ASUS U31JG-A1 Review

by Charles P. Jefferies Reads (57,818)
Editor's Rating
7.00

TG Ratings Breakdown

    • Software & Support
    • 8
    • Upgrade Capabilities
    • 8
    • Usability
    • 7
    • Design
    • 6
    • Performance
    • 7
    • Features
    • 7
    • Price/Value Rating
    • 6
    • Total Score:
    • 7.00
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

Overview

  • Pros

    • Thin and light
    • 7+ hours of battery life
    • Good performance
  • Cons

    • Too much keyboard flex
    • Poor speakers
    • MSRP too high

Quick Take

The ASUS U31JG thin and light combines good performance and battery life at a price that's just a bit too high.


The ASUS U31JG packs an Intel Core i3 processor, Nvidia graphics with Optimus technology and almost eight hours of battery life into a thin and light 13.3-inch chassis weighing less than four pounds. What’s not to like? Read our review.

Our ASUS U31JG-A1 review unit has the following specifications:

  • 13.3-inch 720p (1366×768) glossy display with LED backlighting
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
  • Intel Core i3-380M dual-core processor (2.53GHz, 3MB L2, 4.8GT/s QPI, 35W TDP)
  • Intel HM55 chipset
  • Switchable graphics via Nvidia Optimus technology:
  • Nvidia GeForce GT 415M 1GB
  • Integrated Intel HD graphics
  • 4GB DDR3-1066 dual-channel RAM (2x 2GB)
  • 500GB 5400RPM Seagate hard drive (ST9500325AS)
  • Realtek RTL8191SE 802.11n wireless LAN
  • No internal optical drive
  • 2-year global limited warranty w/ 1 year accidental damage coverage
  • 8-cell battery (14.4V, 5800mAh, 83Wh)
  • Weight: 3.74 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 13.1 x 9.3 x 1.14 inches
  • MSRP: $849

Unlike its 14-inch brother, the U41JF, the U31JG lacks an internal optical drive. Otherwise the specifications are decent for its size and weight. The Intel Core i3 processor/4GB RAM/500GB hard drive are more than ample for everyday tasks, though it won’t win any performance contests. The MSRP is on the high side; as configured it would present a better value priced $100-150 less.


Build and Design
The U31JG has a moderately attractive two-tone exterior. The silver trim wrapping around the chassis is a nice touch. ASUS made the unfortunate decision to use glossy plastic for the keyboard and screen surrounds; it looks good only in pictures. In real life, it smudges up too fast and is a chore to keep clean.

The U31JG’s chassis is made of plastic. Overall build quality is about average for a consumer notebook; the chassis exhibits moderate flex when twisted by the corners. The palm rest and keyboard surround area tend to cave inwards when pressed down upon, though not alarmingly so. The palm rest is not actually made of aluminum; alas it is only lookalike plastic.

The brushed aluminum lid has a quality look and feel. It is relatively easy to twist by its corners but has better than average protection thanks to the metal. Some minor ripples still showed up in the screen though depending on where I pressed. Design-wise, I liked the small lip in the center of the display which aids opening. The display hinges are too stiff to allow the lid to be opened without holding down the chassis.

One positive aspect of the U31JG’s design is the relative lack of LED lights; using this machine in the dark is not distracting. Although that’s a nice feature, I wish ASUS had included dedicated volume control buttons.

Upgrading the U31JG’s parts is a simple process. The large access panel on the bottom of the chassis is held on by just one screw; inside are two RAM slots (both occupied), the hard drive, and the wireless card. On the whole the U31JG has satisfactory build quality but doesn’t earn more than a passing grade in any particular area.


Ports and Features

The port selection on the U31JG is quite basic, the only notable inclusion being HDMI for connection to HDTVs and projectors. It lacks ExpressCard, USB 3.0, DisplayPort, and eSATA. All picture descriptions are left to right.


Front: Speakers


Back: Battery pack


Left: Kensington lock slot, AC power, cooling exhaust vent, USB 2.0, microphone and headphone jacks


Right: 2x USB 2.0, HDMI, 4-in-1 card reader, Ethernet, VGA


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