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The Lamborghini VX3's 12.1in LED-backlit screen features a glossy coating, which makes colours suitably vivid and blacks deep. Unfortunately it also has the downside of increasing the display's susceptibility to glare. The probable buyers of the VX3 aren't likely to be using it in an office environment, so perhaps this won't be e problem, but it's worth noting that Sony has perfected this type of screen, with the latest TZ range sporting arguably the finest notebook screens out there. The resolution is a slightly disappointing 1,280 x 800 which is made all the more so when you remember the smaller U2E has a 1,366 x 768 panel. However, it does help keep costs down and many users will prefer the larger pixels, which do make text and icons easier to read.
Viewing angles are, frankly, pretty poor. For a single user that isn't a problem and at least there's no chance of anyone reading over your shoulder. As already mentioned, Sony has been providing far superior LED-backlit screen for a while now, so it would be nice if Asus could catch up sometime soon. Luckily the webcam embedded above the screen has been angled so that when you do have the panel angled to its optimum position said camera is pointing at your face. Good news for potential VX3 buyers into their web-conferencing.
Asus includes a software suite, triggered by an Fn hotkey, which switches between different screen modes, changing the gamma levels, colour profiles and so forth. Given that all but the Normal mode look awful, though, I'd recommend leaving that feature well alone. It's a perfect example of value-add software that doesn't really add anything.
Overall though, when angled correctly the screen is absolutely fine. A quick play of the latest office-favourite trailer, Tropic Thunder, saw lush green jungle foliage, vivid reds and yellows from the numerous explosions and blood spatters and good black levels. For occasional film watching and office work - what we consider the VX3's likely principal diet - it's more than adequate.
Looking below the screen, the lower half of the chassis houses a button at each side (by the display's hinges), a tiny hole labelled as the built-in microphone , and a set of blue LED indicators in the centre - power, battery, WiFi on/off, hard drive activity and numlock. The rightmost button controls power while the left button controls Asus' Power4Gear software, switching between power states. These include, Performance, Battery, Quiet Office and Entertainment. Asus isn't the only manufacturer to offer this functionality, but we certainly appreciate the addition and having a dedicated button at least adds some symmetry if nothing else - and I'm a sucker for a pretty fascia.
Speaking of buttons, it seems prudent to discuss the keyboard, which for a small system is perfectly acceptable. All the important keys are a decent size, the left Control is in the correct place, to the left of the Fn key and while there are a few half-sized keys, notably the apostrophe and right shift, they aren't a hindrance as they still rest in a good position to get up a decent touch-typing pace.
The keys' feedback is good too, with a decent amount of travel, no sponginess and while there is some aural feedback it isn't clackity. As well as looking very elegant, the leather wrist-wrest is also very comfortable to use and is large enough that unless you have god-like hands you'll be able to find a typing position to suit you.
As with previous models of the VX-series Asus again bundles a wireless, Bluetooth mouse decked out in Lamborghini livery with the VX3. A quick look on the base reveals that this is in fact made by Logitech and thus should be pretty good. Unsurprisingly it is, if maybe a little small for some tastes. Coupled with the (also bundled) leather-clad mousepad it makes the prospect of using the VX3 at a desk for longer periods of time that much less daunting a proposition. Of course, we'd almost always recommend using a ‘real' mouse over a touchpad - the fact that this one matches the chassis is just a bonus.
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