Where many rivals have seen fit to house Intel’s Centrino 2 hardware in an all-new chassis, Asus has simply updated an existing model. The question is, can the U6V compete with the next generation of laptops nipping at its heels?
With a 12.1in screen and weighing in at 1.58kg, albeit without the power adapter, the U6V’s vital statistics tell the tale of a promising ultraportable. Scratch the glossy surface, however, and the downsides quickly become evident.
Asus provides two batteries, one that sits flush to the laptop’s rear – a three-cell 2400mAh battery – and another six-cell 4800mAh battery that juts out by a couple of centimetres and adds 200g to the overall weight. With the smaller-capacity battery in place, the U6V barely manages more than two hours under light use, and just half an hour of heavy usage.
The six-cell battery helps the U6V last a little longer – more than four hours under light use, and just short of 1hr 30mins under heavy usage – but it’s still far from impressive compared with the best here.
The Intel Core 2 Duo T9400 processor is a bit of a surprise in an ultraportable – and while 1.23 in our benchmarks constitutes an impressive performance, the provision of 4GB of DDR2 rather than DDR3 memory holds back the T9400.
The choice of Nvidia 9300M GS discrete graphics isn’t an awful one, but with just 21fps in our least-demanding Crysis test, it’s still far from a high-powered option.
The death knell for the U6V comes courtesy of disappointing ergonomics. The trackpad is hampered by a pair of awkward buttons, and the keyboard’s light, indistinct action lags behind its rivals. The display is little better, with wayward colour reproduction that lends skintones an unnatural blue tinge. Tinny speakers round off a mediocre package.
Asus’ U6V is far from lacking in features but, overall, it’s unbalanced. If you have around $2500 to spend on a top-quality ultraportable, Lenovo’s X200 is a far more convincing alternative.
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