Asus added a new Vivobook notebook to its lineup, Asus U38N a couple of weeks back and we got it for review just a day later. The company could not called it an ultrabook as it is based on the AMD hardware platform. But that is not a bad thing as the U38N offers sleekness of ultraportable and manages to offer better gaming performance than your typical average without burning a hole in your pocket.
Design – The U38N is mere 19mm thin and weighs about 1.5 kilo grams, which makes it a fairly portable device. It is not exactly thin like those ultrabooks, but you do get a nice full USB port, SD card slot, mini VGA port, headphone jack, HDMI, 2x USB 3.0 ports – yep, so many ports. The only port that is missing is LAN port, which is not frequently used these days anyway. If you really need that port, consider investing in an USB to Ethernet adapter.
The screen is amazing to look at and is at par with what you find on an Asus Zenbook ultrabook. It now packs touchscreen; light sensor and hardened so that it does not breaks easily. It is manufactured using IPS technology so colors simply pop up.
Keyboard is good enough for typing in documents. That said, there is not adequate tactile feedback from the keyboard, so we cannot recommend this laptop to you if you are planning to do a lot of typing on it. Touchpad on the other hand, does not disappoints. All Windows 8 gestures were handled like a charm.
Performance: Asus U38N is powered by AMD A10 4655M processor that is backed by 128GB SSD and 6GB of DDR3 RAM. The processor is clocked at 2GHz and handled our daily tasks like web browsing on Chrome, watching YouTube and HD videos like a charm. You can check out detailed performance analysis in our AMD A10 4655M benchmark post.
Simple tasks like watching movies, surfing the Internet and chatting online are easy tasks for it and the AMD A10 CPU handles them like a champ. However, if you are into editing videos or gaming, you should stick with the Intel ultrabooks and discrete GPU combo.
Battery life – AMD APUs are generally not as efficient as the Intel Ultrabook processors. That said, you can easily get somewhere between 4-5 hours from it in normal mode and up to 6 hours with energy saving mode.
Asus U38N price – This AMD ultrabook is currently retailing at around 800 Euros in Europe and will be priced close to 900 dollars when it comes to US.
February 7, 2013