ASUS U33Jc - Introduction

 

For the second time this month, I get to review a fashion-conscious notebook. Instead of aluminum and glass, this time we’re looking at wood—or, to be more specific, bamboo. ASUS’ U33Jc is part of ASUS’ U-series Bamboo Collection and features bamboo panels on the lid and the interior, with the palm rest and touchpad rendered in the darkly finished wood. It’s definitely an interesting touch, with ASUS claiming tensile strength nearly equaling that of steel and unparalleled eco-friendliness. We’ll get into those claims a bit later on, but for right now let’s just say that the bamboo paneling gives the U33Jc a nice aesthetic that’s pretty unique compared to most other portable computers.

ASUS U33Jc-A1 Specifications
Processor Intel Core i3-370M
(32nm, 2x2.40GHz + Hyper-Threading, 3MB L3, 35W)
Chipset Intel HM55
Memory 2x2GB DDR3-1066
Max 2x4GB DDR3-1066
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce 310M Optimus
Intel HD Graphics
Display 13.3" LED Backlit Color-Shine WXGA (1366x768)
Hard Drive 500GB 5400RPM 8MB cache
(Seagate Momentus 7200.6 ST9500325AS)
Networking Atheros AR8131 Gigabit Ethernet
Intel WiFi Link 1000 802.11bgn
Audio HD Audio (2 speakers with headphone and mic jacks)
Battery 8-cell 5600mAh, 84Wh
Front Side None
Left Side 1 x USB 2.0
HDMI
VGA
Cooling Exhaust
Kensington Lock
Right Side Memory Card Reader (SD, MMC, MS/Pro)
Headphone and Microphone jacks
1 x USB 2.0
1 x USB 3.0
Gigabit Ethernet
AC Power Connection
Back Side None
Operating System Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Dimensions 13.12" x 9.52" x 0.80-1.20" (WxDxH)
Weight 3.96 lbs (with 8-cell battery)
Extras Bamboo Exterior Finish
Bluetooth 2.0
2.0MP Webcam
86-Key Keyboard
Multitouch Touchpad
SD/MMC/MS Pro Flash reader
Warranty 2-year global warranty
1-year battery warranty
30-day LCD Zero Bright Dot guarantee
Pricing U33Jc-A1 at GentechPC for $969

Unlike the Dell Adamo though, the U33Jc still has all the good stuff on the inside. Where the Adamo really cut down the specs, with a 1.4GHz Core 2 Duo ULV, integrated graphics, and a tiny 40Wh battery, the U33Jc has basically the same specs as the much-loved U30Jc. It has a full voltage Core i3 processor, NVIDIA’s Optimus graphics switching technology, Intel’s wireless display technology, and a massive 8-cell battery. The only thing it gives up is the integrated DVD drive, but in the exchange the U33Jc is 0.2” thinner than the U30Jc at both the thinnest and thickest points along with being almost a full pound lighter.

But if you were just looking for a slimmed down U30, the forthcoming U35Jc is a better option. It’s basically just a U30 minus the optical drive, and, at 3.7lbs, weighs a bit less than the U33. The U33Jc is really about the look and feel of the bamboo panels. If that strikes your fancy, there's plenty to like.

Asus U33Jc - A Look at Bamboo
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  • Kegetys - Thursday, July 29, 2010 - link

    Disapointing to have such a nice "premium" quality machine be ruined by a poor quality display once again. I would have expected Asus to pair it with a better screen. Or maybe they want me to just stare at the bamboo paneling instead of the display... Reply
  • VivekGowri - Thursday, July 29, 2010 - link

    Hey, I'd be down for that - the bamboo paneling looks really nice. Reply
  • hybrid2d4x4 - Thursday, July 29, 2010 - link

    Thanks for the review and continuing to harp about bad displays. I've been holding out for the UL30Jt myself, but based on the trend from the U30 and this laptop, I'm guessing the new UL30 is also garbage...
    I guess I'll never buy a laptop then.
    Reply
  • chrnochime - Friday, July 30, 2010 - link

    Then don't buy one. Simple as that. Reply
  • Pirks - Friday, August 06, 2010 - link

    Or buy a Macbook Pro Reply
  • synaesthetic - Thursday, July 29, 2010 - link

    Maybe if enough people complain, we'll see good displays on laptops again? I noticed HP seems to be doing something about that--the Envy 14 has a quite nice display.

    Dell's taken the 16" RGBLED option off the SXPS 16 again...

    I miss the days of high-resolution 4:3 and 16:10 panels on all laptops...
    Reply
  • aebiv - Thursday, July 29, 2010 - link

    I'm glad I got my SXPS 16 when I did. That RGBLED screen truly is marvelous to look at.

    I think they have it on the precision laptops now though as well.
    Reply
  • Full Ctrl - Thursday, July 29, 2010 - link

    I'm planning to buy my wife a U35Jc in about a month, I would definitely spend the extra $100 to get a high quality display. I would probably even spend $150 extra if it was also higher resolution, I'm not too thrilled about the 1366x768 resolution.

    Vivek: are you guys really doing a U35 review as well, considering how similar they are so similar to the U33?
    Reply
  • notext - Friday, July 30, 2010 - link

    It is even more disappointing because it is Asus and they did such a nice job with the g73jh-a1/a2 screen. I was hoping they would be putting that effort into all of their higher end laptops in the different screen sizes. Reply
  • crimson117 - Thursday, July 29, 2010 - link

    How does MacBook give a good display under $1200?

    It skimps on other internals, like CPU and hard drive. Also, $1200 is 20% more expensive than U33Jc.

    I'd love to see a $200 LCD upgrade option, though. But perhaps not enough people are willing to pay for display quality to make it worth developing.
    Reply

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