[sc:hardware-category ]I’ve been using my Acer Timeline 1810T notebook for almost 4 years now and it was finally time to upgrade as it no longer supported some of the functionality I needed.
Specifically, while it did have a processor that supported virtualization, the latest version of Visual Studio for Windows Phone no longer support the specific processor in the Timeline. That left a few questions about what I wanted to upgrade to. A few items were important to me:
- Full “desktop” class CPU
- High resolution display
- Small and light
The Timeline was an 11.6″ display and I like the format but the keyboard was a bit small and running Visual Studio on a small display was always challenging. I decided to take a look at the 13.3″ Ultrabooks that have become available in the last few months. It came down to two, an Acer S7 and the ASUS UX31A. At the top end of the range, both had an Intel I7 dual core CPU, full HD display and were thin and light.
In the end I decided to go with the ASUS as it was several hundred dollars less and had one feature I really liked, a non-glare screen. A pet peeve of mine is high gloss screens, they show up every little reflection and make it hard to work on.
My first impressions are very positive, it’s fast and I mean REALLY fast. Boot times are down to seconds and the I7 chews through pretty much everything I through at it. Run time looks to be in the 4+ hour range under heave load (both using the processor and WiFi at the same time).
The HD resolution makes it looks spectacular, but it is a little dense, I’ve set Windows to 125% of normal to start with, I may move it back down to 100% at some point but I’ll see how it goes for a while.
Here in Canada we sometimes get the “multi-lingual” version of notebooks, they have a different keyboard layout and I do hate them. I just can’t type quickly on them. Fortunately ASUS seems to have woken up to this fact and it looks like they’re shipping US keyboards on their Canadian product now. The only small issue I have with the keyboard is the placement of the power button. It’s at the top right, where the delete key is usually on a laptop, just to the left of it is where the delete key is. It looks like this was thought of though as the power button must be held for a second or so, making accidentally hitting it when trying to do a Ctrl-Alt-Delete not a big issue.
The unit itself is very well-built, is a nice dark metallic colour and it feels good. The front edge of the keyboard is a little too thin, if the keyboard is above your hands its not very comfortable, however that is a very rare case so I can forgive it.
The only thing really missing is the Ethernet port, it comes with a USB dongle but it’s only a 10/100 adapter so it’s a little slow. I’ll probably have to pick up a gigabit adapter at some point, but not a big deal either.
Overall, a very nice Ultrabook.