Asus UL30A & Lenovo ThinkPad Edge 13 CULV Notebooks

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MikeC
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Asus UL30A & Lenovo ThinkPad Edge 13 CULV Notebooks

Post by MikeC » Tue Mar 09, 2010 2:06 pm


ilovejedd
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Post by ilovejedd » Tue Mar 09, 2010 2:34 pm

Excellent review. I'd like to inquire, though, what are the specifications of the battery came with the ASUS UL30A?

Another thought, it would be interesting to know how much quieter the laptop can be if set to use passive cooling and the hard drive was replaced with an SSD. The UL30A-X5 can sometimes be found for a very reasonable $650 which makes upgrading to $200+ SSD's more palatable.

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Post by MikeC » Tue Mar 09, 2010 2:59 pm

Battery specs are on the first page table of specs: 8-cell 5600 mAh 84Wh.

imo, the noise at high load is not really a factor -- only happens under artificial CPU stress test. In real use, neither laptop gets loud enough to be bothersome, at least not to me. In hot weather, with bottom and vents blocked, things will get worse, but so will every notebook under such conditions. My own bias is for the much better keyboard & sturdiness of the Edge but wish it had mobile life.

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Post by KadazanPL » Wed Mar 10, 2010 2:13 am

Thank you for this review, it was fun to read. I am pleased to see that laptop companies understand the need to offer a truly portable computer, instead of pumping inches in those silly 17" widescreen computers.

<rant mode on>

What's with the glossy screens? :evil:
It is increasingly hard to find a matte LCD screen on a laptop. Am I the only one who finds them (the glossy ones) horrible? They render the screen unusable in brightly lit or sunny conditions. Are there any people out there who sincerely like that? My eyes want to kill me every time I have to work with a glossy screen, especially if I'm sitting with my back to a window (this can't be avoided sometimes).

<rant mode off>

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Post by Lawrence Lee » Wed Mar 10, 2010 9:34 am

KadazanPL wrote: What's with the glossy screens? :evil:
It is increasingly hard to find a matte LCD screen on a laptop. Am I the only one who finds them (the glossy ones) horrible? They render the screen unusable in brightly lit or sunny conditions.
I find it bizarre that laptop screens are glossy while most desktop monitors are matte. At home you can adjust the lighting and under the right conditions, glossy looks much better. I have a feeling it's because they attract more attention in a showroom - it's the shiny factor.

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Post by hybrid2d4x4 » Wed Mar 10, 2010 10:37 am

I also despise the glossy screens but the "Canadian" keyboard layout as used on the Gateway (and Acers,etc.) is a very close second. Are the Asus ULs shipping to Canada with the keyboards shown in the review or do they also have a "Canadianized" version?

In any case, thanks for the review. I really like the looks of the Asus but I think I'll wait for the refresh of the UL line with the Core i3(?) CULVs and Optimus. With any luck they'll also improve the build quality issues and offer a matte screen by then 8)

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Post by QuietOC » Wed Mar 10, 2010 10:37 am

KadazanPL wrote:What's with the glossy screens? :evil:
It is increasingly hard to find a matte LCD screen on a laptop. Am I the only one who finds them (the glossy ones) horrible?
Image
11.6" of fail

I just sold the pitiful Gateway 11.6" CULV laptop I bought a month ago. It wasn't just that the LCD was glossy, it had very little contrast and the colors shifted on the screen no matter how you looked at it. The 10.1" matte LCD on my old ASUS Eee PC 1000HA is much better despite the lower resolution. Shoot the 7" LCD on the $100 7" Delstar DS700 I bought was fine. I am a little interested in a more powerful CULV like the ASUS UL20A or Alienware m11x but worry that they probably have the same kind of garbage LCD as the Gateway. How are people okay with these crappy LCDs?

Image
Both displaying solid black desktops. Did ASUS use an IPS panel in the 1000HA?

Really I'd prefer something even smaller than my Eee with a bigger keyboard. Trackpads are of the devil--at least if you buy one of these to actually type on. Sony is the only one offering anything like this right now in the rather expensive VAIO P-series. I am sure I am at the point where I am asking too much.

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Post by Kobold » Wed Mar 10, 2010 1:35 pm

Great review,

but :D now I need to know where I can buy the Thinkpad with the Asus screen in a non-glossy version and the better battery life.

Seriously, I am looking for a decent small laptop for a few months now and was eyeing both the Asus UL30A (and UL20A) and the Thinkpad Edge for a while now.
Most of the good thinks and the bad you mentioned I had already feared for, as I want both a decent keyboard and a decent screen. And of course mobile battery life does not hurt either.

Ah well, perhaps someone will finally come up with the laptop for me. Or I will just have to gamble which one to get.
Last edited by Kobold on Thu Mar 11, 2010 11:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by AlexNC » Wed Mar 10, 2010 1:45 pm

I have had the UL30A for 6 months now. This is a great laptop. I am still amazed at how good the battery life is on this machine. Very highly recommended.

Though, I am surprised on the current price. I purchased this laptop 6 months ago for $680. I thought it would be a lot cheaper by now. Maybe the prices are staying up because it is so popular.

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Post by qviri » Wed Mar 10, 2010 10:18 pm

This was an excellent review -- thank you.
ilovejedd wrote:Another thought, it would be interesting to know how much quieter the laptop can be if set to use passive cooling and the hard drive was replaced with an SSD.
I too am wondering about the SSD angle. In my experience with my laptops, the hard drive noise is a significant component. Then again, I use ~3 year old drives, so not exactly the latest and the greatest, and try to run with the fan off.

Was hard drive noise a significant component of the overall signature of the machines being reviewed at idle?

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Post by smilingcrow » Thu Mar 11, 2010 12:48 am

Carphonewarehouse have the UL30 for £399 delivered - CPW.
Not sure if they also have it in store which would be handy.

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Post by Das_Saunamies » Sat Mar 13, 2010 5:31 am

Satisfied UL30A(-QX056V) owner here, bought in December 2009 I think.

The glossy screen and wonky mouse are the only downsides for me. The keyboard is passable: if it's easy to write long essays on, it's good enough for me. Amazing battery life, gets me through an 8-hour day of writing/reading documents no problem.

Not a single issue with noise (HDD, fans) or heat, but I will be looking to upgrade to an SSD - just like screens need not be glossy, my HDD need not have a media library on it, ready to crash at the slightest knock. Along with my thesis.

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Post by Zenphic » Sat Mar 13, 2010 12:39 pm

Lenovo keyboards are quite good amongst other laptop keyboards, but there's still one thing I hate about them: the placement of the Fn key. I always mix up the Fn key for the Ctrl key!

Why oh why does Lenovo always put the Fn on the left of the Ctrl key? I would fine it much more natural (when coming from a desktop keyboard or any other non-Lenovo laptop) to have it on the right of the Ctrl key, like on the Asus keyboard.

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Post by Das_Saunamies » Sat Mar 13, 2010 12:42 pm

Good point about the Fn key Zenphic - I didn't even remember this issue because the Asus doesn't have it! :wink:

And thanks for the review, as always, even if it came a bit late to influence my decision.

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Post by Lawrence Lee » Sat Mar 13, 2010 5:02 pm

Zenphic wrote:Lenovo keyboards are quite good amongst other laptop keyboards, but there's still one thing I hate about them: the placement of the Fn key. I always mix up the Fn key for the Ctrl key!
That's not an issue. The Edge 13 allows you to flip the Fn & CTRL keys in the BIOS. Of course if you look down at the key labels, you might become confused.

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Post by Das_Saunamies » Tue Mar 23, 2010 5:14 am

New downside to the Asus: frame bends easily.

I've been carrying mine in a sturdy Targus backpack that has a separate, padded laptop pocket (I think it's called the Campus) and inside a protective case (a Dicota, quality stuff) that ensures a snug fit. Last week I noticed my ultraportable was no longer sitting straight and level on my desk. I went through all the desks in the house and had to come to the conclusion that the frame had been bent.

I am extremely careful with my backpack. I don't sit on it, put anything on it or even keep it lying on its back if I can avoid it. Yet the Asus frame bent - first-ever bent frame for me.

I bent the frame right back, and it really is too easy to do. Apparently there is flex in more than just the keyboard. Too many bends like this and I fear the stress might break the frame. :(

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Post by tim851 » Tue Mar 23, 2010 7:18 am

FYI, the UL30A is also available with matte screens.

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Post by Das_Saunamies » Tue Mar 23, 2010 9:01 am

tim851 wrote:FYI, the UL30A is also available with matte screens.
Any idea what the precise model number for those is?

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Post by tim851 » Tue Mar 23, 2010 12:04 pm

UL30A-QO229V & UL30A-QO228X.

Thing is, these seem to be exclusive to the German market. Which is hard for me to believe. But all German shops they're listed at consistently spec them as having matte (or Anti Glare) screens.

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Post by qviri » Tue Mar 23, 2010 12:21 pm

Zenphic wrote:Lenovo keyboards are quite good amongst other laptop keyboards, but there's still one thing I hate about them: the placement of the Fn key. I always mix up the Fn key for the Ctrl key!

Why oh why does Lenovo always put the Fn on the left of the Ctrl key? I would fine it much more natural (when coming from a desktop keyboard or any other non-Lenovo laptop) to have it on the right of the Ctrl key, like on the Asus keyboard.
I'm a long-time Thinkpad user, but I've had little trouble adapting to a Ctrl-Fn Latitude I was using at work a couple of years back, nor do I have much trouble with various desktop keyboards I use. I'm not convinced that getting used to the Fn-Ctrl layout and switching between two is a large issue if you use a laptop for more than five days.

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Post by Das_Saunamies » Thu Mar 25, 2010 1:24 am

tim851 wrote:UL30A-QO229V & UL30A-QO228X.

Thing is, these seem to be exclusive to the German market. Which is hard for me to believe. But all German shops they're listed at consistently spec them as having matte (or Anti Glare) screens.
Thanks, I found them and even saw some on Amazon.de (via Asus Computer Notebooks). Tempted to buy, because glare SUCKS, but I'd have to make sure I can get them in English with FIN/SWE keyboard.

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Post by Kobold » Sat May 22, 2010 12:53 am

Hi,

I actually just bought one (QO229V). The matte screen ist just nice. Now I just have to install Linux and see how it works on the Ul30A and what will happen to battery life.

Daniel

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