Thursday marked the official launch of Windows 7, so perhaps we can finally put those Mac versus PC commercials behind us. Whatever your feelings towards Vista, the fact remains that it garnered a less than stellar reputation. As we discussed in our Windows 7 RC1 article, many people have the impression that Windows Vista is awful but they can't tell you why. Microsoft hopes to change things with the launch of Windows 7, a.k.a. Windows Vista 2.0.

One of the sore spots for Windows, and Vista in particular, has always been battery life. We have discussed this previously, but the simple fact of the matter is that Mac OS X on a MacBook is easily putting any Windows laptop to shame when it comes to mobility. There are many potential contributing factors, including better optimization of the hardware/software combination, tweaks to perhaps enable lower voltages by default on Intel CPUs, and the ability to keep the CPUs running in deeper sleep states more of the time. We will have an updated comparison with OS X in the near future, but to date everything appears to be in favor of Apple MacBook; Windows 7 improves the situation.

Microsoft has a white paper detailing some of the changes in Windows 7 that should result in improved battery life. We have already explored this topic previously, but those are only preliminary results. Moving forward, the laptops we review are going to shift to Windows 7 instead of Windows Vista, and today marks the onslaught of the Windows 7 laptop releases. One of the first Windows 7-based laptops to arrive in our labs for testing comes from ASUS.

We looked at the ASUS UL50Vt running on Windows 7 Home Basic and found that ASUS could deliver nearly 7 hours of battery life while surfing the Internet -- and that's using our heavy Flash-based tests. One of the more interesting aspects of the ASUS UL series is that they allow overclocking of the ULV processors -- typically 1.73GHz instead of the default 1.30GHz, though in low-power states it's also overclocked from 800MHz to 1066MHz. The overclocking is achieved by simply raising the FSB from 800MHz to 1066MHz; since the chipset and other components can all run a 1066FSB already, the only component that's truly overclocked is the CPU, and it has no difficulty running at 1.73GHz.

We have the final release version of the ASUS UL80Vt in our hands, and we have begun testing. Today we provide a quick look at what the laptop offers and our initial impressions.

ASUS UL80Vt Overview


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  • 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 8, 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 6, 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 4, 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 3, 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.

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