We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Laptops Reviews
15,670 Reviews

Asus U36JC review

£700 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Asus

Our Rating: We rate this 3.5 out of 5

The Asus U36JC ultraportable laptop has lots of tangible benefits: good power from its second-generation Core i5 processor, lots of ports, and features like a quick start mode that lets you browse the web before you boot into Windows.

The Asus U36JC ultraportable laptop has lots of tangible benefits: good power from its second-generation Intel Core i5 processor, lots of ports, and features like a quick start mode that lets you browse the web before you boot into Windows.

Where the Asus U36JC falls down is in the intangibles: Utilities with cryptic explanations and a poorly designed touchpad.

Ultraportable laptops are supposed to be thin and light and the Asus U36JC certainly delivers on thin, at just 322x232x19mm. It's a little more challenged on the light part: At 1.6kg, it's fairly heavy for an ultraportable. The U36JC is attractive, though, with a graphite black magnesium-aluminum alloy chassis.

The 2.53GHz Core i5 processor delivered a WorldBench score of 111 in our testing. That's a solid score for an ultraportable in this price range. And the laptop's switchable graphics with a NVIDIA GeForce 310M discrete graphics card produced impressive gaming scores for this category.

The Asus U36JC has lots of connection options, including one USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports, an HDMI connection and VGA port.

Video looked great on the Asus U36JC's 1366-by-768-pixel screen - as long as I didn't have a bright light behind me. The screen is particularly glossy and reflective, meaning that when I got to a dark scene in "Kick-Ass," the experience was a bit like looking in a mirror. But colours popped on the screen, it handled motion well and the image still looked great when I looked at the screen from an extreme angle. Unfortunately, the nicest thing I can say about the laptop's sound is that it's just fine with decent headphones. The built-in speakers sound boxy and thin.

See all:  Ultraportable Laptops Reviews

The keyboard on the Asus U36JC feels great. It has chiclet keys with a fairly long travel and good feedback. The touchpad, on the other hand, is a horror show. While it accepts gestures like a two-fingered scroll, I often found I had to make the gesture twice before the notebook would respond. And the button below the trackpad is really difficult to use. Clicking it requires the force of a jackhammer and it's so narrow vertically that it's hard to find by feel.

Asus has loaded the Asus U36JC with lots of utilities. Some are useful, but others are mysterious and undocumented. For instance, when I clicked on Asus VirtualCamera, nothing seemed to happen. I searched the Web and by looking in forums headed by questions like "Asus Virtual Camera: how does it work because when I click on it nothing happens," I found a page on Asus's site that claims that VirtualCamera allows for live videoconferencing with up to four people simultaneously. The page doesn't describe how you'd make that happen with this cryptic utility and the U36JC's electronic manual doesn't mention VirtualCamera at all.

Asus's manual at least mentions Express Gate, a utility that boots into a simple Linux environment so you can quickly check email or go to Facebook without booting up Windows. But that mention is only a reference to the Express Gate User's Manual ... which isn't included on the U36JC. But Express Gate is at least somewhat intuitive. When the laptop is shut down, you can press the Express Gate key above the upper left corner of the keyboard.

In about ten seconds, I was able to open up a browser window and start surfing. The interface is utilitarian at best - the windows, fonts and display anomalies will take you back to your days working on Windows 98. If all you need is a quick inbox check, Express Gate may be useful, though most people now will just use their smartphones.

Asus U36JC Expert Verdict »

Asus U36Jc Scores 4.5 out of 10 based on 2 reviews
Intel Core i5-480M (2.66GHz)
4GB RAM
500GB Hard Drive
Windows 7 Professional 64bit
13.3in HD LED Screen
NVIDIA Optimus G310M (1GB Dedicated)
Bluetooth
Notebook Camera
one USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports, an HDMI connection and VGA port
802.11 b/g/n
322x232x19mm
1.6kg
  • Overall: We give this item 7 of 10 overall

If you don't want to spend a lot on an ultraportable, the Asus U36JC offers decent power, an attractive screen and good connectivity. But don't expect the kind of attention to detail and clear documentation you'll find on more expensive laptops. And given the terrible touchpad and button, you should only buy this laptop if you're willing to use it with a mouse.

  • Asus U36JC-A1 review

    Asus U36JC-A1

    The Asus U36JC-A1 is a powerful but lightweight 13in laptop with 2.53GHz Core i5 processor.

  • Asus U33JC review

    Asus U33JC

    If you need a lightweight, eco-friendly ultraportable laptop that can handle various tasks, look to the Asus U33JC.

  • Asus U36J review

    Asus U36J

    The Asus U36J ultraportable laptop comes in at an appealing £699.

  • Asus U31JG review

    Asus U31JG

    The Asus U31JG laptop, designed for urban professionals on the move, boasts a stylish brushed-aluminum finish that coats the lid and wraps around the black plastic keyboard.

  • Lenovo IdeaPad U260 review

    Lenovo IdeaPad U260

    Looking more like an expensive leather portfolio than a laptop computer, Lenovo's IdeaPad U260 mixes style and power.


IDG UK Sites

Microsoft smartwatch release date, price and specs rumours: Launching within a few weeks

IDG UK Sites

Why you shouldn't buy the iPad mini 3: No wonder Apple gave it 10 seconds of stage time

IDG UK Sites

Halloween Photoshop tutorials: 13 masterclasses for horrifying art, designs and type

IDG UK Sites

Should I upgrade from Mavericks to OS X 10.10 Yosemite? What you need to know before updating to...