It’s been a busy day here at Liliputing HQ. Not only did a friendly FedEx guy drop off an HP Pavilion MS214, he also had an Asus UL30A laptop with him.
Now, to be honest, I’m much more interested in the Asus UL20A than the UL30A. The UL20A is an 11.6 inch model that starts at $599 and has nearly identical specs to the 13.3 inch and $799 UL30A. But Asus is pushing the UL30A as its flagship model and isn’t making UL20A units available for review. So I’m going to go ahead and review this laptop over the next week or so instead of the UL20A. Keep in mind, while I’ve been told the specs are virtually identical, there may be some differences beside the screen size and price, so make sure to do your homework before plunking down any cash on a UL20A based on my upcoming UL30A review.
Starting next Thursday, the Asus UL30A will begin shipping with Windows 7 preloaded. If you order one today you can pick it up with Windows Vista Home Premium and register for a free upgrade. My contact at Asus was kind enough to preload Windows 7 RC on my review unit before sending it out, so I’ll be testing the machine with Windows 7. I’m currently downloading Windows 7 drivers and utilities from the Asus support site, but here’s what I can already tell you about the Asus UL30A:
- For a 13.3 inch laptop, the UL30A is still pretty light at just 3.3 pounds.
- The dual core Intel Core 2 Duo SU7300 processor is plenty fast enough to handle smooth playback of high quality Flash video, which is more than I can say for some dual core processors.
- I really like the the keyboard, but the touchpad is actually a bit hard to move your finger around, due to a bumpy/texture surface similar to what you get on the Asus Eee PC Seashell series netbooks (the 1005HA, 1008HA, and 1101HA).
The model I’m reviewing has 4GB of RAM, a 500GB hard drive, 802.11b/g/n WiFi, and a 13.3 inch, 1366 x 768 pixel display and Intel GMA 4500MHD graphics. One interesting thing to note is that the Asus UL30A with Intel integrated graphics gets a higher Windows performance score (3.9) than the HP Pavilion MS214 (2.9) with ATI graphics on desktop performance for Windows Aero. But the MS214 trounces the UL30A when it comes to gaming graphics with a 4.8 score to the UL30A’s 3.4.
You can check out an unboxing video after the break.