New tech! The Asus UL30A

Posted: June 2, 2010 in Uncategorized
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So the second quarter of the year has found me in a new job, a new city and a new province. And, as if there was ever really any need to wonder, all these changes have been accompanied by some new tech – my computer has now been upgraded and I’ve finally acquired a relatively new model, the Asus UL30A.

I was given a range of choices when taking up my new post but for practical considerations my primary concern was that my laptop should be small and light, which led me to look at the class of computers called ultraportables – and, because resources are not unlimited, the low cost variants of these. After much happy hunting, I settled on the UL30A and I have to say I’ve been extremely happy with it so far.

The spec is (with one exception, which I’ll get to later), not bleeding edge, but does the job fine for me. The processor is only clocked at 1.3ghz, but it is a dual core processor and in practical terms I notice little difference when working with Office and in Windows 7 from machines that are clocked at 2ghz. Sure, I won’t be playing any modern 3D games on it – was that a deliberate ploy by my new boss? – but that’s not high on my requirements list these days and you have to get tech suited to your actual lifestyle if you’re going to enjoy it. It also doesn’t come with a DVD drive built in, but I got an amazingly small and light external unit which is perfectly sufficient for those odd occasions when I genuinely need it and I’m happy to use that given the effect of keeping the weight down to about 1.7kg, only marginally heavier than a netbook. Other things I’m enjoying are the 13.3″ widescreen – what a pleasure to eliminate all the sideways scrolling I was doing with my old computer – and the many new features of Windows 7 over XP. I thankfully skipped the Vista debacle and I have to say that 7 is effective, stable and fun to use.

The list of gripes is small and minor at this stage. The integrated graphics card doesn’t provide scintillating performance – truth be told, it doesn’t affect my everyday working, but it would be nice to have the option of more. Also, the setup was done for me and there are some things I’d have done differently, but that’s just the control freak in me. And, err, well…perhaps I’ll revisit the gripes section when the honeymoon finally ends.

The UL30A does have one killer feature that I will boast about and leave you on: it’s battery life lasts me over 10 hours on a charge. Yes, people, that’s 10 hours real life usage, not some optimal/standby/everything-off/dim-screen scenario. The worst case is about 6 hours if I’m running the USB powered DVD drive flat out watching movies and the best case (dim screen, no wifi) would get me close to about 15 hours, I reckon. That means I get to use the computer as I would like, literally all day, without worrying about hunting for a power outlet or running out of juice half way through something critical. On that score, I now have serious bragging rights and get to end this off somewhat smugly sitting on 92% battery and and estimated 10 hours still left…

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