Perhaps the first question you need to ask yourself about this notebook is; why would you want to spend £1400 on a machine when you can get a machine with a decent specification at a similar weight for half the price?



On the surface you’d be hard pressed to find an answer but once you’ve used the Asus V1J you’ll know where the money has been spent.

The casing of the machine is solid and has a very tactile finish you just won’t find on a cheaper machine. The touchpad and mouse buttons are flush with the main body, adding to the smooth finish. Rounding out the navigation is a biometric fingerprint reader built into the chassis between the mouse keys but as its recessed it doesn’t get into the way of day-to-day use.

The attention to detail is followed through with the keyboard. While it’s not the best example we’ve come across, it proved sturdy and responsive with plenty of space between the keys and a firm action.

Weighing in at 2.9kg, this isn’t perhaps the most mobile or nimble of notebooks but you do get a 15.4-inch panel, so it’s more of a semi-portable machine. That said, we carried it around for a few days and the trade-off in weight is worth it for the battery life it delivers – we got well in excess of 4 hours when using it while writing documents on the train and using it as an MP3 player at the same time.

Such tasks won’t tax the machine as it comes with an Intel Core Duo T2400 (1.83GHz) processor and 1GB of memory, which really helps things to run smoothly. This has to be one of the most responsive dual-core machines we’ve tested, which shows where your money is being spent.

It doesn’t stop there, as you’ll find the graphics don’t disappoint either. Fitted with an ATI Mobility Radeon X1600, our only complaint about this card is that it’s about to be superseded by the faster X1700 version, so we’d probably wait a couple of weeks and wait for the faster card. The X1600 isn’t a high-end card but we managed to play F.E.A.R. in multiplayer mode without any real signs of lag, which isn’t something to complain about.

It’s also the little extras that take this laptop away from being a standard machine to an impressive laptop. You’ll find a PCI-ExpressCard slot on one side of the case, while on the other, a mini-adapter for DVI, as well as a standard dual-layer DVD rewriter.

Verdict

Yes, it may be hard to justify spending this kind of money on what on the surface doesn’t look that different from a large number of machines on the market and we’d have to agree. However, once you start to use the V1J you do start to see where your money has gone. It handles smooth, the specification is strong and the performance one of the best we’ve seen in recent months.