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Old 07-16-2012, 10:35 PM   #1
ShepherdsPie
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Default Is the Asus u47vc a hidden gem?

Why is it impossible to find reviews of this laptop?

I saw a u47a in Best Buy today and was instantly hooked by the size/weight/build quality/price. When I researched online and found there was a discrete graphics version, I was ecstatic. When I found out that GenTechPC would swap out the optical drive for a second hard drive (for the epic HDD + SSD combo), I was... confused?

Why is no one talking about this? What am I missing?

I just started looking for a new laptop 2 days ago, and when I was in the store today I was shocked at the variation in ergonomics/build quality between laptops. The Asus and Lenovo brand laptops were pretty much the only ones actually enjoyable to use. That said, if the u47vc is utterly destroyed by a competitor that I'm not aware of, I'd love to know about it.


EDIT: I just found the HP dv4t, that seems to be in the same ballpark but with a much better GPU. Tough call.

Last edited by ShepherdsPie; 07-16-2012 at 11:35 PM.
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Old 07-16-2012, 10:59 PM   #2
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For $900 it's okay, but at that price I'd spend a tad more and get into ultrabook territory or a better screen on a full size. 1366x768 is a pretty low resolution anymore so the screen seems to be lacking.

Full size
example: http://store.vizio.com/cn15a1.html
$1050 MSRP for better video card, full 1080p IPS screen, larger screen, larger HDD, and other stuff. For $50 more you get the i7 with 32gig SSD as well.

Ultrabook
example: http://store.vizio.com/ct14a1.html
$950 MSRP for true ultra book if you wanted the portability. 128gig SSD, 1600x900 IPS display, etc.

So I guess it depends on what prices you were finding this at, and what you're actually looking for.
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Old 07-16-2012, 11:16 PM   #3
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15" Laptops seem to be too small screen compared to 17" and not portable enough, so I don't bother looking at those. More importantly though, please compare 14" to 14".

The ultrabook you linked is kind of a joke. It's 1.7GHz vs the Asus's 2.5GHz. 4GB RAM vs 8. And Intel HD 4000 vs GT 620M. For roughly the same price. Oh and it's also a Sony, which means it's probably not as nice keyboard and trackpad (based on my comparisons in the store today). Yes the 1600x900 resolution is ideal, but not worth losing in every other category, and the lower res is fine on a 14" screen (the laptop I'm replacing is even worse and it wasn't a problem).

If/when I do get the u47vc, I will get it with 500gb HDD and 120 GB SSD from GenTechPC, and that comes to $1100.

I don't mean to be rude, but I'm trying to find reasons to wait and see what else is out there, and that didn't help.
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Old 07-17-2012, 01:40 AM   #4
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Its a Vizio not a sony. These are a new range of laptops with few reviews, so I have no idea how they are.
The point is that the ultrabook is "ultraportable" while the u47a is not as portable although it is pretty fantastic in terms of size. Its the same reason why the Zenbook is "better" than the u47a even though it has worse specs.
What gocorps was trying to get at is that the u47a falls between two typically set types of computers and you are going to get more bang for your buck if you are willing to pick a side.

I think the U47A, or the U47VC is awesome (the VC is the one with the 620M). I do believe you will get a better build, aesthetics, and ergonomics with the Asus over the dv4t. Other laptops with similar profiles (weight and size) include the Sony Vaio S (the 15inch has a similar size and weight as the U47 so you could consider it), the Lenovo Thinkpad T430 or T430s (also the Thinkpad Edge E430 and Thinkpad L430). If you are willing to spend more money - I wouldn't be - the Sony Vaio Z is smaller and even nicer!

Frankly the Asus and HP give you two ends of this small market. The "better built" less specced and the much better specced but "not as well built".
I would take a look at the Thinkpads. The T430 and T430s offer a comparable graphics card to the 620M although are probably going to be a bit more costly for similar specs compared to both the Asus and HP.
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Old 07-17-2012, 05:40 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShepherdsPie View Post
15" Laptops seem to be too small screen compared to 17" and not portable enough, so I don't bother looking at those. More importantly though, please compare 14" to 14".

The ultrabook you linked is kind of a joke. It's 1.7GHz vs the Asus's 2.5GHz. 4GB RAM vs 8. And Intel HD 4000 vs GT 620M. For roughly the same price. Oh and it's also a Sony, which means it's probably not as nice keyboard and trackpad (based on my comparisons in the store today). Yes the 1600x900 resolution is ideal, but not worth losing in every other category, and the lower res is fine on a 14" screen (the laptop I'm replacing is even worse and it wasn't a problem).

If/when I do get the u47vc, I will get it with 500gb HDD and 120 GB SSD from GenTechPC, and that comes to $1100.

I don't mean to be rude, but I'm trying to find reasons to wait and see what else is out there, and that didn't help.
Well if you don't mean to be rude, then maybe you can give us insight over what you're actually looking for in a laptop so we can help. I threw the full sized version in there because you didn't say what you were looking for...

Also the reason I choose the midrange Vizio (which is not a Sony...) was because the only Asus I could find was a midrange with an i5. There's a high end Vizio if you were looking at a high end Asus, but that's moot as it sounds like you just want a more compact non-ultrabook.
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Old 07-17-2012, 06:57 AM   #6
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Sorry about the mixup in sony vs vizio, I was looking at a bunch of pages in rapid succession and lost track. Also I'm a noob.

Well, the #1 thing I'm looking for is reviews/opinions on the Asus u47vc. I'm happy to talk about my preferences in a laptop though:

#1. I found that there was no significant difference in portability between the u47a in the store and the smallest ultrabooks. Yes some of the ultrabooks were insanely thin and light, making me want one just so I could feel like I was living in the future, but realistically the only added portability I could see from that was being able to walk around carrying the ultrabook in one hand and controlling it with the other. I don't think I would ever want to do that, so it doesn't represent any advantage to me. Based on comparing multiple 14" models in the store, the Asus u47a was small enough to still feel ultra-portable to me, but that wasn't true of all 14" laptops. So I'd avoid anything significantly bigger than that.
That means Dimensions=32.8 x 22.5 x 2.49 ~3.09 cm (WxDxH) (w/ 6cell battery), Weight=1.98 kg (with 6 cell battery)

#2. I want decently powerful internals for a decent price (I'm willing to pay for value, no real hard set limit). Most every ultrabook I've looked at has <2GHz clock speed cpu. I'm thinking something 2.3GHz or better would be ideal. I'm willing to bend a little on this though because I don't have a lot of experience comparing performance when only the clock speed changes, so I'm not sure what real effect it has. I don't want something noticeably slower than my work laptop though, which is a couple years old Thinkpad with somewhere in the 2+ range for clock speed.

#3. It must run games. Obviously this means I'm looking for Windows, as that has the best selection. Beyond that, I'd like to be able to run The Walking Dead and Legend of Grimrock. Being able to run Guild Wars 2 would be a nice bonus, but I don't see myself using this heavily for multiplayer gaming as I already have a desktop. It just needs to be able to play something light and fun when I want it. Also, I have no problems with low graphics settings. A lot of people say a game "won't run" on a particular laptop when really what they mean is it won't run on ultra. I'm used to turning the graphics down for competitive gaming, so low graphics settings don't bother me.

#4. Backlit keyboard and SSD heavily preferred. Probably the number one thing I hate on my current laptop is the lack of a backlit keyboard. And I think all laptops should have SSD's because the "quick wake up and do something" is part of their usage model.

#5. The largest possible screen in the smallest form factor. A 13" screen is the smallest I would consider, but frankly the 14" is preferred. I will even look at 15" if the laptop is small enough (such as the one you mentioned, I'll look into that). Also I do prefer glossy over matte screens. My current laptop is glossy and glare has never been much of a problem, and the matte screens don't look as good. That's one knock against the u47vc, but it's one I'm willing to live with.
Note on the 15" size, and many 14" notebooks: I feel like a lot of these would warrant a large laptop bag or backpack to carry. And I would constantly be debating whether I want to bring them with me when I go somewhere. I think at that point they're no more portable than a 17" laptop for me, and therefore they aren't worth looking at. There is a Samsung 15" ultrathin laptop that I'm aware of, but I think I remember the internals being unimpressive for the price, and most of the Samsung laptops had poor keyboards and terrible mouse buttons.

#6. A good keyboard and trackpad. That means key travel not too shallow, keys have a decent click-y-ness to them, they are firm in resetting when you release the key. I want to feel just as comfortable typing on my laptop as my desktop. Asus and Lenovo keyboards were the best in the store for this. Also the trackpads vary surprisingly between manufacturer, but not as much as the keyboard. As long as it's not on of the high-friction trackpads from Lenovo, anything works. The mouse buttons have to be good though, not feel like "mushy".

#7 Ports are good, the more the merrier. I don't have any specific requirements at this time though. A thunderbolt port for a possible external graphics card in the future would be awesome.

I see you made some suggestions and I'll look into all of those today when I have time. Also still considering the HP dv4t, as the GT 650M is a lot of graphics card in a small package. Thanks for the help!

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Old 07-17-2012, 11:36 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShepherdsPie View Post
15" Laptops seem to be too small screen compared to 17" and not portable enough, so I don't bother looking at those. More importantly though, please compare 14" to 14".

The ultrabook you linked is kind of a joke. It's 1.7GHz vs the Asus's 2.5GHz. 4GB RAM vs 8. And Intel HD 4000 vs GT 620M. For roughly the same price. Oh and it's also a Sony, which means it's probably not as nice keyboard and trackpad (based on my comparisons in the store today). Yes the 1600x900 resolution is ideal, but not worth losing in every other category, and the lower res is fine on a 14" screen (the laptop I'm replacing is even worse and it wasn't a problem).

If/when I do get the u47vc, I will get it with 500gb HDD and 120 GB SSD from GenTechPC, and that comes to $1100.

I don't mean to be rude, but I'm trying to find reasons to wait and see what else is out there, and that didn't help.

The resolution and IPS panel more than make up for the minor performance advatage the Asus has. If I was in the market the Vizio would be at the top of my list (right below their 15" Ultrabook) while I wouldn't even bother looking at the Asus.

You won't be able to notice any difference between 4 and 8gb of ram and even the slightly faster cpu won't be a complete game changer but going from a faded TN panel with poor viewing angles to an IPS display will be a night and day difference. My current laptop is a Thinkpad x220 with the optional IPS display and after enjoying it for a year I could never go back to a crappy TN panel.
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Old 07-17-2012, 12:59 PM   #8
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Well resolution is a double-edged sword. Running games at higher resolution is more taxing on the GPU, and that ultrabook only has an HD 4000. I agree there are a lot of reasons that the screen is great, and the IPS aspect is a factor, but at the end of the day I didn't have a problem with the screen on my old laptop, and that was 1200x800 on 15".

I'm still torn between the HP dv4t (great gpu, but does it overheat?) and the Asus u47vc (amazing all around, but a little light on graphics), but I also found that the Lenovo Y480 might get the GT 650M soon. This is tough because it's really hard to find anyone talking about these things on the news sites, which is why I made this thread in the first place.

Maybe I'll try and look at IPS display laptops. It seems like adding another requirement to my list would make a difficult search even harder though. Is going from TN to IPS better than the difference between 1080p and the new retina mbp? I saw an mbp in the store with the new display and wasn't impressed, it didn't look bad but it wasn't shockingly good. (I realize TN vs IPS isn't a resolution change, but it's the best point of comparison I've got)
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Old 07-17-2012, 01:12 PM   #9
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Maybe I'll try and look at IPS display laptops. It seems like adding another requirement to my list would make a difficult search even harder though. Is going from TN to IPS better than the difference between 1080p and the new retina mbp? I saw an mbp in the store with the new display and wasn't impressed, it didn't look bad but it wasn't shockingly good. (I realize TN vs IPS isn't a resolution change, but it's the best point of comparison I've got)
The Retina MBP is an IPS panel so that makes the comparison even more difficult.

The best way I can put it is if you can pick up any cheap 15" laptop and aren't immediately bothered by the screen than a good IPS panel may not be worth it to you. When I was shopping for laptops I was only able to find a small handful of <15" laptops at any price point that had screens I considered usable so spending more to get a good screen wasn't an issue for me.
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Old 07-17-2012, 02:22 PM   #10
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ShepardsPie, I would definitely go with the Asus u47vc. I like where HP is going, and they have some good computers in theory, but from what I have seen first hand, the build quality has suffered. I'm talking about having to replace motherboards and other hardware failures. Now my dv6t has lasted me 5 years without a single problem. It still runs, and it runs HOT, which is from a heatsink issue known to that model.
Currently I use a powerhouse desktop I pieced together, and a 2009 macbook I picked up used for portability.
I too went to Bestbuy on Sunday and spotted the u47a. It immediately grabbed my attention. I'm looking to swap out the mac for a windows computer, because I'm over the Mac OS. The u47a/vc is top notch. You're not going to find a better presentation and build quality. That keyboard is the tits! and the trackpad exceptional.
The whole resolution thing is the new hot topic. I got swept up in it myself, but like you said, it puts too much of a limit on the options. The only thing I need 1080p for is when I take 1080p videos, but I can always get an external monitor to review the videos. 720p is good enough for me. In the end, I don't find the resolution setting me back in productivity or satisfaction. My old dv6t has alwasy been sufficient in brightness and resolution (15" 1280x800). So I'm here to reinforce your decision on the u47a, if you want intel 4000 or vc if you want the GT 620M.
One thing you may want to consider, in a year, 1366x768 will be garbage to most people! The intel 4000 will get you over 1080p, and 3d if you want it, so if you wanna watch a movie, just use that hdmi port for the bigscreen!
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Old 07-17-2012, 02:25 PM   #11
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Ah, well the screen did look good color-wise. I was mostly trying to look at resolution though. In any case, I'm used to the current (bad) laptop screens, so paying extra for a great screen that has a harder time running games doesn't seem like a great option for me. Maybe I'll look at the Asus ux32vd, I think that's IPS too, and it at least has 620M, though that's underpowered for the 1080p in the new Zenbook.

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Old 07-17-2012, 09:52 PM   #12
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Okay, so I went back to the store and focused on a couple different laptops. In particular, I spent a lot more time with the Asus u47a... and I decided I couldn't buy it. The reason is that the matte finish Asus uses was just intolerable. The store also had the large gaming laptop, the Asus G75 I think it was, and that had a similarly problematic screen, ruining the otherwise nice 17" 1920x1080 display.

Now I don't have any hate for matte screens in general, in fact the Samsung Series 9 15" was sitting nearby with a lovely matte screen. The problem was ONLY with the Asus matte displays. I also looked at the Asus zenbook (1st gen) with the glossy display, and it looked great (though a bit low res).

So, considering that the new zenbook, the ux32vd with the IPS display and discrete graphics card, is pretty much at the top of my "want" list right now, is there any way I can figure out if it's matte screen has the same poor quality? I would really love a glossy version but that's asking too much.

Does anyone know any way that I might figure out if the matte finish on the ux32vd is the same as other Asus matte finishes?
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Old 07-18-2012, 09:24 AM   #13
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Okay, so I went back to the store and focused on a couple different laptops. In particular, I spent a lot more time with the Asus u47a... and I decided I couldn't buy it. The reason is that the matte finish Asus uses was just intolerable. The store also had the large gaming laptop, the Asus G75 I think it was, and that had a similarly problematic screen, ruining the otherwise nice 17" 1920x1080 display.

Now I don't have any hate for matte screens in general, in fact the Samsung Series 9 15" was sitting nearby with a lovely matte screen. The problem was ONLY with the Asus matte displays. I also looked at the Asus zenbook (1st gen) with the glossy display, and it looked great (though a bit low res).

So, considering that the new zenbook, the ux32vd with the IPS display and discrete graphics card, is pretty much at the top of my "want" list right now, is there any way I can figure out if it's matte screen has the same poor quality? I would really love a glossy version but that's asking too much.

Does anyone know any way that I might figure out if the matte finish on the ux32vd is the same as other Asus matte finishes?
I don't think it's the matte finish on those screens but rather the quality of the displays themselves that may be the issue since you thought the Series 9 was better and it's know to have a good display.

Anandtech has a good selection of pictures of the smaller UX21's display which should at least give you something to go by. I haven't seen a similar gallery for the UX32 however it's 1080p IPS panel has been consistently praised as being on of the best displays out there so I would be shocked if it had any issues like those other displays do.
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