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The ASUS U80A laptop is a mid-range laptop with passable specs in today’s standards, granting that this model came out in the last quarter of 2009, it still performs rather nicely. The U80A was part of ASUS’ U-series laptops which stood for superior mobility. They really weren’t made as powerhouses but for decent performance on the go. Sure you can find slimmer ones with the same performance but the prices will really set you back.
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Okay, here’s the skinny on this lappy. It has a 14” 1366x768 resolution LED-backlit HD widescreen display, at its heart is an Intel Core 2 Duo T6600 processor, with 4GB of DDR2 memory, an Intel GMA 4500M integrated graphics solution, and 320GB of SATA hard drive capacity. Non-highlight components include a Super Multi DVDRW Drive, integrated 1.3MP camera and a microphone. And it comes preloaded with Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit edition. The whole package weighs 2.15Kg or 4.74 lbs to all you imperialists out there. All of these are being powered by a 6-cell lithium ion battery that can sustain just above 6 hours of uptime with normal use like internet browsing and office work. Watching movies or doing more processor-intensive activities might get you less. Now, the specs claim that it will last 8-10 hours, but we all know that’s hokum. It seems like only Apple places real world battery performance on their specs, most of the rest just conjures up the numbers from nowhere. I give it 4 out of 5 stars for having good specs for its intended space.
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The Asus U80A is not as thin as most people would want but it’s not a tank either. With that aside, the quality of the design is quite impressive. It has a chiclet keyboard that is very sturdy when typed on, it didn’t bend in any way. The keyboard has backlighting, a very nice touch and comes really handy when working in a dark room. The touchpad is made of a glassy material which allows your finger to glide over it quite easily; it also has backlighting which illuminates the line where your finger is. It doesn’t have any function other than being cool. All the ports are located on the left side, with the usual menagerie of network, USB, HDMI, and VGA along with the exhaust port, while the right is occupied by the optical drive; sadly there is no eSATA port. The whole package is one glossy beast that might have been made with the police in mind– to collect your fingerprints along with those of anyone who touches it. Sadly, I don't like glossy stuff as they get dirty rather quickly, but some people might disagree. I also like my ports to be spread on both sides as they can get really crowded, especially when you have a lot of accessories.
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The ASUS U80A is by no means a powerhouse, but it performs really well for its intended demographic which are students and business people in need of mobility yet willing to sacrifice some of that for power. It performs really well on the usual business stuff like word processors and a bit of movie editing and Photoshop. It could even play HD movies, but that Intel GMA4500 is not designed for games so forget about playing any decent titles on it. It could play casual games like Plants vs. Zombies or really old games like the original Starcraft and Warcraft or any game before 2005 ( just a safe estimate). Good specs means good performance, if you don't push it to more than its intended purpose.
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The ASUS U80A comes highly recommended, and at roughly $500 from a number of retailers, it is quite affordable for that mix of performance and mobility. For people who just use their laptop for business and school stuff, then you will not be disappointed. If you are a gamer or need some more juice from your computer, then this is definitely not for you. For a mix of performance, mobility, and affordability, I give this old yet still relevant laptop a 4 out of 5. Snatch one up at Amazon for $535.69.
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The Acer TravelMate 4740 is a more up-to-date alternative, albeit more expensive. The differences are a better Core i3 processor, DDR3 ram, and Win 7 Pro preloaded. $629.99 @ Directron
Another is the Lenovo ThinkPad Edge 14 with AMD Turion II P540, but with only 2GB of DDR3 ram. However, it has the ATI Raeon HD 4250 discreet graphics solution so it more than makes up in performance, especially with games. Cheaper yet more powerful at the same weight class. $469.99 @ Directron
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