- Product Dimensions: 32.8 x 23.6 x 2.5 cm ; 1.7 Kg
- Shipping Weight: 2.8 Kg
- Item model number: UL30A-A2
- ASIN: B002P3KMNU
- Date first available at Amazon.ca: Oct. 26 2009
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #312,707 in Electronics (See Top 100 in Electronics)
ASUS UL30A-A2 Thin and Light 13-3-Inch Silver Laptop - 12 Hours of Battery Life (Windows 7 Home Premium)
We don't know when or if this item will be back in stock.
- 1.3GHz Intel SU7300 Core 2 Duo Processor
- 4GB of DDR3 RAM, 2 slots, 4GB Max
- 500GB SATA Hard Drive (5400 RPM), No Optical Drive
- 13.3" HD LED LCD Display, Intel GMA 4500MHD, 0.3M Webcam, Wi-Fi 802.11 bgn
- Windows 7 Home Premium Operating System (64 bit), 16 Hours of Battery Life
There is a newer model of this item:
Ultra-portable all-day Computing; 10-hour battery life; 13.3"LED HD Panel; Intel Core2 Duo CULV processor; multi-gesture touchpad; Altec Lansing high definition speakers with SRS Premium Sound; 4GB DDR3; Intel GMA 4500MHD; 500GB 5400RPM; Windows 7 Home Premium.
Top Customer Reviews
If you go to the discussion here [...] you will see that this is a serious issue with this laptop. I love everything else about it, but to give you an example, I work in an student office at a university with 3 other people. The other three all connect to the internet and see a strong signal. I can't connect.
The Athero card only has one antennae attached instead of 2. This may or may not be part of the problem, but regardless of whatever it is, this HAS to be fixed. Those of us looking at using this laptop to travel, in other words, to connect outside of the 20' range of a home router, need the capacity to connect!
WHAT GOOD IS A THIN, LIGHT, ULTRA-PORTABLE laptop if you can't get a wireless signal???? My gawd I don't want to be trying to connect to a public network in an airport or wherever and not be able to because I am not sitting right on top of the router!!!
ASUS are some UL30A laptops shipping with the Intel 5100 card? If so, how can we tell them apart when ordering?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Middle of the Road:
1. Lack of an Optical drive - either internal or external. While this may be an issue for some people, it is plenty easy to hook up an external optical drive to it. However buyers should keep a sharp eye out for which external drive they get. The cpu in this machine is an ultra low voltage processor, and some of the external optical drives out there that only run on the power of usb ports (1 or 2) will find that the UL30A-A2 does not crank sufficient power through the usb ports for many of the drives available. I fortunately had an external drive powered by only usb ports and one with an external power supply. The usb powered external drive I owned (a nu-esw860, which worked with an HP 8710w laptop) did not work, whereas the external power source usb drive (an dvd writer/cd burner from Iomega) worked fine.
2. The Touchpad and Mouse Buttons. While the touchpad is fine for me the mouse buttons actually consist of a single button that rocks back and forth. I find it a little awkward, but not unusable. In general I try to use an external mouse with laptops anyway.
3. DDR3 memory limitation. While the inclusion of DDR3 RAM is excellent in of itself purchasers should be aware that this model maxes out at 4gb of RAM - that is, the amount it sells with. No upgrades in this area of the machine. And since the machine sells with a 64 bit OS, which is not subject to the 3.5 gb RAM cap of 32 bit OS's, it kinda makes one wonder what Asus was thinking, especially with the video card potentially borrowing so much memory. That being said, other UL models DO come with an 8gb max and ship with 4gb of RAM, although usually those models use DDR2.
4. Keyboard. While I very much like the chicklet design of laptop keyboards my unit has noticeable (but not terrible) flex across the keyboard proper. For those of you who are used to the standard of the old IBM laptops this is a bit of a disappointment. But even though I thought it should be mentioned it is very easy to live with nonetheless.
5. Tiny power adapter. A very small adapter comes with the unit, and although I too have seen reviews (admittedly of the UL30A-A1 model) where the adapter got downright hot thus far my use of it has not achieved that. At worse it has been noticeably warm. Maybe a determining factor for the size of the adapter was to shave a few extra ounces off of the overall weight of carrying the machine and its accessories around?
6. Intel x4500 graphics card. Not the greatest of cards, but sufficient to the the job on a basic daily level. Likely chosen in part for purposes of battery life.
1. No bluetooth. This was a disappointment for me, but there are models in the UL series that do come with bluetooth capability. In the end I opted for battery life over the bluetooth - a person could always get a usb bluetooth adapter if need be. Still - it would have been very convenient to have this.
2. Usually Asus's laptops come with a bag and a mouse, as the previous reviewer has mentioned. No such extra accessories came with my machine.
3. Internal Wireless Card. My unit was bundled with an Aetheros wireless card and only one of the two antennae was attached/active. I would presume that this was to reduce power consumption. For me personally it is not a problem, but I have heard many fellow users complain about its weak signal and limited range. It works - just not very strong or far-reaching. This has been a deterrent for some in considering to purchase this machine.
1. Sturdy build, light weight. I am impressed by the general external build of so thin and light a laptop as this one - it is not super sturdy, like, say, the old IBM T40 series, but it is quite adequate. Kudos to Asus on this front!
2. Screen. It is a lovely and vibrant screen indeed - although potential buyers should be aware that it is the reflective screen.
3. Aesthetic Design. I personally think it is an attractive laptop as well. The same basic design comes in both silver and black. Looking only at pictures I thought the black looked slightly better of the two, but on receiving the UL30A-A2 (which is the silver model) I am quite satisfied with how it looks, and even impressed. Asus did a very good job on this one!
4. Cooling system. As advertised, Asus did an impressive job with this. The machine stays very, VERY cool when running. Even when doing high intensive cpu tasks the machine only heats up in a barely noticeable way.
5. HDMI Port. This is something I have seen many people ask about. Different models of the UL series either come with or omit the hdmi port. This hdmi port also is not of the sort that can also be used as a usb port.
6. Not a whole lot of bloatware. Mostly Asus programs - a few could be useful, like the power saving app, which I have not yet used. Mine came with a trial of Trend Micro antivirus and MS Office 2007 student level - both were easy enough to uninstall.
7. Windows 7. This is my first hands on look at the OS, and while it took a while to find my way around the thing, I have to say I am impressed, in particular by the power saving features and general speed improvement over Vista.
8. Battery Life. This was the deal breaker for me. The battery itself fits up very snugly to the overall design of the laptop, and the UL30A-A2 model was advertised (perhaps incorrectly) as having up to 16 hours of battery life. I put it through some initial tests and these are the rough figures I came up with:
Initial Battery Life Results:
When I make a power saving profile maximized for battery length (which means screen dimmed to lowest possible and wireless turned off) AND reduce the color from 32 bit to 16 bit this is what I got before shutting down the machine at 5% power - these are rough numbers only, mind you:
Playing .avi files and installing a fair size program: about 8 hours of battery life.
Playing .avi files only: about 10 - 10 1/2 hours of battery life.
Only word processing: about 13 - 13 1/2 hours battery life.
So, at least based on the first run of draining the battery life, while it does not live up to the 16 hours listed on amazon.com, it DOES do better than the advertised "up to 12 hours" for the other machines - but this is in extreme power saving mode.
Overall this is an ideal machine for me personally. I thought long and hard before choosing what my next laptop was going to be, and I am very satisfied with the result. I would recommend this machine to others who need long battery life with decent cpu strength and speed in their machine at the same time. For the record, the Intel Core 2 Duo SU7300 cpu is very roughly the equivalent of an Intel Core 2 Duo T5500 and/or an AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-64.
I am hopeful that in the future Asus (or some third party) will make available larger power supplies and especially larger batteries! Then something like 16 hours of battery life could easily be reached with dedicated power saving settings (as opposed to ultra-extensive, as I did).
When I bought my first laptop in July of 2008 for college, I thought that the sony vaio I was getting was great because it recieved alot of editor's choice awards. Being young and naive, I thought that it was a good purchase. While it was nice and flashy with the red cover, it didn't suit my needs as a college student. It was large (15.4 in), bulky (6 lb), and didn't even have the blu-ray player, which is why it won the awards in the first place, being one of the only laptops at the time to play blu-ray. It was meant to be a multimedia laptop, which is not what I needed as a college student. So this Thanksgiving, I started hearing about this Asus UL30 that was getting rave reviews and alot of attention. I researched it more, and the more I read about it, the more I liked.
Before going into college, I was positive that I wanted a Macbook. Apple claims that they're the most used computer on college campuses, and just by walking around you can see they're not lying. But the pricetag just wasn't cooperating with my dreams to get a mac. Not only does this computer have a mac-like keyboard, but you won't have to drop a grand to get it! So I stuck with Microsoft, which was further cemented due to my purchase of a Microsoft Zune HD (which I also highly recommend). But I digress, back to the Asus UL30.
Put simply, the Asus UL30 is probably one of the best purchases I've ever made. It is so thin and light, the 'UL' part doesn't do justice. Compared to that behemoth of a vaio, the Asus UL30 weighs less then a Mac for crying out loud! Weight and portability were one of my top concerns because I would be lugging around this laptop with me to campus, going from class to class all day. This laptop weighs less then my calculus book! I can easily carry it in my backpack, and when I get to class, just whip it out and go.
The hardware is simply divine. The screen is so bright and vibrant, as we speak I have the brightness level set to a little less than halfway, because I might get blinded if I put it up all the way. Yes, the screen is quite glossy, but you could barely notice it when you're using the laptop, unless you're sitting in the sun, which would make any screen hard to see anyway.
The speakers are unlike other laptops. They're situated underneath the laptop, towards the front. It kind of muffles the sound if you have it in your lap, but when it's on a hard surface, the sound bounced off the table and is amplified. When I first got the ASUS UL30, I set it on the table right next to my brother (HP) and sister's (some other 15.4 ASUS) laptop. I blasted the same song from all 3 laptops, and my ASUS UL30 completely hit the other two out of the ballpark in terms of loudness and clarity. You seriously have to listen to how loud the speakers on this small laptop really is to believe it. As I'm typing this, I have my headphones on and the volume set to 17% and the pandora volume set to like 25. The loudness capability of the ASUS UL30 is excellent, you will not be disappointed.
The part that I might (and that's a big MIGHT) come to miss is an optical drive. There is no way to play DVDs or CDs on the ASUS UL30, but that's a blessing in disguise! Because there's no optical drive, the laptop is lighter, and uses less battery because all it's running is just the hard drive. I don't really miss the optical drive because these days, everything you need can be downloaded off the internet. Ever since I've gotten this computer, there hasn't been a single time when I've had to play a CD but couldn't. Let's face it, ubiquitous storage on the internet and flashdrives are the future. The last time I used the optical drive on my former laptop was months ago to play some video game I rented from the library. Not having an optical drive should be no big deal.
Another part that I absolutely adore about the ASUS UL30 is the trackpad. The dimples are very unique and the single mouse button makes the laptop seem more simplistic, and I love simplicity. I remember reading a review about the ASUS UL30 and someone said that once you get a little 'finger grease' on the trackpad, that it's becomes really smooth, which I found to be a little disgusting, but now I know what the reviewer meant. When you first get the laptop, the trackpad is really dry, imagine yourself swiping your finger on any dry plastic surface, and thats what it feels like. But once you get some of that 'finger grease', the trackpad works like a charm. And it's so cute and unique, what other laptop has little dimples?
One thing about the trackpad that I do NOT like is the multitouch thing, like how you scroll down by using two fingers, and can right click by using 3. The 2 finger scrolling isn't that accurate, and the 3 finger right click is kind of a shot in the dark if it works or not. Often time, when 2 finger scrolling, accidentally I get that arrow thing that scrolls the page when you move the arrow to the edge. I admit it's kind of annoying, but hey, it's great when it works! lol fml
When buying this laptop, I was debating whether to get the A2 or the X5. I ultimately chose the A2 because its silver, and I read that the black attracts finger prints like crazy, and I liked the better battery life. I was already slapping down $700, so why not just spend another $100 and make sure that I'll be completely satisfied with what I get?
Some people say that the laptop feels like it's made of cheap plastic. I can see why they would say that because if I press the front part down, it makes a little clicking noise. But that is barely noticeable and doesn't really affect the overall laptop. The ASUS UL30 doesn't get overly hot like my old Sony did, I could use it one my lap all day/night and I still wouldn't notice the heat. So now I kind of regret buying a logitech lapdesk for $40 a couple weeks before I got the ASUS UL30.
The battery is one of the strongest points of the laptop. I'm sure you've all heard how great the battery life is by now, and while I don't get the 12 hours as advertised, I probably get a good 8-9 hours from a single charge. And that's from browsing the web, playing music, watching videos, and the many other multi-tasking things that college students do. The battery life simply pays for itself over and over again. Whenever I go to the library, I don't have to walk round and around for a table that's close to an electric outlet. Now I just smile as I watch people walking all over the library looking for an outlet to plug in their drained computers that only last 2-3 hours on a charge, or at other students who have to turn their brightness down to the lowest level to conserve battery while in class. It's like they're reading from a fricken kindle for crying out loud! All the while, my screen is bright as the sun, and untethered from the bondage of electrical outlets.
Now I have to say something critical of the ASUS UL30 just to be fair in this review. If I had to choose something, the only thing that I wouldn't like about this laptop is that there's no bluetooth capability, so I cant wirelessly transfer pics I took on my phone to my computer. But that's not that big of a deal because there's a memory card slot so I can just pop that SD micro card into a SD mini reader and bam bam thank you ma'am, everything works fine.
Even though I gave the rating of a 4 out of 5 simply because I think 5 is some perfect, imaginary laptop that can only exist in our dreams. But this computer is fairly close to that!
The graphics are great, the sound and screen are great, the chiclet keyboard and dimple trackpad is real cute, the ASUS UL30 is one of the best 13.3" laptops on the market, and I'm extremely glad that I bought it!
First, before you consider buying one of these, you should realize what it's designed for. It's meant to be thin, light, and have extremely good battery life; it's NOT meant for extremely intensive tasks (video encoding, number crunching) or gaming. The machine is still very capable of everything I throw at it, and unlike netbooks you won't find yourself making compromises in every-day tasks to avoid slow downs.
- GREAT battery life. I've seen about 6-8 hours on average, with 9-10 hours during very light use (and that's all on the moderate "Entertainment" battery setting). 12 hours may be achievable using the "Battery Saver" setting, which dims the display quite dark, throttles the processor even more, and reverts to the non-Aero Windows theme.
- Excellent size and weight. 13.3" really is the sweet spot for me; it's very portable, and really seems significantly smaller than my previous 14.1" laptop. This thing really seems as light as a feather compared to many other laptops. Too bad I just got out of college, I would have loved the "lug" things thing around.
- Decent build quality. The brushed aluminum cover is a very nice touch, and really makes the UL30A look very classy (though it would have been nice to see aluminum used on other panels as well). The screen is firmly hinged and it takes some force to make it wobble. Unlike other reviews I've read, the battery is locked in very securely by two locks, one on each side. There are a few small areas on the laptop casing that can be depressed, causing an audible click, but it takes a decent amount of force and the chassis seems to be very sturdy overall.
- Decent keyboard. The chiclet-style keyboard is a breeze to type on. Having the extra space between each key is very nice, especially when hunting for an unfamiliar key. There is some keyboard flex present, but it's much less pronounced that my previous laptop (ASUS N80Vn) and I generally don't find that it causes any problems with my typing speed (~90 WPM).
- LED Backlit Screen. After using one on my previous laptop, and now this one, I don't think I could stand to go back to a standard CCFL screen. The lighting seems much more even, and the colors are far more vibrant. I find that the screen causes less strain on my eyes over long periods of time, and even when I dim it to save battery life, it's still MUCH brighter than other laptops. With that said, the laptop most likely uses a cheaper TN panel (are there any laptops available with MVA/PVA/IPS panels?), so it may not be ideal for professional photo work.
- Great overall specs. Graphics card aside, you get a Core 2 Duo that sips power and is still capable of every day tasks, 4GB of memory, a 500GB hard drive, and Windows 7 Home Premium.
- Some multi-touch support on the track pad. Two-finger scrolling really beats a dedicated scroll bar once you get used to it, especially since it frees up more track pad real estate. The three-finger right click gesture is also nice. Why can't we have more?!
- Intel Integrated Graphics. The X4500MHD (a.k.a. GMA 4500MHD) just plain sucks. It's more than plenty for basic desktop use, watching videos, and surfing the 'net. However, if you're looking to do any gaming, you should look elsewhere. For example, I read one review that stated they experienced stutters even playing World of Warcraft at a laughable 800x600 resolution. If you're not looking to do any gaming (or if the games you want to play are graphically simple, like Bejeweled, or over 5 years old, like Starcraft), the X4500MHD should do the trick. I REALLY wish the UL30Vt (user-switchable graphics between the X4500MHD and a Nvidia GT210M) was out when I purchased this one. If I had the opportunity to return mine and get the UL30Vt instead, I would in a heart beat.
- No Bluetooth. ASUS, really... it's 2009. Bluetooth is popping up everywhere. Sure, I can buy a tiny, cheap USB Bluetooth adapter, but that ties up one of the three USB ports on the machine. Ugh... this is probably the only thing about the laptop that really irks me. Integrated please.
- So-so track pad. The dimpled effect takes a little getting used to, but it's not horrible. I still prefer a smooth, recessed surface like traditional track pads, though. The available multi-touch gestures (mentioned above) are really nice, but I'd like to see more. I'm hoping more can be added with driver updates, and it's mot a hardware limitation. The biggest downfall to me is the buttons; they work fine, but they're a bit too stiff for my liking, and they emit a loud click when pressed. I use a wireless mouse (Logitech VX Nano - highly recommended) most of the time anyway, so it doesn't make much difference to me.
- Atheros Wireless card instead of an Intel card; lack of a gigabit network adapter (it's only 10/100), only 3 USB ports.
Overall, it's a a wonderful laptop for anyone looking for portability and battery life over raw performance. However, there are still a few things missing that would really make it a smash hit.
With so many variations of the UL30A, it is hard to know which is the best.
A break down given by an ASUS rep somewhere on the web is below (unfortunately i can't find the link).
A2 vs. X5 vs. A3b
UL30A-A2 = 8 cell 5600mAh
UL30A-X5 = 8 cell 4400mAh
UL30A-A3B = 8 cell 5600mAh
UL30A-A2 = 500GB 5400rpm
UL30A-X5 = 500GB 5400rpm
UL30A-A3B = 250GB 5400rpm
UL30A-A2 = 4GB DDR3
UL30A-X5 = 4GB DDR3
UL30A-A3B = 3GB DDR3
UL30A-A2 = Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
UL30A-X5 = Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
UL30A-A3B = Windows 7 Professional (64-bit) with XP Professional downgrade option
UL30A-A2 = 2 year global, 1 year ADW, 30 day no-bright-dot
UL30A-X5 = 1 year global, 1 year ADW, 30 day no-bright-dot
UL30A-A3B = 2 year global, 1 year ADW, 30 day no-bright-dot
- It is very thin and very light. It's about half the wight of my old Dell Inspiron, and the size is small enough to be really portable and large enough to watch movies.
- I haven't fully tested the battery life yet, but so far it's been pretty impressive.
- The screen quality is amazing, and it comes with some of the most beautiful desktop images I've seen. I am truly impressed.
- It doesn't get hot. It has been on my lap for hours at a time while working hard to transfer over files from my other laptop, and it hasn't been even uncomfortably warm.
- The keyboard and touchpad design are great. I like the mac-style keyboard that will help keep crud from accumulating under the keys, and is easy to type on. The touchpad is flush with the wrist-rest areas, which means it also will stay cleaner with years of use. Some computer reviewers did not like the touchpad, but for me it's plenty big, and it only feels "sticky" when you press down too hard. You have to use a light touch, but it doesn't take long to adjust to.
- It's fast enough and big enough for everything I need. I'm in the midst of transferring all of my music and videos, from both my old laptop and my external hard drive, only my Asus so that I can have everything with me at once, and only use my external as a backup. The system operates fast enough for my needs, though from what I've read it won't suffice if you're a gamer.
- It doesn't come with Norton Anti-Virus pre-installed. This means you don't have to go through hours of trying to uninstall it so that your computer can run the way it's supposed to. It simply comes with a basic internet security program.
- Most of the computer is somewhat fingerprint-proof. The only exceptions are the big glossy screen (which you shouldn't be touching anyway), the black border around the screen (which you will sometimes need to touch), and the touchpad button (which is small, but you will probably be touching it a lot). However it is still better than most laptops, as the rest of the computer will not show fingerprints.
- Windows 7 is great! Again, I haven't fully tested the ins and outs, but so far it's been an easy transition for someone who has been using XP since it came out eight years ago. I avoided getting a computer with Vista, but have used it on friends' computers on occasion, and Windows 7 seems like an improvement.
- I read that the power adapter would get hot, but so far mine has stayed cool. And it has been plugged in for 18 hours straight.
- If you press Fn and the space bar, you can easily shift through 4 different power options: Entertainment Mode, High Performance, Quiet Office, and Battery Saving. This is an awesome feature because if you're watching a movie, it will let you change settings to stop the screen from dimming or turning off without even exiting the movie.
- The Amazon order did not come with the mouse or computer case it promised!
- I don't like the reflections you can see in the glossy screen. This isn't unique to this computer, I just don't like glossy screens in general.
- It came with a sticker on it saying it had 12 hours of battery life, so I'm not sure if the 16 hour claim is true... and like I said I haven't tested it. Either way, though, I don't think I'll ever need it to last more than 12 hours without being plugged in.
- The way that the hard drive is partitioned is confusing. It has an OS C drive and a data D drive. However it automatically puts all of the users documents and music folders in the OS drive rather than the data drive. This is easy to change, but I still haven't figured out how to change the start menu links to my documents so that it takes me to the D drive instead of the C drive.
- The touchpad doesn't support rotate and zoom motions that are common on Macs and coming out in newer PCs. Certainly not a huge problem, but they would be nice, since the touchpad does support scrolling and right click motions.
I think that's all for now. I'll try to update this when I find more pros and cons worth mentioning, and have measured the true battery life of the machine.