Asus U31 review: Asus U31

Interestingly, the Asus U31SD-A1 comes with pretty decent Nvidia discrete graphics, too. The GeForce 520M GPU has Optimus automatic switching and performed well enough in our game testing to suit most mainstream games. Street Fighter IV ran at 44.3 frames per second in full-screen native resolution with 2x antialiasing. It's an odd disconnect for discrete graphics to be paired with a lower-end Core i-series CPU, but these step-up graphics are one of our favorite features on this laptop, so we won't quibble.

Juice box
Asus U31SD-A1 Avg watts/hour
Off (60%) 0.34
Sleep (10%) 0.47
Idle (25%) 7.14
Load (05%) 30.81
Raw kWh number 31.33
Annual power consumption cost $3.56

Annual power consumption cost

The Asus U31SD-A1's included six-cell battery lasted 5 hours and 55 minutes while playing a continuous video loop. That's a big step up from the Asus U31JG we reviewed just a few months ago, and is an excellent result for a laptop with stepped-up graphics. You can, of course, do better--Apple's 13-inch MacBooks get 7 hours of battery life, and so does the Toshiba Portege R835--but this stands well above the pack.

Asus offers a two-year warranty for the U31SD-A1, including one year of accidental damage protection, but be sure to check whether the configuration you're shopping for offers the same warranty, as sometimes Asus laptops can vary subtly depending on the retailer and specific configurations. Asus' Web site can be a little confusing: the tremendous galaxy of laptops Asus offers at any one time can make searching for specific support a challenge.

Multimedia multitasking test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Adobe Photoshop CS3 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Video playback battery drain test (in minutes)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

System configurations:

Asus U31SD-A1
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) w/ SP1; 2.1GHz Intel Core i3-2310M; 4,096MB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 1GB Nvidia GeForce 520M / 64MB(Dedicated) Intel GMA HD; 640GB Western Digital 5,400rpm

Dell Vostro 3350
Windows 7 Professional (64-bit) w/ SP1; 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-2410M; 4,096MB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 512MB AMD Mobility Radeon HD 6470M / 64MB (Dedicated) Intel GMA HD; 320GB Western Digital 7,200rpm

Lenovo ThinkPad X1
Windows 7 Professional (64-bit) w/ SP1; 2.5GHz Intel Core i5-2520M; 4,096MB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 64MB (Dedicated) / 1,696MB (Total) Intel HD 3000; 320GB Hitachi 7,200rpm

Toshiba Satellite A665-S5176
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 2.1GHz Intel Core i3-2310M; 4,096MB DDR3 SDRAM 667MHz; 64MB (Dedicated) Intel GMA HD; 500GB Hitachi 5,400rpm

HP ProBook 5330m
Windows 7 Professional w/ SP1; 2.1GHz Intel Core i3-2310M; 4,096MB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 64MB (Dedicated)/1315MB (Total) Intel GMA HD; 500GB Toshiba 7,200rpm

Toshiba Portege R835-P56X
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-2410M; 4,096MB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 64MB (Dedicated)/1,696MB (Total) Intel GMA HD; 640GB Hitachi 5,400rpm

What you'll pay

Pricing is currently unavailable.

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Where to Buy

Asus U31SD-A1

Part Number: U31SD-A1

MSRP: $799.00

See manufacturer website for availability.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Resolution 1366 x 768 ( HD )
  • Installed Size 4 GB
  • Color silver
  • Weight 4 lbs
  • Graphics Processor NVIDIA GeForce GT 520M / Intel HD Graphics 3000 - 1 GB DDR3 SDRAM
  • CPU Intel Core i3 (2nd Gen) 2310M / 2.1 GHz
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