Asus 13.3" U30Jc Laptop, Optimus-Enabled Mobility

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Introduction and Specifications

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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