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?
We can now take a trip around the U6E to see just what it’s made of. I should note that the U6S is also available, but has a few important differences… the price and the GPU. The price is at $1,649 (U6E is $1,399) and comes in a cool mocha brown color. The best part is that it includes an NVIDIA GPU, the GoForce 8400. It’s low-end, but I have no doubts it would be leaps and bounds better than the integrated Intel chip used here.
The U6E is well-built and features a solid design. It’s not flimsy, despite being a 12″ model.
The left side of the notebook features the power connection and also the lone side fan. Most of the heat will be exported here, so it should be left clear. Three USB ports are also found here, in addition to an ExpressCard slot. Towards the corner is a defunct port that’s filled in with plastic (the same chassis is used on another model), and the WiFi enable/disable is also here.
On the opposite side can be found the DVD-RW drive, the microphone and headphones jack, another USB port and also a Kensington security lock. Directly above the DVD-RW drive is the memory card slot… very discrete.
In order to enable better battery-life, an extended battery is used here, a 6-cell model. It extends out the back of the notebook, but not enough to become a nuisance. The benefits will outweigh the downsides though, as it essentially doubles the battery-life of the notebook to ~3 hours.
The white touchpad follows the keen styling of the rest of the notebook. The pad itself is lightly textured, but still easy on the finger… something I thoroughly test. A fingerprint reader is located between the buttons – a nice touch.
Three buttons outside of the keyboard are found below the screen, two on the left and one on the right. The two left buttons represent the web cam and power savings mode, while the one on the right acts as the power button.
The full-sized keyboard is one of my favorite features of the U6E. After quickly becoming annoyed by the smaller board used on the Hypersonic AG2, this one proved to be a breath of fresh air. It’s as close to a desktop keyboard as you will find on a notebook so small, so typing is made easy. I especially like the fact that the entire keyboard is flush, there are no keys that are oddly placed (such as the arrow keys).
On the back, you can see the various vents and stickers.
Everyone will have their own likes and dislikes when it comes to laptop styling, but I like this one a lot more than I thought I would. It’s better-looking in person, which is somewhat of a rarity.
On the next page, I’ll take a brief look at the software and installation, then move right into testing and final thoughts.