Unboxed: pine scented ASUS F6V laptop

Unboxed: pine scented ASUS F6V laptop
Sorry, got a bit carried away there, but it's true, there's no mistaking the pine scent as we crack the seal on the F6V, what must be the first laptop we've ever seen with a built-in scent.

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The ASUS F6V "morning dew" - like a pine scented forest

Just a hint of pine forest
Obviously not content with multi-coloured laptops, leather laptops, and bamboo, it took ASUS to look at the big picture and come up with smell as a selling point - or "infused scents" as ASUS more glamorously describes them.

And yes, it smells, but in a good way. While we were expecting something akin to that guy who goes overboard on Brut before a night at the pub, the effect of "morning dew" is thankfully quite a bit more subtle. Out of the box, there's just a hint of pine, and you'll need to stick your nose right up to the laptop if you want to really get a lungful (no really, we insist).

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Information about the "fragrance lifespan"

There are also other scents on offer. We haven't had the opportunity to smell them ourselves, but we can't say we're not intruiged by designs like Musky Black with its "musky scent" (there's also Aqua Ocean and Floral Blossom).

Unfortunately the "fragrance lifespan" is not forever - like battery life, no two notebook smells are exactly alike, and the power of your notebook's smell will fade after a period of time. ASUS recommends keeping the notebook tucked away in a bag when not in use, to keep that morning dew freshness. In fact, we found the notebook scent almost entirely disappeared after it had been sitting on our desk for a couple of hours.

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Return to the embrace of Mother Nature - ASUS's words, not ours

ASUS is doing some of the more interesting things with notebook design (including the recent bamboo laptop), and the F6V is no exception. The designs are striking, with our morning dew model incorporating a gloss finish, with trendy-looking swirls and splashes that vaguely reminded us of the HP's dv2800t Artist Edition (well, a little bit).

We've seen a worrying trend towards style over function in touchpads lately, including some chromed designs that looked amazing, but were awkward to use. Not so with the F6V. The feel of the F6V touchpad is smoother than we're used to.

No cramped netbook-style keyboards here. The F6V is easy to type on, and the key placings are easy enough to use, even if they are a little plastic-feeling.

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Pleasantly lacking in RSI - the F6V keyboard

The F6V is actually no toy - under the hood our review unit had a solid, if not earth shattering spec, including Intel Core 2 Duo T5800 (2GHz), and 2GB RAM. The machine comes with Vista, there's a 13.3inch screen, and you get up to 320GB HDD, and a DVD drive.

Crucially the F6V weighs just under 2Kg, which puts this in the truly portable class, another drawcard it has over many mid-size laptops.

Specs on the ASUS web site say the F6V only comes with 3 cell batt - but if ASUS stays true to form there'll hopefully be a 6 cell option.

We'll be able to tell you more once we've run full benchmarks for our full review, but our first impressions are that the F6V won't cause any major dramas when it comes to daily desktop tasks.

Despite the disparity we've seen between 2GB Vista systems and 1GB XP systems, the Core 2 Duo in our review unit meant we didn't suffer the same lag we've encountered on several Vista Atom system. The F6V was responsive, and coped with basic loads including running several browser tabs while playing a movie in Windows Media Player.

The official details are yet to be released, but ASUs tells us the F6V will start from $1,599. We're yet to see what spec that includes, but based on the specs on the F6V web page, the value looks decent, considering this is a sub-2Kg machine. Overseas, we saw the F6V available for pre-order from Amazon for US$1,299 when it was first announced.

Bargain hunters after affordable ultra-portables will also be interested in Dell's Inspiron 13, which starts at $1,099. The Dell stands out for the 9-cell battery, though if you're after something different, the ASUS F6V demands to be sniffed.
As we open the box it hits us, the unmistakable wafting scent of a pine forest, floating on the summer breeze and carrying away our troubles . . .
• Price: $1599 • CPU model/brand: Intel Core 2 Duo T5800 • CPU speed: 2GHz • Memory capacity: 2GB • Internal optical drive: Yes • Optical drive type: DVD writer • Graphics type: Dedicated • Graphics: ATI Mobility Radeon HD3470 • Screen size: 13.3in • Weight: 1.99Kg • Manufacturer: ASUS • Supplier: ASUS

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