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  • Spazweasel - Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - link

    From the article:

    "I’ve been hearing some things spoken in hushed tones, mostly alleging that the Core 2010 ULV processors aren’t nearly as power efficient as the previous generation CULV processors, and our experience with the i3 and i7 ULV chips is proving this correct. "

    Now do people see why some manufacturers are not migrating from Core2 to Core i3, especially in ultraportable chassis?

    Thanks, Vivek.
  • deputc26 - Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - link

    No UL80Vt benchmarks included?

    would be nice to see what progress has been made...
  • cknobman - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link


    It does not exactly take a genius to guess that when a company does a update to a line of computers that it would be nice to have both the old and new line benchmarks in there for comparison. I mean logically it makes sense so readers and potential buyers can see what (if any) performance differences there are (especially when both units are still for sale).

    Crappy article, this site deserves better.
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    We could dig up the old performance numbers from the UL80Vt, but that was tested nearly a year ago and quite a few things have changed since then. For one, not a single game in our current suite is the same as the UL80Vt. So all we can really look at is the application performance and battery life, but even the battery life test changed somewhat for Internet use.

    Anyway, here's the link to battery life:

    If you'd like specifics, the UL80Vt offered up 33% better idle battery life, 22% better Internet battery life, and 27% better x264 battery life. The UL80Jt is 12% faster in PCMark Vantage, essentially tied in PCMark05, 5% faster in single-threaded Cinebench, 23% faster in multi-threaded CB, 18% faster in x264 pass 1, and 26% faster in x264 pass 2. (If you compare overclocked scores, the results might change a bit but not by much.) Optimus also trumps manually switchable graphics, though some might disagree with that assessment.

    But, while all of that is potentially useful information, you're missing the point of the article: U30/U33/U35 are superior in every single way relative to the UL80Jt, other than slightly lower battery life. It looks better, it's significantly faster, and we already liked the U30Jc more than the UL80Vt for a variety of reasons. We prefer U3x to all of the UL80 line right now.

    Okay, UL80Vt costs $700 compared to $850 or so for the others. Does that change the recommendation? Perhaps slightly. The UL80Vt isn't so slow as to be unusable by any means, and in fact it can get better battery life in its overclocked state than the UL80Jt can at stock, and it also outperforms the stock Jt when overclocked. So, if you want a faster laptop the choice is clear: U3x. If you want better battery life with "okay" performance, the UL80Vt is actually still the better buy in my opinion. Does that help?
  • strikeback03 - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    Speaking of gaming performance, is it just down to drivers that the U30 never matches the UL80? The U30 generally wins, but if it were only the CPU I would expect a difference with the overclock, which there generally was not.

    But yeah, unless Asus is planning on getting rid of some other systems this one is pointless. How can it have worse battery life than the U30 in overclocked mode when still way below the speed of the U30?
  • yehuda - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    Jarred: I noticed that the UL80Vt, with its pre-Optimus switchable graphics configuration, requires a special driver from Asus which is not available from Nvidia or other sources. That driver has not been updated since 2009 and may never be updated again. Would you say that is a reason to prefer the Optimus-driven UL30? Thanks. Reply
  • yehuda - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    Correction: U30Jc. Thanks. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, November 19, 2010 - link

    Yeah, the lack of driver updates is something of a concern, but you actually need to go to the ASUS support site, then for downloads look at Notebooks->Drivers->VGA to get the latest list. I'm pretty sure one of the relatively recent NVIDIA drivers there will work with the UL80Vt. And if you can get at least something like 25x series or later, I don't think you'll need to worry about the G 310M performance. Heck, I doubt anything beyond 19x series has done much for the 310M. Reply
  • Santroph! - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    I must say that, being a ASUS UL80VT owner myself, this is really absurd.
    I didn't had YET a problem with a single game, and that's why I didn't bother THAT MUCH in changing for a new notebook yet.
    But I have already had problems with some of the HTPC stuff about my note and I know for a fact that it is driver related and NVIDIA has already solved the problem in newer drivers but ASUS doesn't bother in releasing them.
    The UL80VT has an amazing battery life, and with a SSD, which I already got for it, it doesn't bother me at all with it's performance.
    Living in a country as Brasil, in which IT stuuf and Gadgets are really expensive comparing to USA, I can't change notebooks as fast as you guys can, so I do give a real importance for Warranty (which the ASUS one is Awesome, worldwide and 2 years, including one for accidents) and long term updates maintenance. The updates are generally excellent with ASUS, but with this model, things are off :(
    I still recommend it to the biggest part of a normal population (read non tech friends and family) since it's allround battery/performance is above average, but I would really prefer the u30 today.
    I was in fact looking for the 13 inch model with G210 when I got the UL80VT, but I couldn't find it with Optical drive and G210 available when I was at USA last year.
    Greetings Santroph.
  • Shadowmaster625 - Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - link

    That's why arrandale is worse... the gpu sucks more power. But why would you want a more power hungry gpu if you are using a dedicated gpu? It doesnt make any sense, except if you enjoy lining intel's pockets. Reply
  • slagar - Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - link

    "Unfortunately, the LCD bezel is still glossy plastic, a recurring theme with ASUS notebooks. Dustin went off on this in his last review, but I’d like to touch on it again. It’s stupid, stop doing it."

    This gave me a laugh; well said. Nice review, thanks!

    I think the CULV i3 is well suited to 11-12" notebooks, like the UL20FT, as long as you don't mind the short battery life. But as said in the review, it sort of loses its purpose in such a "large" laptop when there are better options available.
    Personally, I've still got an EEEPC 900 and it goes great. I'm looking at upgrading to a 12" UL20, but I'm not completely satisfied with the current revisions; maybe next year ;)
  • scook9 - Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - link

    I have a UL80Vt from work and aside from the horrible build quality and screen and touchpad (I know, right?) it is a great laptop. I like that the battery life is longer than windows 7 can handle (sits at 10h 00m for like 1.5 hours haha)

    And if you get SetFSB...Well I was able to bench my UL80Vt at 320 FSB without any instability :D - at room temperature with no special measures taken.
  • G-Man - Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - link

    Hi, Vivek

    I like how you intentionally come across as frustrated and resigned over both keyboard and the lcd-screen. Actually, you seemed frustrated throughout the entire review. The reviews aren't usually so harsh here on Anandtech, but in my opinion it was a nice change of pace.
  • VivekGowri - Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - link

    It was kind of a frustrating notebook all around, actually. I mean, it was slower and had worse build quality than the U30, but everything else (including price and battery life) was basically the same. So while it's not a bad notebook, I don't really understand why it exists, or why anyone would buy it versus the U30. Reply
  • AstroGuardian - Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - link

    Why? Because not everybody buys a laptop for some special reason. And most people want to just buy a laptop. Not everybody looks for a hair inside the egg you know. Reply
  • VivekGowri - Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - link

    Let's say Honda made an Accord with the 1.5L Fit engine that has roughly 60% of the power as the Accord's standard 2.4L 4-cylinder. Let's say this model with the undersized engine got very marginally better fuel economy and cost the same as the larger engine, but was significantly slower than the normal 2.4L Accord.

    You would question what the point was. Not every notebook needs to be "special", but come on - Asus sells a very parallel system that costs the same, weighs the same, gets roughly the same battery life, has better build quality, and is significantly faster.
  • Evil_Sheep - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    Asus's product strategy seems to be: unload a dozen clips in the general direction of the target, hope something hits. To continue that analogy, Apple would be the professional hitman who waits hours for the perfect shot and then only fires once. The contrast could not be more extreme.

    To be fair, Apple's execution isn't flawless and Asus's is hardly terrible. It just would be nice if it weren't so scattershot.
  • fokka - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    "Asus's product strategy seems to be: unload a dozen clips in the general direction of the target, hope something hits." roflmao :D Reply
  • jabber - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    Remember we are judging this machine (most of us) purely as a written comparison with another machine thats just a few months old.

    Most of the folks who look at this machine and buy this machine will love it and think its brilliant.

    Why? Cos their last PC or laptop was bought 5 years ago.

    On its own it still sounds a pretty decent machine...but we nit pick essentially over cup holders.
  • strikeback03 - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    I'm pretty sure most people buying a laptop on the internet do at least a little research (look at the "What laptop should I buy" thread over at notebookreview) and even a little searching will show that the current UL series seems inferior to the U3x series. So if internet buyers are out, that leaves in-store buyers, and unless the U3x isn't present while the UL is, the better build quality of the U3x will probably be the deciding factor. So sure this is an upgrade to something 5 years old, but when better upgrades are easily available it still doesn't make sense. Reply
  • mschira - Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - link

    One of the more revealing side notes here is on the Nvida 310M - it's simply old and slow, with integrated GPUs on it's heel.
    I am ready to forgive an ultra thin/ light and notebook such as reviewed here not having a good GPU.

    But the real problem is NO current 13" notebook (except the SONY z-series) has anything better than the 310M.

    I am looking for a new laptop with an acceptable dedicated GPU, but there simply in none.
  • scook9 - Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - link

    Even more sad....look up the specs, the 310m IS the 210m

    They changed NOTHING but the new features, no die shrink, no additional sp's NOTHING
  • VivekGowri - Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - link

    Basically this. The G 310 was a viable graphics chip at the very beginning of the i3 generation, but at this point it's a sad caricature of a dGPU. Between the 210 and the 310, they really haven't done much other than add some of the new 300M technologies; the core is still exactly the same.

    This is why we can't wait for them to update these things to the GT 415M....
  • mschira - Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - link

    Come ON. Nvidia changed the NAME, what more do you want?
  • Dustin Sklavos - Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - link

    One difference, actually: the 310M supports Optimus, the 210M does not. Reply
  • VivekGowri - Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - link

    That's part of what I was referring to as "adding the new 300M tech", but interestingly enough, the first Optimus notebook ran off the G 210M. I was talking to Jarred about this the other day; here's the link.
  • Thermogenic - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    Take a look at the Alienware M11x - it uses a 335M, but only has an 11" screen. Reply
  • fokka - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    if you want a 13" machine with decent gfx-power, get the acer 3820. it has a ati 5650 inside which should be even better then the downclocked 330m in the vaio z series. only downside is the lack of an optical drive, if you need one. Reply
  • Evil_Sheep - Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - link

    I think this review makes it clear that the current-gen ULV is a big disappointment...even the last gen ULV was preferable. The small jump in performance isn't worth it when the last-gen ULV gets at least 50% more battery life.

    I also can't understand why Asus has crippled the UL80Jt with slower GPU memory than the U30. What were they thinking? Was it worth saving a couple bucks?

    Anyway it doesn't matter because the next generation of Asus U-series notebooks (with GT400M-series GPU's) is already on its way, if you can wait a little bit longer....
  • hybrid2d4x4 - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    Sweet! Thanks for that link. Good to see they are moving on from that useless 310. I just hope they have a SKU with a matte screen, then they might finally have me as a customer! Reply
  • yzkbug - Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - link

    glossy screen? ... neeeext! Reply
  • B3an - Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - link

    Why have you not included the recently reviewed Dell XPS L501x ? Especially in the LCD tests. Without it, and other reviewed laptops with good or better LCD's, it's makes them tests seem bias towards Apple. As if they are the only ones using a decent LCD. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - link

    Different markets... that's a mainstream laptop with a decent GPU. Plus, this review was started before the XPS ever arrived (shame on Vivek for taking so long). Reply
  • VivekGowri - Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - link

    *sigh* bad. Reply
  • setzer - Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - link

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the chipset noted in the hardware table wrong?
    As far as I know (and I also checked ARK) the GS45 only applies to the old Core2duo cpus no?
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - link

    Fixed. Reply
  • VivekGowri - Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - link

    Yeap, my bad - I ripped off the UL80Vt table and simply forgot to change the chipset. Thanks for catching that :) Reply
  • MikeMurphy - Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - link

    I have been waiting anxiously for this review but was disappointed that the UL80VT or UL30VT numbers weren't included for comparison.

    Also re 210 v 310 above, you'll notice many of the 310 Optimus setups have reduced memory clocks compared to the 210 in the UL30/80VT. I suspect this is for battery savings considering the continuous memory copying going on in the background.
  • Thermogenic - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    I still haven't seen anything more appealing than the Alienware M11x R1. It has the Core2Duo CULV and gets great battery life, as well as a 335M graphics card that powers almost all games at it's native 720p resolution with 30fps. It's screen is terrible, but that seems par for the course in the sub $800 systems. The only thing close I've seen is the $999 Macbook. Reply
  • StrangerGuy - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    Simply put: No offering as potent, as small, and as cheap as a Acer 3820TG. C'mon, ULV and 310m on a 12" may have been nice...but on a 14" incher that is a total joke. Lately they are just flooding the market with unappealing netbooks/laptops that are underpowered for the price. Reply
  • erple2 - Friday, November 19, 2010 - link

    Nonsense. Those 12" screens are still 720p screens, just like these exceptionally crummy 14-15" screens in the mass market. For that, the 310m is just fine. Crummy dGPU for crummy screens.

    One of these days, people will figure out that resolution counts, not screen size. Which is why my 32" TV (720p) isn't nearly as nice as my 1080p 15" laptop screen.
  • mmsmsy - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    If the case is lack of additional performance you should definitely try UL80Jt with Core i5 520UM. Unlike the i3xx UM this one's got the turbo boost up to 1.83GHz, which should boost performance significantly, while, at the same time, powering the notebook almost just as long as the Core i3xx UM. Even if i5 costs a little extra, going for i3 is definitely not a good idea performance wise. Try it and I think you'll probably change your opinion. ;) Reply
  • fokka - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    @ vivek & jarred: a commenter posted a link to asus' upcoming u-series models:

    have you any idea when they will hit the market? probably q1 2011, i think?
  • JarredWalton - Monday, November 22, 2010 - link

    I don' t know the ETA for all of the new 400M models, but I can tell you that all of the newer models need to ship sooner rather than later (i.e. Sandy Bridge is coming). One of the new ASUS models is the 15.6" (I know....) N53JF, which has i5-460M, GT 425M, a 1080p LCD, and Blu-ray for under $1000. I just got my N53JF review sample, and first impressions are that the aesthetics will probably please quite a few relative to the Dell XPS 15. Unfortunately, the 1080p panel isn't a high contrast option and it comes with a 48Wh battery. So, ultimately it's looking good but not stellar.

    As for the new U-series, like I said, they need to come out soon because of the pending launch of SB. I guess SB is quad-core though, so that means Core 2010 dual-core options can still continue for a bit, but if pricing and battery life is good on SB I don't know why anyone would opt for Arrandale after January 2011. We'll have to wait and see. Since ASUS has the U-series updated on their site, I would expect them before Christmas at least.
  • freespace303 - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

  • Hrel - Wednesday, December 01, 2010 - link

    Sub 2GHz CPU, less than 900p screen, non DX 11 GPU? Hmm, guess I don't need to read any further.

    Seriously, there's no reason at all they can't use a slightly faster Core i3, the GT430M GPU and a half way decent screen. 1600x900 or greater.

    I'm really really baffled by the GPU choice, it's damn near 2011 people, DX11 or GTFO.
  • Hrel - Wednesday, December 01, 2010 - link

    Also, anything with a sub 900p screen and a Core i3 shouldn't cost any more than 750 at the absolute max; really under 600. The U33Jc at 970 is asinine. 700 sure, ok, as long as they get a 400 series GPU in there. with at least 32 SP or Cuda cores or whatever the fuck they wanna call em. Reply

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