ASUS UL80Jt—Inside and Out

The UL80Jt is pretty similar to the Vt, with a few changes. The brushed aluminum lid remains, still in a dark gunmetal colour. The glossy plastic on the interior is thankfully gone, replaced by the same brushed aluminum material. Unfortunately, the LCD bezel is still glossy plastic, a recurring theme with ASUS notebooks. Dustin went off on this in his last review, but I’d like to touch on it again. It’s stupid, stop doing it. Especially if you’re just using glossy plastic and not putting a glass covering over the entire screen a la Apple (amongst others). That aside, the palmrests feel solid, and the stickers advertise it as being scratchproof and “ice cool”. I can’t vouch for the ice cool claim, but heat definitely isn’t a problem as it has been for some ASUS notebooks in the past.

Unfortunately the rest of the build quality isn’t as great. The lid is pretty flexy and shows a decent amount of ripple-effect under pressure. The hinge isn’t the sturdiest. But by far the worst part about this whole thing is the keyboard. It’s the same keyboard as the U33Jc that I had, but the backing must be different, or something—there’s much more flex, enough to be disturbing. The typing action itself isn’t too bad, but following the awesomeness that was the U33Jc typing experience, it was fairly disappointing to see that the UL80 didn’t match up.

Rounding out the input devices, we have the multitouch trackpad, which has a dimpled surface and a glossy finish. It works okay, with Synaptic’s standard gesture support, but there’s nothing really noteworthy about it. Same goes for the mouse buttons, other than once again registering my astonishment that companies continue to use chrome mouse buttons. It’s as bad as the glossy black bezels—it’s the most touched part on the system, why make it a material that so readily shows fingerprints?

Gallery: ASUS UL80Jt

While we’re on the topic of weird quirks, the blue and green LEDs on the front edge are significantly more powerful than on normal systems, bright enough to disturb sleep in a dark room. Whether this is because of the plastic lightpipes used or because of the LED parts themselves, it’s still somewhat odd. For comparison, it puts out more light than my Thermaltake Tsunami desktop case, and that’s got a case full of blue LEDs.

Port selection is basically unchanged from before, as with most other things on the outside. Personally, I wasn’t a huge fan of the previous UL80’s build quality, so the flaws in the current UL80’s build quality are not terribly surprising, though not welcome by any means. And in comparison to the U30Jc’s more consistently good build quality (and significantly better keyboard), they’re magnified that much more.

ASUS UL80Jt Introduction Asus UL80Jt Performance
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  • slagar - Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - link

    "Unfortunately, the LCD bezel is still glossy plastic, a recurring theme with ASUS notebooks. Dustin went off on this in his last review, but I’d like to touch on it again. It’s stupid, stop doing it."

    This gave me a laugh; well said. Nice review, thanks!

    I think the CULV i3 is well suited to 11-12" notebooks, like the UL20FT, as long as you don't mind the short battery life. But as said in the review, it sort of loses its purpose in such a "large" laptop when there are better options available.
    Personally, I've still got an EEEPC 900 and it goes great. I'm looking at upgrading to a 12" UL20, but I'm not completely satisfied with the current revisions; maybe next year ;)
    Reply
  • scook9 - Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - link

    I have a UL80Vt from work and aside from the horrible build quality and screen and touchpad (I know, right?) it is a great laptop. I like that the battery life is longer than windows 7 can handle (sits at 10h 00m for like 1.5 hours haha)

    And if you get SetFSB...Well I was able to bench my UL80Vt at 320 FSB without any instability :D - at room temperature with no special measures taken.
    Reply
  • G-Man - Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - link

    Hi, Vivek

    I like how you intentionally come across as frustrated and resigned over both keyboard and the lcd-screen. Actually, you seemed frustrated throughout the entire review. The reviews aren't usually so harsh here on Anandtech, but in my opinion it was a nice change of pace.
    Reply
  • VivekGowri - Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - link

    It was kind of a frustrating notebook all around, actually. I mean, it was slower and had worse build quality than the U30, but everything else (including price and battery life) was basically the same. So while it's not a bad notebook, I don't really understand why it exists, or why anyone would buy it versus the U30. Reply
  • AstroGuardian - Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - link

    Why? Because not everybody buys a laptop for some special reason. And most people want to just buy a laptop. Not everybody looks for a hair inside the egg you know. Reply
  • VivekGowri - Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - link

    Let's say Honda made an Accord with the 1.5L Fit engine that has roughly 60% of the power as the Accord's standard 2.4L 4-cylinder. Let's say this model with the undersized engine got very marginally better fuel economy and cost the same as the larger engine, but was significantly slower than the normal 2.4L Accord.

    You would question what the point was. Not every notebook needs to be "special", but come on - Asus sells a very parallel system that costs the same, weighs the same, gets roughly the same battery life, has better build quality, and is significantly faster.
    Reply
  • Evil_Sheep - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    Asus's product strategy seems to be: unload a dozen clips in the general direction of the target, hope something hits. To continue that analogy, Apple would be the professional hitman who waits hours for the perfect shot and then only fires once. The contrast could not be more extreme.

    To be fair, Apple's execution isn't flawless and Asus's is hardly terrible. It just would be nice if it weren't so scattershot.
    Reply
  • fokka - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    "Asus's product strategy seems to be: unload a dozen clips in the general direction of the target, hope something hits." roflmao :D Reply
  • jabber - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    Remember we are judging this machine (most of us) purely as a written comparison with another machine thats just a few months old.

    Most of the folks who look at this machine and buy this machine will love it and think its brilliant.

    Why? Cos their last PC or laptop was bought 5 years ago.

    On its own it still sounds a pretty decent machine...but we nit pick essentially over cup holders.
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    I'm pretty sure most people buying a laptop on the internet do at least a little research (look at the "What laptop should I buy" thread over at notebookreview) and even a little searching will show that the current UL series seems inferior to the U3x series. So if internet buyers are out, that leaves in-store buyers, and unless the U3x isn't present while the UL is, the better build quality of the U3x will probably be the deciding factor. So sure this is an upgrade to something 5 years old, but when better upgrades are easily available it still doesn't make sense. Reply

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