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Asus Lamborghini VX3 12.1in Notebook
Around a year and a half ago we looked at the Asus Lambourghini VX2 and we were pretty enamoured with it. For a start, it gave us some actual justification for the usual TR habit of populating our reviews with more car analogies than a Bugatti Veyron has horsepower. Moreover, while the styling didn't really pay homage to the Lambo's namesake, it was still distinctive enough to persuade us it would appeal to supercar aficionados.
As any supercar owner knows, there's always the risk of a new, more powerful, spec coming out and supercar name-sharing notebooks are no different. In this case more horsepower is equated with a faster processor, more RAM and a bigger hard drive. Better yet, while the VX3 is eminently going to be faster than its predecessor, it manages to do so while not also carrying an inflated price.
Of course a direct comparison isn't really fair because the VX3 is also a much smaller Lamborghini than the VX2 was. While the older model sported a 15.4in screen, this system has a smaller 12.1in panel. That's not a bad thing, though. As the success of the Sony Vaio TZ and, more recently the Eee PC, has proved, small, light, sleek notebooks (and netbooks) are the new black - so to speak.
Also importantly, while it's still the case that Acer and its Ferrari line of laptops did the whole "performance-car, performance laptop" name-share thing first, that company hasn't really stayed true to its routes. The Acer Ferrari line isn't anything special these days. The systems look okay, and the performance is acceptable but there's no longer the same air of about them. Asus, thankfully, hasn't fallen into the same trap.
Despite its relatively small size, the VX3 is still a very shouty notebook. The lid is the same glossy, piano lacquer yellow as the VX2 and features the same black "grille" near the display's hinge. Likewise the Asus logo usually predominant on the company's laptops is relegated to the lower left corner to make way for an "Automobili Lamborghini" badge, rampant bull and all. Understated, it is not and that's exactly what we'd expect to see - so it's nice to see Asus hasn't been tempted to dull down the aesthetics to appeal to a wider audience. Of course the U2E is there for those customers now.
Opening the lid up and it's a similar situation. The touchpad isn't shaped to match the screen, like just about any other notebook, but in this case, it's trapezium shaped. It's not going to help with usability, but it does look rather cool. Even the keyboard isn't content to look normal and instead has keys made from a sparkly and slightly glossy black plastic. Again, just because it looks good.
Below the keyboard and surrounding the touchpad is a leather wrist-rest trimmed with yellow thread. It's a small, nearly-unnoticeable touch but, when you do spot it, it's the kind of attention to aesthetic detail that really shows just how much Asus has thought about the aesthetics of the VX3. Sadly the leather is spoiled by the addition of various "Windows Vista", "Graphics by nVidia" and "Intel Inside" stickers, which when removed leave a slight sticky residue. They're a small blemish on an otherwise flawlessly good-looking chassis, though.