Asus Bamboo U6V

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Here’s something for the stylish gadget fan: the Asus Bamboo U6V. Yes, 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.

Features

What impressed us the most was that this laptop has the latest features and powerful hardware, and is still ridiculously light in weight at 1.78 kg!__STARTQUOTE__The packaging is as elaborate as its contents, with everything arranged neatly inside a slick black multi-level box.__ENDQUOTE__Built around Intel’s Centrino 2 notebook platform (aka 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 to that, a whopping 4 GB of DDR2 800 RAM, a roomy 320 GB hard drive, and a discrete Nvidia GeForce 9300M GPU make this ultra-portable a truly mean machine. The eSATA port lets you transfer data at high speed.

The 12.1-inch screen runs at a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels, and its rim houses a VGA webcam. 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.

Connectivity is offered via Wi-Fi N, Bluetooth and gigabit Ethernet. Two uncommon features that the U6V offers are 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.

Finally, the rich package contents include a laptop bag, a stylish beige sleeve with a touch of leather, a matching memo pad, a lint-free cloth, power cable and adapter, a mouse, a thick cable tie, and the 4800 mAh battery pack. Other goodies include a quick-start guide and a system manual, Cyber Link Power2Go 6.0 on a disc, a Vista Recovery DVD, and a driver disc. The packaging is as elaborate as its contents, with everything arranged neatly inside a slick black multi-level box.
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Build

The most striking aspects of the U6V are its weight and looks. At a ridiculously light weight of 1.78 kg, the U6V is unlikely to give you sore shoulders. Its slim design will even allow you to carry books and paperwork in the same laptop bag.

Looks wise, you might think that it’s meant purely as a style statement at first glance, but let’s not jump to conclusions yet. It’s true that 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 even the touch pad. The bundled mouse carries the exact same look, except that it isn’t coated with actual bamboo. The Asus logo on the lid is etched in quite subtly.

That’s about it for the wooden part. The base, keyboard and its frame, and the screen’s frame have a uniform metallic satin finish. On one hand, the overall look will appeal to most people. On the other, some might brush it off as just another fancy-looking toy, simply due to a different way of looking at computers. We say it’s a fine example of elegance and style, so try to get a feel of this laptop before buying it to make sure you like it.__STARTQUOTE__Despite the matte lacquer on the bamboo surfaces, the U6V seems prone to scratches as well as stains from sweaty palms and fingers.__ENDQUOTE__The U6V chassis is quite robust, but the lid, owing to its ultra-thin build, is delicate. The keyboard and bundled mouse are also noticeably comfortable to use. We weren’t particularly happy with the touchpad buttons, though, since they are a bit too hard to press.

Also, despite the matte lacquer on the bamboo surfaces, the U6V seems prone to scratches as well as stains from sweaty palms and fingers. It would therefore be a good idea to use the bundled sleeve and bag each time you travel with it.
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Performance

Owing to its high-end configuration, we had high expectations of the U6V. 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 the Crysis game benchmark to check how well the discrete GPU handles games.

The overall performance more than satisfied us, with scores nearly matching a serious business-minded machine like the Lenovo ThinkPad T400 which uses the same CPU. Be it simple office applications such as Microsoft Office 2007 or more demanding ones such as the Adobe CS3 bundle, all will sail smoothly. Games can be played seamlessly at modest resolutions with low to medium quality settings.

Something worth mentioning is that the generous amount of RAM and the gigantic storage capacity will take this laptop places because heavy applications and multimedia make very good use of surplus resources. In spite of being decked out with some serious hardware, the battery serves well, running for up to 3 hours and 25 minutes, which is a good thing.

Conclusion

Considering the slick looks, high-end hardware and light weight, the U6V is for someone who needs good performance and the latest features in a small, portable package. However, if you don’t mind a regular finish instead of the bamboo, other good-looking ultraportables are available for a considerably lower price than the Rs. 1,00,000 tag that this one carries.


Published Date: Apr 14, 2009 11:42 am | Updated Date: Apr 14, 2009 11:42 am