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I purchased this laptop to replace my older Dell that had seen better days.
The UL30a has a 13.3" screen which is widescreen. It is clear and refresh rate is very good. I haven't played many games on this but they all seem to run very well. I guess some of the games that require some large processing through the graphics chip may not run as fast and you may see some blurring.
The keyboard is lovely. Keys are spaced out nicely with approx 2mm gap between each key. The FN key operates the screen's brightness, the volume control, changing from screen to hdmi output.
Oh it has a hdmi out put. I've run this through my Panasonic tv and found that I sometimes need to adjust the resolution to get it to fit properly on the display. It comes with 3 usb ports, 2 on the right side and 1 on the left side. It comes with a fast boot facility that boots up in 8 secs to its own operating system that allows you to browse the internet.
This UL30A is bought from Carphone Warehouse, the processor is dual core celeron SU2300 and 3GB DDR3 ram.
This laptop looks stylish and well built, outer top case is aluminium and inside is plastic, but still doesn't feel cheap.
The battery life is excellent, it lasts for 9 hours + when doing normal web browsing/office work (no youtube/music).
The sound of speakers is not the best, but it is acceptable and can be quite loud. As usual with laptops, there is a lack of bass.
The screen can be set to VERY BRIGHT ( eyes may start to hurt), but of course can be adjusted. Also, when watching HD material, the picture shows more detail than my monitor. When watching some 1080p youtube videos, there is stuttering, but 1080p mkv can be played smoothly.
The keyboard feels solid to type on, but because of the size of this laptop (13.3"), the keyboard is actually smaller and need some time to get used to.
The trackpad can be annoying as it is quite sensitive and does random clicks when they are not intended!
The webcam on this laptop is poor!The picture is very blurry during video calls, I suggest you buy a 1.3mp one separately!
In terms of wireless signals, I don't have a problem with it, although it is weaker than my previous acer.
There is no DVDRW in this laptop and a separate one needs to be bought, but I hardly use a disc nowadays!
In terms of value, this is great for £350, it is portable, great battery life and does the job. Not for hard core gaming though!
After spending a year travelling with my Samsung NC10 (reviewed previously), which I should say was a fantastic little netbook but underpowered for watching video content, I took the decision to buy another notebook.
I didn't want something with a 10" screen this time around as I wasn't going to be shoving it into a small backpack constantly but it still needed to be reasonably small and preferably with a long battery life. I'd looked at a few options but picked the Asus because of a good combination of price, stock availability, size and battery life.
Some basic specs....
Intel Centrino 2 U7300 CPU @ 1.30GHz
320GB Hard Drive
Windows 7 Premium 64-bit
In March the cost of this laptop was £500. It is likely to be less now, different spec models are also available for around £300.
I'd never owned an Asus before and had no expectations that the build quality would beat that of my little Samsung, I was right in that respect! Everything is still hanging together after 6 months of near constant use, the only issue I had is that one of the characters on the keyboard became stiff but after two days everything was fine. Around the same time two of the chassis screws decided to fall out (not with each other, from the case) but without them everything is still in place.
I wouldn't say I treat my notebooks roughly, but they can get thrown around a bit and do spend a lot of time travelling so they can get the occasional knock.
The notebook is really quite thin, not in the league of the MacBook air of course but it is light enough that i can carry it around with the one hand without fear of dropping it.
The main body is formed of plastic, which suits me fine as I don't much like the feel of the aluminium notebooks that often have a little electrical current running through them! The top of the lid is black metal, possibly aluminium which improves the styling a little.
A big sticker on the palmrest advertises that the palm area is super cold to prevent discomfort, I'm not sure if it's true, it never gets hot enough to be a problem but it's hardly cooling!
There are 4 lights on the front showing power, battery, hard drive access and wireless. All are blue except the battery one which is off when not connected to power, orange when charging, green when charged.
Performance and usability
This is no power machine, it has onboard graphics but is capable of HD output which works very nicely and easily to a large TV via the HDMI connection. No button presses are needed, it switches automatically but there are of course many settings you can play with if you want.
Playing movies, either streaming or downloaded does not present a problem, but if you are playing some processor heavy games you'll soon notice that things aren't going quite as well as you'd like, you'd be needing a more powerful laptop for gaming really.
The screen is bright, but if you don't like the kind of screen you can see your reflection in (in the right lighting) then you will be annoyed a little.
The inbuilt speakers are placed underneath the palmrest and aren't so brilliant, I either have it connected to a TV or use headphones for listening to music or watching movies.
The strongest point of this laptop for me is that it can easily go for 7 hours without a charge with the wireless running and all the power saving options off. Start playing with the power saving settings and it is possible to get over 10 hours out of a charge, which is great if you're on the move.
But, if you are away longer and need to take the charge I can say that it is the smallest powerpack I have seen on a laptop power supply, so it won't take up a huge amount of space.
A lot of complaints I have heard have been about the trackpad. Rather than being a lowered part of the palmrest it is only identifiable by a pattern of dimples. I had no problem with this but I have definitely had other people mention their dislike for it. It has a sturdy feeling mouse button in front.
Another complaint I have heard is about the wireless adapter, I can confirm that I have had no problems with it at all in many different locations it had worked with no trouble.
I'll be honest, I never use the software that clutters a laptop when you first get it. There are a number of utilities that I have made no use of but unlike certain other manufacturers you won't be bombarded by registration demands, pop ups and other delights with this machine.
Windows 7 Premium 64-Bit is installed, I have no complaints about Windows 7 and all the aero stuff works fine, like 'glass' windows etc.
The extra function keys you get on laptops don't always work well, but on here they're fine for adjusting the volume, brightness and display.
1 x HDMI
3 x USB 2.0
1 x SD Card Reader
Microphone socket (there is also an internal microphone, handy for Skype)
Bluetooth and Wireless adapters
Light and portable, long battery life but not stunningly powered. It met my requirements.
A little more attention on the build quality and maybe throw in a slip case for it and I'd have been very happy indeed :)
EDIT: Forgot to add, there is no optical drive on this notebook, definitely an important fact!
If I missed something important let me know so I can add it, thanks!
The Asus UL30A is a decent net book with a decent sized 13.3-inch screen. Is extremely lightweight at around four pounds (around one and a half kilos). It has a four star rated Intel Duo core processor and this is ultra low voltage giving it an excellent battery life of ten hours (though I have yet to be put to use it for this length of time) that should be more then adequate for most people's uses. It is also ultra thin at one inch thick and boots up in about eight seconds.
It has a full keyboard with a small palm rest on the bottom; there are some slight differences to a full sized keyboard but nothing you will not quickly adapt to. In this palm rest is a touch pad only recognisable by the dimpled pattern and the button below. This dimpled pattern also allows for precise touch pad movement though it is a tad east to drift off the touch pad if your not paying attention.
The 13.3 inch screen offers a good display with rich glossy colour highlighted by deep blacks and is easily view from more then one angle, there is some slight glare reflection but no more then with any other viewing device. Video play back is good and sound is also excellent for such a small machine.
The inbuilt web cam is adequate but not the best (though remember it is only a net book) and worked well with no stuttering or jerking over video chat.
There are also plenty of inbuilt connections on the left hand side are HDMI, VGA and a USB port whilst on the left is a sim card slot, five in one card reader, headphones port, microphone port, two more USB ports and Ethernet connection. It does lack a CD or DVD drive but this is no real problem with downloads and other media forms readily available.
An excellent machine performing well in all areas with an excellent battery life and features the only downside is that it may be a little too expensive for a net book for some people.
Bought from car phone warehouse in sale at £350 in June 2010, so only had for month and a half. Larger than a notebook, smaller than a laptop. Light and sleek in brushed steel efffect. Super long battery life. Very easy to use. Overall really pleased with my purchase