Home' LAPTOP Magazine : October 2010 Contents OPTIMUSNOTEBOOKS
works fine when
you're just click-
ing an item, but
keeping it held
down for scrolling
is a challenge.
display (1366 x
plenty bright, and
ing angles are
good enough for
Thanks to twin
Altec Lansing speakers, the U33Jc is one of the
better-sounding 13-inch notebooks we've tested.
The 2-megapixel webcam captured detailed images,
even in low light.
Packing a 2.4-GHz Intel Core i3-370M processor,
4GB of RAM, and Nvidia GeForce 310M graphics,
this machine has plenty of power, ringing in a strong
PCMark Vantage score. It even narrowly beat the
Toshiba Satellite M645, which has a Core i5 CPU
with the same clock speed.
The 5,400-rpm, 500GB hard drive took longer to
boot than we'd like. However, the notebook turned
in a relatively fast transfer rate, compared to the
thin-and-light category average. Transcoding video
went faster than normal, though the Satellite M645
took just 1 second longer.
Featuring GeForce 310M GPU graphics with 1GB
of video memory, plus Nvidia's Optimus technol-
ogy, we expected better performance from the
U33Jc. In 3DMark06, the U33Jc scored 3,398,
compared to 3,711 for the older U30Jc-1A. World
of Warcraft frame rates were good, but far short
of the U30Jc.
When we fired up the more demanding Far
Cry 2, the U33Jc mustered just 22 frames per
second at 1024 x 768. We also tried Batman:
Arkham Asylum, but until we dialed down
the resolution, the game played like a
slideshow. The problem seems to be that the
GPU is configured for 790-MHz memory, but
ASUS paired it with slower 667-MHz memory.
For those who want to stream videos and photos
to a nearby TV or external monitor wirelessly, the
U33Jc comes equipped with Intel's Wireless Display
technology. However, to take full advantage of
Not since the introduction of the unibody MacBook
Pro have we been this excited about a notebook's
design. The lid and palm rest on the ASUS U33Jc
are made with bamboo (yes, the wood), which
not only gives this 13-inch notebook an elegant
aesthetic, but makes it more eco-friendly than your
typical plastic box. And the U33Jc is much more
than a pretty face. This $999 machine($949 street)
combines a Core i3 processor with Nvidia Optimus
graphics to give users a good one-two punch of
performance and long battery life.
Upon first glance at the U33Jc, you can't help
but love the fine grain of the smoky brown bamboo,
complemented by brushed aluminum around the
keyboard. Even the touchpad and single mouse
button get the bamboo treatment. Why bamboo?
Not only is it one of the most durable plants on
earth, it's also among the most plentiful. ASUS
notes that by using bamboo it reduced the number
of plastic components by 15 percent.
Of course, ASUS had to treat this wood to prevent
wear and tear, a process it has been honing for the
past three years. The result is a one-of-a-kind design
that oozes eco-chic and also resists fingerprints.
Measuring 12.9 x 9.3 x 1 inches, the U33Jc has a
pretty compact footprint and svelte profile given
the specs. With the exception of one trouble spot,
the U33Jc kept its cool during our testing.
The spacious chiclet-style keyboard exhibited
little flex but has no backlighting. However, some
keys (such as the right Shift key) are undersized.
Measuring 3 x 1.7 inches, the bamboo touchpad is
remarkably smooth but doesn't sup-
port multitouch gestures.
The narrow mouse
Wi-Di, you'll need to spring for a receiver box like
Netgear's Push2TV ($99), which plugs in to your
TV screen via HDMI.
The eight-cell battery lasted 2 hours longer
than average in the LAPTOP Battery Test, but this
notebook doesn't have the best wireless range.
ASUS bundles a wide assortment of software with
the U33Jc, including several of its own programs.
By pressing the button above the left side of the
keyboard, you can toggle through various power
settings using ASUS's Power4Gear software. This
same button fires up Express Gate (instant-on
software) when the notebook is powered off. Other
notable utilities include Fast Boot, which delays
certain programs and services upon startup to
speed up your boot time, and SmartLogon facial
The ASUS U33Jc is easily one of the best-looking
notebooks of the year, and the company packs the
lush bamboo design with strong overall performance
and long battery life. The only thing keeping the
laptop from earning an Editors' Choice award
is that its graphics card can't handle the latest
3D games as well as its predecessor (and some
similarly priced machines). Overall, though, the
U33Jc is an excellent all-purpose notebook.
Gorgeous bamboo and brushed aluminum
Strong overall performance
Good sound quality
Long battery life
Equipped with Intel Wireless Display
Weaker graphics performance than predecessor
Left underside runs hot
Keyboard a bit mushy, not backlit
LAPTOP | October 2010
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ASUS IN ACTION
Watch as we test out this new Optimus-
See p. 6 for more info on how to use this code with your cell phone.
It took ASUS three years to
get the treatment right for
this stylish bamboo chassis.
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