Dual-core notebooks have been a notable gap in the laptop marketplace, and the Asus EeePC Lamborghini VX6 is the first we’ve seen of a new crop of dual-core Pine View processor-based notebooks that also include the Asus 1015PEM, Samsung N350 and HP mini 5103.
We’ve been mostly disappointed with Pine View-based Atoms - those with processors D450, N455, as they haven’t performed even to the level of their predecessor processors. We’ve seen previous versions of the Asus Lamborghini, but only in 14in form factors. On those models, pressing the on buttons gives you a brief revving noise, apparently sourced from a Lamborghini for extra realism. Not surprisingly, the startup engine noise feature in a 12in isn’t quite as impressive as it is on its larger sibling – think Lamborghini ride-on mower.DesignLooks-wise, though, this is still more supercar than supercart in design, and it’s attractive enough. An angular piano black lid was a feature on ours – it also comes in white – but there’s nothing quite like the carbon fibre look of the Acer Ferrari netbook. The trackpad is a glossy mirror, and there is an Lamborghini logo on chassis and lid. In all other respects, this is not so different from a Seashell 12in netbook. The specs are similar, although the dual-core of the Lamborghini adds the extra promise of performance. KeyboardAs with the Seashell, there’s a scrabble-tile keyboard, with smaller-than-usual keys allowing good separation between them. Responsiveness is excellent – the key pitch and travel make this a very comfortable system to use.Also comparable to the Seashell is the build quality of the VX6. While there’s a little more give in the hinge than we’re entirely comfortable with, the chassis feels strong enough to withstand any punishment.
ScreenThe screen is 1366 x 768 12.1in, with good text quality, but we found the overall screen quality for images and videos a little more grainy than we’d like. Contrast was less than stellar, too – bright colours are washed out, and shadows meld into a swathe of blackness rather than being distinct. The screen’s high resolution, compared to other netbooks, makes some of those flaws entirely forgivable, though we wouldn’t recommend it as a primary entertainment machine.The only major drawback when it comes to ease of use, in fact, is the trackpad. It’s a shiny mirror or a thing, with angled edges to give a Lamborghini feel. Sadly, this mirrored trackpad is unresponsive and on a hot day, any sweat on your fingers renders it inaccurate, at best. PerformanceInside the Lamborghini VX6 is a 1.8GHz dual-core Atom D525 and 2GB of DDR3 RAM, in our real world benchmark tests, these propelled the laptop to an impressive 0.47 overall score. This is the highest we’ve seen for a netbook, and it’s helped considerably by the encoding and multitasking scores, both of which show the benefits of the dual-core processor. Battery lifeBattery life shows off the excellent Nvidia Optimus technology. While the light use result was a so-so 5hr 6mins, on heavy use, the Optimus manages the processor usage expertly allowing for a lengthy 4hrs battery life. It’s still not up there with the likes of the older Asus EeePC Seashell 1015p, but it’s more than acceptable.One nice surprise is the inclusion of 2 USB 3.0 ports – the timing is perfect, since we’ve just seen the first USB 3.0 flash drives. Apart from USB 3.0, you also get HDMI, Wireless-n and gigabit Ethernet to round out the connectivity. PriceThe Asus Lamborghini is remarkably good value. The only close competitor for this size and price is the Acer Ferrari One, which outscores the Lamborghini in all respects. While the Ferrari is not a netbook – Intel and Microsoft’s restrictions for the ability to use that term mean that the Neo X2 in the Ferrari disqualifies it – it’s the same size and shape as the Lamborghini, and supercar-loyalty aside, the two are very close. The Lamborghini outdoes the Ferrari only in encoding/decoding music files and video. But the Ferrari’s slight advantage shouldn’t be taken as any kind of slight on the Asus Lamborghini: its price is good, the performance is good and features – including USB 3.0 – are well-specced. And it’s more readily available than the Ferrari One.The Asus EeePC Lamborghini VX6 is a 12.1in netbook you’d be pleased to use, and the only drawback, for some, may be the wrong logo on the lid.
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