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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  • yzkbug - Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - link

    glossy screen? ... neeeext!
  • B3an - Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - link

    Why have you not included the recently reviewed Dell XPS L501x ? Especially in the LCD tests. Without it, and other reviewed laptops with good or better LCD's, it's makes them tests seem bias towards Apple. As if they are the only ones using a decent LCD.
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - link

    Different markets... that's a mainstream laptop with a decent GPU. Plus, this review was started before the XPS ever arrived (shame on Vivek for taking so long).
  • VivekGowri - Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - link

    *sigh* bad.
  • setzer - Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - link

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the chipset noted in the hardware table wrong?
    As far as I know (and I also checked ARK) the GS45 only applies to the old Core2duo cpus no?
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - link

  • VivekGowri - Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - link

    Yeap, my bad - I ripped off the UL80Vt table and simply forgot to change the chipset. Thanks for catching that :)
  • MikeMurphy - Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - link

    I have been waiting anxiously for this review but was disappointed that the UL80VT or UL30VT numbers weren't included for comparison.

    Also re 210 v 310 above, you'll notice many of the 310 Optimus setups have reduced memory clocks compared to the 210 in the UL30/80VT. I suspect this is for battery savings considering the continuous memory copying going on in the background.
  • Thermogenic - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    I still haven't seen anything more appealing than the Alienware M11x R1. It has the Core2Duo CULV and gets great battery life, as well as a 335M graphics card that powers almost all games at it's native 720p resolution with 30fps. It's screen is terrible, but that seems par for the course in the sub $800 systems. The only thing close I've seen is the $999 Macbook.
  • StrangerGuy - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    Simply put: No offering as potent, as small, and as cheap as a Acer 3820TG. C'mon, ULV and 310m on a 12" may have been nice...but on a 14" incher that is a total joke. Lately they are just flooding the market with unappealing netbooks/laptops that are underpowered for the price.

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