Asus packs in a hefty configuration into its stylish and eco-friendly new ultraportable, writes
The Asus Bamboo U6V is meant for the stylish gadget fan. It’s made of bamboo on the outside and a little on the inside too. With a high-end hardware configuration and downright sexy looks, this ultra-portable is here to be ogled at. Last week, we’d carried a buzz piece about it. This week, we’ll tell you some more.
Asus Bamboo U6V
At first glance
The most impressive feature of this baby is that it packs the latest and the most powerful hardware in a ridiculous 1.78 kg. Built around Intel’s Centrino 2 notebook platform (a.k.a Montevina), it features the Intel PM45 chipset and is powered by an Intel Core 2 Duo 8400 CPU clocked at 2.26 GHz with a 3 MB L2 cache.
In addition, it has 4 GB of DDR2 800 RAM, a roomy 320 GB hard drive, and a discrete Nvidia GeForce 9300M GPU to make this ultra-portable a truly mean machine. The eSATA port lets you transfer data at high speed too.
We had high expectations of the U6V since it has such a high-end configuration. For testing, we used synthetic and real world benchmarks such as SiSoft Sandra 2009, PCMark Vantage Professional as well as our own audio and video encoding, and file compression tests. We also used Crysis as a benchmark to check how well the discrete GPU handles games.
The overall performance satisfied us, with scores almost matching a serious business machine like the Lenovo ThinkPad T400 which uses the same CPU. From simple office applications like Microsoft Office 2007 to more demanding ones such as the Adobe CS3 bundle, the going was all smooth.
Games can be played seamlessly at modest resolutions with low to medium quality settings. The generous amount of RAM and gigantic storage capacity is useful for heavy applications and multimedia. The battery serves well too, running for up to three hours and 25 minutes.
The 12.1-inch screen runs at a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels, and its rim houses a VGA web camera. The HDMI port lets you enjoy HD movies on your flatscreen TV, while the standard VGA port lets you connect to a regular secondary monitor or projector. Other connectors include 3 USB ports, an Ethernet jack, audio ports, a fingerprint scanner, and a Kensington lock slot.
There’s Wi-Fi N, Bluetooth and gigabit Ethernet. The U6V also offers a SIM card slot nestled in the battery compartment — though a 3G data module to use it with is absent and a LightScribe enabled DVD writer.
The looks and design are interesting largely due to the unique processed bamboo coating. The natural bamboo texture is prominent on the lid, palm rest and touch pad. The bundled mouse has the same look, except that it isn’t coated with actual bamboo.
The Asus logo on the lid is etched in quite subtly. The base, keyboard frame, and the screen frame have a uniform metallic satin finish. Despite the matte lacquer on the bamboo surfaces, the U6V seems prone to scratches as well as stains from sweaty palms and fingers.
The U6V chassis is quite robust but the lid is delicate, because of its ultra-thin build. The keyboard and bundled mouse are also really comfortable to use. We weren’t particularly happy with the touchpad buttons, though, since they are a bit too hard to press.