It amazes me that the ASUS UL80Vt-A1 really does get almost 12 hours of battery life, even in real-world tests. Twelve hours is a whole day of classes or meetings or anything else, plus time to relax and watch a movie before plugging in the computer and going to bed. But there’s more to this gem of a notebook than just long battery life.
How Fast Is The ASUS UL80Vt-A1?
For an affordable and small notebook, the ASUS UL80Vt-A1 really manages to blaze along. It’s powered by an Intel Core 2 Duo processor running at 1.3 GHz (that’s the equivalent of 2.6 GHz when both cores are running). It’s a 64-bit processor, so that’s plenty of power for even most modern games, especially when combined with the excellent graphics.
The ASUS UL80Vt-A1 includes a feature I’ve only ever seen in one other laptop—dual graphics chipsets. One of the graphics chipsets is the default low-power chipset that barely uses any battery but also has poor performance. The other graphics chipset, a NVIDIA GeForce, uses more power but also runs games at 100 Frames Per Second (FPS) or better.
Best of all, you can switch between the two graphics chipsets without rebooting your notebook. Just press the button above the keyboard and wait a moment, then start up your game. Press the button again to return to low-power mode. (Plus the low-power mode still has plenty enough performance to play videos in native High-Definition (HD) 720p mode, so you can watch movies for almost 12 hours straight on an otherwise boring road trip.)
Video On The ASUS UL80Vt-A1
A 14″ widescreen HD monitor makes the ASUS UL80Vt-A1 one of the larger notebooks you’ll find. Unlike smaller netbook screens, you’ll be able to read text without squinting so you don’t give yourself headaches. The LED back-lighting keeps even dark movie scenes bright enough for you to see without washing out all the color, and it’s a big help when you play dark video games—you can’t shoot what you can’t see.
The ASUS UL80Vt-A1 includes two video outputs. An HDMI output lets you connect it directly to your HDTV with a single cord that sends both video and audio so you can easily watch movies on your 72″ television. A VGA output connects to older computer monitors and all projectors so you can use this light notebook to give presentations at school or work without any hassle.
You can also record video on the ASUS UL80Vt-A1 using its built-in webcam. The webcam works instantly with Skype and Google chat, plus most other video software, so you can chat with friends, family, and colleagues online or enroll in a virtual university that requires video conferencing.
How Do They Fit Everything In The ASUS UL80Vt-A1?
Although the ASUS UL80Vt-A1 is jam-packed with features, ASUS managed to keep it small and light. Its longest dimension is 13.5-inches (to accompany the widescreen display) and its only 1.1-inches thick—thinner than many 1-subject paper notebooks. You would expect its high capacity 8-cell battery to weigh it down, but the engineers amazing kept the ASUS UL80Vt-A1 under 5 pounds, so you won’t be fatigued by carrying it around with you. You could easily stuff it in your backpack or briefcase and forget about it.
Some of the other features crammed into the ASUS UL80Vt-A1 include a 320 GB disk drive which is large enough to hold an almost unlimited number of documents or up to 200 hours of movie-length video files. Although I would still recommend buying an external hard drive to save clogging up your main hard drive.
It also comes with 4 GB of computer memory (RAM) which allows you to multitask with abandon—open hundreds of tabs or dozens of applications without slowing down your computer. That much memory also helps make your battery last longer by letting applications pre-read files into memory so the disk drive on the ASUS UL80Vt-A1 can “spin down”, saving power and giving you a little extra battery life.
What Else You Get With A ASUS UL80Vt-A1
The ASUS UL80Vt-A1 comes pre-installed with Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit—not one of the cheaper versions of Windows 7. There are a few new nifty features in Windows 7 like Jump Lists, but you also get the features released with Windows Vista which have now matured in Windows 7.
If you like the multi-touch screen on the the iPhone , you’ll like the multi-touch touchpad on the ASUS UL80Vt-A1 which lets you use the same basic movements to manipulate photos, Web browsers, and other software. Having a multi-touch touchpad makes up for not having a “real mouse” on a notebook, saving you the hassle of buying and carrying around a portable wireless mouse wherever you go.
The ASUS UL80Vt-A1 also comes with a digital media card reader which supports popular formats like Secure Digital (SD) and Sony Memory Stick (MS) used in digital cameras and other devices. Instead of carrying around the cord to your digital camera, simply open it up, remove the media card, stick it in the media card reader and start browsing your photos in the folder that appears on your desktop.
You also get more freedom to work comfortably when you buy the ASUS UL80Vt-A1 thanks to its support for the Wireless-N protocol which offers twice the range and up to 15 times the speed of older wireless network protocols. Of course, you can still use the older 802.11 B or G protocols at your school, office, or favorite coffee shop.
Protect Your Investment In The ASUS UL80Vt-A1
The ASUS UL80Vt-A1 is a great little notebook and it’s affordable too—but that doesn’t mean it’s a cheap throw-away. If you buy it, you want to buy it for keeps, that’s why I love that ASUS protects your investment with their excellent warranty. You get a two-year warranty on all of the parts besides the screen and a 30-day warranty against failure or bad pixels on the screen—and, if you need to make a return, ASUS will pay shipping both ways so it costs you nothing.
Plus ASUS gives you free one-year accidental damage coverage with your purchase. That means they’ll fix or replace your notebook if you drop it or spill something on it, all you have to do is pay to ship the notebook to them one-way (which is a great deal—you pay $20 to ship a useless, broken notebook and they send you a working, new notebook back a few days later.) Other manufacturers would charge $100 or more for the same level of accidental damage coverage that you get for free with the ASUS UL80Vt-A1.