ASUS UL20A 12.1″ CULV Laptop Review

Input/Output ports

The front and back of the ASUS UL20A are completely bare.

Right

ASUS UL20A ports

The right-hand side of the laptop houses a multi-card reader slot, 1 x USB 2.0, a VGA port, an ethernet port, and the DC power connector.

Left

ASUS UL20A ports

The left-hand size of the laptop houses an audio in, audio out, and 2 x USB 2.0 ports.

Note that port selection is quite limited. There is no support for HDMI, or any other digital display output, nor eSATA. I bemoan the former, and don’t particularly care about the omission of the latter.

Input Devices

Touchpad

The Synaptics touchpad has a dimpled pattern, which provides some friction and helps identify the touchpad from the rest of the palm rest, as there is no indentation otherwise. I find if you press too strongly, a significant amount of friction builds up, but if you simply glide your finger over the touchpad, it provides a very nice, smooth experience.

ASUS UL20A touchpad

The touchpad buttons are provided via a rocker-style mechanism. Both sides of the button are easy to depress, and the click is rather muted (nice for quiet environments).

With the right drivers, this touchpad is a breeze to use, supporting a multitude of gestures, including two-finger scroll, pinch-to-zoom, and pivot-rotate. I’m using the 14.0.3.1 drivers, available from LaptopVideo2Go. These additional features, in particular the two-finger scroll, make using the laptop without a mouse significantly more pleasant.

Keyboard

ASUS uses an island-type (chiclet) keyboard.  Furthermore, it’s English! Many laptops in Canada come with bilingual keyboards, and while I’m broad of our of heritage, I do not want to learn a new keyboard layout. Thank you ASUS.

ASUS UL20A keyboard

The keyboard is generally stable, but two minor issues mar slightly an otherwise great typing experience.

First, the spacebar squeaks a bit, when the center or left side are pressed. The squeak isn’t particularly loud, but is certainly audible at a typing distance. Second, the tray, upon which the keys are set, depresses at the left ALT key, if the key is pressed with some force. It seems like there’s a small gap between the tray and the support underneath at that point. Perhaps I’ll open things up at some point and see if I can’t fix the issue.

COMMENTS

One Reply to “ASUS UL20A 12.1″ CULV Laptop Review”

  1. Great review, nice detail. I’m currently using a Dell Latitude D400 (manufactured 2003, purchased used in 2007). It’s got a 12″ screen, weighs 3.3lbs. I really want more battery life and have been looking at the ASUS UL series. Probably going to go with at UL30. There is so much overlap between the UL20 & UL30 series that this has been a great help. Thanks!

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