Asus U35Jc review
Buying a laptop always involves some kind of compromise between power, portability and, most importantly, price. Asus’ latest addition to its range aims to strike a balance across the three, combining a portable 13.3in chassis, Nvidia’s Optimus graphics-switching technology and one of Intel’s Core i3 processors.
The first trick up the Asus’ sleeve is its specification. Where many would have partnered a 13.3in laptop with one of Intel’s low-voltage processors, Asus has plumped for a full-fat Core i3-370M. It skips along at 2.4GHz, and with 4GB of memory and a 64-bit copy of Windows 7 Home Premium conducting proceedings, it’s enough to power through our benchmarks with a respectable overall score of 1.42.
Not content with that, Asus has allied Intel’s budget brawler with Nvidia’s Optimus graphics-switching technology. The Intel HD graphics embedded on the processor take the reins under most circumstances, keeping power consumption as low as possible. Fire up a CUDA-accelerated application or a game, however, and Nvidia’s GeForce 310M chipset silently enters the fray. It’s a neat arrangement, certainly, but we still crave a hardware switch to manually switch between the two – not least because sometimes, inexplicably, Optimus doesn’t recognise the game in question and entirely forgets to prod the Nvidia chipset into action.
Quibbles aside, however, Nvidia’s Optimus helps squeeze the most out of the large 5800mAh battery at the rear. Light usage saw the U35Jc last for an impressive 7hrs 55mins, while it managed to endure 2hrs 31mins of heavy use. Impressive by any standards.
Gaming performance isn’t as stellar as Alienware’s deceptively mighty M11x, but the GeForce 310M still has enough juice to run Crysis at modest detail levels. We clocked the U35Jc at an average of 43fps at Low detail settings, dwindling to an unplayable 13fps at Medium detail. Stick to modest settings and light gaming shouldn’t give it too many headaches.