ASUS UL80Vt-A1 Review

Discussion in 'Notebook News and Reviews' started by Charles P. Jefferies, Nov 1, 2009.

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  1. Redline

    Redline Notebook Prophet NBR Reviewer

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    Compared to most other notebooks under 5lbs and capable of 10 hours of battery life, I'm actually pretty sure that the UL80Vt offers scintillating gaming performance.

    I don't know, I'm seeing a lot of overwhelmingly positive reviews elsewhere on the UL80...You might want to try another unit just to see. AnandTech said that it literally redefines the playing field for portable notebooks, PCMag gave it an EC award - that's not idle chatter, those are some pretty legit sites giving it some impressive awards. Just going to put this one out there: either you got a bad unit from a large production run, or Anand's a complete idiot and PC Mag has no idea what it's talking about. Take your pick as to which the more likely scenario is.

    I'm not saying anything wrong about your review, it's entirely possible that you got a bad unit and are reporting your findings based on that. However, I feel that it might be irresponsible to not follow up with Asus about your concerns about build quality when other reputable sources can write glowing praise about what should be the same notebook.
     
  2. Lee Howley

    Lee Howley Notebook Consultant

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    Having had some hands on with this unit myself I can say the build quality did seem a bit sketchy, which is sad. The 12 hour battery life and sleek design would have sugested it be better. I am not saying it isnt durable, it might be. Although it just doesnt feel like it would be which kind of works against the portabillity aspect.
    It is however hard to argue with the price/performance ratio of this laptop. If things like flimsy keyboards don't bother you, then this is probably the perfect laptop. To each his own.
     
  3. Greg

    Greg Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    I had been looking at a similarly built ASUS U50AG from Best Buy a while back, when I was hunting for a notebook. The touchpad was absolutely horrid, though it was not the same design as the UL notebooks for sure. The keyboard was not that great either, and the chassis did feel a little cheap. Next time I'm in Best Buy I'll see if there is any flex in the display model. For the $650 it would have cost, I get the feeling you could do better with other notebooks.

    After reading this review though, I'm certainly glad I got my E4300 and decided to stick with it. Cost about $850 from Dell Outlet, which isn't that much more than this notebook.
     
  4. eugenes

    eugenes Notebook Evangelist

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    As a UL80VT owner, I agree with Charles on the gaming aspect of this notebook. I bought the UL80 as a replacement for my EEE 1000HE and for that purpose, it far exceeded my expectation, but if you're expecting to run current games with any sort of eye candy or framerate, you're in for a disappointment.

    For example, Resident Evil 5 will average 35 fps, but you need to run at 800x600 with all settings at their lowest. Can I play the game? Yes. Would I want to play the game with those settings? No.

    I've also tried Dawn of War 2 and it runs, but also not very well. Mini Ninjas will also run, but freezes early either due to not enough hardware or a compatibility issue with Windows 7.

    Basically, only 2D games (Audiosurf/Tales of Monkey Island/Puzzle Quest Galactrix/Galactic Civilization 2) and possibly some older 3D games will run well. I'll play some Overlord 2, Sins of a Solar Empire and Demigod this week to see how those run.

    I've used several Asus notebooks in the last few years (U3S, G2S, U6ep, EEE 1000HE) and would only rate UL80 better in build quality when compared to the EEE. In terms of usability, I'd rate it first.

    I'm starting to get used to typing on this keyboard, but it's still mush when I compare it to my Thinkpad T61. To some extend even the EEE keyboard feels better. I have a pretty light touch when typing, so the flex issue doesn't bother me much and the loose area near the left ctrl key seems to have settled in for now.
     
  5. nicksti

    nicksti Notebook Evangelist

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    The obvious problem is the word "well". Since it is a subjective word it may be interpreted differently depending on who reads it.

    I do think most people who know what Crysis even is has an understanding of game settings, so by mentioning Crysis as your benchmark for gaming prowess, you are not speaking to the layman.

    It would obviously be more accurate if in the review it was stated that Crysis was playable at X setting (low) but not at Y (medium, high).

    I do not know what to tell you with the build quality discrepancies. I tend to follow what the everyday user says and in the Owner's Lounge and there are one or two people that echo the keyboard experience while some others did not.

    I am considering the Sony Vaio CW right now and this review put the UL80 in a slightly different light.
     
  6. Serg

    Serg Nowhere - Everywhere

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    Charles did say:

    Crysis gaming benchmark (1024x768 resolution and high settings):
    [​IMG][/I][/p]



    I think that was specified at the beginning.

     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2015
  7. rosenmi2

    rosenmi2 Newbie

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    I couldn't disagree more with the people who are criticizing the UL80VT. I've owned 2 gaming laptops in the past both had 8600 GT M graphics cards, one with the DDR 2 and another with the faster DDR 3 RAM and this laptop blows both of them out of the water. I can run Dead Space at Medium settings and easily get 30 to 60 FPS. I can run RE 5 at Medium settings and easily get 30 FPS even in the more zombie filled areas.

    In response to the review this laptop is way more capable than a casual game laptop. If I wanted to get a casual game laptop I would buy an acer aspire one and play all the casual games I want: Plants vs Zombies, Peggle, Bejeweled, you know CASUAL GAMES. Crysis is a terrible example to do benchmarks on this laptop as it barely ran well on my 8600 GT M and those computers were both core 2 duos 1.8 GHZ with plenty of ram, ect. Everything I throw at this computer it runs amazingly. To say that only games from 2005 or previous will run well is simply false. To limit this laptop to 2007 games is false as well. Make sure you change your nvidia settings to high performance in the nvidia control panel, that might be your problem. Also make sure you aren't running other programs while you run games, this makes a big difference as itunes and torrent downloaders are resource hogs. I don't have need for speed or I would test it on my computer but I can say that despite anything regarding system spec requirements this machine should probably be more closely compared with Class 2 graphics cards. I couldn't run dead space on more than a mix of low and medium settings on my old 8600 GT M DDR 3, now I can play the game with better frame rates than before at all Medium settings. I think everyone who likes this laptop is busy enjoying the latest games and maybe everyone who got a dud is complaining about it here. About the settings thing, all of my "Casual gamer" friends (Plays games like viva pinyata and the sims and such) understand that if the game is stuttering they need to lower the settings. I don't know anyone who wouldn't lower the settings in such a cercumstance.
     
  8. GizmoSlip

    GizmoSlip Notebook Deity

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    For the record, I got my UL80VT in the mail a couple hours ago. I like it very much and it does not seem to exhibit the issues described in the review (or at least not near as bad...).

    I like the trackpad very much. The build quality seems very adequate. Charles, mentioned that if he pressed in the middle of the keyboard that the entire chassis sagged so that it touched the surface the computer was resting on. I can assure you that my UL80VT does not exhibit that sort of flex whatsoever. I laid into the middle of my keyboard and the chassis underneath did not bend at all, and certainly came no where close to touching the bottom. I feel pretty confident that Charles got a bad unit that exhibited unusual flex.

    As far as the noisy keyboard, in my opinion, most keyboards are noisy, and the UL80VT is like most, and certainly better than some. I just got the dm3, and its keyboard is far more noisy than the Asus.

    The keyboard does flex if you lay into it and apply tons of pressure, but under normal typing pressure I cannot detect any flex that would cause me any discomfort while typing. I am typing quite comfortably on it now, and I do say that it is quite a bit better typing experience than on my Dell Studio 14z.

    As far as the bezel near the Asus logo being pulled away, I tested this and it is true. My does pull away about 1/4", but I don't see how that should affect anyone's view of the laptop. It's not like you are going to be pulling it away under normal usage. I also tried this on my Dell Studio 14z, and the 14z's bezel definitely pulled away further and easier than the UL80VT.

    Also, I benchmarked the UL80VT in CS:S it got 149 FPS at native resolution in the video stress test. (With 4x AA on, it got 99 FPS. ANd with 16xQ CSAA it got 35 FPS.) I am currently downloading Call of Duty: World at War and will see what resolution is playable, etc.

    I will be returning the dm3z and selling the Dell Studio 14z, but I will be keeping the Asus UL80VT because it has outstanding 3d performance for an ultraportable, an excellent trackpad, a good keyboard, and outstanding battery life--at least those are my initial impressions. :)
     
  9. nicksti

    nicksti Notebook Evangelist

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    Well if there is one thing this whole exercise has shown us is the build quality in the eyes of the owner is inconsistent.
     
  10. GizmoSlip

    GizmoSlip Notebook Deity

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    That could be true, or Charles could have just gotten a extra bad unit. :)

    Don't get me wrong; this laptop should not be bought if you are looking for Macbook Pro unibody like build quality. I would just say that (as far as I can tell so far) the UL80VT just has average build quality + excellent performance.

    EDIT: I just got done trying out Call of Duty: World at War. It played the game pretty smoothly at 1366x768. I was typically getting about 25-35 FPS. I dropped the resolution down to 1280x720, which is still very clear on this size of monitor, and my FPS went up to 35-45, which played perfectly smooth. The recommended specs for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 are identical to the specs for COD: WOW, so you should expect near identical performance from the UL80VT in that upcoming game. The gaming experience on this machine (at least in COD:WOW and CS:S is outstanding for an ultraportable). Definitely a win in my book as far as gaming goes...

    My settings were: 1366x768, Normal Texture resolution, the other options were off. You could probably squeeze by turning some of the extra options back on at 1280x720, but things got a little to choppy for my blood having all the settings turned up on 1366x768.

    I am downloading Batman:AA as we speak.
     
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