12/10/2009 12:20:00 AM | Posted in

It's relieving to say, therefore, that the 13-inch Asus UL30A-A1 is a thin-and-light that we'd gladly carry around in our bag for a good long time to come. With a sturdy frame, a decently performing new Core 2 Duo CULV processor as opposed to the disappointing single-core Core 2 Solo CULVs we've seen, and really good battery life, it's close to a complete package for a sub-$1000 laptop that doesn't resort to an Atom processor.

With a solid-feeling chassis, the Asus UL30A-A1 has a plastic feel, but unlike some low-cost laptops, you shouldn't be worried about it breaking if you don't hold it right. The bottom's generic black matte plastic is topped with a glossy silvery plastic on the interior, surrounding a very MacBook-esque chiclet-style raised keyboard. Glossy black plastic surrounds the upper lid's inset glossy screen, while the back is covered in what feels like a thin overlay of aluminum. Even though the UL30A-A1 does look (from a distance) somewhat MacBook-esque, the overall construction is far more budget-minded. To this thin-and-light's credit, the battery is well integrated into the space behind the keyboard and between the two display hinges.

Product summary

The good: Strong battery life; reasonable price; slim design.

The bad: Some keyboard flex; touchy touch pad; feels a bit cheap.

The bottom line: If you're in the market for an affordable thin-and-light, the Asus UL30A-A1 provides great value and a solid Core 2 Duo CULV processor in an attractive package.

Asus UL30A-A1 Technical Specifications


* Width 12.9 in
* Depth 9.3 in
* Height 0.9 in
* Weight 3.7 lbs
* Notebook type Ultraportable (Under 4 lbs.)


* Processor Intel Core 2 Duo SU7300 / 1300 MHz
* Data bus speed 800 MHz
* Chipset type Intel 45GS Express

Cache Memory

* Type L2 cache
* Cache size 2 MB


* Installed Size 4 GB / 4 GB (max)
* Technology DDR3 SDRAM

Storage Controller

* Storage controller type Serial ATA


* Floppy Drive None
* Hard Drive 500 GB - 5400 rpm
* Storage Removable None
* Hard drive type Standard


* Display Type 13.3 in TFT
* Max Resolution 1366 x 768
* Features Glare display


* Graphics Processor / Vendor Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X4500MHD


* Audio output type Sound card
* Audio Input Microphone

Input Device(s)

* Input device type Keyboard , Touchpad


* Data link protocol Ethernet , Fast Ethernet

Expansion / Connectivity

* Expansion Slots Total (Free) Memory , Memory card reader
* Interfaces 3 x USB 2.0 - USB 2.0 , 1 x Ethernet - RJ-45 , 1 x Display / video - VGA , 1 x Microphone , 1 x Headphones , 1 x HDMI


* Features 802.11b/g/n Wireless LAN , Camera


* Power provided 40 Watt


* Installed Qty 1

Operating System / Software

* OS Provided Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium
* Software Drivers & Utilities , ASUS SmartLogon , ASUS Net4Switch , ASUS Live Update , ASUS MultiFrame , ASUS NB Probe + , ASUS Wireless Console , ASUS Splendid , ASUS Express Gate , ASUS Screen Saver , ASUS Data Security Manager , Virtual Camera

12/05/2009 03:45:00 AM | Posted in

The "v" in the Dell Mini 10v's name is seemingly there to indicate value for thrifty Netbook shoppers. The system is in many ways hard to distinguish from its more expensive cousin and is one of the better under-$299 Netbook packages we've seen.

Like most of the Netbooks we've reviewed, the Dell Mini 10v uses the 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270 processor (although one interesting exception is the non-v version of the Mini 10, which uses the Atom's Z530 alternative). Its performance was exactly in line with typical Netbooks, and it works well for basic Netbook tasks, including Web surfing, basic media viewing, and working on office docs, which is what these low-cost, low-power systems are primarily intended for.

Dell Inspiron Mini 10v Technical Specifications

* Processor Intel Atom N270 / 1.6 GHz
* Memory 1GB
* Harddrive 160GB
* OS Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition SP3

Product Summary

The good: Same basic chassis as Dell's more expensive Netbooks; very low entry price.

The bad: Limited configuration options; inset screen is not as nice as the Mini 10's edge-to-edge glass.

The bottom line: Dell's Mini 10v keeps a lot of the features of the more expensive Mini 10, while dropping the price below $300. It's one of only a handful of $299 Netbooks that doesn't look and feel especially cheap.