ASUS UL80Jt—Inside and Out

The UL80Jt is pretty similar to the Vt, with a few changes. The brushed aluminum lid remains, still in a dark gunmetal colour. The glossy plastic on the interior is thankfully gone, replaced by the same brushed aluminum material. Unfortunately, the LCD bezel is still glossy plastic, a recurring theme with ASUS notebooks. Dustin went off on this in his last review, but I’d like to touch on it again. It’s stupid, stop doing it. Especially if you’re just using glossy plastic and not putting a glass covering over the entire screen a la Apple (amongst others). That aside, the palmrests feel solid, and the stickers advertise it as being scratchproof and “ice cool”. I can’t vouch for the ice cool claim, but heat definitely isn’t a problem as it has been for some ASUS notebooks in the past.

Unfortunately the rest of the build quality isn’t as great. The lid is pretty flexy and shows a decent amount of ripple-effect under pressure. The hinge isn’t the sturdiest. But by far the worst part about this whole thing is the keyboard. It’s the same keyboard as the U33Jc that I had, but the backing must be different, or something—there’s much more flex, enough to be disturbing. The typing action itself isn’t too bad, but following the awesomeness that was the U33Jc typing experience, it was fairly disappointing to see that the UL80 didn’t match up.

Rounding out the input devices, we have the multitouch trackpad, which has a dimpled surface and a glossy finish. It works okay, with Synaptic’s standard gesture support, but there’s nothing really noteworthy about it. Same goes for the mouse buttons, other than once again registering my astonishment that companies continue to use chrome mouse buttons. It’s as bad as the glossy black bezels—it’s the most touched part on the system, why make it a material that so readily shows fingerprints?

Gallery: ASUS UL80Jt

While we’re on the topic of weird quirks, the blue and green LEDs on the front edge are significantly more powerful than on normal systems, bright enough to disturb sleep in a dark room. Whether this is because of the plastic lightpipes used or because of the LED parts themselves, it’s still somewhat odd. For comparison, it puts out more light than my Thermaltake Tsunami desktop case, and that’s got a case full of blue LEDs.

Port selection is basically unchanged from before, as with most other things on the outside. Personally, I wasn’t a huge fan of the previous UL80’s build quality, so the flaws in the current UL80’s build quality are not terribly surprising, though not welcome by any means. And in comparison to the U30Jc’s more consistently good build quality (and significantly better keyboard), they’re magnified that much more.

ASUS UL80Jt Introduction Asus UL80Jt Performance
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  • erple2 - Friday, November 19, 2010 - link

    Nonsense. Those 12" screens are still 720p screens, just like these exceptionally crummy 14-15" screens in the mass market. For that, the 310m is just fine. Crummy dGPU for crummy screens.

    One of these days, people will figure out that resolution counts, not screen size. Which is why my 32" TV (720p) isn't nearly as nice as my 1080p 15" laptop screen.
  • mmsmsy - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    If the case is lack of additional performance you should definitely try UL80Jt with Core i5 520UM. Unlike the i3xx UM this one's got the turbo boost up to 1.83GHz, which should boost performance significantly, while, at the same time, powering the notebook almost just as long as the Core i3xx UM. Even if i5 costs a little extra, going for i3 is definitely not a good idea performance wise. Try it and I think you'll probably change your opinion. ;)
  • fokka - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    @ vivek & jarred: a commenter posted a link to asus' upcoming u-series models:

    have you any idea when they will hit the market? probably q1 2011, i think?
  • JarredWalton - Monday, November 22, 2010 - link

    I don' t know the ETA for all of the new 400M models, but I can tell you that all of the newer models need to ship sooner rather than later (i.e. Sandy Bridge is coming). One of the new ASUS models is the 15.6" (I know....) N53JF, which has i5-460M, GT 425M, a 1080p LCD, and Blu-ray for under $1000. I just got my N53JF review sample, and first impressions are that the aesthetics will probably please quite a few relative to the Dell XPS 15. Unfortunately, the 1080p panel isn't a high contrast option and it comes with a 48Wh battery. So, ultimately it's looking good but not stellar.

    As for the new U-series, like I said, they need to come out soon because of the pending launch of SB. I guess SB is quad-core though, so that means Core 2010 dual-core options can still continue for a bit, but if pricing and battery life is good on SB I don't know why anyone would opt for Arrandale after January 2011. We'll have to wait and see. Since ASUS has the U-series updated on their site, I would expect them before Christmas at least.
  • freespace303 - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

  • Hrel - Wednesday, December 1, 2010 - link

    Sub 2GHz CPU, less than 900p screen, non DX 11 GPU? Hmm, guess I don't need to read any further.

    Seriously, there's no reason at all they can't use a slightly faster Core i3, the GT430M GPU and a half way decent screen. 1600x900 or greater.

    I'm really really baffled by the GPU choice, it's damn near 2011 people, DX11 or GTFO.
  • Hrel - Wednesday, December 1, 2010 - link

    Also, anything with a sub 900p screen and a Core i3 shouldn't cost any more than 750 at the absolute max; really under 600. The U33Jc at 970 is asinine. 700 sure, ok, as long as they get a 400 series GPU in there. with at least 32 SP or Cuda cores or whatever the fuck they wanna call em.

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