Asus UL30A & Lenovo ThinkPad Edge 13 CULV Notebooks

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Battery Life

To test battery life, we ran a series of tests to simulate real life web surfing and movie watching. The critical and low battery actions were disabled, so the system would simply shut down once the battery was exhausted as far as Windows 7 would allow (1%). WiFi was enabled obviously for the web browsing test.

For the web browsing test we loaded three websites into Firefox on separate tabs: Google News, Yahoo News, and CNN International. Using the ReloadEvery add-on, we set each tab to do a staggered reload every minute. This is essentially one page reload every 20 seconds.

For video playback we used an XVID encoded AVI (1324kbps video, 448kbps AC3 audio) played with VLC Player and a x264 encoded MKV (720p, 7mbps video, 640kbps AC3 audio) played with Media Player Classic Home Cinema (DXVA enabled) in a loop.

Test Results: Battery Life
Activity
Gateway EC1803h*
ThinkPad Edge 13
Asus UL80Vt†
Asus UL30A
Web Browsing
6:09
6:22
9:11
9:44
Xvid Playback
4:24
5:50
7:19
6:52
x264 Playback
3:31
4:35
5:24
5:52
*EC1803h running Vista 32, other systems running Windows 7 64.
UL80Vt running on integrated graphics (switchable).

The Edge 13 can run untethered longer than most mainstream notebooks, lasting more than six hours when web browsing, just under six hours playing Xvid, and four and half hours playing high definition x264. With a lower idle power draw and a bigger battery than the Edge 13, the UL30A delivers the most impressive battery life we've seen in a laptop. The UL30A lasted 15 minutes shy of 10 hours web browsing, 8 minutes short of 7 hours playing Xvid and almost 6 hours rendering x264.

The UL series combines high efficiency with high capacity batteries so that they can last an entire work day of internet use. The occasional Flash video may cut into that time, but it could be made up by enabling power saving features like having the screen dim/turn off after a certain amount of idle time or going to sleep completely, etc.

Thermals & Acoustics

Internal temperature were recorded using SpeedFan while external temperatures were taken with an IR thermometer on the hottest point on both the topside and underside of each laptop. On both machines, the hottest point was located near the center of the left side.

Asus UL30A
Activity
System Temperatures
SPL @0.6m
CPU
HDD
Topside
Underside
Idle
33°C
29°C
28°C
34°C
21 dBA
x264 Playback
43°C
30°C
30°C
37°C
21~22 dBA
CPU Load
47°C
29°C
30°C
37°C
24 dBA
CPU + GPU Load
49°C
29°C
31°C
39°C
24 dBA
Lenovo ThinkPad Edge 13
Idle
41°C
32°C
30°C
33°C
18~19 dBA
x264 Playback
44°C
30°C
31°C
35°C
19 dBA
CPU Load
58°C
30°C
31°C
38°C
28 dBA
CPU + GPU Load
60°C
31°C
33°C
39°C
28 dBA
Ambient temperature: 20°C.

The Edge 13 had a slightly warmer exterior during testing, but both machines ran fairly cool by modern standards. The Lenovo had noticeably higher CPU temperatures, even on load when its fan was more aggressive. The UL30A operates with a core voltage 0.50V lower than the ThinkPad which explains why the fan spins so much faster on the ThinkPad.

Both notebooks were very quiet when idling, producing just a soft whooshing sound that was rather inconspicuous though the Edge 13 measured 2~3 dBA lower. On x264 playback, the noise level increased just slightly as neither machine really required much in the way of extra cooling. On full load, the UL30A was probably the best-sounding laptop we've ever used, beating the ThinkPad by 4 dBA while retaining a smooth, benign character. The Edge 13's fan was much louder and more whiny when the CPU was pressed into heavy action.


UL30A idling at 0.6m.


Edge 13 idling at 0.6m.



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