The Asus U36Jc-A1 ($999.99 street) is as thin and elegantly made as its razor-thin predecessors, except it ships with a 7-hour removable battery and a powerful Core i5 processor. Unfortunately, Asus underestimated the heat and fan noises that come from using these parts. A cooling pad may not be such a bad idea.
While some may find the stealth black design plain and corporate-looking, it's somewhat of a relief that the U36Jc-A1 didn't turn out to be some Apple look-alike. It didn't get too cute with colors or play around with textures, although I did like how the Lenovo IdeaPad U260 uses these themes to its advantage. Instead, the U36Jc-A1's aluminum-magnesium alloy frame is solidly constructed and gives its users a sense of security on the road.
A 13.3-inch widescreen is what all of these ultraportables have in common, a nice compromise between screen real estate and portability. It comes with the boilerplate 1,366-by-768 resolution, but viewing angles and brightness levels are in line with the Lenovo U260, Dell V130, and Toshiba R705-P35. The typing experience is noteworthy, though the keys are difficult to differentiate in lowlit environments because everything is colored in black.
The Asus U36Jc-A1 is everything power users want to see in a thin ultraportable. Equipped with a standard voltage Core i5 processor and an Nvidia graphics chips basically means you can cruise through any task. But the same reason why its thin counterparts chose an underpowered processor and integrated graphics only is the one Asus chose to ignore. Depending on the task at hand, the U36Jc-A1 can get hot at times. You won't experience any heat issues with the Apple MacBook Air 13-inch, yet it performed valiantly. The most practical ultraportable and our Editors' Choice is the Toshiba Portege R705-P35.