Asus U35Jc review

10 Aug 2010

Reasonably portable, very powerful and with huge reserves of stamina

Price when reviewed 
671
5

Buying a laptop always involves some kind of compromise between power, portability and, most importantly, price. Asus’ latest addition to its range aims to strike a balance across the three, combining a portable 13.3in chassis, Nvidia’s Optimus graphics-switching technology and one of Intel’s Core i3 processors.

The first trick up the Asus’ sleeve is its specification. Where many would have partnered a 13.3in laptop with one of Intel’s low-voltage processors, Asus has plumped for a full-fat Core i3-370M. It skips along at 2.4GHz, and with 4GB of memory and a 64-bit copy of Windows 7 Home Premium conducting proceedings, it’s enough to power through our benchmarks with a respectable overall score of 1.42.

Asus U35Jc rear

Not content with that, Asus has allied Intel’s budget brawler with Nvidia’s Optimus graphics-switching technology. The Intel HD graphics embedded on the processor take the reins under most circumstances, keeping power consumption as low as possible. Fire up a CUDA-accelerated application or a game, however, and Nvidia’s GeForce 310M chipset silently enters the fray. It’s a neat arrangement, certainly, but we still crave a hardware switch to manually switch between the two – not least because sometimes, inexplicably, Optimus doesn’t recognise the game in question and entirely forgets to prod the Nvidia chipset into action.

Quibbles aside, however, Nvidia’s Optimus helps squeeze the most out of the large 5800mAh battery at the rear. Light usage saw the U35Jc last for an impressive 7hrs 55mins, while it managed to endure 2hrs 31mins of heavy use. Impressive by any standards.

Gaming performance isn’t as stellar as Alienware’s deceptively mighty M11x, but the GeForce 310M still has enough juice to run Crysis at modest detail levels. We clocked the U35Jc at an average of 43fps at Low detail settings, dwindling to an unplayable 13fps at Medium detail. Stick to modest settings and light gaming shouldn’t give it too many headaches.

Details

Price ex VAT £571
Price inc VAT £671
Overall rating 5
Features & Design 5
Value for Money 5
Performance 5

Warranty

Warranty 2yr collect and return

Physical specifications

Dimensions 321 x 231 x 25mm (WDH)
Weight 1.800kg
Travelling weight 2.2kg

Processor and memory

Processor Intel Core i3-370M
Motherboard chipset Intel HM55
RAM capacity 4.00GB
Memory type DDR3
SODIMM sockets free 0
SODIMM sockets total 2

Screen and video

Screen size 13.3in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,366
Resolution screen vertical 768
Resolution 1366 x 768
Graphics chipset Intel HD graphics / Nvidia GeForce G310M
Graphics card RAM 1.00GB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 1
HDMI outputs 1
S-Video outputs 0
DVI-I outputs 0
DVI-D outputs 0
DisplayPort outputs 0

Drives

Capacity 320GB
Hard disk usable capacity 297GB
Spindle speed 5,400RPM
Internal disk interface SATA/300
Hard disk Seagate ST9320325AS
Optical disc technology N/A
Optical drive N/A
Battery capacity 5,800mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT £0

Networking

Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec
802.11a support no
802.11b support yes
802.11g support yes
802.11 draft-n support yes
Integrated 3G adapter no
Bluetooth support yes

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switch no
Wireless key-combination switch yes
Modem no
ExpressCard34 slots 0
ExpressCard54 slots 0
PC Card slots 0
USB ports (downstream) 3
FireWire ports 0
PS/2 mouse port no
9-pin serial ports 0
Parallel ports 0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports 1
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports 0
3.5mm audio jacks 2
SD card reader yes
Memory Stick reader yes
MMC (multimedia card) reader yes
Smart Media reader no
Compact Flash reader no
xD-card reader no
Pointing device type Touchpad
Audio chipset Realtek HD Audio
Speaker location Front edge
Hardware volume control? no
Integrated microphone? yes
Integrated webcam? yes
Camera megapixel rating 0.3mp
TPM no
Fingerprint reader no
Smartcard reader no
Carry case no

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use 7hr 55min
Battery life, heavy use 2hr 31min
Overall application benchmark score 1.42
Office application benchmark score 1.13
2D graphics application benchmark score 1.57
Encoding application benchmark score 1.37
Multitasking application benchmark score 1.61
3D performance (crysis) low settings 43fps
3D performance setting Low

Operating system and software

Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
OS family Windows 7
Recovery method Recovery partition
Software supplied N/A