"If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work."
- Design, Looks, General performance, Dual hard drives, Dual batteries and battery life
- Slightly thick for an ultraportable, No S-Video port, No built in-webcam or fingerprint scanner, Display
A good ultraportable, the U5F offers excellent battery life and solid performance wrapped up in a stylish and attractive package.
Price$ 2,499.00 (AUD)
The ASUS U5F is a compact and light weight ultra-portable notebook that measures just 274 x 232 x 33 mm and weighs just 1.43 kilograms. It offers excellent battery life and solid performance. The U5F will appeal to those who want an incredibly portable solution for office applications and digital media playback without the need to play games.
The U5F has a 1.83GHz Intel Centrino Duo T2400 processor with 1GB of DDR2 RAM. It has dual 2.5in hard drives (one 60GB and the other 40GB) allowing plenty of room for storage and boasts 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi in addition to side-mounted Ethernet and Modem ports. Bluetooth connectivity is also supported while infrared is not. The U5F has three USB 2.0 ports, headphone and microphone jacks, an 8-in-1 card reader, a FireWire 400 port, a Kensington lock and a standard 15-pin D-sub port for external monitor connection. Unfortunately, there is no S-Video port or built-in webcam.
The U5F features a 4:3 aspect ratio 12.1in LCD display and supports resolutions up to a maximum of 1024x768 pixels. This is a functional resolution for an ultra-portable, although we would have preferred a maximum higher resolution such as 1280x800 pixels. Further we did not find the brightness or clarity as good as we would have liked. ASUS has also included software that can adjust the display based on six preset settings: normal, gamma, vivid, theatre, soft and my profile, the latter allowing users to adjust RGB and colour temperature themselves.
The design of the U5F looks and feels quite pleasing. Make no mistake; this is a very sexy notebook. At 33mm thick though, it is slightly thicker than most ultra-portables. Still, the all white colour scheme is a nice touch and the unit feels well built. It is sleek and stylish, with distinct silver edging creating a nice contrast to the white with a brushed silver ASUS logo rounding out the design. The U5F keyboard stretches across almost the entire width of the casing so the keys are well spaced out and comfortable to use. Above the keyboard are a row of buttons with neon blue LED lights (indicating power, Bluetooth and caps lock) and to the left is an in-built microphone. The notebook does not come with a fingerprint scanner - a feature many models are now including.
The U5F also has a standard two button touchpad but we were a little disappointed in its responsiveness. The pads left and right buttons require a firm press to activate and we found them largely hit and miss. Thankfully, you can also left click by tapping the touchpad. The lack of a scrolling pad was also inconvenient
The U5F received a World Bench 5 score of 60, which we were slightly disappointed with. It is not a bad score for an ultra-portable, but these specifications mean the U5F sits at the upper tier in the category, so we were expecting a little better. The U5F relies on integrated graphics (Intel 945GM Express Chipset) with up to 128MB video memory taken from the RAM, contributing to the systems mediocre 4264 3DMark 2001 score. It is important to note though that this system isn't targeted at gamers, so with this in consideration the score isn't particularly surprising.
ASUS packages two batteries with the U5F - six and three cell models. In our MobileMark 2005 productivity tests, the three cell battery lasted for 96 minutes, while the six cell managed an excellent 193 minutes - some of the best figures we've seen in an ultra-portable notebook. We were also pleased to report that the U5F is a whisper quiet machine but it does get hot during long periods of use. ASUS offers two different colour options; jet black and pearl white and the sales package also includes a carry case and wired Bluetooth mouse.
Overall, the ASUS U5F offers solid performance for an ultra-portable, good battery life and a stylish, compact and lightweight design.
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