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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  • JimmyJimmington - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    If you're just going to browse the internet and do "low cpu load jobs," why not just buy a $150 netbook refurb? Why spend 1k+ on a computer? Reply
  • Pirks - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    Why the most cheap and the most crappy low quality computer if you can get much higher quality one for some extra $$$? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    I'm confused... exactly what makes ASUS a "most crappy low quality" option? I'd say this is actually a very well made laptop. ASUS isn't always the best, but they are far from being a low quality option in my book. Or are you talking about netbooks? Again, netbooks can be well made (albeit slow). I think his point is valid: if you just want a laptop for surfing and such, a netbook would suffice.

    If you don't want to use OS X, there is (in my mind) zero reason to buy Apple products. You'd be paying for the Apple premium (which includes OS costs) just to ditch it. Lenovo, Sony, and others make nice looking laptops that cost a premium as well, and at least they fully support Windows. I'd guess if you took a MacBook into an Apple store to get help, and you had a Windows (or Linux or whatever) issue, they wouldn't provide any help at all beyond, "You should run OS X."
  • Pirks - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    "Lenovo, Sony, and others make nice looking laptops that cost a premium as well, and at least they fully support Windows" - that's why I said buy a MacBook OR a similar quality Win notebook, something like this Asus you reviewed but without cheap glossy crap all over it. Older Dell Vostro's used to have quality all-matte finish, but they turned into half glossy crap too recently... although they still offer matte screens, unlike 99% of modern PC notebook OEMs. Dunno about Sonys and Lenovos, they either offer cheapo glossy crap instead of screen or they don't specify glossy or matte on their sites, so who knows... I hope you're right here. Reply
  • KikassAssassin - Tuesday, October 27, 2009 - link

    As far as I'm aware, none of those others provide the same balance of battery life and performance that this Asus does, which is the entire reason people are excited about it.

    The fact that it's cheaper than a Macbook is what makes it a good competitor. You *could* spend more money on the Macbook to get that shiny unibody enclosure and OS X. Or if you don't care about OS X, you could save some money and get an equally capable machine that doesn't have quite as high a polish.

    There's no wrong choice. They're both perfectly viable options, it's just a matter of what your priorities are.
  • Pirks - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    JimmyJimmington above mentioned some crappy refurb netbook for $150, I wonder why would one spend hard earned cash to get this kind of crap instead of some used MacBook or at the very least this Asus you reviewed. Pay some extra cash, but you get so much more in return... Reply
  • JimmyJimmington - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    You just said yourself you can't keep the damn chassis from overheating and burning you while doing anything beyond browsing the web and "low cpu load jobs." If that's all your doing, then your wasting your hard earned cash on a $1k+ laptop. A $150 netbook refurb will perform the same task. You might think it's cheap, but it takes you to the same internet. It types the same word documents. It makes the same excel spreadsheets. And you don't waste your hard earned cash. Reply
  • Pirks - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    "You just said yourself" - no I didn't :P

    "A $150 netbook refurb will perform the same task" - a $1000 rusty Chevy from 1980 will also take you from point A to point B (with some amount of luck), why spend $20K for some nice Toyota or Lexus?

  • JarredWalton - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    Sorry... edited my post after rethinking. LOL Reply
  • Zoomer - Sunday, October 25, 2009 - link

    A rough/matt lid/lcd bevel and an aluminum palmrest, please. I'd ask for the VAIO inscription as well but I think that's going too far. Reply

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