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ASUS UL30A-A2 13.3-inch Ultraportable Laptop PC

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ASUS UL30A-A2 13.3-inch Ultraportable Laptop PC

ASUS UL30A

©ASUSTeK Computer Corp.

The Bottom Line

Mar 15 2010 - The ASUS UL30A is a decently priced alternative for those looking at a highly portable system with long battery life but without sacrificing too much performance and features. At $700 to $800, the system is much more expensive than a netbook but it is well worth the price for those looking to travel frequently with a laptop and still want it portable. It isn't as unique as when it was first released but the design is attractive and is very pleasant to use for extended periods.
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Pros

  • Long Battery Life
  • Comfortable Keyboard Design
  • Attractive Design

Cons

  • Low Resolution VGA Webcam
  • Touchpad Too Sensitive
  • Glossy Display

Description

  • Intel Core 2 Duo SU7300 Dual Core Mobile Processor
  • 4GB PC3-8500 DDR3 Memory
  • 500GB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive
  • 13.3" WXGA (1330x768) LED Backlit Display With VGA Webcam
  • Intel GMA 4500MHD Integrated Graphics
  • Fast Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless
  • Three USB 2.0, VGA, HDMI, 5-in-1 Card Reader
  • 12.9" x 9.3" x 1" @ 3.8 lbs.
  • Windows 7 Home Premium

Guide Review - ASUS UL30A-A2 13.3-inch Ultraportable Laptop PC

Mar 15 2010 - The ASUS UL30A-A2 is the latest revision of the 13.3-inch consumer ultra-low voltage laptop. Unlike the initial release that used a single core processor, this version uses a more powerful Intel Core 2 Duo SU7300 processor that provides a better experience. This combined with the 4GB of DDR3 memory allow it to run multiple applications without issue which is far better than what the much less expensive netbooks can achieve.

In order to keep the profile slim, ASUS does not include an optical drive with the UL30A. This is fairly typical of the extremely portable laptop platforms and probably won't be an issue for many. The hard drive on the other hand is a very large 500GB model that provides a large amount of space for applications and data. There are three USB ports for use with external DVD drives or hard drives should you need more space or features.

While netbooks are extremely popular, they suffer greatly in terms of video performance. This is where the ultraportables have a big step up on netbooks. The ASUS UL30A has enough performance from the Intel GMA 4500MHD integrated graphics to properly render HD video streams. Of course, the integrated graphics don't support 3D gaming at all. The 13.3-inch display has enough resolution to support 720p video feeds but there is an HDMI output for use with a full size HDTV or monitor for 1080p sources. The screen uses a typical glossy coating that causes high amounts of reflections and glare under certain lighting conditions.

The biggest draw for the ASUS UL30A is the long battery life. ASUS advertises the the system can run up to twelve hours. This is a bit overstated when compared to real world usage. In my streaming video test, the laptop was able to run roughly six and a half hours. More typical usage will probably yield around eight to nine hours of usage which is well below the advertised amount but still quite a long time and better than many netbooks.

ASUS uses an isolated keyboard design for the UL30A that is quite comfortable with sufficient space between keys to prevent too many accidental presses. There is a bit of flex but the resistance of the keys is solid enough. The trackpad on the other hand is a bit too sensitive. The textured design that blends in with the deck can also make it difficult at times to determine when you've reached the edge of the pad.

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