Asus 13.3" U30Jc Laptop, Optimus-Enabled Mobility

Article Index

Summary and Conclusion

Performance Summary:  In our SiSoftware Sandra tests, the Asus U30Jc stood up quite well against the competition, thanks to its Core i3-350M. The NVIDIA Optimus solution, which seamlessly switches between the integrated Intel GMA set and the discrete GT 310M (512MB) GPU, was also a huge boon. It worked as advertised, and powered through whatever games and HD multi-media quite well. Having 4GB of RAM and a 64-bit operating system (Windows 7 Home Premium) to really take advantage of it was also helpful, and while this 13.3" form factor may give you the impression that it's just a CULV alternative with good portability, the performance numbers prove otherwise. This machine is more powerful than many "standard" 15" notebooks out there, and for under $900, we think you'll have a hard time finding a more well-balanced marriage of price, design, portability, and performance.

Asus did well by designing this machine in the way that they did. Right out of the box, it's stunning to look at. It's built tough and rigid, the brushed aluminum is of high quality, the trackpad is the best we have used and the "clean" look throughout assures you that Asus intends for this machine to handle serious work with ease. We really enjoyed the usability; having a multi-touch trackpad that worked well helped our productivity, and having a nice, spacious keyboard did as well.

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The 13.3" LCD offered plenty of screen real estate for being an ultraportable, and while we weren't big fans of the glossy coating, at least Asus threw in a micro-fiber cloth to keep the dust wiped clean. The amount of ports was satisfactory, but those who rely on an ExpressCard for 3G or some other peripheral should take note: there's no ExpressCard slot here. Also, the lack of USB 3.0 is somewhat of a let down. Asus recently came forward and boasted that it was the first company who was making USB 3.0 a priority, yet it's only USB 2.0 here. There's also a bit of fan noise and heat to deal with during extended gaming sessions, but nothing that became annoying or intolerable. We will say, the inclusion of an optical drive deserves noting. Many machines of this stature simply skip out on this component, but we still think it's a useful component in today's market place. The physical disc hasn't vanished completely, and it really comes in handy when you need it. All in all, there are far more praise points than gripes, and for $900, we can't think of a better ultraportable to chose right now. Asus really executed well on the U30Jc, from the gorgeous design to the inclusion of an optical drive and Intel's potent Core i3, not to mention the power-saving and intelligent NVIDIA Optimus solution. A five-star machine at a reasonable price, and it's available in the U.S. starting today.

  • Fantastic Value at Sub-$900
  • Gorgeous Aluminum Design
  • Great Trackpad and Keyboard
  • Stellar Multimedia Playback
  • NVIDIA Optimus
  • Glossy Display
  • So-so Battery Life
  • Added Bloatware
  • No USB 3.0

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