ASUS UL80Vt Design

Okay, we've covered the specifications and features, so let's see what the laptop actually looks like.

Gallery: ASUS UL80Vt

As good as the features and specifications are on the UL80Vt, ASUS also made sure that they didn't skimp on the design elements. Here it's not quite as clear of a victory, but there's plenty to like with the UL80Vt aesthetics. For one, ASUS has added a brushed aluminum cover on the top of the chassis. That alone is enough to make us drool, but unfortunately the aluminum surfaces end there. Open up the laptop, and you'll find that the LCD bezel and palm rest are still glossy plastic -- a double whammy considering the black color scheme. Fingerprints? Yes, we have those in abundance.

As usual, the LCD is also of the glossy variety. We haven't conducted in-depth testing of the LCD, but we did run a quick test of brightness and contrast ratio. Maximum brightness is good at nearly 240 nits, but the black level is an equally high 1.16 nits resulting in a poor contrast ratio of only 204:1. After we were so impressed by the 1200:1 contrast ratio of the $400 ASUS Eee 1005HA, it's disappointing to see a laptop that costs twice as much get the short shrift when it comes to LCD panels. We are continually baffled by the way companies choose to cut corners on such an important component for laptops; after all, the LCD is what you actually look at the whole time you're using the computer.

We can't blame ASUS too much, though, since virtually all companies are using the same sort of LCD panels. The common explanation is that margins are so low on LCD panels and laptops that they don't have the ability to use a more expensive display. Personally, I'd happily spend significantly more money on a laptop (at least $100) if it meant I could get a high quality display. And for the record: high quality means it needs a high contrast ratio along with a good color gamut; I'd love something other than a TN panel in a laptop, but I'm beginning to think that hope is in vain.

Besides the glossiness, we have few complaints with the design of the UL80Vt. It has a nice, slim form factor and a sleek, businesslike aesthetic. This is definitely the type of laptop you could take into a board meeting and not feel out of place. The touchpad is a bit unusual, in that ASUS has a bumpy area on the palm rest rather than the normal recessed touchpad. This is similar to the touchpad they used on the ASUS 1005HA, only it's larger and subjectively it works better. The touchpad also supports multi-touch, so you can use two fingers and swipe to quickly scroll through documents, right-click, etc. We definitely like the multi-touch aspect of the touchpad, and it's nice to see more companies going that route.

ASUS UL80Vt Overview ASUS UL80Vt Benchmarked - General Performance
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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.
    Reply
  • - 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.
    Reply
  • 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

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