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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  • 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?

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