Asus 14" U43F Bamboo Core i5 Notebook Review

Article Index

Summary and Conclusion



Performance Summary: The U43F performed well in our synthetic testing. CPU performance was right up there with other powerful mobile chips, and both the memory and HDD performance was also right in line with the closest competition. For a sub-$900 notebook, the performance of the Asus U43F is quite impressive. Asus is aiming at average users who want a sleek, portable machine. Average users will no doubt be impressed by the speed under the hood, though the gaming benchmarks show the primary weakness: graphics. You won't be doing too much gaming on this laptop, but HD video playback is no issue at all, making the built-in HDMI socket that much more useful. Boot-ups were quick, application load times were snappy, and the machine is fully capable of taking advantage of the 4GB of memory due to the 64-bit copy of Windows 7 Home Premium. You'll be hard pressed to find a machine out today with better performance and similar features for $899, but you'll have to visit Best Buy in order to capture this particular configuration that we've reviewed.




There's no doubt that the U43F is a unique machine. This is a unique configuration meant specifically for retail, and we definitely dig the assortment of components that make it up. The 14" size is a great split between cramped ultraportables/netbooks and hot/heavy 15" notebooks. We do wish the 1366x768 screen resolution was higher in order to take advantage of the extra space, but the full-size chiclet keyboard and spacious trackpad both do take advantage. We found that typing for long periods was comfortable, and the standard key layout didn't require us to "get used to" anything different. The trackpad supports a select few multi-touch gestures (much appreciated), though the single, long button will surely turn some users off.

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The Bamboo design is really a sight to behold. The top lid and sticker-free palmrest are both beautiful, and neither are gimmicky. In fact, the wood actually feels like real wood, just as it should. Though, it's a shame that the plastic chrome accents and flexible plastic bottom take away from the overall "class" of the machine. Using the machine was pleasant, however, and in every scenario save for hardcore gaming, it was plenty fast to keep up with our demands. Having a potent Core i5 paired with 4GB of DDR3 memory, a DVD Combo Drive, HDMI output and even a single USB 3.0 means that the vast majority of consumers will find everything they need in a portable machine. And when you consider that it also has Intel's Wireless Display functionality built-in (though you'll need a $99 TV adapter), well...that's just icing on the cake.



All in all, it's hard not to appreciate, maybe even admire, the U43F. We wish the materials used were a bit more rigid and we wish the screen resolution was higher, but the price will be right as-is for a lot of users. At under $900, there aren't too many other notebooks in the market that are this stylish, this easy to use and this capable. As we said, this unit is perfect for the light traveler who won't bang up their machine and won't be looking to do any heavy gaming on the weekends, particularly if you find yourself using an optical drive with great frequency. If you've been looking for a great all-around machine, but weren't up for paying extra to have a discrete GPU that you may never take advantage of, the U43F could be your solution. Just make sure to head to Best Buy if you plan on buying this exact configuration, though.

 

 

 

 

     
  • Beautiful Bamboo finish
    No palm rest stickers!
  • A USB 3.0 port
  • Perfect size for traveling
  • Solid overall performance
  • Intel Wireless Display module built-in

  • Glossy, lower resolution LCD
  • Chrome accents look out of place
  • Gets quite warm in use
  • Can't handle modern, intense 3D games
  • Doesn't ship with WiDi display adapter (extra $99)

 


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