vacancies advertise contact news tip The Vault
EPIC HEXUS COMPETITIONS OVER £8,000 worth of gear to be won! [x]
facebook rss twitter

ASUS U35JC notebook review

by Parm Mann on 21 September 2010, 05:00 3.5

Tags: U35JC, ASUSTeK (TPE:2357)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qazym

Add to My Vault: x

Introduction

Let's be honest; 13.3in notebooks hit something of a sweet-spot, don't they?

Ultra-portable netbooks serve a purpose, and in certain cases you can't beat a full-size desktop replacement, but when it comes to mixing portability, performance and battery life, a good 13.3-incher is often where the action's at.

What makes the sort-of-ultra-portable systems stand out is the rise in popularity of Intel's ULV platform; a mix of internal components that delicately balance computing power and all-day longevity.

But it wouldn't be technology if there wasn't something better just around the corner...

Enter the ASUS U35JC, a modern-day, mega-thin notebook that's out to raise the bar for 13.3in systems.

With portable performance in mind, this here £670 notebook foregoes Intel's ultra-low-voltage processors in favour of a full-fat Core 2010 chip; namely the 2.4GHz-clocked Core i3 370M.

Said chip brings with it integrated Intel HD Graphics, but ASUS improves on that foundation by adding in a GeForce 310M GPU and NVIDIA Optimus technology. All the ingredients for a super-tasty 13.3in notebook, we reckon.

Design

Finished with a matte-black brushed-aluminium lid, the U35JC comes across as smart but understated.

There's little to break up the all-black colouring - other than your own fingerprints - and though there's nothing specifically wrong with the system's looks, it doesn't ever make you think "wow - that's an awesome notebook". It's just, well, nice.

The brushed-aluminium lid suggests a hardened chassis, but whilst it looks pleasant, the U35JC is largely plastic throughout, and though that makes it light - tipping the scales at 1.8kg - it also makes it feel a little cheap.

There's a small hint of flex in the main body, and the system's display is quite bendy. The display hinges, too, aren't the sturdiest we've ever seen - it's actually possible to shift the display side-to-side slightly.

Overall build quality could be better, but the U35JC still has a couple of a redeeming features. First and foremost, the system is beautifully thin, measuring 24.6mm at its thickest point and down to just 14.8mm at its thinnest.

What's impressive is that despite the slim finish, ASUS has also squeezed in a high-capacity eight-cell battery that it claims is good for up to 11.5 hours of use from a single charge. More on that a little later.

Specification

Our £670 sample is armed with a Core i3 370M processor, 4GB of DDR3 memory and a graphics duo consisting of Intel HD graphics and NVIDIA's GeForce 310M.

Whilst that's a potent mix, there are other processor options available. In addition to the entry-level Core i3, ASUS offers the U35JC with a choice of two premium Core i5 processors - either the 2.4GHz Core i5 450M or the Core i5 520M.

Rounding off the standard specification is a 13.3in LED-backlit display with a 1,366x768 resolution, a 320GB hard-disk, integrated Altec Lansing stereo speakers, a 0.3-megapixel webcam, Wireless-N, Bluetooth and Gigabit Ethernet connectivity, and a copy of Microsoft's Windows 7 Home Premium operating system.

As with most ASUS notebooks, end-user upgrades are a breeze. Two easily-removable back panels provide quick access to both the system's memory and 2.5in hard disk.

Keeping your investment safe, the U35JC is backed by a two-year warranty that's based on return-to-base cover.

On paper, it fits many of the common requirements of a 13.3in notebook. But that £670 asking price is a little on the high side; can the U35JC deliver enough performance to warrant the entry fee?