Elsewhere, the U6V-2P001E continues to entice with a very complete wireless package, including integrated Bluetooth 2.0, WiFi Link 5100 with Draft-N support and, best of all, HSDPA. To this end, a SIM slot can be found just inside the battery compartment.
The impressive specifications don’t end there; with a 320GB, albeit 4,200 RPM hard drive, giving you plenty of storage space for your video and music collections. In fact, you can even add a modest – read undemanding – games collection to that, as the U6V comes equipped with dedicated graphics courtesy of nVidia’s GeForce 9400M. While no powerhouse by any stretch, it gave a playable frame rate in our standard notebook gaming test (TrackMania Nations Forever) at the panel’s native resolution of 1,280 x 800 with full details and 4x anti-aliasing.
As mentioned before, the 12.1in screen is incredibly thin and light thanks to its LED backlight. Colours are nice and vibrant and text is sharp and easy to read. Despite having a reflective glossy screen it’s still possible to view it under most lighting conditions, including direct sunlight – though most of the time that’s hardly a potential problem in Britain! Viewing angles are reasonable, though hampered by the reflectivity and suffering a little from the usual contrast and colour shift.
Apart from the awkward touchpad, the single speaker is probably the only really disappointing aspect here, being smaller even than those found on an original Eee PC 701. It distorts badly with even light bass and only manages anything higher with the already feeble volume turned down.
So, overall, you get a quite attractive machine with some classy touches, stuffed to the grills with features and sporting some seriously capable hardware. Using the large secondary battery also gives the U6V impressive battery life and the keyboard is pleasant, though the touchpad is a pain.
The main consideration, however, is price. Compared to Asus’ own Lamborghini VX3 12.1in ultraportable, there really is no competition. You basically get a better performing machine for far less money; so unless you’re particularly enamoured of the Lamborghini branding, go for the U6V instead.
When it comes to the competition, things are less straightforward. Samsung’s new Centrino 2 Q210, for example, might not have quite as much under the hood or offer as much longevity, but is almost half the price. Unless you’re absolutely sold on the looks of the UV6 and must have integrated HSDPA, it’s a compelling alternative and new models from Sony are also likely to offer stiff competition.
It all comes down to money. If you can afford it, the £1,350 Asus U6V-2P001E probably won’t disappoint. It’s fairly stylish and a great performer – just keep in mind its excellent battery life (using the eight-cell) comes at the price of some of that style and portability.
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