- Excellent battery life (9.8 hours)
- Good build quality
- Good keyboard
- Clicky touchpad buttons
- So-so screen quality
The ASUS U45JC is a solid choice for consumers needing a 14-inch multimedia notebook with gobs of battery life.
ASUS claims its thin-and-light U45JC can get up to ten hours of battery life on a single charge. Does this 14″ multimedia notebook packed with and Intel Core i3 processor and Nvidia graphics stand up to its marketing claims? We find out in this review.
Our ASUS U45JC-A1 review unit has the following specifications:
- 14-inch 720p (1366×768) glossy panel with LED backlighting
- Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
- Intel Core i3-370M dual-core processor (2.40GHz, 3MB L3, 4.8GT/s QPI, 35W TDP)
- Intel HM55 chipset
- Switchable graphics via Nvidia Optimus technology:
- Nvidia GeForce 310M w/ 1GB DDR3 memory
- Integrated Intel HD graphics
- 4GB DDR3-1066 dual-channel RAM (2x 2GB)
- 500GB 5400RPM Seagate hard drive (ST9500325AS)
- Atheros AR9285 802.11n wireless LAN
- DVD burner (HL-DT-ST DVDRAM GU10N)
- 2-year global limited warranty w/ 1 year accidental damage coverage
- 8-cell battery (11.1V, 5600mAh)
- Weight: 4.6 lbs.
- Dimensions: 13.5 x 9.6 x 1.1 inches
- MSRP: $899
This is a general purpose and multimedia laptop with a focus on mobility; it is not designed for gaming (though its G310M graphics are capable of playing some games, as this review will show).
Build and Design
The U45JC has an understated yet classy look; the combination of bright silver and glossy black is aesthetically pleasing. I like how the black keyboard keys stand out against their silver surround. The U45JC is quite thin for a 14-inch laptop with such impressive specs at just 1.1″ tall. The chassis has an angular shape; the very edges of the notebook are angled downward and make the notebook look slimmer than it actually is.
With the exception of the aluminum lid backing, the U45JC is made of plastic. The top of the chassis is covered in an anti-scratch skin, which feels nice and does not show fingerprints or dust. Unfortunately the glossy plastic screen surround does; it is tough to keep clean, as is the display surface since that is also glossy.
The build quality is above average. The U45JC feels solid in the hand, mainly due to its thinness. The palm rest area shows minimal flex even when significant pressure is applied. The silver area below the display has some flex; there appears to be a small gap between the plastic and whatever is beneath it. The chassis bends slightly when twisted by its corners, which is expected; the U45JC fares better than most mainstream notebooks I have tested. Flex is a bad thing because it allows the circuit boards inside to bend, and circuit boards should not bend.
The aluminum-backed lid feels cool to the touch and gives the U45JC measurable style points. Despite its thinness, the lid is stronger than I expected. It resists twisting well; the aluminum backing helps a lot. I was not able to get ripples to appear on the screen by applying pressure on the lid, which is also good. The display hinges anchoring the lid to the chassis are strong; there is very little “display wobble” — the lid does not bounce back and forth when abruptly pushed or let go. The hinges extend out the back of the chassis instead of resting on top; this allowed the designers to accommodate the U45JC’s large 8-cell battery in between as opposed to having it extend out the back or bottom like some manufacturers.
Overall the build quality is above average; it is not quite business class but for a consumer notebook, it is difficult to fault. The only aspect I do not like is the partial use of glossy plastic around the screen.
Ports and Features
The input/output port selection is adequate at best; it includes the essentials including three USB 2.0 ports, HDMI and VGA, a card reader, and Ethernet. The U45JC also has a built-in DVD burner. This notebook lacks USB 3.0, ExpressCard (which is useful for adding things like USB 3.0 and mobile broadband cards), and e-SATA. All picture descriptions are left to right.