ASUS UL80Vt First Look: Mobility Redefined

by Jarred Walton on 10/24/2009 8:00 PM EST


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  • HimeNoHogosha - Thursday, January 14, 2010 - link

    Has the updated Best Buy model made an appearance yet? Didn't see it on their website.. Reply
  • geok1ng - Sunday, December 06, 2009 - link

    I am still not convinced that this nottebook from Asus ai better than the Dell Studio 14z: the processor is inferior and no amount of overcloking will make it better than Dell's. The dual VGA/IGP solution is terrible: it uses battery life for a VGA that is minimally better than the 9400M ( and there are softwares that allow overcloking the 9400M to 210 clock levels, but this is also a bad idea from a battery and heat management point. And we have the higher resolution option on the Dell Studio 14z, that can have a 14" 1440x900 LCD. Reply
  • Matiero - Monday, November 30, 2009 - link

    For those in this thread whom believe glossy LCD screens are no big deal, consider this:

    Take a look at image #3 in the Photo Gallery for this computer. Notice how the image of the keyboard is reflected within the glossy screen? Well, when the computer is ON, this reflected image (or whatever background the screen reflects) is ALSO fully in view. In other words, the reflected image is ALWAYS superimposed over the image you're actually trying to view from the computer--creating visual confusion when using the computer.

    Glossy finishes on any video/computer screen is just plain dumb and makes no sense whatsoever.

    Asus, pay attention--at least change the LCD to a matte finish and win the business. Better yet, offer an option for a high-rez screen for those who care. But glossy finishes on viewing screens is stupidity personified.
  • - Saturday, November 28, 2009 - link

    Wasn't there supposed to be an full review of this coming up?

    It has already been over a month. By the time it comes out, the laptop will be obsolete.
  • CheesePoofs - Monday, November 16, 2009 - link

    I too would gladely pay a $100-$200 premium for a better screen. If this came with either a 1440x900 or 1600x900 matte screen I'd buy it in a heartbeat. As is I might have to go with the Dell Studio 14z for it's better screen. Reply
  • tasho - Friday, November 13, 2009 - link

    So a Best Buy model is coming out, looking seriously at this notebook and would be nice to see it in person- anybody have a clue when this might be available- I'm guessing I shouldn't hold my breath! Reply
  • zxc367 - Friday, November 13, 2009 - link

    mine sucks! all the colors are sooo dull. Reply
  • ArchAngel777 - Thursday, November 12, 2009 - link

    Is this review ever going to get updated like it was promised? The review, while better than most, still has many things untested. I'd like to see the follow-up before christmas. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, November 16, 2009 - link

    Coming.... Reply
  • ArchAngel777 - Wednesday, November 18, 2009 - link

    Thank you Jarred. I am really looking foward to it. Anxiously... Reply
  • 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.
  • 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...
  • 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.
  • Gooberlx2 - Friday, November 06, 2009 - link

    I'd like to see comments about the build quality. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • ProDigit - Tuesday, October 27, 2009 - link

    With the better graphics card I meant the integrated one.. Not the external one.

    Also, if I'd remove the external graphics card, would I have a PCIE slot available for mods?
  • ProDigit - Tuesday, October 27, 2009 - link

    I don't agree on better LCD's on budget laptops!
    In fact I oppose it.
    I'd rather pay $50 less for a laptop that has a worse LCD, than pay $50 more for a better LCD!

    And by the looks of it, we're going that way, with PixelQi's screen which does not display colors faithfully, but could result in upto 20% more batterylife with their white background reflective screens.

    I don't care about color precision. A netbook does not need a screen that is showing 32bits faithfully, or that has a high contrast ratio!

    What it needs is show basic colors (16 - 24bits is more than ok!), and has a wide range of brightness.
    If it isn't reflective (with white background like PixelQi's screens, or e-ink screens), then it needs to have an extreme low setting for comfortably using the PC in a dark room (eg bedroom at night without external light); and the info on the screen should be visible in the daylight, under the sun!

    Contrast VS brightness, I'd set my $15 on better brightness settings,rather than pay $50 for a higher quality screen.

    Faithful reproduction of screen colors only matter for those who need it, like web designers, photographers, video editors...

    But the majority of users are like me. 99% does not care if the green looks a bit blue-ish, or the white looks somewhat a bit yellowish!
  • strikeback03 - Tuesday, October 27, 2009 - link

    But if the screen crushes blacks so badly that all the pics from last Saturdays party that you are looking at on Facebook look like shadows in a coal mine, that screen has failed at even basic functions.

    Again, I don't think anyone is asking for better screens to be standard, but make them an option in models which are otherwise nice for those who are willing to pay for the upgrade.
  • atlr - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    I would pay more for a better display with a matte or antiglare finish.

  • Exile550 - Tuesday, October 27, 2009 - link

    I would like very much a matte finish. Reply
  • estyx - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    Can you please test it when using the GPU for HD-resolution decoding? I.e MPC-HD playing 720p and 1080p h264 with gpu-accel decoding. This is very useful to know when concidering buying a laptop for taking long trips on train, bus, car etc, because then you're so bored you need some movies and series to watch :)

    Otherwise it seems like a nice laptop! Looking forward for a bit deeper review
  • JarredWalton - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    I'm running all sorts of tests as I get the chance. The GMA 4500MHD does x264 offload, as does the G210M. I can tell you that my test x264 720p file just about 6:30 with the 4500MHD; the G210M test is still running. I have a bunch of tests to still run (with and without Turbo, IGP and discrete, gaming performance, etc.) but that will all be revealed eventually. Given the number of tests I still need to run, I expect it to be another week or two before I'm anywhere close to finished. Reply
  • robertpolson - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    I am dealing with a dilema righ now. Stay with my order for UL80vt, get a macbook pro or wait for UL30vt to come out (if it will) at the end of the year.

    What I like about UL over macbook pro:

    1) Longer battery life
    2) More hard drive space
    3) Double the memory

    What I do not like about UL comparing to macbook pro:

    1) No bluetooth
    2) Webcam sucks big time - 0.3 megapixel is a joke in 2009
    3) Larger in size comapring to macbook pro.

    I think I ca live with either OSX and Windows 7.

    What do you think ?
  • JarredWalton - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    What do you use Bluetooth for? The only time I've ever used it on a laptop was for a Bluetooth mouse, but I'd definitely prefer a wired mouse; the BT mouse was a bit finicky.

    As for the webcam, I'm not sure if it matters that it's "only" 0.3MP. All the video conferencing stuff I've tried seems to limit me to 320x240 video regardless. I certainly don't take pictures with my laptop webcam; do you?

    Mind you, I'm not saying these areas aren't important. You say they are for you, so I'm just wondering what it is you do that I may have overlooked, since I've never felt either was necessary.

    PS - Benefit #4: optical drive, if you need it.
  • heulenwolf - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    Dear Asus,

    I've been tracking netbooks since you released the first EEEPC. I always found them interesting but, despite their low price, continued to buy larger laptops or smaller internet-enabled devices until the 1005HAB came out. I saw it while perusing a Best Buy and could not resist. The screen is so nice to look at that it makes me look past some of the drawbacks inherent in a netbook. When at home, I'll gladly use the $300 netbook instead of my $2000 work laptop with a larger screen, faster and better everything (except for the screen, though its no slouch), and longer battery life. When I'm traveling, I don't even consider other options. I bring the 1005HAB. If you'd like this happy Asus EEEPC customer to purchase more lucrative Asus products in the future, please give more weight to the screen quality in your value proposition than was demonstrated in this review.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • 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?
  • 7Enigma - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    I'll do it for you. Using an old review from April09 where they posted the min/WHr:

    MacBook2008 got a 6.36

    Asus gets a 6.32 (531min / 84 WHr)

    It is important however to note if the testing methodology (ie websites used/etc.) have changed significantly since the 2008 Macbook review and if so in which direction (my guess would be more draining now).

    If they are directly (or closely) comparible then you have to factor in weight difference and price, and of course CPU/GPU performance differences. Since the price is $150 cheaper, the weight difference IMO would have to be significantly lighter for the MacBook to justify (build-quality, OS, intangibles aside).
  • JarredWalton - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    All I know for certain is that the old results had Apple at 6.36 (as mentioned), but the tests are not the same as the ones I used for the Windows laptops. Anand has the new Internet tests I'm using (I ran them on Linux, so they should run fine on OS X), so when he's had a chance to run numbers we can make the comparison. The UL80Vt is twice the relative battery life of most Windows laptops, and over three times the relative battery life of higher-spec units. I can't say for certain whether it has matched or surpassed the latest MacBook, but it should be very close if not better. Reply
  • Pirks - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    "32% in DivX encoding, and xxx% in CINEBENCH R10"

    xxx%? Really?! Are you hiding something from us Jarred? ;)))
  • JarredWalton - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    LOL... sorry, I was still running tests at the time and obviously missed that. It's 12% BTW; text updated. Reply
  • mczak - Sunday, October 25, 2009 - link

    I'm wondering why asus uses a overclocked ULV chip. Presumably they increase voltage a bit when overclocked to guarantee stable operation right? So in this case power should be very similar to LV chips (+30% for higher clock plus something additional for more voltage - ULV chips are 10W, LV 17W). So why not get a non-overclocked LV chip like the SL9600 in the first place? 2.133Ghz, 6MB cache, should cost about the same as the SU7300. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, October 25, 2009 - link

    CPU-Z reports the voltage as 0.875V -- at the overclocked 1.73GHz setting. The ULV parts are essentially CPUs that work well with very low voltages, and they usually have better overclocking headroom. Anyway, it appears that even overclocked, the SU7300 isn't consuming more than perhaps 12-13W. (I'll have to do more testing to verify that figure for the full review.) When you have a laptop that uses 9.5W on average for Internet surfing, an extra 3W is a big deal. Reply
  • mczak - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    Those 0.875V are presumably at idle? Would be way below published VID range under load (hopefully cpu-z reports this correctly even for mobile cpus).
    I just doubt a ULV chip is really any better if you overclock it to the level of a LV chip. Unless you're courageous and don't overvolt it to the same level, though you could just undervolt a LV chip instead...
    In any case, I'd be very interested in the voltage adjustments (if any) under idle/load for OC/-nonOC setting - of course those chips have a VID range and hence could vary by chip but in practice they don't vary that much and the asus overclocking would presumably add a fixed voltage increase (if any).
  • mschira - Sunday, October 25, 2009 - link

    Amazing, the most interesting new laptops at the moment are all cheap ones.
    Like the acer Timelines, the Asus"WTF have they been thinking with that name", the Dell Studio 14z etc.

    They are all very nice, but they have compromises to keep em cheap. Not too bad compromises, but still.

    Why doesn't Asus make a Lambougini version of this little nice buddy? Ditch the CD drive - who needs those - give us a nice screen, give us an expensive light, great case.
    I'll happily pay the premium - it's not going to be that much anyway.

  • KikassAssassin - Sunday, October 25, 2009 - link

    Wow, with the exception of the screen, this thing is almost exactly what I've been looking for in a laptop. I've been really disappointed in the seeming non-existence of an affordable, highly-portable laptop with a dual-core ULV processor, non-Intel graphics, and a high-Wh battery. Put a high-quality display with a matte overlay (WhyTF is almost every laptop using freaking glossy nowadays?), and a toggle-able back-lit keyboard on this thing, and it would be my perfect laptop to a T.

    I also really like the idea of the ability to toggle between low-power integrated graphics and higher-performing discreet graphics, and I wish more laptops would include this feature. I have a feeling nVidia's going to be pushing hard for this once Arrandale comes out.
  • hybrid2d4x4 - Sunday, October 25, 2009 - link

    One request for the game testing section: add an older title s/a Half-life 2 in addition to the usual new new games. I'm more interested in what it can run than the obvious "well, there you have it- it won't run the latest titles, get a desktop for that".
    Looking forward to the review!!
  • gohilurvish - Sunday, October 25, 2009 - link

    I like the article and also the battery life figure by particular Asus model but I dont agree to compare it with MacBook (I am not Apple fan-boy).
    From what I know is, all 9400M based MacBook/pro has C2D Penryn processors and with <55WHr battery it provides 6-7Hrs of battery life with wireless productivity.
    If these lineup moves to ULV processor and 80+WHr I am sure it can deliver 15+hrs or battery life.
    I think its OS and other hardware that helps giving longer battery life for MacBook.

    For winodows PC, this is my choice now (obviously not for computational heavy work).
  • fk49 - Sunday, October 25, 2009 - link

    This is a great first look and much more in depth than most of the previews that come out. I did notice that the main CPU comparison was with the P8600 of the 14z which is definitely meant for a higher price point. For the full review, could you include benchmarks comparing the SU7300 to more CPUs? Especially in the gaming benchmarks, as the G210m will definitively beat the integrated solutions available but what's not clear is how CPU-limited games might be when the UL80vt competes against laptops with dedicated GPUs. Thanks and again, great review! Reply
  • darwinosx - Sunday, October 25, 2009 - link

    Since everything is compared to the Mac laptops that is obviously the gold standard. That should tell you something. For a minor amount more you get a dramatically better laptop build, screen, cpu, multi-touch trackpad, and of course OS. Not to mention support. Put one of these next to a MacBook at your local Fry's or wherever. The Mac Book walks all over it. Yes Windows 7 is decent. But I want a lot more than decent when it comes to my notebook or desktop computers. I make quite a good living as an IT Architect and I don't have time or interest in buying the lowest common denominator to save a little money. Reply
  • simas - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    Mac Book /OSX = No games.

    and buying overpriced laptop label just to by Microsoft OS to be able to play a game is too wasteful. There isn't anything OSX delivers in the laptop that I can not get from Windows 7 so why pay the premium?

    for Asus - they are close, dual core CPU, switchable graphics, 4+ GB of ram, decent CPU speed and good battery life. Get a better LCD and I would buy it.

  • Kelv00n - Sunday, October 25, 2009 - link

    Quoting: "I make quite a good living as an IT Architect and I don't have time or interest in buying the lowest common denominator to save a little money."

    1) You're clearly an Apple fanboi; ergo anything not Apple is the lowest common denominator; ergo your comments add nothing to a proper evaluation of this machine and are therefore useless to other readers who are not facetious like you.

    2) No one cares about how big your wallet (and what it compensates for) is, and as many commentators here have observed, this laptop fills a nice role for people like non-trust fund college kids who have to a) consider weight and performance since they have to lug the piece around, and b) work to pay their own way through college.

    Asus has been making lots of right moves lately. They just need to ditch the glossy trend and work on their build quality. This laptop is hitting the sweet spot for the holy trinity of weight, performance and price. I'm going to wait for the next iteration, which hopefully will have a better LCD, but it looks like my new laptop will be ASUS-branded.
  • fk49 - Sunday, October 25, 2009 - link

    Even so, comparisons to Mac performance is something some of us would like to see. The Macbook does cross the $1000 line and as a student, the price difference with the UL80 is meaningful. About half the kids at my school have Macs while Asus has a pretty niche market, so it would be interesting to see if an aggressively designed and priced product aimed at the tech-savvy can beat the mainstream "standard". Reply
  • Voo - Sunday, October 25, 2009 - link

    Well I won't be using Mac OS X any time soon and I don't think many Apple fans would even consider it.

    So the interesting comparision would be a MacBook with Win7 against this one.
  • Voo - Sunday, October 25, 2009 - link

    "and I don't think many Apple fans would even consider using this notebook."
  • MournSanity - Sunday, October 25, 2009 - link

    If I may make a feature request for the full review...
    I heard that this laptop can also be overclocked from the BIOS. Can you look into this feature and tell us how/if it works in conjunction with the Turbo33 setting? Thanks.
  • MournSanity - Sunday, October 25, 2009 - link

    I ask this because I recall seeing on a taiwanese review of this laptop a picture of it overclocked to something like 2133 mhz(8x266?). It would be very cool if this machine can be stably overclocked that high for when you want to do some heavy lifting. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, October 25, 2009 - link

    CPU-Z reports the incorrect clock speed; it thinks the SU7300 is an 8X multiplier, and thus reports a 2166 clock speed when overclocked. In reality the CPU is a 6.5X multiplier. Reply
  • Al B - Sunday, October 25, 2009 - link

    Great first look! It definitely seems a desirable piece of kit.
    I'd be interested to know how it fares rendering Google Earth and to see it compared with various incarnations of HP's DM3.
  • vlado08 - Sunday, October 25, 2009 - link

    Are you going to measure the temperature of the bottom and the noise during idle and load? At 10W I suppose these should be low but it depends on ventilation and the fan. Also the quality of the speakers? Reply
  • darckhart - Sunday, October 25, 2009 - link

    i am trying to match the pictures of left side and right side with the description list on your table, and they do not correspond. for example, i see hdmi and vga, but no displayport. i see lots of usb, but no esata nor mini firewire. i see 1x microphone and 1x headphone, but no 2nd headphone. left side and right side table also have things written where picture shows on opposite side. so which is correct, pictures or table? thanks Reply
  • vlado08 - Sunday, October 25, 2009 - link

    I also noticed that. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, October 25, 2009 - link

    Sorry - cut/paste from the Studio 14z that I forgot to update. It's fixed now. Reply
  • MrSpadge - Sunday, October 25, 2009 - link

    Excellent technique. Using the vast clock speed headroom of the ULV CPUs just plain makes sense. Add the switchable graphics and it's almost perfect. Now just please give it:

    - a matte display
    - non-shiny finish everywhere else
    - remove the colorful stickers (or whatever) telling you what's inside (hey, I KNOW what I bought)
    - add the option for a good display (*VA or IPS)
    - give it a thinkpad quality keyboard
    - change that ASUS logo into a Thinkpad one ;)
  • Pirks - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    Just buy a MacBook, forget about cheapo ASUS. Why pay less for worse quality if you can pay more and get quite a bit better quality? ;) Reply
  • JimmyJimmington - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    Maybe they want to put their laptop on their lap without burning themselves. Reply
  • Pirks - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    Any MacBook won't burn if you just browse inet and do low CPU load jobs like that. You missed, next! Reply
  • JimmyJimmington - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    If you're just going to browse the internet and do "low cpu load jobs," why not just buy a $150 netbook refurb? Why spend 1k+ on a computer? Reply
  • Pirks - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    Why the most cheap and the most crappy low quality computer if you can get much higher quality one for some extra $$$? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    I'm confused... exactly what makes ASUS a "most crappy low quality" option? I'd say this is actually a very well made laptop. ASUS isn't always the best, but they are far from being a low quality option in my book. Or are you talking about netbooks? Again, netbooks can be well made (albeit slow). I think his point is valid: if you just want a laptop for surfing and such, a netbook would suffice.

    If you don't want to use OS X, there is (in my mind) zero reason to buy Apple products. You'd be paying for the Apple premium (which includes OS costs) just to ditch it. Lenovo, Sony, and others make nice looking laptops that cost a premium as well, and at least they fully support Windows. I'd guess if you took a MacBook into an Apple store to get help, and you had a Windows (or Linux or whatever) issue, they wouldn't provide any help at all beyond, "You should run OS X."
  • Pirks - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    "Lenovo, Sony, and others make nice looking laptops that cost a premium as well, and at least they fully support Windows" - that's why I said buy a MacBook OR a similar quality Win notebook, something like this Asus you reviewed but without cheap glossy crap all over it. Older Dell Vostro's used to have quality all-matte finish, but they turned into half glossy crap too recently... although they still offer matte screens, unlike 99% of modern PC notebook OEMs. Dunno about Sonys and Lenovos, they either offer cheapo glossy crap instead of screen or they don't specify glossy or matte on their sites, so who knows... I hope you're right here. Reply
  • KikassAssassin - Tuesday, October 27, 2009 - link

    As far as I'm aware, none of those others provide the same balance of battery life and performance that this Asus does, which is the entire reason people are excited about it.

    The fact that it's cheaper than a Macbook is what makes it a good competitor. You *could* spend more money on the Macbook to get that shiny unibody enclosure and OS X. Or if you don't care about OS X, you could save some money and get an equally capable machine that doesn't have quite as high a polish.

    There's no wrong choice. They're both perfectly viable options, it's just a matter of what your priorities are.
  • Pirks - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    JimmyJimmington above mentioned some crappy refurb netbook for $150, I wonder why would one spend hard earned cash to get this kind of crap instead of some used MacBook or at the very least this Asus you reviewed. Pay some extra cash, but you get so much more in return... Reply
  • JimmyJimmington - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    You just said yourself you can't keep the damn chassis from overheating and burning you while doing anything beyond browsing the web and "low cpu load jobs." If that's all your doing, then your wasting your hard earned cash on a $1k+ laptop. A $150 netbook refurb will perform the same task. You might think it's cheap, but it takes you to the same internet. It types the same word documents. It makes the same excel spreadsheets. And you don't waste your hard earned cash. Reply
  • Pirks - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    "You just said yourself" - no I didn't :P

    "A $150 netbook refurb will perform the same task" - a $1000 rusty Chevy from 1980 will also take you from point A to point B (with some amount of luck), why spend $20K for some nice Toyota or Lexus?

  • JarredWalton - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    Sorry... edited my post after rethinking. LOL Reply
  • Zoomer - Sunday, October 25, 2009 - link

    A rough/matt lid/lcd bevel and an aluminum palmrest, please. I'd ask for the VAIO inscription as well but I think that's going too far. Reply
  • MrSpadge - Sunday, October 25, 2009 - link

    technique = technology *doh* Reply
  • Alexo - Monday, June 28, 2010 - link

    Let me add my vote for:
    - a matte display
    - a good display (*VA or IPS)
    - a quality keyboard

    I am willing to pay for these features and I am sure others will as well.
  • tmgp - Sunday, October 25, 2009 - link

    "We looked at the ASUS UL50Vt running on Windows 7 Home Basic"

    Does windows 7 home basic exists?... Don't think so
  • iamezza - Sunday, October 25, 2009 - link

    Windows 7 Home Basic
    Windows 7 Home Basic will be available in emerging markets such as Bangladesh, Brazil, People's Republic of China, India, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Thailand.[13] It will not be available in countries such as Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, The Netherlands, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, New Zealand, the United States, and the United Kingdom.[13] Some Aero options are excluded along with several new features.
  • MadMan007 - Sunday, October 25, 2009 - link

    Why is it called the UL80Vt? If that were consistent with the others in the line it would imply an 18" screen. Wierd.. Reply
  • strikeback03 - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    I though the same thing, did they already use UL40Vt on something? Reply
  • codedivine - Sunday, October 25, 2009 - link

    I request benchmarks for new Turion II based laptops. Turion II is 45nm based with Phenom based cores. The Athlon QL-64 used here is 65nm bsed and uses K8 cores.

    I also request benchmarks for the machine HP dm3. It comes in an AMD flavor and a Intel flavor and in the Intel flavor supposedly provides 10 hours of battery life and on AMD about 5.5.

  • codedivine - Sunday, October 25, 2009 - link

    Also, I specifically request Turion II and NOT Athlon II. Athlon II supposedly only have 64b FP units as opposed to full speed 128b FP on Turion II. Reply
  • feelingshorter - Sunday, October 25, 2009 - link

    Can we get battery numbers without turbo mode enabled? I don't see why anyone would turn turbo on unless they know they are doing something specifically CPU intensive. Could you please add that to the chart? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, October 25, 2009 - link

    The whole reason for the "first look" is that battery tests are going at a rate of about one per day. It's the blessing and curse of a long battery life, and I like to be thorough. In the full review, I'll provide some figures for with and without Turbo, as well as battery life with the G210M enabled (with and without Turbo if I've got the time...).

    From what I can see, the Turbo really only accounts for about a 0.5W-1W increase in power draw, so without Turbo battery life might increase to around 560 minutes for Internet surfing, or best-case about 590 minutes. I think idle power draw isn't affected as much (closer to .25W-.5W increase), so without Turbo idle battery life would be in the realm of 800-840 minutes. Obviously, that's still a HECK of a long time. :) I'll get you numbers in about a week or so when I've finished testing.
  • 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.
  • Gooberlx2 - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link">;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.
  • 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?
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • munim - Sunday, October 25, 2009 - link

    Dude: Hey is that a Macbook Air?
    Dudette: No, it's an ASUS UL80Vt
    Dude: You'll what?
  • 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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