Asus 13.3" U30Jc Laptop, Optimus-Enabled Mobility - HotHardware

Asus 13.3" U30Jc Laptop, Optimus-Enabled Mobility

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It seems like just yesterday that we commented on how many new CULV notebooks had hit the scene, and how Intel had seemingly hit the proverbial sweet spot. These low-voltage Core processors fit perfectly between high-end netbooks and low-end mainstream laptops, offering enough power for most users in a package that would run for hours on end without a recharge. The price point was also good, with many CULV options listing for around $700 to $900. And then, the Core 2010 lineup of processors were launched, and Intel seemingly ate its own in a ploy to get even faster chips on the market.



Today, we're taking a look at one of those very chips, a Core i3-350M that fits into the Arrandale platform. It's housed within a sleek and stunning new ultraportable from Asus, and it just might be the most classy and bold machine we've seen from the company in recent memory. The U30Jc combines the best in new mobile CPU technology with the best in new mobile GPU technology, and the result is a reasonably priced ($899.99; available today at Amazon and NewEgg), but extremely promising machine that will easily fit on a tray table in coach.



The brushed aluminum finish is striking, and it's a definite departure for Asus. This machine is extremely understated, which is perfect for the modern business user or the on-the-go traveler who just wants a portable machine with brawn and brains. In terms of its specifications, it's hard to knock the machine. Asus has done a fine job of outfitting this notebook, with a Core i3 processor and NVIDIA's Optimus graphics solution, which offers seamless switching between the integrated Intel GMA graphics and the NVIDIA GT 310M GPU.

Asus 13.3" U30Jc Notebook
Specifications and Features (as tested)
  • Intel Core i3-350M  @ 2.26GHz, 1066MHz FSB; 3MB L3 Cache
  • 4GB of DDR3 RAM (1066MHz; 2x2GB)
  • 13.3" LCD (1366x768); LED backlight, glossy
  • NVIDIA GeForce GT 310M (512MB) + Intel GMA graphics
  • NVIDIA Optimus Enabled
  • 320GB (5400RPM) Hitachi Travelstar 5K500.B Hard Drive
  • 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • DVD R/W dual-layer Optical Drive (8x)
  • 0.3 megapixel webcam
  • VGA and HDMI
  • USB 2.0 x 3
  • RJ-45 (Ethernet 10/100/1000)
  • Headphone / Mic Input Jacks
  • SD / MMC / SDHC Multimedia Card Reader
  • Stereo Speakers (Altec Lansing)
  • Gesture-Enabled Multi-Touch Trackpad
  • 4.8 Pounds (with 8-cell battery installed)
  • Removable 5600mAh 8-Cell Li-ion Battery
  • 13.12" x 9.52" x 1.20" (Dimensions)
  • Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
  • Price (as tested): $899
  • 2-Year Warranty


Just a few months ago, $899 would get you a reasonably well-equipped CULV machine; Asus has since upped the ante. We're guessing this machine will beat those CULV options pretty badly on the test bench, though the battery life may suffer somewhat. We haven't had a chance yet to toy with a Core i3-equipped notebook paired with Optimus, so we're extremely interested to see how the combo does. Will this machine have enough horsepower for gaming? Will it glide through HD playback? Find out those answers in more in our full review in the pages to come...

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Great article Ray and Marco, I found my next laptop for sure here!! I have always been partial to Asus as they are one of the leaders in the motherboard market and the motherboard being the foundation of any PC I know it will be a stable laptop. I have been waiting for that perfect balance of power yet good battery life and I think we are at that point of good balance with minimal trade offs. The U30Jc has it all as far as I am concerned I really like the brushed aluminum look, adds a clean  look that is much appreciated. 

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Nice, but 0.3 megapixel webcam?

It would be a tough call between this and the M11x.

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What no Blu-Ray?
Well this thing sure does look nice. I am just wondering why they didn't just go all the way and make that screen turn all the way around and close from the backside. Then it could function as a tablet.
Something like that would have appealed to a broader range of consumer in the hype of the IPad and the need for slate functions while on the go. This is a nice offering, yet should be more in the 5Buck or lower range. It kinda seem some of these companies are struggling to get rid of outdated tech before the next wave comes out, when everything will be CULV. :)
Although it is nice, Y'all know my opinion of Netbooks. A waste of time and space :P

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animatortom:

What no Blu-Ray?
Well this thing sure does look nice. I am just wondering why they didn't just go all the way and make that screen turn all the way around and close from the backside. Then it could function as a tablet.
Something like that would have appealed to a broader range of consumer in the hype of the IPad and the need for slate functions while on the go. This is a nice offering, yet should be more in the 5Buck or lower range. It kinda seem some of these companies are struggling to get rid of outdated tech before the next wave comes out, when everything will be CULV. :)
Although it is nice, Y'all know my opinion of Netbooks. A waste of time and space :P

 

For people who want the tablet feature, they could get the Asus EEE PC M101MT netbook/tablet. Or wait until Asus debuts their 2 tablets to battle against the iPad (link). Either way, Asus doesn't need to go all out on every model. That is what a product line-up is for. Offer different models with different features and at different price points. Adding the tablet feature may appeal to more people, but it would probably put it in competition with the tablet PC from HP. I haven't seen too many of those around and it is probably because most people aren't willing to pay for that feature. It is pretty expensive for something a lot of people won't utilize.

 

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Speaking of the design, it looks very Mac-ish with the silver body and black keys.

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I love the specs for this Laptop. Usually laptops will concentrate on CPU and steer away from GPU, others will say how they have a lot of RAM but a smaller processor and less memory. This computer fits pretty snuggly in what I would call a good middle. 

The i3 cpu, the gt310 gpu, and 4 gigs of DDR3 is really good for a laptop that small. But the laptop also has functionalities like the CD/DVD burner. 

we had to spend a good bit of time uninstalling things to get the machine how we wanted it.

Do laptops normally come loaded with tons of programs preinstalled? 

Overall, we were extremely impressed with the Core i3; we expected it to be appreciably slower than the Core i5, so we were pleasantly surprised to find that it wasn't.

The i3 processors still out perform some of the quad cores and overclocked dual cores out there. For being the weakest link in the "I" series it still packs a considerable punch. 

 If you're just typing a Word document, the integrated graphics will be active in order to save battery life. If you fire up Half-Life 2, the discrete GPU will become active in order to boost frame rates. And you'll never know outside of the increased or decreased graphical performance.

This is a very nice idea put into work. I don't think I've actually heard of any laptops today that do that. I like the fact that the card can recognize what process you are running and then determine how much gpu power is needed to execute that program effectively. 

The computer rating window was also impressive. The computer would have an amazing overall performance rating, but the gt310 is bogging it down a little bit. 

The gaming benchmarks were also impressive to say the least. Nvidias Optimus technology with their gt300 really seems to work well with the integrated gpu from Intel. 

And like I would expect from a brand like ASUS, the heat and power draw are very low, and the battery life, while not spectacular is still pretty good. 

Oddly enough, whenever I used to use laptops I never actually went anywhere with it, I always had it plugged into the power outlet. 

Great review for this laptop. 

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Do want.

This looks like a very nice notebook, I am considering ordering it.

Love the design and the switchable graphics, that is something I have been looking for in a notebook, but haven't seen at a very reasonable price in a notebook with styling I liked.

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