Ultra notebooks

Local assembler Ultra has replaced its old range of Clevo-based notebooks for a new OEM supplier — ASUS.


Local assembler Ultra has replaced its old range of Clevo-based notebooks for a new OEM supplier — ASUS. The new range certainly improves the look of the things (lets face it, some of the old ones were plain ugly), although they’re still not a patch on some of the stylish offering being produced by the likes of Sony and HP. Build quality seems good, although there was some variation in the quality of the keyboards between models — one was horribly springy, whereas others were rock solid. Still, in terms of specifications these notebooks are very competitive.

Ultra sent us five samples to test, all with identical CPUs (the Core Duo Intel T2400, although the entire range can be upgraded to the newer Core 2 Duo mobile chips, which weren’t available at the time of testing), 512MB of RAM, 60GB hard drive and, of course, all the obligatory a/b/g wireless and wired networking options. Variation in the range comes in the form of differing screen sizes and types, starting with a standard 15-inch XGA panel and finishing with a glossy 15.4-inch widescreen. All the panels did a decent job of rendering images and text, but the glossy widescreen versions really do look so much nicer than a standard display we’d recommend springing a little more for one of these.

You also have a choice of graphics chipsets: either Intel 945 integrated graphics or ATI’s 256MB option. we tested the entire range using WorldBench 5 and found performance to be pretty much even across the board, which was only to be expected when so much of each notebook (CPU, RAM, hard drive) was identical. Scores spread from 81 to 86 which is good, but not great. More RAM and faster CPUs would of course help, and since Ultra can build to order it’s problem solved.

RRP incl GST: $2599 - $2799 for specified configurations

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Scott Bartley

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