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ASUS UL20FT-A1 12.1-inch Ultraportable Laptop

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ASUS UL20FT-A1 12.1-inch Ultraportable Laptop PC

ASUS UL20

Image Courtesy PriceGrabber

The Bottom Line

Sep 9 2010 - Those looking for a lightweight yet effective ultraportable as a secondary travel system would be well served by the affordable ASUS UL20FT-A1. This 12.1-inch laptop offers solid performance thanks to the new Intel Core i3-330UM processor yet retains its compact dimensions and light weight. At just $650, it also makes it a nice step between a netbook and a more powerful full-featured laptop. Now ASUS just needs to fix the terrible trackpad button and up the RAM to a more reasonable 4GB.
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Pros

  • Improved Performance From New Core i3 Processor
  • Compact Size And Weight
  • Well Priced

Cons

  • Just 2GB Memory
  • Problematic Single Bar Trackpad Button

Description

  • Intel Core i3-330UM Dual Core Mobile Processor
  • 2GB PC3-8500 DDR3 Memory
  • 320GB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive
  • 12.1" WXGA (1366x768) LED Backlit Display With VGA Webcam
  • Intel GMA 4500MHD Integrated Graphics
  • Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless
  • Three USB 2.0, HDMI, VGA, 5-in-1 Card Reader
  • 11.8" x 8.4" x 1" @ 3.3 lbs.
  • Windows 7 Home Premium

Guide Review - ASUS UL20FT-A1 12.1-inch Ultraportable Laptop

Sep 9 2010 - The ASUS UL20FT-A1 is an updated version of the companies previous 12-inch ultraportable laptop design. The primary change to the system is the upgrade to the new Intel Core i3-330UM ultra-low voltage dual core processor from the previous Core 2 Duo. While the processor does run at relatively modest clock speeds, performance is boosted significantly providing more than enough power for most tasks while traveling. The only downside is that this lower cost ultraportable skimps on the memory with just 2GB of DDR3. This prevents the system from multitasking as smoothly as other laptops that come equipped with 4GB of memory.

Since this is an ultraportable that is designed for a very small and light profile, it does not come with a DVD drive at all. For many people, this isn't an issue as more media now is available in digital form that can be streamed or stored on the hard drive. The hard drive storage is a fairly common 320GB hard drive that provides a decent amount of performance for storing applications, data and media files.

While the ASUS UL20FT-A1 features a smaller 12.1-inch display compared to more typical 13.3-inch displays, it doesn't sacrifice the screen resolution by using the typical 1366x768 resolution. It is a bit on the bright side at the default setting but this is true of most laptops straight from the factory. Driving the graphics is the typical Intel GMA 4500MHD integrated graphics. This allows the system to properly stream HD video content to either the display or an external monitor via the HDMI video output. Of course it lacks any real 3D performance for even casual PC gaming.

ASUS claims that the UL20FT-A1 should be able to yield roughly six hours of battery life. This is lower than many of the all-day long ultraportables of the past but this is about right for the moderate six-cell battery pack they include. In the video streaming rundown test, the laptop was able to yield roughly four and a quarter hours before going into standby mode. This should translate to a bit more than five hours of more typical usage but below ASUS's claimed running time. It falls short of class leading all-day laptops but should provide plenty of running time for most users.

The biggest problem with the ASUS UL20FT-A1 has to the be the trackpad. The pad itself isn't so much of the issue as the single rocker bar trackpad button. This single bar functions as both buttons depending on which side of the bar is pressed. The problem is that you need to press on the far edge for the clicks to be registered. It would have been much better for them to use individual buttons rather than the single button design.

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