Asus is probably better known for its larger notebooks with emphasis on multimedia and style and left slim and light machines to the likes of Sony. Things are changing though and the U1F is a great example of what slim and light really means. Weighing in at 1.1kg, this notebook sits comfortably in your hand and with an impressive finish is a direct competitor to Sony’s VAIO VGN-TX5VN.
Pre-installed with Windows Vista Business Edition you’ll expect a powerful specification in order to get the most from the OS. So the use of Intel’s ultra-low voltage 1.06GHz Core Duo U2400 means things are a little slow to boot up and run. It comes with 1024MB of memory but you’ll see things improve if you upgrade to 2GB. The 60GB hard drive rounds out the specification. To be fair, if you’re using this machine for standard office tasks, writing reports and checking emails while out and about, you don’t need anything faster, but Vista is resource heavy and we found this machine tended to slow when trying to run multiple tasks.
What does count for the mobile user is a good keyboard and the U1F doesn’t disappoint. It spans the width of the main body and the keys are well spaced and come with a nice typing action. You'll find a biometric fingerprint scanner set inbetween the mouse keys, which are also responsive and well-built.
The 11.1-inch screen is 5mm thick as it uses the latest LED technology, so comes with a row of LEDs at the base of the panel instead of two large fluorescent tubes to backlit the panel. There is a flex to the panel but Asus has added a little more protection to the back of the display than you'll find on the VAIO, the result being a slightly more robust feel to the U1F. This shaves weight off and gives stunning image quality. It also has the benefit of being more power effective so you should see a longer battery life.
Sadly, this wasn’t the case with our test sample as we only managed to get a little over 1 hour from the standard battery pack. Luckily, Asus ship the U1F with a second battery – a larger 6-cell – and while it adds a little to the weight, it means you can get 4 hours of power when you need to.
As a slim and lightweight notebook, Asus has got things right with the U1F, as we found it a great machine to carry around and work on.
It may not be the most powerful notebook out there, though and the battery life detracts from the overall usability but if you’re looking for an ultraportable that won’t break the bank, then it’s worth considering.