Asus UL30A - Free Laptop Review
 
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Asus UL30A Free Laptop Review

Good all rounder with quick boot up

Asus UL30A- The Asus UL30A is an ultra portable laptop but to be clear, it is a laptop not a netbook. The screen size at 13.3” is around 3” larger than a typical netbook and the machine is bigger (although still highly portable) and whilst it keeps the weight down with a small form factor and no DVD drive it is still around half as heavy again as a netbook. That said what you lose in compactness you more that gain in performace. The UL30A runs Windows Seven Premium with an Intel Dual Core processor that, whilst not the fastest, is plenty nippy enough for most purposes and you get a full 3gb of RAM and a 320gb hard drive to boot.

Top Deal on Asus UL30A: Free with 3gb mobile broadband just £30 a month.


That’s a decent spec on any free laptop and particularly impressive on one of this size. And the UL30A has a few more neat tricks up its sleeve too. Being ultra portable means that you’ll want a long battery life for life on the road and at around 8 hours it certainly delivers there. It also features Bluetooth and a memory card reader so you can easily connect to your mobile phone or take photos of your digital camera when out and about.


One nice touch is ‘Express Gate’ which is Asus’s quick boot platform. If you just need to access your laptop quickly this is a quick boot up that allows you access to basic functions like web browsing and your media in next to no time – Asus claim eight seconds and though in reality it’s more like ten this feels a little pedantic to complain about. It’s certainly a nice touch and particularly useful for the kind of functions you want to use a laptop like this for although you’ll need to do a full boot up to access more power hungry applications.


Build quality is perhaps not quite as strong as on some of the more expensive free laptop deals but is certainly not bad and in particular the large (for the laptop size) and comfortable keyboard stands out. The screen is crisp and gives a good picture, although a little on the glossy side, and the sound from the front mounted speakers is not bad although you’d want to attach speakers or headphones for prolonged listening. The GMA 4500MHD graphics card is a little under powered but fine for basic video playback.


The Asus UL30A also features all the added extras you’d hope to find on a free laptop. There’s an HDMI output port for linking it to an HD TV, three USB ports, a 0.3 megapixel web cam for video calling and also built in mobile broadband so you don’t have to worry about carrying your dongle around separately. The only thing lacking is the DVD drive but that’s probably a sacrifice worth making to keep the size down.


Overall the UL30A is a decent option for a free laptop, especially at the price point its available at. It’s not the highest quality, or absolutely the most portable but it does feature a good compromise of good spec, small size and some nice features, especially the quick boot. There are perhaps one or two better options out there but the UL30A certainly does come recommended if you’re looking for that elusive combination of small stature and solid performance.

 

Free Laptop Deals:

Free Asus UL30A with 3gb mobile broadband for £30 a month

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Summary and rating:

Plus Good spec in a compact package
Plus Good connectivity with Bluetooth, WiFi and HDMI
Plus Quick boot up for basic functions
MinusNot the best designed free laptops out there

Overall Rating 7.5/10

 

Specification:

Screen: 13.3” widescreen
Operating System: Windows 7 Premium
Processor: Intel Dual Core 1.3GHz
RAM: 3gb
Hard Drive: 320gb
Battery: 8 hours
WiFi: Yes
Weight: 1.6kg
Size: 32.2 x 24.6 x 2.3cm
Other: No DVD drive, VGA web cam, built in mobile broadband, memory card reader, Bluetooth, express launch in eight seconds for basic functions, three USB ports, memory card reader, HDMI output.