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March 05, 2011

Asus U36 Review

The U36J is Asus’s latest thin and light entry in the 13-inch ultraportable category. But unlike the other laptops in its category, the NVidia Optimus-touting Asus U36J didn’t save on processing power and packs an Intel Core i5 460M. See full review of the Asus U36 after the jump.

The U36J is pretty thin and light for a 13.3-inch laptop. At just 3.7lbs., it feels as light as my 12.1-inch Asus UL20FT. The thin profile only allows for the biggest port (the VGA port) enough room to fit from top to bottom of the body.

The lid comes in a matte finish and crawls right inside up to the palm rest area. It’s still prone to some slight smudges but not that much to be a bother.

The battery pack at the back protrudes downwards in a cylindrical shape which also serves as a stand to offer some ventilation. It’s rated at 5600mAh (83wH) and offers between 4 to 6 hours of battery life on a single full charge depending on the power mode.

The 13.3-inch display has a glossy finish but is crisp and bright. The standard resolution is in place — at only 1366×768 pixels — though I’d wish they’d offer something higher. The screen is prone to glare but that’s expected of glossy finish.

Keyboard lay-out is wide and comfortable with chiclet-type keys. Some of the keys are are smaller though, like the left Shift key and the Enter key (reverse L-shape but smaller) which can affect typing accuracy sometimes.

The trackpad is spacious, smooth and easy to use with the left and right click buttons separated by a biometric scanner (fingerprint scanner) in the middle.

Aside from the sleek form factor, the specs of the laptop seems pretty decent. The inclusion of the standard voltage Intel Core i5 460M running at 2.53GHz is a bit surprising since I’m used to seeing ULV processors (in the 1.2GHz to 1.73GHz range) in the thin and light category.Here’s the full list of specs, as indicated by Speccy:

Asus U36Jc
13.3-inch display @ 1366×768 pixels
Intel Core i5 460M @ 2.53GHz (2 cores, 4 threads, Turbo Boost 2.8GHz)
Nvidia GeForce 310M + Intel HD Graphics
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
HDMI port
2 x USB 2.0 ports
1 x USB 3.0 port
3-1in-1 Card Reader
Fingerprint scanner
Windows 7 Ultimate
8-cell Li-Ion battery 5600mAh

Laptop performance is above with the CPU getting a sub-score of 6.9 on Windows Experience Index while the GPU got a 5.8 sub-score on gaming.

Battery life is actually impressive — I’m getting around 4 hours on High Performance Mode and just over 6 hours on Power-Saving Mode, thanks to the 5600mAh (83wH) Li-Ion battery. Asus claims this unit can reach up to 10 hours of battery life at very optimized settings though I doubt that’s achievable in real world scenarios.

Asus sacrificed the ODD and dropped it from the unit in order to achieve the slim form factor. It’s a trade-off but something expected for its category. Would have been nice if they bundled an external ODD though.

The Asus U36J is a very capable laptop with very decent specs. It’s a good workhorse that’s also very portable and light to carry around (weighs 1.6kg and 19mm thin). We’re still not sure how much this rig would cost when it hits the market and have not really yet seen it yet in stores (my guess is north of Php35k).

38 Responses to “Asus U36 Review”

  1. tipler says:

    “It’s a good workforce that’s also very portable…”

    Maybe workhorse?

  2. Benchmark33 says:

    The design looks like Acer Aspire One…but in a thinner version.

  3. paulkev09 says:

    i can’t believe that this ultraportable laptop has got a very good muscle despite its size. not only that, the battery life is impressive even if the specs are high. i think this laptop is very perfect to those who does not want to sacrifice performance while maintaining sleekness.

  4. Paul says:

    Any word on when we’ll get Sandy Bridge laptops locally?

    So far it seems only Apple has them.

  5. Gumz
    Twitter: jamesmuga

    prone to glare… bad…

  6. manila shopper
    Twitter: manilashopper

    This is something to look forward to , hope the price will be reasonable.

  7. It’s thin and has a great design. I wish I could buy another Asus laptop soon. Still using Asus K40IJ.

  8. adam says:

    Not bad if it will be priced at 35K bracket. I’m also impressed with the battery 4 hours amazing.

  9. winziph
    Twitter: january14n

    i am an asus fan and this new ultraportable laptop looks to be powerful.

  10. kapeng_bigas says:

    If I were to choose between this and a 13″ Apple Macbook, Of course, i’ll prefer this laptop for these reasons:

    -Powerful specs
    -Cheaper price
    -Cool color and design
    -And of course, it’s an Asus.

    Just my two cents, hehehe.

  11. Pusang Tulog says:

    Specs are quite good even if its in the 35k price range…

  12. Pusang Tulog says:

    Only question is upgradable ba yung 3GB Memory niya?

  13. Ethan Tremblay says:

    how much is the dedicated memory for the graphics card? tnx =))

  14. john says:

    specs are good enough..

    ps: new blog design is nice :) . i like the 3 color lines. :).

  15. JP says:

    Wow, new blog layout! Nice one sir Abe!

  16. csseyah
    Twitter: goodfilipino

    Sir yuga ang ganda ng new template mo here :) astig.. I like it… hehehhee

  17. DARKDRUID says:

    AFFORDABLE PRICE….and amazing battery life…

  18. NineSwordz says:

    Meron na palang ULV na greater than 2.0Ghz!? And it’s a Core i5 pa! (with turbo boost of course! =)

    With that performance, specs, price and that “sexy” style.. it’s a win! (with Win7 Ulti pa!) XD

    P.S. Good thing they still have the glossy screen, I prefer true-vibrant colors than with anti-glare. And btw.. no bluetooth?

  19. deuts
    Twitter: deuts

    Abe, I think you should start benchmarking your reviewed laptops with the Fritz Chess Benchmark:

  20. Kyle
    Twitter: technokyletwit

    Dami na akong nakikitang desktop replacement… isa na ito sa mga yun

  21. Sherwin Anthony says:

    ganda ng u36 :)

  22. Nikulas says:

    Gusto ko talaga ng mga ultraportable, kaya lang ang ma-mahal!

  23. Abigail
    Twitter: jesuisabby

    Very Pretty siya sir yuga, Kailan kaya ilabas sa market yan?

  24. paulkev09 says:

    This thing can surely kill every ultraportable laptops in terms of everything. Asus U36 rocks!

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Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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