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.
Once the UL20A comes out, nobody is even going to look at the Sony TZ or TT models nor will they even bother to look at the Fujitsu models costing thousands.
One can now buy a relatively powerful computer for a mere USD$599.
The best part, Sony is still selling their TT models.
Some talk over at the notebookreview forums mentions that this line will also come with dedicated graphics options and a turbo boost which will let you overclock the CPU with a button. Any word on that?
There definitely seems to be a button for overclocking on the keyboard. It
looks just like the Super Hybrid Engine button on an Eee PC netbook. I
downloaded a bunch of utilities from Asus last night but haven’t installed
them yet. One does seem to have the word Hybrid Engine in its name though,
so that’s promising. I’ll keep you posted.
As for discrete graphics, I can neither confirm nor deny…
nVidia GT210m (or whatever the name) available for the 14 and 15 inchers I think, but the prices will be dangerously close to 1000$… But still, that could be a great MacBook alternative. The other interesting ones in this category will be the Ion-Ion 2 CULVs, and they’ll probably be able to fit the combination in smaller form factors… but when?
What I would love to see is some kind of chart with processor performance numbers for the Atom on one end, full-blown Core 2 Duo mobile chips on the other end and an idea of where a Dual Core CULV fits in between… Is the best CULV anywhere close to a big laptop processor, that’s the question for me.
Damn, I was hoping for a 9400m in the 11″ or 13″ models as options. That would be my dream laptop right there with the CULV. I can’t seem to find that combo anywhere in an ultraportable.
Same here, they are almost there, but I’ve got to be able to do some gaming on it, otherwise it’s a no go for me.
I want an 11,6 inch with CULV and ATI or Nvidia, or no deal.
Thanks so much for this, I was just wondering though. I am looking for a laptop, not a netbook. I multi-task and use itunes office, chrome, and photoshop (occasionally). I also usually have quite a few other processes in the background. Would this computer suffice? I mean, does it compare with a regular laptop? Thanks!
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