Though the U35Jc's Core i3 processor lacks Intel's performance-boosting Turbo Boost technology - as found in the HP Pavilion dm4 - its high 2.4GHz clock speed ensures the U35Jc is no slouch. It's only marginally slower than the HP in our testing, and outperforms the Alienware M11x's low-voltage setup quite comfortably.
This means it's a genuine all-round computing all-rounder, a computer as happy encoding video as it is browsing the web and playing high-def Flash video. Like most Asus laptops of late, it also runs very coolly and quietly. You needn't worry about burning your lap when using this laptop.
Our gaming testing is interesting. Though the Asus is comfortably quicker than the HP, the Alienware's GPU shows the GeForce 310M in the Asus doesn't make it a genuine portable gaming machine: it just can't cope with the more demanding STALKER benchmark. This still means you can play more games than on competing machines, but also that you'll quickly run up against games you can't play. This does erode the value somewhat, especially as you don't get an optical drive.
Still, thanks to the graphics switching ability, you can enjoy this improved gaming performance and suffer no ill-effects on battery life. Our U35Jc lasted a creditable 377 minutes (6hrs, 17mins) in our Productivity test, which is only marginally less than the HP and near identical to the Alienware. It also beats the Samsung Q330 in this test, which could tip the balance in the Asus' favour.
Flexing keyboard aside, the U35Jc is an excellent laptop that offers extremely good value for money. It loses a point for that iffy keyboard, but its overall performance is good enough to earn it our recommendation; if you want something a little but different from a 13-inch laptop, it's your best option.