Your overall impression about a notebook is the total of numerous trifles, of course. Particularly, the keyboard of the U3S contributes a lot to this total. It is a real masterpiece of engineering art. It offers 86 silvery keys, soft yet springy, framed into a narrow bezel. The keys do not rattle. The only drawback we could find here is that the Arrow buttons are placed level with the keyboard’s baseline, which makes them likely to be pressed accidentally.
The bottom left corner of the keyboard is occupied by a Control button – that’s convenient for people who are used to Control-involving shortcuts. A numpad (combined with the main keyboard) and two Windows keys are available: the Context Menu key is placed over one key to the right of the spacebar; the Windows Logo key is to the left of the spacebar. The functional keys are smaller than others. Home, Page Up, Page Down and End are placed in a column on the right. Pause, Print Screen, Insert and Delete continue the row of functional keys.
The touchpad resembles the one of the U1F model, but wider like the notebook overall. It is highly sensitive and has a vertical scrolling zone on the right. In between the touchpad buttons there is a fingerprint scanner that works together with the Trusted Platform Module to ensure the confidentiality of your data. There is no scrolling joystick – there is just no place for it left here.
If you are using an external mouse and want to avoid the touchpad reacting to an accidental touch, you may want to block the latter by pressing Fn+F9.
The removal of the optical drive out of the notebook’s body freed the side panels for various I/O interfaces – and the manufacturer made good use of this opportunity.
The notebook’s left panel carries the following components (from left to right):
- S-Video output
- USB 2.0 port
- Power connector for the external optical drive (the included power cable is also plugged into the neighboring USB port)
- 4-pin IEEE1394 port (FireWire) marked as DV (i.e. for Digital Video equipment)
- Slider to enable/disable the wireless interfaces
- 5-in-1 card-reader (supports Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, MultiMediaCard, Secure Digital and xD-Picture Card)
- Microphone input
- Headphones output
Besides the WLAN switch, you can enable the notebook’s Wi-Fi and Bluetooth interfaces by pressing Fn together with F2.