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Asus UL30A - Keyboard, Touchpad & Audio-Visual

Andy Vandervell

By Andy Vandervell



Our Score:


Like so many laptops at the moment, the Asus UL30A adopts the isolation-style keyboard and to good effect, too. Its layout is very good, with all the keys being exactly where you'd expect. Asus has even included Home, End, Page Up and Page Down keys down the right side of the keyboard, though we'd have preferred it if the cursor keys - whose secondary functions are playback control - were slightly withdrawn.

What makes the UL30A particularly good to type on, though, are the key actions. They strike a nice balance between depth and crispness of response, while having the added benefit of being unusually quiet - a nice bonus if you often work in libraries or lecture halls. Even a small amount of flex in the centre of the keyboard can't detract from an excellent experience.

Like a lot of the Asus laptops and netbooks, the UL30A's glossy finish is interrupted by a dimpled surface that outlines the touchpad. This proves a surprisingly nice surface to interact with, and though the buttons - which form one rocker switch - initially feel a tad stiff, in actual fact they offer decent feedback. There's support for two-finger scrolling, but no other multi-touch goodness that we could tell.

For such a reasonably priced laptop the UL30A has a decent display. It has all the usual modern traits: a glossy, reflective finish; 1,366 x 768 native resolution; and some slightly awkward horizontal viewing angles. However, in all the important ways, such as colours, contrast and brightness, it doesn't disappoint.

Even the speakers are better than average, though that isn't saying a great deal really. They still lack the sort of mid-range punch necessary for truly pleasing audio, but the speakers - which have Altec Lansing and SRS branding, if that's worth anything at all - reach good volumes and with some clarity. They're definitely better than the speakers on many competing laptops.

One concern we do have about the UL30A is its build quality. We wouldn’t classify it as bad per se, but our model did have at least one creaking panel to the left of the touchpad. It could just be that our particular sample has seen one too many courier vans in its time, but the plastics - particularly around the keyboard - aren't of the highest quality.


June 21, 2010, 11:57 am

I dig the design - I'd give it an 8.


June 22, 2010, 12:47 am

Worth pointing out Carphone Warehouse are selling a slightly lower specced version of the UL30A for £349.00 http://www.carphonewarehous... don't forget Quidco!

Processor is a dual-core Celeron, bit slower but feels perfectly sprightly for surfing and productivity and you lose the bluetooth but was exactly what I was looking for, pretty cheap and perfect for when I can't be bothered sat at the desk and want to sprawl on out the bed / infront of the telly! :)


June 22, 2010, 2:28 am

@Crispy - That Celeron SU2300 proc is an excellent unit. It is, for all practical purposes, as good as the Pentium-branded SU4100 and the C2D-branded SU7300. In fact it actually has significant advantages over the former. The Celeron/Pentium/C2D branding of these procs is very misleading - one usually winces at the very mention of the "C" word.


June 22, 2010, 5:23 am

I bought one last week from Carphone Warehouse. I returned it same day as the keyboard flex was irritating. I'm used to old IBM Tankpads (as I called them) from years ago so am prejudiced about keyboard flex on a hard surface (old school IT contractor here)

Very good value though, but the CW machine only carries 1 year warranty IIRC.

I'd thoroughly recommend it for anyone else


June 22, 2010, 11:44 pm

The keyboard thing really is a matter of personal taste. I've collected my UL30A from Carphone Warehouse today and the keyboard seems fine. I have a new Thinkpad at work and, despite being brought up on old school IBM clicky keybards, I'm not overly keen on it.


July 4, 2010, 5:11 am

This laptop seems pretty cool. Though I'd rather see what some of the full power "core i" processor and optimus equipped models Asus have are like. Like the U30Jc...not sure if you can even get that in UK yet/ever. If anyone knows anything about this or other similar laptops let me know :)

Richard 29

July 4, 2010, 3:29 pm

There seems to be some confusion over the webcam, some reviews (and the Asus site!) list it as 0.3MP, here it's listed as 1.3MP. Anybody able to clear up which is correct? (and more importantly is it any good?).


October 14, 2010, 11:20 pm

Can I ask for a correction on this - doesnt have Gigabit LAN. only 10/100

Spent a confusing hour trying to tweak my new home network until I figured this out..

Otherwise a very capable machine!

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