Asus may not be a brand name that you are immediately aware of but if you’ve bought any form of computer equipment in the last five years then likely as not, Asus would have had some hand in either the designing or the building of it. The company makes no secret that it builds for some of the world’s biggest brands, with the likes of Sony - the PS2 anyone? - and some of Apple’s notebooks by in Asus factories. On their own, their motherboards aren’t to be sniffed at, either.
So it’s no surprise at all that the company now offers its own range of notebooks to the European market. The Asus A6NE is aimed at the business user who is looking for something a little more than the average notebook.
The gun-metal finish of the A6 is standard fare for Asus, with the brushed metal feeling as impressive as it looks. If you’re notebook has to make a statement as soon as you take it out, the A6 makes the right sounds.
Weighing in at 3.1kg, the A6 isn’t the lightest of notebooks but given that it comes with a 15.4-inch widescreen panel, we can forgive its weight. The quality of the notebook’s screen is as impressive as its build quality with images looking stunning on the high-definition panel.
An Intel Pentium M 725, running at 1.6GHz, powers the A6. While this isn’t the fastest processor on Intel’s roadmap, it’s more than powerful enough for most tasks. We found that the A6 was more than capable of dealing with whatever we threw at it. Supported by 2MB of Level 2 Cache, the A6NE adds a full Gigabyte (1024MB) of DDR SDRAM memory. IF you need to, this can be doubled to a maximum of 2GB but for most applications the amount supplied is more than sufficient.
One of the benefits of opting for a notebook with a lower-clocked processor is the overall advantage this places on battery life. In the case of the A6 we managed to get over four hours from a single charge. With the A6 offering a full session’s work without the need for recharging, you’ll find you’ll have little excuse not to finish that report on the way to the office.
Another reason why the battery life of the A6 is so reasonable is the use of integrated graphics. Sure, the A6 won’t allow you to play the latest games wherever you may be but the trade off can be seen in the extended battery life. The use of the Intel 855 graphics chip is satisfactory for watching DVDs, as befits the widescreen, but you won’t want to run anything complicated through it.
Benchmark tests again confirmed this, as the Asus A6NE scored only 2466 under 3DMark 2001 testing. As expected, this result will be sufficient for most tasks, but will struggle heavily under advanced multimedia applications.
Adding the final touches to the Asus are good connectivity and a highly usable design. As part of the Centrino certification of the system, an Intel 2200BG wireless adapter is in place for Wi-Fi networking. The 10/100 standard provides Ethernet support, and for connecting external hardware, four USB 2.0 ports are in place, along with a single mini-Firewire connection.
With its impressive looks, performance and battery life to match, there is little to stop the Asus A6NE from being your next notebook.