Screen and Speakers
The U31SD features a 13.3-inch glossy display with a 720p (1366x768) resolution; this is the only screen available. The glossy display surface may look attractive on a display shelf, but in reality it creates a lot of reflections and glare plus is a chore to keep clean. Screens with anti-glare coatings are more practical for general usage.
The brightness, contrast, and color accuracy are unremarkable. Horizontal viewing angles are satisfactory, though vertical viewing angles as expected are poor; colors quickly distort after about 15 degrees off center in either direction. The 1366x768 resolution is too low; due to a lack of vertical resolution (pixels), not enough content can be displayed on the screen at once, meaning lots of scrolling is required and using two windows side-by-side is nearly impractical.
The U31JG has two speakers located below the palm rest. Despite the Altec Lansing badge, the speakers are unimaginative and provide poor quality sound. Locating speakers under the palm rest is not the best idea, considering wrists placed on the palm rest muffle the sound.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The U31JG uses an island- or Chiclet-style keyboard with square, flat-topped keys. The keys have a granular surface, which helps grip. The keyboard seems to have been an afterthought; for starters, it caves in easily when moderate pressure is applied, especially towards the center. Because the keys have a very short distance between their pressed and un-pressed positions, they do not create enough feedback. On top of that, the keyboard has a very plasticky feel, which does not instill confidence in the notebook's quality. Furthermore, the keyboard has some rattling issues, depending on how hard keys are pressed.
The touchpad fares better than the keyboard. The touchpad surface itself has a pleasant matte/non-slip coating, which is easy to track on. The touchpad buttons, on the other hand, could use improvement. Pressing either side of the single-piece button makes a rather intrusive "click" - ideally, touchpad buttons should be silent.
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