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Comparable System sound files:
On a typical laptop with discrete graphics, even if you only play games on
AC power, battery life is usually subpar compared to a model with integrated
video. The Asus UL80Vt, with its big battery and Hybrid Graphics, breaks this
long-held construct, allowing budget gamers to enjoy decent 3D performance without
cutting into battery life when they're unplugged and using their notebook for
less stressful tasks. With the discrete GeForce G210M GPU enabled, the UL80Vt's
run time is impressive in its own right, but switching to Intel's integrated
GMA 4500MHD graphics results in astounding battery life, exceeding even that
of the Eee 1005HA,
an Atom powered netbook! It's not quite the 12 hours that Asus claims but then
again, we weren't able to run our sample at stock speeds, so perhaps something
closer to 10 hours is within the realm of possibility. The machine also runs
fairly cool and quiet and is lighter and thinner than most 14" notebooks.
Spec-wise, the only thing you sacrifice choosing the UL80Vt over a comparably
priced mainstream laptop with discrete graphics is Bluetooth, and some processing
power (which is made up in part through overclocking).
While we were impressed with everything under the hood, the rest of the UL80Vt
could use some work. The amount of flex around the keyboard and palm rest (particularly
on the right side) indicates mediocre build quality the only portion
of the laptop that really feels solid is the aluminum cover. The keyboard and
trackpad are also substandard they both look great, but when put to use
they are lacking compared to laptops we've used in the past. The keys seem weak,
not providing enough resistance and springing back meekly after being depressed.
The touchpad surface while large is a little too gritty, and the one-piece button
is sunken down when it should be raised for easier access. The webcam is lousy
as are the speakers, but its rare to find a good set on any laptop. The screen
is adequate bright and crisp, but colors don't quite pop.
While the unit looks very sleek and professional and has an excellent combination
of hardware inside, it's obvious they've cut a few corners and given little
thought to some of the peripherals, namely the keyboard and trackpad. If you
can overlook these weaknesses, the UL80Vt excels as a jack-of-all trades laptop,
something of a rarity. For those who don't play games and have no need for the
overclocking feature, the "A" series with only integrated graphics
seems preferable as they are much cheaper, deliver enough performance for most
users and can play high definition video efficiently.
You may also want to consider a smaller machine if portability is an issue
while the UL80Vt is slimmer than a typical 14" laptop, we would hesitate
to casually throw it in a bag to take with us on vacation. Perhaps we've been
spoiled by netbooks, but a smaller unit closer to 3lb like the 12" UL20A
is preferable in this regard, as long as you can live without an optical drive.
Our thanks to Asus
for the UL80Vt-A1 sample.
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