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Asus Lamborghini VX3 12.1in Notebook - Asus Lamborghini VX3 - Specs Cont., Verdict

By Hugo Jobling
Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score

8/10

Review Price free/subscription

No matter how good it looks, a supercar (and by extension a supercar-styled notebook) is nothing without a decent engine under the bonnet so it's lucky for Asus that it has supplied the Lamborghini VX3 with just that. Unlike the Vaio TZ and Asus' own U2 which feature ultra-low-voltage Intel chips, the VX3 packs a fully-fledged Intel Core 2 Duo T9300. A 45nm dual-core, Penryn CPU running at 2.5GHz on an 800MHz front-side bus, complete with 6MB L2 cache and a 35W TDP. As we all know by now, being Penryn-based means that while the VX3 should have oodles of horse processing power, it shouldn't draw obscene amounts of battery charge in the process - although inevitably power draw is going to be fairly high with such a CPU.

Complementing the punchy processor is 4GB of 667MHz DDR2 RAM. Sadly although Vista Ultimate Edition is provided on the laptop, it is of the 32-bit flavour so you'll only actually be getting closer to 3.25GB of usable memory. Not that that makes the Lamborghini slow by any means. Far from it, in fact!

Unlike the U2E which boasts a 64GB SSD, the VX3 packs in a 320GB conventional hard drive. Given the cost and the high-end pretentions we'd have preferred to see solid state drive in the Lambo (just like we'd prefer carbon-ceramic brakes on our sports cars) but the larger capacity is arguably more favourable for everyday use (again, just like carbon brakes which revel on the track, but take an age to warm up on the road - it's amazing how far these motoring analogies stretch).

In contrast to the otherwise high-end specs Asus has opted to go with a low-end graphics chipset - the nVidia GeForce 9300M G. With 16 stream processors, a 400MHz core clock, an 800MHz shader clock and 256MB of GDDR RAM on a 64-bit interface running at 600MHz. Gaming is not the forté of such a GPU, but nonetheless Trackmania (our preferred notebook gaming benchmark) delivered an average of 44fps at the medium detail preset. Spore's Creature Creator ran with no noticeable slowdown at fairly good detail settings which leads me to conclude that the full game will play just fine, too - brilliant!

This impression translates into the benchmark results which are suitably impressive. Given the processor in the VX3 is a smidgeon over twice the clock speed of the Vaio TZ and the Lenovo X300 it's hardly surprising that it's about twice as fast in our in-house benchmarks. Although the X300's brilliantly fast SSD appears to help with VirtualDub. By using a fully fledged mobile CPU as opposed to a low-voltage chip, Asus has ensured that it has the fastest small notebook going. In doing so battery life takes a noticeable hit but since when was fuel economy a concern to a supercar owner? (since super-unleaded topped £1.30 per litre - ed.)

Asus supplies two batteries. A small, but more aesthetically pleasing three-cell flush-fitting option or a larger nine-cell. Our tests were run with the larger of the two and, as you can see, Asus has successfully countered the disadvantage of its higher power-draw processor by supplying a larger battery with the VX3. The Lenovo X300 and Vaio TZ do offer their operating periods without unsightly oversized batteries, but given the near-2Kg weight of the VX3, it's not exactly the weapon of choice for road warriors anyway.

The VX3, like a ‘real' Lamborghini, isn't cheap at £1,800-odd. If you step down in size (and up in screen resolution) slightly the U2E and VAIO TZ rear their heads, and come some £400 cheaper, while offering considerably better portability at the expensie of raw performance. Asus also has a similar system in the form of the U6S, at a much lower price, although that model omits a DVD drive. If you're looking for a high-performance system that's going to attract attention you really can't do better than the Lamborghini VX3, but you're paying a premium for the priviledge of owning one.

Love it or hate it, the Asus Lamborghini VX3 undeniably has style by the boatload. Add the impressive specification and performance besting it's similarly priced rivals and you'll have to agree there's a lot to like. If the Sony Vaio TZ is a Lotus Elise - small, light, good looking, decent performance - then the VX3 really is a Lamborghini Gallardo - powerful, expensive and, of course, great to look at.

Verdict

Yes the VX3 is pricey, even overpriced, but what does that matter? It's a Lambourghini for goodness sake! There's nothing out there you can buy that's quite the same. (But I'll still have a Porsche 911 GT3 RS instead thanks - ed.)

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Luan Bach

July 8, 2008, 3:13 pm

Can you peel those product labels off without leaving marks ? They are ruining the looks.

Andy Vandervell

July 8, 2008, 3:28 pm

You can and it's nothing a little wipe wouldn't solve.

Hugo

July 8, 2008, 3:35 pm

As I said, they leave a small bit of 'stickiness' when peeled off, but a little warm water solves that just fine.

Luan Bach

July 8, 2008, 4:17 pm

Ah, missed that bit of text, too busy looking at the pictures :-)

Ben

July 8, 2008, 5:08 pm

Supercar-branded laptops make Ben a sad panda.

Mikko Lahti

July 8, 2008, 5:44 pm

Please, if you claim to do something like this: "...the usual TR habit of populating our reviews with more car analogies than a Bughatti Veyron has horsepower."


I would expect you to at least get the name of the supercar right.

Andy Vandervell

July 8, 2008, 5:50 pm

Cheers, fixed.

Petrov

July 8, 2008, 7:39 pm

Could you possibly have a nice front-on picture of the screen - all these suggestve side/rear shots would be nicely complemented by being able to see what it actually looks like from face-on... Many thanks.

Andy Vandervell

July 8, 2008, 7:58 pm

Done.

Riyad

July 9, 2008, 12:34 am

I should have spotted Hugo's Bugatti typo when I edited the review, but I was reading it at about 1am this morning! But then it could have been because I'm not a fan of the Veyron, the McLaren F1 is a far more impressive car in my opinion. The F1 achieved its power using a naturally aspirated engine, whereas Bugatti just kept bolting turbos onto the Veyron until it was faster than the McLaren!

Norbury

July 9, 2008, 2:06 am

Quick tip, stickers don't leave residue if you heat them up a bit first. A hairdryer is hot enough.

Mikko Lahti

July 9, 2008, 8:00 am

Riyad, I suggest you go read a bit more about the Veyron's performance and about the engineering feats that it took to achieve such a vehicular pinnacle that is the Bugatti Veyron. Otherwise your opinions make you sound like a less educated person than you probably are (comparing the McLaren F1 to the Veyron is outrageous, not even the Koenigsegg CCR compares to the Veyron). No offence though, the McLaren F1 was the king of the hill for a good number of years.

Riyad

July 9, 2008, 1:48 pm

Mikko, I know exactly what it took to squeeze that amount of power into the Veyron. The point is that forced induction is, quite simply, the easiest way to increase power output. A naturally aspirated engine on the other hand, is far more of a challenge, unless you're just going to throw massive weight and displacement at it like the Dodge Viper.





The Veyron employs four turbo chargers in order to achive its power output, and despite the fact that the engineers have done an amazing job of keeping lag in check, it's still there. A naturally aspirated engine has no lag, and rewards the driver with instantaneous throttle response. I currently drive one turbo charged car, and another with a highly tuned naturally aspirated engine, and even though there's very little lag on the turbo car, the throttle response on the other just blows it off the road.





It's also worth remembering that the Veyron weighs two tonnes, and no matter how much power you throw at something, weight will always be detrimental to handling. The McLaren F1 weighs almost half as much as the Veyron, and even taking power to weight ratios out of the equation, that light structure will make the handling sharper. Oh, and let's not forget that the F1 is constructed from carbon fibre, thus making the body supremely stiff as well as loweing the centre of gravity - all of which improves handling even more. I never quite understood why Bugatti used aluminium for part of the Veyron body, but I'm sure it was done out of necessity rather than choice.





But the real beauty of the F1 is its simplicity. The fact that the V12 engine is basically two BMW E36 M3 lumps stuck together, makes it a very reliable power plant - I wouldn't necessarily suggest that you could drive an F1 to work every day, but it's a far more resilient beast than you'd expect it to be.





All that aside, I believe that a truly impressive performance car is one that's fast, handles supremely and can be driven every day. That's why the Porsche 911 has had such longevity and continues to dominate, and why the Audi R8 looks like a very attractive proposition.





Anyway, I apologise that I appear "less educated" to you Mikko, but I really need to get on with some work now.

BigBadDave

July 9, 2008, 4:07 pm

Interesting stuff. Did you drive the F1 and the Veyron on the same day?

Mikko Lahti

July 9, 2008, 6:20 pm

Okay Riyad, like BigBadDave suggested, it's clear that you've driven the F1 a lot and also the Veyron, so I can't argue with you it seems. This isn't really the place for it anyway, having a debate about supercars belongs to a supercar forum. So let's just agree to disagree about our dreamcars, the Bugatti Veyron is my thing, yours is the McLaren F1. Cheers

Riyad

July 9, 2008, 6:20 pm

I've never driven a Veyron, which is why the above comment doesn't mention personal opinion.





What I said about forced induction, weight, chassis materials and handling do not require personal driving experience to be valid.





And don't go thinking that I dislike turbocharged supercars, because I believe that the F40 is one of the greatest road going cars Ferrari has ever made. But again, the F40 had a kerb weight that was roughly half of the Veyron's.





Ultimately Bugatti set out to build the fastest road going production car in the world, something that it achieved at great cost to itself and parent company VAG. By contrast, Gordon Murray didn't design the F1 to be the fastest car in the world, that ended up being a by product of him creating the most accomplished, street legal racing car ever made.

Riyad

July 9, 2008, 6:30 pm

Mikko, I never said I'd driven a Veyron, which is why I didn't include any personal opinions on driving/performance/handling etc.





Also, the McLaren F1 is in no way my dream car, I was just making a comment. Given the choice of anything, I'd probably go for a mint 1973 Porsche 911 Carrera 2.7 RS, but they're going for around 𧶀,000 these days :(



Jay 1

July 9, 2008, 7:06 pm

My laptop handles amazingly well and it weighs a tonne... ;)

Sigit

March 16, 2009, 1:30 am

WoW.. Asus Finally Specs Lambo Laptop


I will so impressed once many features one that will be presented by Asus Lambo it. And for Power4Gear's feature really helps immensely, I utilize Asus A8Series that just has 3 Power4Gear's features: Power4Gear Entertainment, Power4Gear Battery Saving, Power4Gear High Performance.


And I just like Power4Gear Battery Saving, over and above useful for saving my battery laptop, also so cozy for my sight... Bravo ASUS Lamborghini VX series.. must will really be happy to have it!

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