The black keyboard is highlighted with silver flecks, for a kind of metallic black finish – the result is pretty subtle, but attractive nonetheless. Despite the small dimensions, the keyboard is well laid out with the Tab, Caps Lock, Shift, Return and Backspace keys all large. Also, Asus has been smart enough to position the Ctrl key in at the bottom left of the keyboard where it should be, rather than placing the Fn key there like many other notebook manufacturers do. The keyboard itself is pretty good to type on, although there is a noticeable amount of flex evident when you’re typing fast. That said, the keyboard still has a very positive feel to it, and each key has a decent amount of travel and a solid break – I certainly found it comfortable to type for extended periods on the U1F.
Less impressive is the touchpad that’s located below the Spacebar. First up, the touchpad has a traditional aspect ratio, rather than a widescreen one to match the screen. This means that you need to bump the sensitivity up pretty high in order to make your pointer traverse the width of the screen in one movement. But the real problem is the buttons. The two selector buttons below the touchpad are stiff and unresponsive, making it difficult to double click icons sometimes. Things aren’t helped by the fact that Asus has squeezed a fingerprint scanner between the buttons, causing them to be smaller than you’d really like them to be.
Nestling above the screen is a 0.3-megapixel webcam – handy if you fancy doing a bit of video conferencing on your notebook. There’s also an integrated microphone mounted just below the screen, although you’re still better off using a headset if you want the other person to understand what you’re saying.
There’s integrated 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi on offer, to get you connected to your home or office wireless networks, not to mention the plethora of hotspots around the world. There’s also integrated Bluetooth for connecting to your mobile phone, using a wireless headset or even a wireless mouse.
There’s an impressive amount of connectivity on offer considering the limited dimensions of the U1F. On the right you’ll find the power socket, a modem socket, an Ethernet port, an ExpressCard slot, two USB 2.0 ports, a four-pin FireWire port and a hardware switch for the wireless adapters. The front is barren apart from a memory card reader that will accept SD, MMC and Memory Stick formats.
Unlike other sites, we thoroughly test each product we review. We use industry standard tests in order to compare things properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever accept money to review a product. Tell us what you think - send your emails to the Editor.