Asus U33Jc-A1 (bamboo) review: Asus U33Jc-A1 (bamboo)

Like other recent laptops with Intel's Core i3 processor, the Asus U33J is a capable performer, and in fact was slightly faster in our benchmark tests than many comparably systems. In general, the Intel Core i3 provides the right mix of performance, price, and size for attractive portable laptops under $1,000. That said, we did run into some occasional slowdown on the system, usually while performing mundane Windows tasks--but between Wireless Display, the Optimus graphics switching, and Asus' own custom dashboard apps, there are a lot of background processes going on at once.

The Nvidia GeForce 310M graphics chip is the usual mainstream choice found in today's non-gaming laptops, and works fine for basic 3D tasks. In Unreal Tournament 3 at 1,280x720-pixel resolution, we got a respectable 46.8 frames per second, but don't expect to play the latest games with the graphics detail setting cranked all the way up. Coupled with Nvidia's Optimus graphics-switching technology, the 310M GPU can turn itself off and on automatically as needed, so it shouldn't affect battery life.

Juice box
Mainstream (Avg watts/hour)  
Off (60%)  
Sleep (10%) 1.19
Idle (25%) 10.64
Load (05%) 44.73
Raw kWh Number 46.35
Annual Energy Cost $5.26

Annual power consumption cost

Asus includes a power-management utility called the Super Hybrid Engine with many of its laptops, including this one, which allows for easy access to under-the-hood power profile options. Even without tweaking the settings for better battery life, the U33J ran for 4 hours and 8 minutes in our video playback battery drain test--a very good result for a mainstream 13-inch laptop. However, Apple's notebook is still the champ of 13-inch battery life, running more than 2 additional hours on the same test.

As it does with many of its high-end laptops, Asus includes a two-year warranty--double the industry average. That also includes one year of accidental damage protection and a 30-day guarantee against dead screen pixels. The support Web site is not as intuitive and user-friendly as those from more mainstream brands, but by digging around, you can find FAQs, driver downloads, and even a list of authorized service centers in your state. There's a lot of useful information here; it just may take a little patience to find it (here's a starting point: the 24-7 phone support line is 1-888-678-3688).

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)

Find out more about how we test laptops.

System configurations:

Asus U33Jc-A1
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 2.4Hz Intel Core i3 M370; 4096MB DDR3 SDRAM 1066MHz; 1GB Nvidia GeForce 310M + 1749MB (Shared) Mobile Intel GMA MHD; 500GB Seagate 5400rpm

Dell Vostro 3300
Windows 7 Professional; 2.26GHz Intel Core i5 M430; 3072MB DDR3 SDRAM 1333MHz; 64MB (Dedicated)/1275MB (Total) Intel MHD; 320GB Seagate 7200rpm

Apple MacBook - Spring 2010 - 13.3 inch
OS X 10.6.1 Snow Leopard; Intel Core 2 Duo 2.26GHz; 2048MB DDR3 SDRAM 1066MHz; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 9400M; 250GB Toshiba 5,400rpm

Sony Vaio VPC-Z116GX/S
Windows 7 Professional (64-bit); 2.4GHz Intel Core i5 M520; 4096MB DDR3 SDRAM 1066MHz; 1GB Nvidia GeForce GT 330M; 256GB Intel SSD

Toshiba Portege R705-P25
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 2.27GHz Intel Core i3 M350; 4096MB DDR3 SDRAM 1066MHz; 64MB (Dedicated)/1696MB (Total) Intel GMA HD; 500GB Hitachi 5400rpm

What you'll pay

Pricing is currently unavailable.

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Where to Buy

Asus U33Jc-A1 (bamboo)

Part Number: U33JCA1 Released: Jul. 29, 2010

MSRP: $999.00

See manufacturer website for availability.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Jul. 29, 2010
  • Installed Size 4 GB
  • Color smoky brown bamboo
  • Weight 4 lbs
  • Graphics Processor NVIDIA GeForce 310M / Intel HD Graphics - 1 GB DDR3 SDRAM
  • CPU Intel Core i3 370M / 2.4 GHz
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