minutes per WHr" (you don't do this anymore, too bad :( I posted about it already)

    It's one uber crucial metric for truly portable laptops, could you PLEASE make this comparison graph for Asus vs latest MacBook just one more time, just for this great Asus one, please?
    Reply

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