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ASUS U36JC-A1 13.3-Inch Notebook - Black

by Asus

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We don't know when or if this item will be back in stock.
  • 13.3-Inch HD (1366 x768) (LED)
  • i5-460M (2.53GHz)
  • 4GB DDR3
  • 500G 7200
  • Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium (64bit)

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Product Details

  • Product Dimensions: 32.8 x 23.6 x 1.9 cm ; 1.7 Kg
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 Kg
  • Item model number: U36JC-A1
  • ASIN: B004I1J846
  • Date first available at Amazon.ca: Nov. 18 2010
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #324,850 in Electronics (See Top 100 in Electronics)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5 reviews
50 of 51 people found the following review helpful
Almost perfection Jan. 16 2011
By B. Kreps - Published on Amazon.com
At last, Asus has brought to market a laptop that can rival the design accolades of their Z3100 series from 5 years ago (M5N,M5000,M5200). The stunningly strong Mg case, compact design, and powerful feature set make this a roadwarrior's dream machine.

The Good:
-Stellar design on the whole, this laptop will be racking up awards this year like it's cool.
-Rigid Magnesium/Alum. case with unbelievably slim profile and excellent cooling.
-Very quiet fan and harddisk
-Keyboard that has a surprising amount of tactility, snap, and travel for a chiclet board (an improvement over recent Asus models I've tried, almost as nice as the scissor switch keyboards they used to use a few years ago.)
-Intel Core i5 CPU makes this laptop almost feel overpowered for the measly tasks I throw at it!
-The 500GB 7200rpm harddisk is quick and very roomy for a laptop
-Big widescreen aspect trackpad is subtly textured and the rocker switch is much easier to press than recent Asus U models
-Battery life in "battery saving" mode is promising so far (needs more testing, will report back)
-The advertised "nano" coating on the case actually does repel fingerprints as advertised, impressive:)
-Built in webcam (640x480) does surprisingly well in good light given it's size (low light you can't expect much)
-Headphone audio output is very clean (low noise floor for a laptop)
-Graphics performance while in "high performance" power mode is very capable for rendering 3D CAD (can't say anything about 3D games, no experience)
-USB 3.0 port, so no one can complain about this notebook not having a docking station:)

The not so good:
-Vertical viewing angle of the screen could be better, but this seems to be the norm on laptops these days...
-Loaded with bloatware and ASUS utilities of dubious function/value
-Glossy screen and screen bezel attract fingerprints
-Slightly uneven gaps around screen hinges (very minor fit and finish)
-Internal cooling fan seems to have some very tight clearance around the fan blades, because rapidly turning the laptop sideways or front to back causes the fan to emit a lightsaber-like hum, most likely the centrifugal force of the fan is probably pushing the fan blades into the fan cage, case, or something else that doesn't have enough clearance for a half-second or so while the angular momentum changes direction.
-Built-in speakers have a bit of a hollow echo to them, but they do provide a suitable amount of volume for some background music or skype.

The Bad:
-The bezel around RJ-45 connector is a complete design/testing failure! The top-half of the bottom casing does not even attempt to provide any clearance for the spring lock on RJ-45 connectors, so your network cable will NEVER lock in place. This is going to be a problem for all units with the same case. My unit has Model:U36JC-A1, ID:1A and was manufactured in 12/2010. I will be contacting Asus about replacing the entire top half of the bottom casing as soon as a new part is available...costly mistake guys...OOPS. Fortunately this laptop is aimed at very mobile users, so most folks will be using wireless all the time and this won't be so much of an issue; none the less, this is an embarrassing screw up.

Asus support:
I've been an Asus customer for many years, and they've made a great amount of improvement in terms of technical support, repairs, and part supply. This laptop comes with 2 year repair warranty with 1-way return shipping, plus if you register within 60 days they provide accidental damage coverage, which hopefully I won't ever need. I will report back on how they react to my complaint about the RJ-45 bezel.

Rating:
I really want to give this thing 5 stars, so it pains me to have to knock a star off, but this is primarily for the oversight on the RJ-45 bezel and the viewing angle on the screen.

Other thoughts:
I had all but lost hope in Asus making another kick-ass laptop for very mobile business users like myself. My old Z3100 (M5N with Mg case) is still running strong, almost 400k miles and 6 years later (though a bit underpowered for today's applications); I had looked to replace it numerous times over the past 2 years, but nothing on the market compared or didn't fall short in some obvious way.

Note that the U36 does *not* have an optical drive; fortunately this isn't such an issue these days since so much of our data is on the network and USB keys are cheap. On the rare occasion I need to use an installation disk, I make an ISO of it on my desktop and copy it over the network or via USB and then virtually mount it with a freely available program like "daemon-tools."

Overall, I'm extremely pleased with the U36, a slightly nicer screen and a fixed RJ-45 bezel and this is a 5-star unstoppable monster of portability that any other manufacturer will cry to have to compete with. I feel sorry for those people who bought the U35 with it's squishy keyboard and even more sorry for those people looking for a similar feature set who bought a Toshiba Portege R70x, as the case, keyboard, screen, and quietness of this laptop beat the Toshiba hands down.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
what I love and don't love about this laptop Feb. 1 2011
By DCH - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
There were a couple quality issues when I received the laptop

1) A clip on the screw plate on the bottom that houses the ram was sticking out. I had to use a small screw driver to remove the plate and then reseat it.
2) The screen shell border was not clipped in on the right side. I had to snap it into place

Other than these issues, quality is good

Pros:

1) 8 hours of battery life using their custom settings
2) 4.5 hours of battery life on ubuntu 10.10
3) 4.5 hours of battery life on Windows 7 without ASUS battery saving settings
4) fast processor
5) less than 1" thick
6) super lightweight
7) professional looking laptop with slick look
8) love the chicklet keyboard

Cons:

1) runs a bit hot (this doesn't bother me, but may bother some people)
2) doesn't have an SSD drive (could get additional battery life and faster performance w/SSD)
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Design student's thoughts May 12 2011
By Ty Norman Underwood - Published on Amazon.com
I am a design student, so to replace my three-year-old dell I did a lot of research to find the best blend of performance (heavy photoshop, flash, 30+ tabs with firefox), size (I bike all around, and walk the rest of the time. plus, you know, convenience) and price (i am pretty poor).
The Asus u36jc-b1 gets really close. Really close. Like, if I could give it 4.8 stars would. The one thing it gets wrong isn't really asus's fault really, the other manufacturers were just driving there prices down so much they couldn't help it. well. more on that later.

First, the build quality is (to coin the phrase) stunning. Very solid, slim, stylin'. It's more like I am using a prop from a near-future scifi crime drama than something you can actually BUY. What with most laptops these days being so chintzy and plastic and bendy and flexy and just rubbish. Very impressed here, no question. Since I may have mentioned I go to an art and design university, it is filled with the mac-wielding hipster sort that wears old junky looking clothes and listens to junky sounding music on archaic vinyl records. But on the other hand, they spend much more money on their computers than anything else (except perhaps their coffee). So when I say I have gotten compliments for how this machine looks, in this particular context, that is no small thing. But I digress. I do a lot of coding (double major) as well as drawing on this machine. Keyboard is top notch, very good clicky feedback that you don't get on many laptops. Touchpad is bigger than the one on my old machine so i'm happy. not a big fan of the rocker button but it doesn't bother me.

Performance:
I just bought Portal 2, (not the most graphics intensive game but it's certainly cutting edge) and after I updated the nVidia driver and downloaded the Performannce control panel, I was able to look at the core temperatures and see how the game did on different settings. When I bought the machine it handled basic parts of the game with default (most medium) settings on native (1366x768) resolution at about 30 FPS, and then dropped to 15 when looking at a lot of objects from a far distance with portals around. After bumping the clock from 606 to 707, the temps jumped a few degrees from mid 50C to 58-61C, but the game went to 35-55 FPS from the previous 15-30. I highly recommend playing with the GPU overclocking if you feel comfortable. I did not change the CPU or memory clock. Just in case I still have some conditions set that if the temperatures get above 70-80 there are warnings and it will automatically scale back the core clock.
The BIG BONUS: I don't have to worry about the GPU clock eating up my battery hardly at all! With optimus, I am only going to be using the Intel integrated graphics on battery and when not in-game or watching hi def videos. I think this is fantastic and I would look for this feature in ANY laptop you buy.

Battery:
Excellent. Before I overclocked, I played portal 2 for nearly 3.5 hours on battery before I got a warning saying it was low. This would translate to very useful battery run times in the field, though I haven't had this machine long enough to use it away from home for a full day, but I am expecting to not need my power adapter away from home if I charge every night.

LCD:
Did I mention I am a design student? I probably know a LOT more about LCD displays than you do, probably. Short version: It can be a little cramped if you have a lot going on on your screen, but not much. View angles from side to side are fine. Enough for a whole couch to see a movie from a decent distance. top to bottom? You can see everything from a good number of angles with just a little bit of fading. Yeah it's glossy, but that's splitting hairs to me. It's dang bright.

If you don't know that #343434 is gray without looking at a chart, skip this next paragraph. if you don't know what the heck #343434 is at all, DEFINITELY skip this next paragraph.
The screen real estate is just enough to use photoshop without it being a headache, you can get two web pages up on either side of the screen, or one webpage and notepad++ up, but you won't be able to see the 960px of most page widths. Your code window should be wide enough for most things. The viewangles are actually pretty terrible from a designer's perspective, though most people wouldn't notice. unless you have it exactly pointed at your face, the colors will shift and you will be looking at something a shade lighter or darker than what you think it is. I kind of hate this, and I am looking around the web for a (hopefully higer res) panel with better view angles, one that may be matte finish. I find myself always moving the lcd to try and find the sweet spot to know exactly what colors I am looking at when I am trying to change colors for web pages or photos.

Ok, welcome back everyone.

Scratchability:

I fear the lid may be pretty scratchable. there's a small hairline scratch on mine already, I am going to tak extra precautions to keep it away from deadly spiral notebook edges.

Bloatware:

Lots. When you get the computer, first thing is go to control panel>programs and features> and start uninstalling junk. Most of the ASUS stuff is junk, don't uninstall any drivers. Though DO update the nVidia driver from nVidia's website. Also, the desktop gadgets are junky memory hogs, go a head and right click on the desktop and go View>Show desktop gadgets and uncheck.

Power Brick:
Small. I like that. comes with a strap too.

Box:
Eco-friendly. that's nice.

Wrap-up

Great machine, I'm excited. I love almost everything about it, except the LCD panel is not as nice as the one on my 3 year old dell, in the race-to-the-bottom pricing strategy of today's manufacturers, lcd quality is the first thing to go. Everyone's doing it, even Sony. So don't go thinking that other laptops in this class will have anything better. Speaking of which, the alternative to me getting this machine was the Sony Vaio Z, at the time of writing it was also a core i5, with nVidia 330m. The big difference was that it had a 1600x900 LCD panel that was very, very beautiful (saw it at Best Buy a few times). I was torn for a long time, but then they discontinued the Vaio Z and this machine has lots of other features like Optimus, it's thinner and has a better battery by far. But the kicker was the Vaio Z has a $2000+ price tag, even though it's discontinued and only on eBay. The very cheapest I can get it right now is $1600 from Microsoft Store with the weakest configuration.

I feel like this machine is going to serve me well for the next 2 or 3 years. Well, it's going to have to. But that's beside the issue. I highly recommend this computer. Things I gripe about like the LCD are a problem, but it's not like I can go and buy another laptop this good for this price that will have a better LCD. I even carefully considered the Macbook Pro 13 inch and Macbook Air 13. The pro has NO dedicated graphics, and the air has a weak Core 2 Duo. So this Asus really is a hidden gem behind the crapware, obscure product name and terrible lack of notoriety.
11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Not happy with this laptop for two reasons Feb. 4 2011
By Abdulrahman Aljabri - Published on Amazon.com
I Purchased this laptop to replace my one and half years old Sony SR laptop (reviewed on amazon). The U36 performs well and offers some advantages over the Sony; namely a slimmer and lighter design and longer battery capacity. The computer is also visibly faster in performing operations. The problem is in the quality of the design and monitor.

The body is made of cheaper materialize with very basic fit and finish. This does not affect performance, but I find typing and scrolling not as effortless with the U36 as with the Sony. I suspect that relates to the overall average design and build quality of this laptop. The other problem is the monitor. The Sony had an excellent screen coming close to matching my calibrated NEC studio LCD in color and contrast quality. The U36 screen on the other hand is so over bright and has poor color reproduction. I find it impossible to adjust the output quality though screen controls or the video card software. The viewing angle is also bad, I can't see a pure black screen on this notebook no matter the vertical angle. It seems there is always some area with glare. I just can't use this laptop to critically judge my pictures on location like I used to do with the Sony SR.

I can't believe Asus overlooked those two areas. After all one and a half years ago when I was buying the SR I narrowed down my choice between Sony and Asus. Both were comparable in quality of build and screen and I end up going with the Sony because of availability. Now this laptop comes no where near my expectation in quality. I would have been happy to pay $200 more and maintain the quality.

RECOMMENDATION: Inspect this computer in person to make sure it meets your needs and expectations.

Note: Newer Sony notebooks seem to have gone down in quality of build too.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Just Perfect! Feb. 26 2011
By Ran - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
After my 1500$ 3.5-years old Dell XPS M1330 finally lost the ability to re-charge the battery I decided to find a decent replacement. I looked for a lightweight and powerful machine with a good building quality and as many interfaces as possible. When I started my research the options were Toshiba portage - Lightweight laptops with everything but dedicated graphics card (~1,500$), Sony vaio Z's - had all functionalities but for >2,000$ and other options like Dell Inspirion with 2kgs of weight and terrible building quality and the Dell Vostro/Latitude series that did not have HDMI which is a must for me. Fortunately, two weeks later this amazing laptop emerged. For me it is not less than perfect! It feels much more light and is alot thinner than my old 1.8kgs XPS m1330. It has amazing building quality and even cannot be compared to my old XPS. All the top is one magnesium part without moving or loosened plastic parts like in the DELL. The I5 processor is amazing as well. I'm a graduate student and a very heavy consumer of processing power. The processor with the overwhelming hyperthreding feature performs more than 2.5 times operations per second than the T7300 2GHz Core 2 Duo Santarosa that I had in the M1330. The HDD is huge (500GB) and extremely fast. HDMI + dedicated graphics card = Full HD movies on my 42" LCD :). USB 3 for the futre portable mass storage devices. Measured 7 hours of work with office and WiFi internet on battery, and all of this in less than 1.7Kgs and just for 1000$!!! Not less than AMAIZING!!!

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