The Asus UL20A is the smallest and cheapest member of the new Asus UL family. Like its big brother, the Asus UL30A, the UL20A has a chiclet-style keyboard, Winodws 7 Home Premium, and an Intel Core 2 Duo SU7300 CULV processor. But this laptop has a smaller, 12.1 inch display, 2GB of RAM, and a 250GB hard drive.
The Asus UL20A should begin shipping soon, and the folks at Asus sent me one to review. You can check out my unboxing and first look video below.
The UL20A is a tiny bit larger than the Acer Aspire 1410, which has an 11.6 inch display. But the difference is hardly noticeable.
Thanks to the smaller screen size, the UL20A also has a smaller keyboard and touchpad than the Asus UL30A. The keyboard is still fairly large and easy to use, but I think Asus should have thought about dropping the dedicated Home, End, PgUp and PgDn keys on the right side of the keyboard in order to provide just a little more space for the rest of the keys.
The touchpad supports multitouch gestures including pinching to zoom. But for some reason, it doesn’t support two-finger scrolling out of the box. Instead, you can scroll by moving your finger up and down the right side of the touchpad, or left and right on the bottom. Like the Asus Eee PC 1005HA, the touchpad supports “ChiralMotion,” which allows you to scroll continuously by twhirling your finger. I tried downloading and installing the Asus UL30A touchpad driver to see if it added two-finger scrolling support, but it does not. I kind of didn’t realize how much I would miss this feature until I tried using a laptop that looks and feels so much like the UL30A, but which lacks two-finger scrolling.
In terms of size, this laptop may be nearly perfect. It’s not dramatically larger than a 10 inch netbook, but the 12.1 inch display is big enough that I don’t have to squint to read text on the 1366 x 768 pixel screen. The processor and graphics are identical to the Asus UL30A’s, so performance should be pretty good for watching HD video or performing CPU-intensive tasks like transcoding audio or video. But the UL20A does ship with less RAM than the larger model, so that may affect performance to some degree.
I’ll have more details about the Asus UL20A in the coming days. In the meantime, ypu can check out my unboxing video below.