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CNET First Look
Asus UL30A-A1If you're at all in the market for an affordable thin-and-light, the Asus UL30A-A1 provides great value and a solid Core 2 Duo CULV processor in an attractive design.
[ music ] ^M00:00:03 >> Hi I'm Scott Stein, Senior Associate Editor at CNET.com, and this is the Asus UL30A thin and light laptop. Now thin and lights have been a growing area in the laptop world. They're somewhere between netbooks and full size laptops. They run these ultra low voltage processors, but they provide a little more of a laptop experience than a lot of these atom processor netbooks. The question is, are they really worth it? Well a lot of times you're gonna have compromised performance in exchange for a slim form. But in the case of the UL30A we found it really met what you're gonna be looking for in a thin and light, and highly recommend it to anyone who's shopping for one right now. At $799 the UL30A comes with a 500 gig hard drive, which is plenty of space, and 4 gigs of RAM. And the processor inside is an Intel Core 2 Duo Ultra Low Voltage Processor. So even though it's not as powerful as a full Core 2 Duo, it has a performance that's a lot better than the single Core ULV's that we found in a lot of the other thin and lights that we've looked at. And the size and weight of the UL30A is pretty nice. It's slim. It's not super slim. It's a little less than an inch thin. But it feels really nice and compact, under 4 pounds, and has a solid construction to it. The back is covered with aluminum, but the rest of it is a little bit plasticy. Still, the keyboard, while having a little bit of flex, feels nice and comfortable to type on. In fact, it has a very MacBookesk type of a look. The screen, the glossy 13.3-inch LED backlit screen is really nice and bright. There's no optical drive as is the case in pretty much all thin and lights. On the other hand there is a HDMI out, USB port, SD card slot, and there is 80211N as well as Bluetooth. Well the general look of the UL30A is pretty attractive, one thing we didn't really like was the touch pad. If you can see, even though the multi-touch on the track pad works well, it's made of the same material as the rest of the palm rest, which is a, a glossy plastic material. Even those little dimples for your fingers doesn't have quite as much traction as other track pads. But that's a little nit picky. On the other hand the battery life on the UL30A is fantastic. We really like the Aser [phonetic] timeline 3810T, and this one exceed it with over 400 minutes of battery life on our test. That's between 6 and 7 hours while playing videos. And Asus claims you can get up to 12 hours. Even though we wouldn't say this is really a, a gaming machine, you can play HD Video, it looks great on it. It's not really a machine, however, that you'd want to be editing or creating video on. In all, we really recommend the Asus UL30A for anyone who's looking for a thin and light. One thing is that this came installed with Windows Vista, even though Windows 7 is around the corner, laptops that have Windows Vista Home Premium do qualify for a Windows 7 upgrade. And we wouldn't be surprised if this came installed with Windows 7 in the future. I'm Scott Stein, and this is the Asus UL30A. ^E00:02:57