Asus 13.3" U30Jc Laptop, Optimus-Enabled Mobility

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Where do we begin? The Asus U30Jc is one of the most well-designed notebooks we have have had the pleasure of testing, and particularly in the ultraportable space, we think it's only rivaled by Apple's MacBook. The brushed aluminum design spreads beyond the lid; it goes underneath to the palm rest and below to the underside. It's not some cheesy plastic imitation. This is the real deal, and it feels extremely smooth to the touch and as solid as a rock.


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One look at this machine in person, and you'll be smitten. It's just gorgeous. It shimmers, and it's extremely solid without being overly heavy. There's no flex to speak of; it's like a stiff sheet of steel. We also love that there are no palm rest stickers. Asus includes them, but they're on a plastic sticker sheet that can easily be removed. Just like that, it's perfectly clean inside and out, just like all notebooks should be.
 

     
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Along the front edge, there are a number of LED status indicators and an SD/SDHC/MMC card slot. Around the sides are the ports: an HDMI and VGA output, three USB 2.0 ports, a Wi-Fi on/off switch, eSATA port, audio in/out ports, a DVD R/W optical drive, Ethernet port and an AC socket. We wish these were USB 3.0 ports, and an ExpressCard slot would be nice, but overall this should be plenty for most users.

     
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Asus has placed a multi-touch, gesture supporting trackpad on this machine, and it might just be the best one we have ever used on an ultraportable. There's a solid left/right click button that has an ideal amount of travel, and the spacious pad itself responds remarkably well to inputs. Touch inputs are always picked up right away, and two-finger scrolling/zooming/pinching was also exceptional. It's hard to use a trackpad without multi-touch after using the one on the U30Jc. Asus, please do us all a favor and use this trackpad technology on all of your notebooks.

     
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The chicklet-styled keyboard is better-than-average. There's no flex at all, and aside from a few typos here and there, we had no problems adjusting. The layout is standard, and it's easy to jump right onto and type away. The key texture is also nice; a flat surface but with a smaller amount of travel than we would ideally like. Still, the amount of Fn keys were great, and we think Asus has done a great job here overall.


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The LCD is a typical 13.3" glossy, LED backlit LCD. The LCD hinge was very solid, reclining back and holding in place until we forced it in one direction or the other. The panel itself was a little bit difficult to see when under direct sunlight, but it's still one of the better glossy panels we have seen. Colors were sharp and vibrant, and the viewing angles were spot-on.


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Overall, the fit and finish here was second to none. It was easy to carry around, it felt great in use, and it was built like a rock. It reminded us of a classic ThinkPad in terms of rigidity. The fans did kick up when we taxed the system, and a fair amount of heat was generated, but we never felt it getting so warm that we couldn't use it on our lap.


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