Intel's dual-core mobile processor was the worst kept secret of 2005, but when it was made official in January of this year there were a few samples flying around but the Asus A6J is one of the first few actual machines to be made available.
Dual-core means you get two processing cores sitting alongside each other on the same piece of silicon but work independently. So, rather than programs taking their turn to run, your notebook can run multiple applications at once, so speeding up your productivity. Intel has made this possible by switching to a smaller die-size, so two chips working at once shouldn't affect the battery life.
So far so good, but when it came to running the A6J, the first problem we came across was a poor battery life. We managed to get just over two hours from the standard battery, which is disappointing to say the least. With a weight of 3.2kg, this isn't the most portable of machines but this is reflected in the poor battery life.
The chassis is made from plastic but looks like Asus's far more expensive V range, which is made from magnesium-alloy and aluminum. While it doesn't have the same tactile feel or flexibility, the chassis is attractive and sturdy. The chassis is billed by Asus as their “entertainment” machine, as you'll find a stunning 15.4-inch Super-TFT panel that incorporates a 1.3-megapixel webcam above the screen. You'll also find a microphone built into the screen, making conversations over the Internet far more natural.
Powered by an Intel Core Duo T2300, which has a run-speed of 1.66GHz, this is a full 1GB of memory to help things tick over nicely and the 100GB hard drive isn't too shabby either. In use this machine simply flies and managed to handle everything we threw at it. With two cores running, it means you can have you background applications, such as virus checking and running Media Player, while running other tasks, such as Word or even editing video in the foreground with no obvious lag.
It's not only the main processor that is impressive as you'll find the ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 graphics cards, which is the latest GPU on offer, giving great performance for most games. True, it's not a high-end adapter like the X800 or Nvidia Geforce Go 7800, but it's enough for playing any current game at a reasonable 1024 x 768 frame size without too much need for downscaling image quality.
The Asus A6J may not be a flagship model but if you're looking for a notebook that offers the best in power and aren't too concerned about battery life, this may well be the solution.
As one of the first machines to feature Core Duo we're surprised that there isn't any price premium added to the system, which is definitely a good thing.