Notebookcheck

Review Asus U36SD-RX114V (SSD) Subnotebook

Sebastian Jentsch (translated by Liala Stieglitz), 10/22/2011

Slim and sexy. Though it's not the manufacturer's ultrabook, it convinces with its slim silhouette, its velvety yet hard aluminum case, its battery life and, above all, its swiftness via SSD.

13.3 inch Asus U36SD with an Intel SSD 320 Series 160GB
13.3 inch Asus U36SD with an Intel SSD 320 Series 160GB

At the beginning of 2011, the Asus U36JC-RX081V (silver) went through our tests and finished with a "GOOD" of 86%. Now its successor stands in our editorial office, namely the US36SD-RX114V in black. The 13.3 inch device doesn't eliminate all of its predecessor's shortcomings, but it once again shows us the prior strengths and, owing to Intel's SSD Series 320 (160 GB), the performance has increased considerably.

The 2010 Intel Core configuration (i5-480) has been exchanged for an i5-2410M from the succeeding Sandy Bridge generation. In the course of technical progression, the less attractive Geforce 310M has been jettisoned and replaced by a DirectX 11 entry level GPU, the GeForce GT 520M. Combined with four gigabyte of working memory, we face a strong, 1.67 kilogram heavy subnotebook for 1100€.

Is the U36SD-RX114V better than the previous U36JC-RX081V and can it achieve a "Very Good" this time around? We have to answer this with a "no" when looking at the test certificate. Find out in the following review why the rating is equivalent to its predecessor's despite higher performance.

Case

The Asus U36SD only weighs 1.67 kilograms and is very rigid despite the slim base unit.
The Asus U36SD only weighs 1.67 kilograms and is very rigid despite the slim base unit.

Users who scour the laptop jungle for a robust, matt, work-suitable yet elegant case sometimes find themselves venturing on a difficult task. Lid, case, TFT bezel or key gaps are either coated in high-gloss or the laptop is such an unattractive chunk of plastic that the style conscious user prefers hiding the laptop in the bag when friends approach.

Embarrassments or compulsions of this kind need not be suffered with the U36SD. Although "only" Asus and not Apple is printed on the 13.3 inch device's box, envious glances are certain. The angular, strict design in matt black can be held without slipping out of the hands. Neither the lid nor the bottom warps during handling. Particularly the thin lid has a remarkable torsional stiffness.

Asus achieves this by using an aluminum magnesium alloy for the lid's back and case's top. This combination is light on the one hand, and rigid on the other. The surfaces have been given a velvety black finish that Asus calls nano-coating. No matter where we pull or press the case, the U36SD remains unaffected from normal forces.

The lid is kept closed rather tightly. It has a clear stop at a wide 145 degrees and the TFT doesn't tend to teeter much. The key surface doesn't yield even the slightest bit while typing on it and the same is true for the wrist rest. Asus has done a good job with the rigidity although the battery is removable. However, it juts out and lifts the device a bit from the table and can be pushed out of the back after unfastening two release latches.

The SSD is built in as a standard 2.5 inch sized SATA drive. However, it remains hidden because replacing it is only possible by removing the entire base plate. Merely two RAM slots (1x4096 installed, upgrade option) are found under a cover.

Connectivity

Connectivity is not the U36SD's strength. Insofar, nothing's changed in comparison to the prior U36JC. Nevertheless, we can say that the ports, including HDMI, VGA, Ethernet and (1) USB 3.0 are apt for a subnotebook. The USB 3.0 port can charge 5 volt devices, such as smartphones and some tablet PCs, when the subnotebook is turned off (sleep & charge). The only difference to the predecessor is found in Bluetooth. Version 3.0 is now installed.

Front: No interfaces (speakers)
Front: No interfaces (speakers)
Left: Kensington, AC, VGA, 2 USB 2.0
Left: Kensington, AC, VGA, 2 USB 2.0
Rear: No interfaces
Rear: No interfaces
Right: Line out, microphone, USB 3.0, HDMI, RJ45 Ethernet
Right: Line out, microphone, USB 3.0, HDMI, RJ45 Ethernet

Communication

WLAN standard draft-n (Atheros AR9002WB-1NG) is just as much standard as the built-in Bluetooth module (3.0+HS) and the Gigabit Ethernet (Atheros AR8151). Thus, users are up to date. Regrettably, an integrated 3G modem for mobile Internet access isn't installed – that would have been a highlight. Unfortunately, Asus doesn't have a model configured with HSDPA/LTE modem in its range.

Supplies

There are no recovery DVDs for Windows 7 Home Premium (64bit) included in the box. The user has to create his data carriers with AI Recovery Burner. LifeFrame, the Asus tool for taking pictures or videos with the webcam, can only make pictures in 640x480 pixels. The results are feasible in daylight, but image noise and blurring are an issue in poor light conditions.

The scope of tools is abundant: Power2Go (burner) is the only commercial software (full version). Besides that, there is a range of Asus tools: Sonic Focus (sound enhancement), AI Recovery Burner, Secure Delete (irrevocable delete), USB Charger (on/off charge function, charge state), Fast Boot (applications in system start), Live Update (driver update), Scene Switch (desktop motives) or Power4Gear Hybrid (energy profile).

Warranty

The U36SD comes with a 24 month warranty including pick-up & return service. The warranty extension of up to three years costs about 80€. It has to be activated within 90 days after purchase.

Input Devices

Keyboard

The stand-alone keys provide a good feedback. They have a large gap to their neighbor and the pressure point as well as key drop is very clear, respectively distinctive. The keystroke is firm but not hard. The keyboard's surface doesn't yield. Professional laptop typists will criticize the orientation on the keys. The fingers lack a bit of guidance due to the absence of a conic curvature (inner curve). The arrow keys aren't separated from the other keys, but at least they have a size (15x15mm) that should prevent wrong entries to the largest part.

Touchpad

The Synaptics touchpad works accurately and allows the finger to glide over the surface, with a diagonal of 9.4 mm, with clear but not too high friction. The pad can be disabled via the FN key. The multi-touch characteristics detect the use of two fingers. This allows finger gestures (zoom, scroll, browse). The traditional, single-finger scroll bars exist (can be disabled), but aren't visibly marked. The silver keys (right + left) unfortunately have a very short key drop and emits a loud and muffled click noise with its clear pressure point.

Keyboard: Crisp pressure point, firm stroke
Keyboard: Crisp pressure point, firm stroke
Touchpad: Too short key drop and loud
Touchpad: Too short key drop and loud

Display

The glossy surface of the 13.3 inch screen (16:9) doesn't please the testers and the one or other potential buyer will likely also find it disagreeable. Asus replicates the contrast and dull glare-type display of the preceding U36JC. Although the screen models are different, the brightness and contrast measurements are absolutely identical (here: CPT CLAA133WB01A, U36JC: COR17D8).

If it's to be a glare-type, then at least with a broad color spectrum. But, Asus doesn't treat us to this. sRGB and Adobe RGB are clearly failed. The high black value of 1.44 also contributes to the pale colors and black with a gray cast. Devices like the Vaio EB3Z1E/B with a FHD screen (15.6 inch), which was available for 800€, proves that this isn't inevitable.

ICC Asus U36SD vs. AdobeRGB(t)
ICC Asus U36SD vs. AdobeRGB(t)
ICC Asus U36SD vs. sRGB(t)
ICC Asus U36SD vs. sRGB(t)
ICC Asus U36SD vs. Vaio EB3Z1E FHD(t)
ICC Asus U36SD vs. Vaio EB3Z1E FHD(t)
187
cd/m²
197
cd/m²
211
cd/m²
196
cd/m²
224
cd/m²
212
cd/m²
199
cd/m²
233
cd/m²
209
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
Gossen Mavo-Monitor
Maximum: 233 cd/m²
Average: 207.6 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 80 %
Center on Battery: 224 cd/m²
Black: 1.5 cd/m²
Contrast: 149:1

A subnotebook that looks this good and has a battery life of over seven hours must of course be shown in the train, the library or the café. The user is faced with the reflective TFT surface and the low brightness of averagely 207 cd/m2, which fails in sunlight. In order to read the glare display adequately in the sun, the brightness should have a rate of at least 300 cd/m2.

Alike the brightness, the viewing angles don't meet the expectations. However, there are only a handful of premium subnotebooks with good because wide viewing angles. The picture already penalizes the slightest vertical deviation of angle (from 10 degrees) with fading colors up to ghosting. Script stays legible into wider angles. Viewing angles of up to 45 degrees are possible horizontally (lateral view). Massive inverting is seen beyond that.

Viewing angles: Asus U36SD-RX114V
Viewing angles: Asus U36SD-RX114V

Performance

The 2011 Intel Core i5-2410M (2x2.3 GHz) has a Turbo clock of up to 2.9 GHz. Consequently, the Sandy Bridge CPU resembles the i5-480M (Turbo: 2.93 GHz) in the U36JC (predecessor). Due to the slim case with low cooling performance, it is doubtful if the Intel cores can be overclocked beyond the specified maximum clock (short-term) via the "Dynamic Range @ Turbo Frequency Limits", or if they would even throttle the clock below the default rate (2.3 GHz) due to high temperatures.

The Nvidia Geforce GT 520M (1024 MB) can be disabled by Nvidia's Optimus in favor of a solely active HD Graphics 3000 (processor graphics). The RAM configuration is 4 GB, whereby the inserted 4096 MB module allows an easy upgrade to six or eight gigabytes.

System info CPUZ CPU
System info CPUZ Cache
System info CPUZ Mainboard
System info CPUZ RAM
System info GPUZ Geforce GT 520M
System info GPUZ Intel HD 3000
DPC Latency Checker: Idle, sporadically evident latencies
DPC Latency Checker: WLAN Off/On, no latencies
 
System information: Asus U36SD-RX114V

What is the 2410M (2.3 GHz) capable of in comparison to the U36JC's configuration with a 2010 i5-480M (2.66 GHz)? The newer generation's clock is even a bit lower, but the Turbo clock is equal (2.9 GHz).

The 2410M achieves 4635 points in single core processing (Cinebench R10 single 64 bit). The higher clocked 480M's score of 3927 points is clearly defeated. The somewhat stronger, but very rare i5-2430M (2.4-2.3 GHz) only delivers a slight bit more speed with 4670 points. The virtually inexistent advantage could also be a reason why the 2430M actually isn't used. Unlike the i5-2520M that supplies 5015 points after all (Vostro 3550).

Multi threading with a high clock, measured here with Cinebench R10 Multi 64 bit, ensures a fast execution of simultaneous tasks. The 2410M reaches 9508 points in this test. The 480M from 2010 is clearly beaten: ~8557 points (average of all test devices). The high-end dual core 2520M (2.5 - 3.2 GHz) manages ~10546 points in this test.

Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
3714
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
7967
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
5112
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit
4635 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit
9508 Points
Cinebench R10 Shading 64Bit
5340 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
15.49 fps
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
2.25 Points
Help
PCMark 7 scores
PCMark 7 scores

All in all, the smallest i5 from the current Intel range manages very well. Above all, because the test results also don't show any losses in performance due to throttling. Just this was one fear in view of the thin case which only bids heatpipes and fans little room for waste heat. The CPU tests however supplied average to over-average rates in all areas for this CPU model. In comparison: The Aspire 4830TG with a 2410M, afflicted with CPU throttling, just managed 3609, respectively 7932 points in the above tests (Cinebench R10 single/multi core).

Secondly, the SSD comes into play and thrusts the U36SD to very good rates in terms of system performance. The older PCMark Vantage finishes with 9431 points. Notebooks only achieve about 5300 points with a built-in HD 3000 graphics and a 2410M (e. g. MSI CX640). Even 7736 points are possible when a fast 7200 rpm HDD is used (Vostro V131). Without that, but with a stronger GPU, an Aspire 5830TG manages 6632 points. Only other SSD based laptops can beat the U36SD, for example the XMG A501 (11848) or the Toshiba Satellite R850-127 (10378 points).

The new PCMark 7, which takes greater account of the GPU performance, reaches 2861 points. Consequently, a Packard Bell NX69, with the same CPU but stronger GT 540M, can't keep up: 1849 points. The decisive advantage for the U36SD is in the Storage Score of 4509 points. The NX69 (HDD) only reaches 1349 points. For instance, the Asus K53TA (HDD) achieves 1470 points and the LG A520 (HDD) manages 1509 points.

4.7
Windows 7 Experience Index
Processor
Calculations per second
6.9
Memory (RAM)
Memory operations per second
5.9
Graphics
Desktop performance for Windows Aero
4.7
Gaming graphics
3D business and gaming graphics
6.4
Primary hard disk
Disk data transfer rate
7.5
PC Mark
PCMark Vantage9431 points
PCMark 72861 points
Help

The Nvidia GeForce GT 520M (1024 MB DDR3, core: 740 MHz), based on the GF 119 core, plays in the entry level class. It has a 64-bit video memory bus and right here is its performance bottleneck. Consequently, high details are only possible in low resolutions up to about 1024x768 pixels. The DirectX 11 GPU's performance is below that of a GT 540M (128 bit), a Radeon HD 6550 or HD 6650 (both 128 bit) in most benchmarks.

The synthetic benchmarks, such as Unigine Heaven 2.1 (8 fps), verify that the GT 520M has a performance marginally above the HD 6470M (-14%) and is almost on a par with a HD 3000 (+5%) or Nvidia's NVS 4200M (-1%). The sister model, GT 540M clearly has the lead with ~13 fps.

In return, 3DMark 11 (GPU performance: G501) prefers the HD 6470M (+8%). The popular GT 540M reaches a considerably higher score here: ~G900. The older 3DMark06 achieves a score of 4741 points in contrast to a HD 3000 with 4000 points (average of test devices). The GT 540M manages 8000 points on average!

The GT 520M seems only suitable for games to a very limited extent. In particular, the minor difference to a HD 3000 processor graphics brings up the question, at least for games, why two weak GPUs have been combined via Optimus here. Does the superior driver support from Nvidia advocate the use of a GT 520M in the U36SD?

3D Mark
3DMark 06
 1280x1024
4741 points
3DMark Vantage2351 points
3DMark 11569 points
Help

The rates measured by CrystalDiskMark 3.0 (read 258 MB/s, HDTune (read 141 MB/s) and AS SSD benchmark (read 260 MB/s) speak for the Intel SSD 320 Series (160 GB, model: MLC, SATA at 3GB/s port). Typically, the SSD's strength is in read/write of random blocks. This is even a special strength of the 320, as CDM and AS SSD confirm. The SSD of a Samsung Series 9 900X3A (mSATA at 3GB/s port) lagged behind in reading small blocks (CDM 4K: 10 versus 16 MB/s). AS SSD shows the reason: A shorter access rate (0164 vs. 0.301 milliseconds). The advantage is again relativized in write.

One thing is sure: Typical laptops with a 5200/7200 rpm HDDs lag far behind. Their typical throughputs are between 65 and 85 MB/s (read/write).

HD Tune: 141 MB/s read
HD Tune: 141 MB/s read
Crystal Disk Mark 3.0: 258/168 MB/s read/write
Crystal Disk Mark 3.0: 258/168 MB/s read/write
CDM in comparison: Samsung Series 9 900X3A with SSD
CDM in comparison: Samsung Series 9 900X3A with SSD
AS SSD benchmark: 260/164 MB/s read/write
AS SSD benchmark: 260/164 MB/s read/write
Intel SSD 320 Series SSDSA2CW160G3
Transfer Rate Minimum: 76.9 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 156 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 141.3 MB/s
Access Time: 0.1 ms
Burst Rate: 41.3 MB/s
CPU Usage: 1 %

Gaming Performance

Wie wir testen - Leistung

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 medium not smooth
Battlefield: Bad Company 2 medium not smooth
Deus Ex Human Revolution high not smooth
Deus Ex Human Revolution high not smooth
Deus Ex Human Revolution low smooth
Deus Ex Human Revolution low smooth

Gaming Verdict

The newest games shouldn't be added on the wish list by any means. They can only be played in low details and resolutions when DirectX 11 details are disabled. Older tracks, such as Half Life 2 - Lost Coast, World of Warcraft, Call of Duty 4 - Modern Warfare, Trackmania Nations Forever, Racedriver, GRID or Left4Dead, will however be playable in high and, if necessary, medium details as the spec sheet of the GT 520M shows.

The performance difference between the HD 3000 (IGP) and GT 520M varies in Deus EX (+12% @ low details), Dirt 3 (+26% @ medium details) and Battlefield: BC2 (+2% @ low details) and Mafia 2 (+74% @ low details). However, it is usually in favor of the GT 520M. So, it can't be said that casual gamers won't benefit from the GPU beside the HD 3000.

low med.high ultra
Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (2010) 3425.718.3fps
Mafia 2 (2010) 37.42419fps
Dirt 3 (2011) 67.729.518.6fps
Deus Ex Human Revolution (2011) 6022.1fps

Emissions

Vent
Vent

System Noise

The 13.3 inch device shows itself exemplary in system noise. The fan is inactive most of the time in idle and during low load and only turns up sporadically to 31.2 dB (A). The selected energy mode doesn't play a role here (Power4Gear: Quiet Office). When a GPU load is added, for example by a game or 3DMark06, we measure a maximum of 34.5 dB (A).

Users who like to demand the highest performance from their laptop will experience a noise level of up to 39 dB (A) (@ Cinebench R11.5). The U36SD gets really loud when the GPU and CPU are loaded to the maximum simultaneously. Now, a high pitched 44.3 dB (A) are audible. The latter scenario is our stress test which simulates the highest noise level - an unrealistic case in practical use.

Noise Level

Idle 29.6 / 29.6 / 31.2 dB(A)
DVD 34.5 / dB(A)
Load / 44.3 dB(A)
 
    30 dB
silent
40 dB
audible
50 dB
loud
 
min: , med: , max:    Voltcraft sl-320 (15 cm distance)

Temperature

The U36SD doesn't only prove to be a quiet companion. The top and large parts of the base plate stay lukewarm to warm in idle mode and during sporadic load (office scenario). Only the area in the power cord's/power button's vicinity come very close to the 40 degree mark during stress-free operation.

The temperatures increase up to 48 degrees Celsius selectively during load. This is clearly perceived as overheated. A minor CPU throttling can also be noticed in this scenario. Positive: The wrist rest and touchpad always stay noticeably below 35 degrees.

(Minor) throttling @ GPU load

The CPU clock throttles to 2.4 GHz (default clock: 2.3 GHz) in the Turbo range during a multi-hour stress test (Prime95 + Furmark). In CPU stress only, induced by Prime95, the clock is 2.7 GHz. Short: Since the frequency is always higher than the default clock, it can't be seen as real throttling. In opposition to the 13.3 inch Aspire TimelineX, we are looking at a slim notebook that doesn't seriously suffer under performance throttling, but simply can't completely exhaust the Turbo bandwidth in the stress test. This is only noticed during simultaneous GPU load in the U36SD.

Cinebench R11.5 CPU: 2.7 GHz constant (no throttling)
Cinebench R11.5 CPU: 2.7 GHz constant (no throttling)
Prime95 CPU-Stress: 2.7 GHz constant (no throttling)
Prime95 CPU-Stress: 2.7 GHz constant (no throttling)
Furmark GPU test: 2.8 GHz, no CPU load
Furmark GPU test: 2.8 GHz, no CPU load
Prime+Furmark: 2.4 GHz constant (minor throttling)
Prime+Furmark: 2.4 GHz constant (minor throttling)
Max. Load
 43.1 °C39.7 °C31.8 °C 
 35.2 °C38 °C28.2 °C 
 35 °C28.6 °C26.8 °C 
Maximum: 43.1 °C
Average: 34 °C
30.6 °C44 °C48.5 °C
29.8 °C39.8 °C42 °C
24.8 °C24 °C32.6 °C
Maximum: 48.5 °C
Average: 35.1 °C
Power Supply (max.)  39.2 °C | Room Temperature 19.7 °C | Voltcraft IR-360

Speakers

Two stereo speakers are located on the laptop's narrow front part. The sound emphasizes the high ranges and neglects the mid and deep ranges. Basses are non-existent. The volume can only be turned up to full with clear distortions, which even worsens the sound. Music lovers should connect headphones or external speakers via the analog headphone out.

Clearness of speech, surround and bass can be modified with the Asus Sonic Focus tool. The result is even appealing in the case of speech intelligibility because at least the vocals are emitted clearly from the overall poor sound.

Battery Life

The long idle runtime (lowest brightness, energy savings mode) lets us presume low power consumption. The measurements don't confirm this, at least not the high savings that would be expected. First, the idle power consumption: Idle ranges from 10.5 to 14.5 watts, depending on the power mode. These figures represent the minimum and maximum power requirement in idle (without battery charging). A Packard Bell NX69 (14 inch), with the same CPU but stronger GT 540M, only draws 7.6 to 12.5 watts out of the socket (60 Wh battery, almost 12h idle!).

The U36SD then gets really hungry in the stress test (Prime95, Furmark) and consumes 72 watts. The formerly mentioned NX69 is satisfied with 58 watts but only because the CPU throttles the clock significantly. Our test device doesn't do this, so the "high" load power consumption can be seen as a confirmation of the stable cooling system. The quite big 75 watt power adapter (304 grams) is bulky, but also necessary for the demand and thus just right.

Power Consumption

Off / Standby 0.6 / 1.2 Watt
Idle 10.5 / 12.4 / 14.5 Watt
Load 46.3 / 72 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         Voltcraft VC 960
Idle, minimum battery load, wireless off, minimum brightness: 550 minutes
Idle, minimum battery load, wireless off, minimum brightness: 550 minutes
WLAN surfing, BT+WLAN on, 100 cd/m2 brightness (medium), partially video clips
WLAN surfing, BT+WLAN on, 100 cd/m2 brightness (medium), partially video clips

The battery runtimes turn out to be very good, but can't surpass the excellent specifications of the prior U36JC (HDD, i5-480M). The U36SD lasts 9:10 hours in idle (U36JC: 10:09 hours). The practically more relevant WLAN test closes after 7:45 hours (U36JC: 8:07 hours). An 80 watt battery takes care of the very good runtime. It can be removed and juts out a bit at the bottom.

The battery life isn't bombastic though, if we compare it with the Packard Bell NX69 with its 11:40 hours of standby and 6:39 hours of idling. This 14 inch device "only" has a 60 Wh battery and a stronger GT 540M graphics (can be disabled via Optimus).

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
9h 10min
WiFi Surfing
7h 45min
Load (maximum brightness)
2h 17min

Verdict

Asus achieves many good rates and a few are even better than the preceeding U36JC's. But unfortunately, the biggest shortcoming, the reflective and too dark for use in the sun screen is exactly the same. This doesn't make the 13.3 inch device's biggest advantage, the long battery life of nearly eight hours, useless but it reduces the fun of working in the sun considerably.

The Core i5 2410M, 2.3 GHz, used in many cases isn't a performance star, but together with the Intel Series 320 SSD (160 GB), the dual core aims at maximum power in system performance. All hard disk laptops are clearly defeated in read and write. Praiseworthy: CPU throttling is virtually non-existent. Acer's TimelineX ultrabooks can especially take a page out of its book.

The U36SD's low noise in office mode or simple applications is exemplary. Even games don't perturb the 13.3 inch device, which isn't very surprising in view of the weak graphics performance.

A good job has been done with the keyboard in terms of layout and feedback. Asus has opted for a torsional stiff and hard material with the aluminum case, which is in line with the angular and matt looks. That turns the U36SD into a compact, high-quality and slim subnotebook that users will like to take out of the case to show.

Users who choose their next subnotebook in view of soft criteria, such as workmanship and robustness, will make a good choice with the U36SD. The performance is very good thanks to the SSD. However, if the latest games are to be played, a Geforce GT 540M should be preferred. Acer has the Aspire TimelineX 3830TG with a Core i7 and a 128 GB SSD for the same price of 1100€ in its range (inferior case stability, throttling). The Acer TravelMate TimelineX 8473TG with a 120 GB SSD and also a GT 540M is available for less (stable but bulkier, no throttling).

To make the dream of a high-quality SSD subnotebook at a low price come true, the Samsung QX412 for 900€ (version QX412-S04DE with a 128 GB SSD) might be an alternative. The 14 inch device is also equipped with a GT 520M. If the dedicated graphics is seen as useless ballast, HP's ProBook 5330m (non-glare, 13.3 inch) or Dell's Vostro V131 (800-950€) might be considered. Should that be too expensive, the SSD version of Lenovo's ThinkPad Edge E325 might be appealing (starts at 439€).

ASUS U36SD-RX114V: Fast, stable performance, long battery life, elegant case - but unfortunately a glare TFT
ASUS U36SD-RX114V: Fast, stable performance, long battery life, elegant case - but unfortunately a glare TFT
In Review: Asus U36SD-RX114V
In Review: Asus U36SD-RX114V

Specifications

Asus U36SD-RX114V

:: Processor
:: Mainboard
Intel HM65
:: Memory
4096 MB, 666MHz
:: Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce GT 520M - 1024 MB, Core: 740 MHz, Memory: 800 MHz, ForceWare 267.54
:: Display
13.3 inch 16:9, 1366x768 pixel, CPT CLAA133WB01A, glossy: yes
:: Harddisk
Intel SSD 320 Series SSDSA2CW160G3, 160 GB MLC
:: Soundcard
Realtek ALC269
:: Connections
2 USB 2.0, 1 USB 3.0, 1 VGA, 1 HDMI, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: line out, microphone, Card Reader: MMC, SD, MS/MS-Pro,
:: Networking
Atheros AR8151 PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet Controller (10/100/1000MBit), Atheros AR9002WB-1NG Wireless Network Adapter (b g n ), 3.0+HS Bluetooth
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 19 x 322 x 232
:: Weight
1.67 kg Power Supply: 0.304 kg
:: Battery
83 Wh Lithium-Ion, 5800mAh, 14.4V A42-U36
:: Price
1200 Euro
:: Operating System
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit
:: Additional features
Webcam: 0.3MP, 24 Months Warranty

 

[+] compare
The 13.3 inch Asus U36SD, version RX114V,
The 13.3 inch Asus U36SD, version RX114V,
It has a very good capacity of 83 watt hours.
It has a very good capacity of 83 watt hours.
The frugal U36SD manages up to 7:45 hours of runtime with this (WLAN test).
The frugal U36SD manages up to 7:45 hours of runtime with this (WLAN test).
It's even over nine hours of standby.
It's even over nine hours of standby.
Clever: The battery is also a foot. The rubber lip prevents slipping around on the desk (has a secure stance even without the battery).
Clever: The battery is also a foot. The rubber lip prevents slipping around on the desk (has a secure stance even without the battery).
The subnotebook is equipped for every performance mode
The subnotebook is equipped for every performance mode
with a 75 watt power adapter.
with a 75 watt power adapter.
As usual, Asus includes a cable tie.
As usual, Asus includes a cable tie.
Not a recovery, but a driver and tools DVD are in the box.
Not a recovery, but a driver and tools DVD are in the box.
ASUS U36SD-RX114V: We already liked the slim, stiff case in the previous U36JC-RX081V (sliver).
ASUS U36SD-RX114V: We already liked the slim, stiff case in the previous U36JC-RX081V (sliver).
ASUS U36SD-RX114V: Input devices with a short key drop, but crisp typing feel.
ASUS U36SD-RX114V: Input devices with a short key drop, but crisp typing feel.
The bottom shows a battery that juts out.
The bottom shows a battery that juts out.
and the speakers on the front bleat treble-heavy sounds.
and the speakers on the front bleat treble-heavy sounds.
Shortcomings are found in the entertainment qualities: The webcam has a very weak resolution of 0.3 MP,
Shortcomings are found in the entertainment qualities: The webcam has a very weak resolution of 0.3 MP,
is currently catching the attention of laptop buyers.
is currently catching the attention of laptop buyers.
Not a hard disk, but a 160 GB SSD is in the slim case.
Not a hard disk, but a 160 GB SSD is in the slim case.
A Core i5-2410M processor and an entry level graphics, the GeForce GT 520M, also join in.
A Core i5-2410M processor and an entry level graphics, the GeForce GT 520M, also join in.
The combination of good input devices
The combination of good input devices
and necessary ports, incl. USB 3.0
and necessary ports, incl. USB 3.0
could make the 1.67 kilogram device
could make the 1.67 kilogram device
to a first rate mobile all-rounder.
to a first rate mobile all-rounder.
A good job has been done with the workmanship of the very stiff case.
A good job has been done with the workmanship of the very stiff case.
Matt surfaces supply the necessary everyday suitability,
Matt surfaces supply the necessary everyday suitability,
almost without traces of fingerprints.
almost without traces of fingerprints.
ASUS U36SD-RX114V: Glare type in this battery runtime strong subnotebook - did Asus have a blackout?
ASUS U36SD-RX114V: Glare type in this battery runtime strong subnotebook - did Asus have a blackout?

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Pro

+High-quality workmanship
+Firm, stable case
+Pleasant surfaces
+Keyboard with good feedback
+High application performance
+Entry level gaming performance
+Good SSD speeds
+Long battery life
+Slim design
 

Cons

-Reflective, contrast weak TFT
-Webcam with only 0.3 MP

Shortcut

What we like

The stylish, solid case is an eye-catcher and escapes the laptop monotony with its angular shape. The fan often stays off and the power adapter can be forgotten with a battery life of almost eight hours. 

What we'd like to see

A matt and bright screen would have made the U36SD to an extremely attractive outdoor companion.

What surprises us

Again and again surprising: An SSD makes standard hardware to a very fast device. CPU performance without significant throttling.

The competition with SSD:

Samsung QX412-S04DE (14"); Acer TravelMate TimelineX 8473TG (14"); Aspire TimelineX 3830TG (13.3")

Subnotebooks with IGP:

HP ProBook 5330m; Dell Vostro V131; HP ProBook 6360b; Lenovo IBM ThinkPad Edge E420s; Toshiba Satellite R830-11C; Satellite R630-14X; Lenovo IdeaPad U260

Rating

Asus U36SD-RX114V
10/07/2011 v2
Sebastian Jentsch

Chassis
91%
Keyboard
89%
Pointing Device
89%
Connectivity
68%
Weight
90%
Battery
92%
Display
63%
Games Performance
72%
Application Performance
94%
Temperature
82%
Noise
90%
Add Points
87%
Average
84%
86%
Subnotebook *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Review Asus U36SD-RX114V (SSD) Subnotebook
Author: Sebastian Jentsch, 2011-10-22 (Update: 2013-06- 6)