Netbooks may have taken a severe beating from tablets and now with the threat of cheaper Ultrabooks from Intel and very soon, AMD, that is looming over their head. However, they aren't going down without a fight. Today, we have a premium netbook in our midst, the Asus VX6S Lamborghini Murciélago LP640 edition. Just like the Lamborghini editions in the past, this one too is modelled around a particular Lamborghini, the Murciélago LP640 in this case. Let's find out if its beauty is more than just skin deep.
On Video: asus VX65 Lamborghini edition
Design and Build
Right from the sculpted lid, to the chrome accents, to the textured rubber palm rests - everything just oozes style and luxury. The build quality is excellent and all the plastic bits fit together just right without any squeaky bits anywhere. Our unit came with the trademark orange paint job and a large un-mistakable Lamborghini badge. At 1.5kg, it’s not too heavy either and fits perfectly in your backpack or briefcase.
Very, very stylish
The netbook is fairly slim as well with all the ports occupying either sides of it. The left features a thin pin charging port, VGA, HDMI, USB 2.0 and memory card reader. The right side houses the headphone and microphone jacks, two USB 3.0 ports, Gigabit LAN port. The 6-cell battery pack props the netbook at a slight angle upwards, thereby making it more comfortable to type on. The same Lamborghini trim continues on the inside as well with the palm rest area getting a textured rubber finish to them. The chiclet keys are very comfortable to type on, but we wished they were backlit, especially with the kind of premium you’re paying. Above we have the power button on one end and on the other, a button to cycle between the different power modes.
Good attention to details
The trackpad has a mirror like finish to it, which looks really cool, but it's not very finger-friendly and there are some tracking issues present. The status LED lights are placed on the mouse buttons, themselves, so they are always in full view and not blocked by your hand. There's a compartment underneath for quick access to change the RAM slots. Overall, the VX6S is beautifully designed and well-crafted, so kudos to Asus on that front.
Although this may be a Lamborghini edition netbook, don't expect Sandy Bridge under the hood, I mean, it’s still a netbook, after all. However, you do get the latest Intel Atom Cedar Trail CPU, the D2700. This is the only netbook to feature this CPU, since the 'D Series' was designed for nettops and desktops primarily and lack the Speedstep feature present in the 'N series' Atom chips, which is important, if you wish to get a better battery life. The CPU is 32nm part and runs at 2.1GHz. The onboard GPU (GMA 3650) supports DisplayPort 1.1 and HDMI 1.3a outputs, but you’ll never use that since this netbook also packs in a discrete graphics card, another first! You get an AMD Radeon HD 6470M, an entry-level card that’s decent enough for some of the older 3D games. Unfortunately, there's no dynamic switching feature between these two cards, so you’re on the discrete card at all times, which does affect the battery life.
Rubber texture offers good grip
Other specifications, include a 4GB of RAM, 500GB hard drive, 1.3MP webcam, Windows 7 Home Premium and a 12-inch LED backlit screen (1366 x 768). All in all, not exactly a speed demon given the theme of the netbook, but let's hope it's at least faster than the other similar offerings in the market.
Compared to AMD's flagship Fusion offering, the E-350, the D2700 manages to put on a very good show. The Asus VX6 is cutting it a bit close with the MSI U270, but it really gets to stretch its legs in the video encoding tests where it took nearly half the time the finish. Since this has a discrete GPU, we had to try out some games to see how it did. The scores you see below may not seem playable, but this is after setting everything to the highest (no AA, of course) and at the native resolution. If you dial down the settings, the games will be lot more playable.
Under normal usage, the netbook does tend to get a bit warm on one side but nothing major. The vents on the side do pump up good amounts of hot air when stressed which could get a little uncomfortable on your lap. Typing for a long stretch at a time is comfortable but like I said earlier, the trackpad could have been better. The glossy screen is great for movies and pictures but it does introduce reflections. The speakers are placed underneath and reflect sound off the surface so they sound ok when placed on a table but on your lap, they tend to get a bit muffled.Under normal usage, the netbook does tend to get a bit warm on one side, but nothing major. The vents on the side do pump up good amounts of hot air when stressed, which could get a little uncomfortable on your lap. Typing for a long stretch of time is comfortable, but like I said earlier, the trackpad could have been better. The glossy screen is great for movies and pictures, but it does introduce reflections. The speakers are placed underneath and reflect sound off the surface, so they sound ok when placed on a table, but on your lap, they tend to get a bit muffled.
The 6-cell battery could have been a lot better had Asus gone with a 'N-series' Atom and also implemented the dynamic switchable graphics in the VX6. Despite this, we managed to get 2hrs and 40min from Battery Eater Pro, which translates to a real world battery life of roughly 4hrs. While this may seem good, it's not that impressive by netbook standards.
Get ready for big fat elephant in the room, the Asus VX6S will set you back a sweet Rs.38,000. This is really expensive for the average joe, but then this is not designed for the average joe. This is not to say that it's value for money or anything; it just is what it is. There's no doubt that the level of details and customizations is very well done and it certainly feels like a premium device. But leaving out the high price for a moment, it's far from perfect. If you're going to be charging a premium then I want backlit keys as well. The trackpad could have been designed better as well and the surface is not conducive for tracking. And finally the battery life is not the best, but then again you don't buy a Lamborghini for the awesome mileage, so I guess that's forgivable.