ASUS UL80Jt—Inside and Out

The UL80Jt is pretty similar to the Vt, with a few changes. The brushed aluminum lid remains, still in a dark gunmetal colour. The glossy plastic on the interior is thankfully gone, replaced by the same brushed aluminum material. 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. Especially if you’re just using glossy plastic and not putting a glass covering over the entire screen a la Apple (amongst others). That aside, the palmrests feel solid, and the stickers advertise it as being scratchproof and “ice cool”. I can’t vouch for the ice cool claim, but heat definitely isn’t a problem as it has been for some ASUS notebooks in the past.

Unfortunately the rest of the build quality isn’t as great. The lid is pretty flexy and shows a decent amount of ripple-effect under pressure. The hinge isn’t the sturdiest. But by far the worst part about this whole thing is the keyboard. It’s the same keyboard as the U33Jc that I had, but the backing must be different, or something—there’s much more flex, enough to be disturbing. The typing action itself isn’t too bad, but following the awesomeness that was the U33Jc typing experience, it was fairly disappointing to see that the UL80 didn’t match up.

Rounding out the input devices, we have the multitouch trackpad, which has a dimpled surface and a glossy finish. It works okay, with Synaptic’s standard gesture support, but there’s nothing really noteworthy about it. Same goes for the mouse buttons, other than once again registering my astonishment that companies continue to use chrome mouse buttons. It’s as bad as the glossy black bezels—it’s the most touched part on the system, why make it a material that so readily shows fingerprints?

Gallery: ASUS UL80Jt

While we’re on the topic of weird quirks, the blue and green LEDs on the front edge are significantly more powerful than on normal systems, bright enough to disturb sleep in a dark room. Whether this is because of the plastic lightpipes used or because of the LED parts themselves, it’s still somewhat odd. For comparison, it puts out more light than my Thermaltake Tsunami desktop case, and that’s got a case full of blue LEDs.

Port selection is basically unchanged from before, as with most other things on the outside. Personally, I wasn’t a huge fan of the previous UL80’s build quality, so the flaws in the current UL80’s build quality are not terribly surprising, though not welcome by any means. And in comparison to the U30Jc’s more consistently good build quality (and significantly better keyboard), they’re magnified that much more.

ASUS UL80Jt Introduction Asus UL80Jt Performance
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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.
    Reply
  • deputc26 - Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - link

    No UL80Vt benchmarks included?

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

    Exactly!!!

    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.
    Reply
  • 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:
    http://www.anandtech.com/show/2886/7

    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?
    Reply
  • 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?
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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

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