ASUS U36S Review: Better Than A MacBook Pro?

by Reads (141,686)
Editor's Rating

Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

    • Software & Support
    • 8
    • Upgrade Capabilities
    • 6
    • Usability
    • 8
    • Design
    • 8
    • Performance
    • 6
    • Features
    • 6
    • Price/Value Rating
    • 8
    • Total Score:
    • 7.14
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

Overview

  • Pros

    • Ultra-thin metal alloy chassis
    • Good keyboard and touchpad
    • 8.5 hours of battery life
    • Two-year warranty standard
  • Cons

    • Glossy display creates reflections
    • Touchpad buttons could be quieter
    • Poor speakers

Quick Take

The ASUS U36S is highly recommendable to those searching for a well-rounded portable notebook with good quality and lots of battery life.


The ASUS U36S is a 13.3-inch ultraportable featuring a magnesium-aluminum chassis that weighs just 3.1 lbs. At just 0.75″ thin and with over 8 hours of battery life, could this laptop be one of this year’s best buys? Here’s a tip: Keep reading if you are thinking about buying a MacBook Pro for Christmas.

Build and Design
The ASUS U36S ($899.99) has a rather unsuspecting gray and black exterior. The surfaces of the notebook are made of a magnesium-aluminum alloy which is strong and extraordinarily light. The whole notebook including its large 8-cell battery weighs just 3.11 lbs. Additionally the notebook is exceptionally thin measuring just three quarters of an inch with the lid closed.

The build quality is excellent; the chassis is nearly inflexible and the lid has strong protection from the metal alloy backing. I like how the top of the chassis is molded from a single piece of metal alloy including the keyboard surround. Finally, the anti-glare properties of the metal alloy do not show fingerprints or dust and should resist scratches fairly well. The only area of the build quality that could use improvement is the screen bezel; the glossy plastic is difficult to keep clean as is the glossy screen surface.

Unlike many other metal-clad laptops (the ones with fruit logos on the lids), upgrading the RAM inside the U36S is easily accomplished by removing the user-serviceable panel on the bottom of the chassis. Getting to the hard drive is another matter; the whole chassis needs to be taken apart. This is a shame; I imagine a good number of customers will want to upgrade to an SSD or at least a faster hard drive.

 

Ports and Features
The ASUS U36S has a standard array of ports for a 13.3-inch notebook including a single USB 3.0 port. It does not have an internal optical drive, an ExpressCard slot, DisplayPort, or eSATA. All picture descriptions are listed from left to right.


Front: Air vents, speakers

Back: Battery pack

Left: Kensington lock slot, AC power, VGA, 2x USB 2.0, cooling exhaust vent

Right: Headphone and microphone jacks, 1x USB 3.0, HDMI out, Ethernet


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