High-end Asus laptop gets monster battery life

Asus has managed to pack an Intel Core i7 processor into a slim laptop that also gets 12 hours of battery life.

The UL80Jt appears to be closely related to the UL80Vt, which I actually own. But while my computer’s processor is relatively weak — a 1.6 GHz Core 2 Duo — the Core i7 starts at 2.66 GHz (the clock speed of Asus’ laptop isn’t clear). This laptop also adds desktop widgets for tracking power settings and easily switching on the laptop’s “turbo” mode, which overclocks the CPU.

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How does Asus cram a dozen hours of battery life into these machines? By switching on-the-fly between an integrated Intel graphics accelerator for basic tasks and an NVidia GeForce 310 for gaming and high-definition video. Users can run the laptop on a power-detecting setting that knows when you need the extra graphics muscle, or they can manually set the graphics mode for high or low power. From a photo snapped by Ars Technica, the UL80Jt’s set-up looks quite similar to that of the UL80Vt.

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I hope that in designing the latest model, Asus fixes some of the problems with the existing one. Many users, myself included, have noted sub-par viewing angles on the LCD screen, creaky palm rests and a stiff trackpad. Those issues could be deal breakers for some people.

Still, you can’t complain about the advertised 12 hours of battery life (mine tends to get around 10 hours in a sitting without using the discrete graphics). When touring the floor of CES, I left my laptop charger at home because there’s no way it would be necessary. Once you’ve got that level of portability, it’s hard to go back.

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