You can’t fault Asus’ obsession with innovation, and the U53Jc provides the latest material evidence of the company’s determination to try something different with design.
This is in fact the second Asus laptop built using bamboo, and we’re mightily impressed by what the Taiwanese manufacturer has produced. Large parts of the chassis and the entire lid are built using bamboo, a material chosen as it’s very quick to re-grow and this means – according to Asus anyway – utilising it has almost zero effect on the environment.
Asus also claims that bamboo is incredibly strong, with a tensile strength equivalent to that of steel making it a solid equivalent to the hard plastics usually employed. Build quality is excellent, and the U53Jc is certainly strong enough to survive the rigours of everyday travel.
Asus has left the natural finish of the wood visible through a tactile rubbery coating, and this contrasts with the various chrome finishes and trimmings makes the U53Jc a truly unique looking laptop, and one we’re massive fans of.
Asus U53Jc Bamboo review: Screen and keyboard
The U53Jc’s 15.6-inch screen features a 1366 x 768 pixel resolution and is bright, crisp and clear. Colour reproduction isn’t quite as good as we’d imagined, however, and we detected a slightly yellow tint to most images.
The spacious keyboard features the isolated style, and provides for a very comfortable typing experience. There’s even a dedicated number pad included for those who regularly input data, with only the slightest bit of flex detectable.
Asus U53Jc Bamboo review: Performance
The laptop isn’t just a pretty face, however, and lurking below the surface is an Intel Core i5 processor, alongside 4GB of RAM. Benchmarking tests proved the U53Jc will make mince meat of everyday applications, and will happily run resource intensive multimedia programs such as music editing software.
Asus has included nVidia’s Optimus technology, which automatically switches between an integrated Intel and battery melting dedicated nVidia chip, here a GeForce 310M, in order to maximise battery life or performance.
The result is the U53Jc will happily power graphically demanding tasks such as HD movie editing, but the latest games will struggle without the graphics settings turned down.
While it isn’t the lightest 15.6-inch laptop around, the 2.8kg isn’t going to give you a hernia anytime soon, but the battery life of 177 minutes – under intensive use – isn’t that impressive.
The usual spread of ports is dotted around the U53Jc’s chassis, including very fast USB 3.0 and an HDMI port for hooking up to an external monitor. All-in-all the Asus U53Jc impressed us massively. It’s worth noting this isn’t the cheapest Core i5 laptop around, but the design is gorgeous, unique and superbly executed. Another winner.
Asus U53Jc Bamboo specification:
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
Screen (size and res): 15.6-inch 1366 x 768
Processor (inc speed): Intel 2.27GHz Core i5 430M
Graphics: nVidia GeForce 310M (Optimus)
Memory: 4GB DDR3
Battery tested: 177 minutes
Battery claimed: 10.5 hours
Connections: VGA, HDMI, 2 x USB 2.0, 1 x USB 3.0, Gigabit Ethernet, 5-in-1 Card reader, N WiFi
Optical drive: DVD
Dimensions/weight: 39 x 26 x 316mm / 2.8kg
Posted by Tommy Melville