Having seen so many laptops the like of the Asus UL30A, its performance generates few surprises. It performs almost identically to the Sony VAIO Y Series, while outperforming the AMD-powered HP Pavilion dm3-1020ea by a reasonable margin.
Ultimately it is performance that is ideal for day-to-day mobile usage, providing enough oomph to cope with HD video and general photo editing tasks with no hiccups. System responsiveness is good, too – it’s in a completely different league to any Intel Atom-based netbook, even dual-core or Ion equipped ones.
Of course gaming isn’t a strong suit, as our entry-level TrackMania Nations gaming test reveals. Here the HP Pavilion dm3 holds a small advantage, but if portable gaming is what you’re after you’re going to have to up the budget and pick-up an Alienware M11x.
Battery life, on the other hand, is a completely different story and the Asus outperforms all its competitors, too. In our semi-intensive productivity test it managed an astonishing 651 minutes, or 10 hours, 51 minutes. This annihilates other systems, even those with comparatively good battery life in the seven to eight hour region. Only the smaller Acer Aspire 1810TZ can match it in our memory.
What’s more, even by low-voltage laptop standards, the UL30A is unerringly cool and quiet. This is a heady mixture of benefits for a laptop which, at around £530 to £580, undercuts many of its contemporaries. That price even includes a two-year warranty, as opposed to the standard one-year offered by many manufacturers. If Asus could marry some of this value with a slightly smarter, more imaginative chassis, it might have scored even more highly.
It won’t win any beauty pageants, but the Asus UL30A has it where it counts: value and battery life. A great keyboard, solid feature set and generous two-year warranty only further strengthen its credentials.