Asus U80V review
Not as exquisitely designed as Asus would have us believe, this laptop will have to be aggressively priced to compete
Review Date: 18 Jun 2009
Reviewed By: Jonathan Bray
Price when reviewed:
Not content with ushering in its latest set of Seashell-inspired laptops, Asus has now unleashed its U-series notebooks upon the world. And when Asus' marketing spiel promised us an "exquisitely crafted, thin and lightweight notebook", we put on our Sunday best and waited excitedly for the courier to arrive. But, to a certain extent, we wish we hadn't made the effort.
We say to a certain extent as some of the U80V's new features are both innovative and rather exciting. Certainly, if you like flashing lights you'll love it. The backlit keyboard doesn't actually flash on and off, but the three brightness settings allow you to see the keys clearly whatever the lighting conditions.
The real novelty is the multitouch trackpad, however. Stroke your finger around the pad and, thanks to a bed of tiny LEDs underneath, a row of lights follows your every touch. It's a neat party trick, along with the range of two and three-fingured gestures for flicking between active programs, scrolling around documents and the like - a feature few other laptops can boast.
But we have mixed feelings about Asus' implementation. When the gestures worked well we found ourselves flicking to the next picture with a swish to the right, zooming in and out of web pages with a pinch of the fingers, but other times it simply ignored our commands. The trackpad is also just a shade too small. While the U80V gains a physical rocker button in comparison with the MacBook Pro, you lose crucial space for gesture.
Cast your gaze upwards, and the glossy, LED-backlit display is almost as eye-catching as the keyboard and pad. A light sensor automatically adjusts screen brightness depending on the amount of ambient light, and the glossy finish only adds to the impact.
Unfortunately, this is where things start to go awry for the U80V as it's pretty unremarkable in every other regard. Measuring 14in across and with a modest resolution of 1,366 x 768 pixels, it doesn't provide the most spacious of Windows desktops, nor the last word in image quality. Differentiating between black and dark grey isn't one of its strong points, and as it struggles at the brighter end of the spectrum, particularly with the lightest of shades, our test images and video files were left looking washed out and lacking in contrast.
Nor are we convinced by Asus' claims of craftmanship. The U80V is far from ugly, but we've seen it all before. The gloss-black lid is becoming a laptop design clich?, and opening it up to find the keyboard surrounded with yet more shiny blackness came as no surprise.
And, crucially, where Dell's Studio XPS notebooks are lovingly crafted from top to toe, Asus' U80V looks like the design team got bored halfway through. Both the screen hinge and underside of the laptop are manufactured from matte-black plastic, which looks a little cheap next to the gloss finish above.
As far as build quality is concerned, the U80V tries harder to impress. Although there's little doubt the plastic construction feels cheap to the touch, get heavy-handed and things begin to look up. The base feels resilient enough to survive a few knocks, and only the flexible lid gave us cause for concern. Consider the modest 2.22kg weight, and Asus hasn't done too bad a job.
It's difficult to accuse the U80V of being under-powered too. The 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T9550 sprinted through our benchmarks, to finish with a result of 1.30 overall. Its 4GB of DDR2 memory is ample - despite losing a gigabyte to the 32-bit OS and its memory addressing requirements - and with such a powerful specification at the helm, it's all the more impressive that the U80V manages more than 5hrs 30mins of battery life under light use.
Just went through the trouble of making this account just to tell you that you mis-spelled Cliche.
I just thought it so horrible that i had to tell you. I didn't really read the rest of the article. Just that spelling mistake annoyed me like a steak knife in the eye.
And if you really want to get technical, you can use the 'é' - cliché.
By Ziggyboogiedoog on 11 Sep 2009
- Fitness trackers could pose stalking risk
- Will the iPhone 6 arrive a month before the iWatch?
- SilentPower PC keeps cool with copper foam
- 1Password coming to iOS 8 apps
- What's on this week's PC Pro podcast?
- Finally legal to rip music from CDs - just don't break DRM
- Hot hardware video: Google Glass
- Microsoft to launch two new Windows Phones
- Amazon reveals why ebooks should cost less than $10
- Self-driving cars will be on UK roads in six months
- How Google Glass ruined my lunch hour
- Smartphone battery packs: can a USB power pack beat the festival battery blues?
- Windows Easy Transfer – not so "easy" in Windows 8.1
- Formula 1: what a difference virtualisation makes
- Office of the future: comfy chairs and tablets everywhere
- I went to Glastonbury and the only thing that got high was my smartphone
- Meet the robots helping teach children
- PaperLater: would you pay to print the internet?
- Amazon vs Kobo: how much to make the ebook switch?
- Phishing emails: how I nearly got caught out
- 13 computers that changed the world
- How to download YouTube videos to a PC or laptop: is it legal to download YouTube videos?
- Dropbox vs OneDrive vs Google Drive: what's the best cloud storage service of 2014?
- Hacking the Internet of Things: from smart cars to toilets
- BlackBerry Passport release date, specs, features, and rumours: when is the new BlackBerry coming out?
- What's changing in the computing curriculum
- Teaching kids to code
- Best free translation apps for iOS, Android and Windows Phone
- Five worst SMB security threats... and how to solve them
- Apple iOS vs Android vs Windows 8 – what's the best compact tablet OS?
- Top five VoIP mistakes
- How to add in-app purchasing to an iPhone, Android or Windows app
- Remote-control ransomware: TeamViewer and software hardball
- Why laptops with serial ports matter to the Internet of Things
- Make your mobile battery last longer
- Small steps into handling Big Data
- Nexus 5: does it really run stock Android?
- How to get broadband to a garden office
- How to write your company's IT security policy
- Raspberry Pi and Wolfram: a must-have for every child