Heat and Noise
A single fan is unusually situated under the left palm rest; it's highly likely ASUS had to shift things around in order to accommodate the necessary components into such a thin chassis. The fan is nearly silent while just surfing the Internet; during a more demanding task such as gaming it certainly gets noisier though not to the point where it is a distraction. The left side of the chassis heats up noticeably, likely due to the thinness of the chassis and also the fact the chassis is made of metal and therefore conducts heat more than plastic.
The U36S includes a large 8-cell battery with a powerful 83Wh rating. We measured an even 8 hours, 30 minutes of life during our standard battery rundown test (Windows 7 Balanced power profile, 70% screen brightness, wireless active and refreshing a web page every one minute). This is an excellent time for an ultraportable notebook and certainly one of the best in-class times, especially at this price point. ASUS is one of the few notebook manufacturers that include high-capacity batteries as standard equipment and the use of Nvidia Optimus technology (automatically switching to low-power integrated graphics when high performance isn't needed) likely helps with battery life as well.
Battery life test results (higher scores mean better battery life):
The ASUS U36S is an impressive notebook and easily a favorite sub-$1,000 ultraportable. It has a high-quality metal alloy chassis design and ultra-thin form factor. The keyboard has a good feel, the overall performance is great even for gaming, and again I can't stress just how thin and light this notebook is. Couple this with 8.5 hours of battery and it's hard to resist. A two-year warranty and USB 3.0 are icing on the cake.
The downsides of this notebook are relatively mild; I would prefer an anti-glare screen and quieter touchpad buttons along with better speakers. Additionally, the shiny touchpad button needs to go.
The ASUS U36S is highly recommendable to those searching for a well-rounded portable notebook with good quality and lots of battery life.
Software & Support
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