There’s a 60GB hard disk taking care of storage, which may seem meagre by today’s notebook standards, but for most mobile users, it should be more than enough In fact the retail notebooks will ship with 80GB drives instead. Personally I would rather see a solid state disk in a notebook this size – it would save weight, improve performance and take a mechanical point of failure out of the equation. As already mentioned, there’s no optical drive built into the U1F, but you do get an external drive bundled. The external drive connects via USB and also makes use of a DC output on the notebook for power.
It’s surprising that it’s taken me so long to talk about aesthetics, because this notebook really does look good. The glossy black lid may pickup fingerprints faster than Gill Grisham, but when it’s clean it gives the U1F a real sense of style. Open up the lid and things just get better, the whole wrist rest is finished in black leather. Now, I wasn’t too sure about Asus’ decision to start adorning its notebooks with cow, but I’ve got to say that it really works in this instance. I’m still not convinced I’d like the lid to be covered in leather as it is on other models, but used sparingly it definitely adds both visual and tactile appeal.
Just like the Sony TX3XP, the Asus U1F has an 11.1in screen with a native resolution of 1,366 x 768, and also just like the Sony, the screen in the U1F uses LED backlight technology. Interestingly, Employing an LED backlight brings with it several advantages, not least of which is how thin the screen can be compared to traditional TFT examples. The LED backlight also rewards the user with a wider colour gamut and should improve the overall battery life of the notebook. When Sony first introduced LED backlight technology with the TX1XP, there was a significant problem with light bleed at the base of the screen, but this was improved upon and pretty much eradicated with later models. Thankfully the U1F shows no signs of light bleed, indicating that this screen is based on the latter technology, rather than the original design.
The screen really does look good and shows Windows Vista off very well indeed. The glossy coating makes colours look bright and vivid, without making the display overly reflective. Using the U1F in an office environment caused me no problems, even with multiple ambient light sources surrounding me. The high contrast also lends itself well to watching movies. Of course the lack of an optical drive means that you won’t be watching DVDs on the U1F, but I think most notebook users tend to watch MPEG4 content straight from the hard disk these days anyway.
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