Asus' UL30A is a strong all-round ultraportable

Asus' UL30A is a strong all-round ultraportable

We've seen some impressive battery scores this month, but the Asus UL30A sweeps all before it. In our heavy-use test it endured 4hrs 14mins away from the mains, and in light use it lasted an incredible 10hrs 23mins.

In exchange for that sort of longevity you expect a few trade-offs, but when you pick up the UL30A it doesn't feel like a compromise.

Its 13.3in frame is as sturdy and stylish as anything on the market (though the glossy plastic is apt to collect fingerprints), and the solid, positive action of the keyboard carries a whiff of business class.

The 13.3in screen is bright and sharp too, and although its colours lack the vibrancy of the HP Pavilion dm3's screen, there's a satisfying depth to the picture.

Predictably, the speakers are merely adequate, but at least they're loud and aren't plagued by the tinniness that afflicts several rivals.

More good news awaits inside. Eschewing the Celeron and Pentium CPUs that dominate this sector, Asus has equipped the UL30A with a Core 2 Duo SU7300, partnered with 4GB of DDR3 RAM. That's a powerful combination, yielding a benchmark score of 0.70 - one of this month's highest.

Even the extras are a cut above the mainstream: the two-year warranty is twice as generous as you'll find anywhere else, and as a bonus it's valid internationally.

Asus throws in its Linux-based ExpressGate mini-OS, so you can switch on, and get online in seconds. With this kind of battery performance, however, we doubt many users will ever fully power the UL30A down.

A few boxes remain unticked. It lacks Gigabit, topping out at 100Mbits/sec, and there's no Bluetooth. Nor are FireWire or ExpressCard represented; if you need specialist connectors, you're better off with the Sony VAIO VPCY11. Thankfully, everything else - 802.11n, card reader, 320GB hard disc - is present and correct.

It all adds up to a well-rounded package. It's not cheap, but for such an accomplished laptop it's impossible to call the UL30A over-priced. Unless you're on a particularly tight budget it certainly deserves a look.

Asus UL30A
4 6
Asus' UL30A delivers a classy, all-round package with truly outstanding battery life
Battery Life
Features & Design
Value for money
• Price: 1118 • CPU model/brand: Intel Core 2 Duo SU7300 • CPU speed: 1.3Ghz • Memory capacity: 4GB • Hard drive capacity: 320GB • Graphics: Intel GMA • Screen resolution: 1366 x 768 • Weight: 1.77kg • Dimensions WDH: 322 x 233 x 25mm • Manufacturer: Asus • Supplier: Asus
This review appeared in the June, 2010 issue of PC & Tech Authority Magazine

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