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:
13.3-inch display @ 1366×768 pixels
Intel Core i5 460M @ 2.53GHz (2 cores, 4 threads, Turbo Boost 2.8GHz)
3GB DDR3 RAM
Nvidia GeForce 310M + Intel HD Graphics
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
2 x USB 2.0 ports
1 x USB 3.0 port
3-1in-1 Card Reader
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).