by Rob Williams on June 19, 2008 in Systems
Mobile computing doesn’t have to be boring – the U6E from ASUS proves that. Within its 12-inch frame is some of the best styling around and very competent hardware, along with a full-sized keyboard, fingerprint reader and four USB ports. Does this small notebook win big time?
I think I’ve well-established that a 12″ notebook is my personal favorite, but again, opinions will vary, and only you yourself will know what size will perfectly suit your lifestyle. If you don’t fly that often, or at all, then a larger notebook might make more sense. It all depends on how much you are on the go, and your patience level. Carrying around a large notebook all day is not anyone’s idea of fun.
But as I mentioned on the last page, not all 12″ notebooks are created equal. The form factor is spot on, but design flaws can ruin the experience. Take the Hypersonic AG2, for example, which I took a look at last month. That was the notebook that turned me on to 12″ notebooks in general, but it had a few lacking features… namely a full-sized keyboard. Because the keyboard didn’t stretch completely from end to end, the keys themselves where smaller, and some were a chore to use… primarily the period.
When I received the U6E, I was pleased (ok, ecstatic) to see a full-sized keyboard. This is a huge deal to me, because while I don’t necessarily have fat fingers, I like my typing experience on a notebook to be as close to the desktop experience as possible. When shifting from a full-sized desktop keyboard to a small notebook one, I tend to make typos far more often than I’d like. So for me, the ASUS notebook was an instant winner, even before I knew of the performance-related specs.
Luckily, though, the performance specs are not too shabby, either. Included is a 2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7500 – one that’s based on the 65nm process. This could be considered a downside, since the newer Penryn CPUs have been out for a few months, but the previous generation processors are less expensive, which is why they are still used more often in any manufacturer’s notebooks.
Included also is 2GB of DDR2-667 memory, using the standard 5-5-5-15 timings we’ve come to expect. As for graphics, don’t be expecting to be doing much gaming, since the integrated Intel GMA X3100 is used, but simple applications and games, like Google Earth, won’t be a problem. Games that require a lot of texture memory, I’ve found, can be problematic. This is not a GPU for gaming, nor is that the focus of this notebook.
Intel Core 2 Duo T7500 @ 2.2GHz
|Hard Drive |
Fujitsu 160GB 5400RPM
Intel GMA X3100
12.1" @ 1280×800
|Et cetera |
Multi-format Card Reader
Intel WiFi 4965AGN
1.3 Megapixel Webcam
For storage, a Fujitsu MHY2160BH hard drive is used, which includes 160GB of space and runs at 5400 RPM. The wireless chipset used is of course Intel’s own creation, the 4965AGN… the same WiFi used in the majority of notebooks right now. During my entire experience with the notebook, the WiFi was exceptionally reliable, and I connected to at least ten different access points.
But how about a look at the actual notebook itself? Let’s get right on that.