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Asus U3

Andy Vandervell


Exclusive: Asus U3 Hands-On

You may be bored of hearing it, but everyone at TrustedReviews likes small and light notebooks. We like to point this out because: a) it is true and b) it makes for a very convenient introduction whenever we happen to writing about a small, light or ultra-portable notebook. It'll come as no surprise then to discover that today I'm looking at a new thin and light portable notebook, the Asus U3.

Asus has been kind enough to furnish us with an exclusive advanced engineering sample (the only one in Europe) of its new 13.3in notebook, which is the slightly bigger brother to the Asus U1F that Riyad looked at back in February. Ordinarily a 13.3in notebook wouldn't be anything special, but this Asus sports a whole raft of features and ideas that aren't too common in competing notebooks. Before I get onto all this however, let's take a look at the new chassis.

Immediately the relationship between the U3 and the U1F is very obvious. From the shiny black exterior, the leather interior and chromed edges, the two share a very clear and identifiable design sensibility. This is no bad thing because the U1F was a lovely looking notebook and although it is an acquired taste for some, the leather interior adds a sense of executive class to the Asus that's normally associated with the expensive seats on planes.

Elsewhere on the notebook there are plenty of nice touches. Chrome finished edges are always something of a luxury, while the arrangement of status lights and shortcut buttons into the area between the two hinges removes any annoying clutter from the around the keyboard and gives the U3 a very clean look.

Overall the chassis is stylish and eye-catching, providing the sort of quality of feel and finish we've come to associate with other Asus notebooks. If there is one complaint though it would be the colour of the keyboard, which unlike the black finish on the U1F keys, features a matte silver finish with a graphite grey surrounding. To my mind this isn't quite as smart as the all black interior of the U1F, though this is more a matter of personal taste than anything else.

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