The U31SD’s specifications are rank-and-file; given that the product’s intended use is casual computing, they’re more than up to the task, however. The second-generation Intel Core i3 processor is fast in its own right. Paired with the dedicated Nvidia graphics card, this machine is capable of any light gaming. Of special note is the two-year limited warranty, which includes a year of accidental damage coverage. This isn’t something opponents have matched — and ASUS has been supplying such warranty coverage for several decades now. The MSRP of $799 is slightly on the high side though the warranty makes up for some of the gaps.
Build and Layout Asus U31SD-A1
ASUS has been utilized a now-familiar two-tone silver and black exterior. The U31SD is made from plastic with the exclusion of the lid backing, which can be aluminum. The plastics are of average quality, not lean enough to qualify as cheap but maybe not the contrary either. The chassis lacks inner strength; it spins readily when flexed by the corners. This flexing sets the circuit boards at risk for pressure cracks with time, which in the U31SD’s case is magnified since the laptop will probably be carried around broadly.
The aluminum display back provides adequate protection against pressure; pushing on the rear of the screen lid does not yield any significant ripples on the monitor. The aluminum is a really nice touch; it might have been nice of the palm rest were covered as well; alas, it’s only a plastic imitation. Complete the build quality could use revision in the next iteration of the laptop. As it stands, the grade is passable but just barely.
Do-it-yourselfers wanting to upgrade the U31SD will find it relatively straightforward to do; there is just one large access panel on the base of the notebook held on by one screw. Under the cover are two RAM slots, the hard drive, along with the wireless card. Only among the RAM slots are occupied.
- Excellent battery life
- Runs cool and quiet
- Good warranty
- Not enough ports
- Keyboard flex
- So-so build quality
Screen Size 13.3 in. Weight 4 lbs. Processor Type Intel Core i3-2310M Graphics NVIDIA GeForce GT 520M
Full Features of ASUS U31SD-A1
- 13.3-inch glossy 720p display (1366×768 resolution)
- Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
- Intel Core i3-2310M dual-core processor (2.1GHz, 3MB cache, 35W TDP)
- Intel HM65 chipset
- Nvidia GeForce GT 520 w/ 1GB DDR3 dedicated video memory
- 4GB DDR3-1333 RAM (1x 4GB; supports up to 8GB – 2x 2GB)
- 640GB 5400RPM Western Digital hard drive (WD6400BPVT)
- Intel Centrino Wireless-N 100 wireless network adapter
- No internal Bluetooth
- Integrated webcam
- No internal optical drive
- 2-year global limited warranty w/ 1 year accidental damage coverage
- 8-cell Li-ion battery (14.4V, 5800mAh, 83Wh)
- Weight: 4 lbs.
- Dimensions: 12.9 x 9.2 x 1 inches
- MSRP: $799
Ports and Features of Asus U31SD-A1
The U31SD’s interface selection is best described as acceptable. It lacks USB 3.0 and SATA, and there’s absolutely no way to add them because the laptop lacks an ExpressCard expansion slot machine. The U31SD doesn’t have an internal optical drive. All descriptions are left to correct.