ASUS U33Jc - Introduction

 

For the second time this month, I get to review a fashion-conscious notebook. Instead of aluminum and glass, this time we’re looking at wood—or, to be more specific, bamboo. ASUS’ U33Jc is part of ASUS’ U-series Bamboo Collection and features bamboo panels on the lid and the interior, with the palm rest and touchpad rendered in the darkly finished wood. It’s definitely an interesting touch, with ASUS claiming tensile strength nearly equaling that of steel and unparalleled eco-friendliness. We’ll get into those claims a bit later on, but for right now let’s just say that the bamboo paneling gives the U33Jc a nice aesthetic that’s pretty unique compared to most other portable computers.

ASUS U33Jc-A1 Specifications
Processor Intel Core i3-370M
(32nm, 2x2.40GHz + Hyper-Threading, 3MB L3, 35W)
Chipset Intel HM55
Memory 2x2GB DDR3-1066
Max 2x4GB DDR3-1066
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce 310M Optimus
Intel HD Graphics
Display 13.3" LED Backlit Color-Shine WXGA (1366x768)
Hard Drive 500GB 5400RPM 8MB cache
(Seagate Momentus 7200.6 ST9500325AS)
Networking Atheros AR8131 Gigabit Ethernet
Intel WiFi Link 1000 802.11bgn
Audio HD Audio (2 speakers with headphone and mic jacks)
Battery 8-cell 5600mAh, 84Wh
Front Side None
Left Side 1 x USB 2.0
HDMI
VGA
Cooling Exhaust
Kensington Lock
Right Side Memory Card Reader (SD, MMC, MS/Pro)
Headphone and Microphone jacks
1 x USB 2.0
1 x USB 3.0
Gigabit Ethernet
AC Power Connection
Back Side None
Operating System Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Dimensions 13.12" x 9.52" x 0.80-1.20" (WxDxH)
Weight 3.96 lbs (with 8-cell battery)
Extras Bamboo Exterior Finish
Bluetooth 2.0
2.0MP Webcam
86-Key Keyboard
Multitouch Touchpad
SD/MMC/MS Pro Flash reader
Warranty 2-year global warranty
1-year battery warranty
30-day LCD Zero Bright Dot guarantee
Pricing U33Jc-A1 at GentechPC for $969

Unlike the Dell Adamo though, the U33Jc still has all the good stuff on the inside. Where the Adamo really cut down the specs, with a 1.4GHz Core 2 Duo ULV, integrated graphics, and a tiny 40Wh battery, the U33Jc has basically the same specs as the much-loved U30Jc. It has a full voltage Core i3 processor, NVIDIA’s Optimus graphics switching technology, Intel’s wireless display technology, and a massive 8-cell battery. The only thing it gives up is the integrated DVD drive, but in the exchange the U33Jc is 0.2” thinner than the U30Jc at both the thinnest and thickest points along with being almost a full pound lighter.

But if you were just looking for a slimmed down U30, the forthcoming U35Jc is a better option. It’s basically just a U30 minus the optical drive, and, at 3.7lbs, weighs a bit less than the U33. The U33Jc is really about the look and feel of the bamboo panels. If that strikes your fancy, there's plenty to like.

Asus U33Jc - A Look at Bamboo
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  • JarredWalton - Thursday, July 29, 2010 - link

    I'd guess Apple probably spends about $50 more on their LCD... $100 tops. RGB LED backlit panels are prohibitively expensive, but for standard LED backlighting at a fixed size of 13.3", you're looking at probably $100 for a base panel and $150 for a quality panel. The problem is, most marketing departments are focused on all of the other stuff: you can loudly proclaim better battery life, a faster processor, USB 3.0, etc. but when was the last time you saw a consumer notebook on sale with a sticker that says, "High contrast, high color LCD with an 800:1 contrast ratio!" The closest I've ever come to seeing that is with RBG LED backlighting... which adds ~$150 to $200. Reply
  • Souka - Thursday, July 29, 2010 - link

    Too bad on the LCD.

    I suspect if they had a "+" model which had a better LCD for $100 more they'd sell.

    Oh well... my wife's IBM Thinkpad T30 (Pentium 4M cpu) will have to last a bit longer! :)
    Reply
  • AnnonymousCoward - Tuesday, August 03, 2010 - link

    I agree, Jarred, that it's probably marketing to blame. I hate TN and would always pay for IPS given the choice. Also, 16:9 sucks, as does 768 vertical pixels on a C2D machine. Reply
  • VivekGowri - Thursday, July 29, 2010 - link

    While that's true, remember back to before Core 2010 released. The MBP13 was as fast as any of the regular Core 2 Duo notebooks and still had the same screen. So while the current MBP is basically Apple getting away with highway robbery (again), it's not like they can only put in a good display because they're fleecing customers. It's always had a good display. Fair point with the 20% more expensive, but see if you can find me a $1200 13" notebook with a decent display. PC makers just figure to save money with the LCDs in all but the highest end notebooks, which is really disappointing.

    (The base MacBook is a whole different story - Apple's as guilty as anyone for mediocre quality screens there.)
    Reply
  • erple2 - Saturday, July 31, 2010 - link

    How's the display on the Envy 14 with the 1600x900 display? That's about 1100 for the "Radiance Display"... Reply
  • PlasmaBomb - Saturday, July 31, 2010 - link

    It's supposed to be pretty good, and when the E14 first launched it had the radiance display at $999. Reply
  • crydee - Thursday, July 29, 2010 - link

    But I needed a laptop sooner than that. Disappointing this is it after such a long wait. Even on the JTs Reply
  • zoxo - Thursday, July 29, 2010 - link

    Arguably the most important part of a notebook is the display, since afterall it is the part you stare at, yet manufacturers consistently try to shove these horrible displays down our throats.

    Stupid glare-type surface, horrible contrast, bad colour representation, terrible black levels, narrow viewing angles. I really don't understand why people buy those things, and some even seem to like them...

    Atleast manufacturers now seem to realise that the mirror-like surfaces on the palm rest, keyboard, and bezel are not necessarily good things, and try to move towards matte/textured surfaces.
    Reply
  • AstroGuardian - Friday, July 30, 2010 - link

    Why would you say that? When being a PRO only thing you care while using the laptop is visible characters and performance. Why would it be crucial for the display to be high quality? Display is a display. On that kind of computer it's enough for the display to be clear and illuminated. But i agree with the fact that 1366x762 is a lousy resolution Reply
  • zoxo - Friday, July 30, 2010 - link

    When I work on a computer, and look at the screen, I want to see what's on the screen, not my reflection/the window or whatever is behind me. I want to actually be able to distinguish red from orange, black from gray. I think a screen is extremely important when you want to look at it for more than 10 minutes at a time. Reply

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