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Asus U2E-AIB: Price, Battery, Performance

Round Up: Five Powerful, Light Ultraportables
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Price

Asus does not sell its own computers direct to consumers, so on its corporate Web site, it offers a range of links to third-party resellers who carry its notebooks. The Asus U2E-A1B is a distinct model—for example, there are more costly options that come with a 32 GB solid state drive in place of or in addition to the 120 GB conventional hard drive—that sells for a range of prices at various retailers such as Best Buy and NewEgg. The U2E-A1B is almost always configured identically to our review unit, though no Web site is currently offering configurable versions of the machine. The price range is $1899 to $1999, and Asus offers no manufacturer’s suggested retail price.

Purely productivity-oriented buyers should note that the U2E offers one of the worst price-to-performance ratios of this ultraportable roundup: its price is in the middle of the pack, buts its performance is at the bottom. Yet, if there are other things that matter to you when considering a high-end, tiny computer, the Asus doesn’t seem like such a bad deal. With the U2E, you’re paying for design; if you don’t fall in love with the U2E’s design, the computer will seem like a huge rip-off. But if leather and chrome are your thing, you’ll be willing to pay for the privilege. Additionally, if as-small-as-possible-yet-still-has-optical-drive is high up on your priority list, that might be worth a few hundred bucks to you, and the U2E will look better and better. Finally, if a bit of durability is required for your lifestyle, this machine is a bit more rugged than others in the roundup.

No matter how you slice it, though, compared to the competition in this roundup, the Asus machine is objectively underpowered and subjectively overpriced.

Price Score: 3

Battery Life

The Asus U2E came with two batteries; we chose to test the higher capacity one. According to our battery life test program, BatteryEater Pro, the battery’s design capacity is around 2344 mAh (milliamp hours) at 10.8 V. The actual capacity after a full charge, again according to BatteryEater Pro, was about 2000 mAh. This is a comparatively low capacity battery and the BatteryEater Pro battery life tests confirm this: the U2E ran for exactly 60 minutes on a full charge.

Battery Life score: 1.45

Performance

With only a 1.06 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo U7500 CPU and a 4,200 RPM ATA hard disk drive, the U2E achieved the lowest score of the five ultraportable notebooks on our performance tests, even though it was the only notebook to sport 3 GB rather than 2 GB of memory.

Performance score: 2.43

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