Review Asus Lamborghini VX6 Netbook

Sebastian Jentsch, 11/08/2010

Lamborghini. The name exudes power and exclusivity. A dual-core Atom puts this netbook well out in front of its single-core rivals, while Ion 2 gives it a (small-scale) boost for HD entertainment. Surprisingly, the engine is quiet and the temperature gain low. Could this be an eco-friendly racing car with long battery life?

ASUS Eee PC VX6 Lamborghini: Performance netbook with dual-core Atom D525 and Nvidia Ion 2
ASUS Eee PC VX6 Lamborghini: Performance netbook with dual-core Atom D525 and Nvidia Ion 2

The Taiwanese manufacturer Asus has been trying for several years now to capture the spirit of sporting exclusivity in the plastic form of the Lamborghini VX series. And not just with ultramobile 12-inch machines, like the one we have here, but also 15.6-inch models like the Lamborghini VX7. These racing car models all allude visually to the Lamborghini style. The logo with the bull and the words 'Automobili Lamborghini' add the finishing touch to the design.

The second feature that every self-respecting laptop-cum-racing car must have, is a certain exclusivity in terms of the hardware. Of course Asus can’t make a super-powerful gaming machine out of a 12.1-inch netbook, at least not if the price is to stay realistic at €599. In the case of the 15.6-inch version, the VX7, the exclusivity is provided by the 1.5 TB hard drive capacity and the FullHD screen resolution (1,920 x 1,080).

So what is special about the VX6? So far only Asus has fitted netbooks with the dual-core Intel Atom D525 (2 x 1.80 GHz), DDR3 RAM and Nvidia Ion 2 (Eee PC 1201PN, Eee PC 1215N). Will the powerful netbook performance cause the battery life to suffer? Will the engine noise be deafening? Will we burn our fingers on its hot surfaces? Is it worth paying the Lamborghini premium to get this plastic workmanship? Get these answers and more in our comprehensive review.

Case

Asus logo
Asus logo
Wordmark
Wordmark
Speed mode button
Speed mode button

The manufacturers have borrowed details and visual elements from the current look of Lamborghini sports cars for the VX6. The bull logo has claimed the spot on the lid that is usually reserved for the Asus logo.

The lid, back edge, base plate and on/off switch are all reminiscent of the trim, spoiler, finish, and interior of a high-end sports car. Even those who are not familiar with the Lamborghini style will appreciate the sense of power and speed in its design.

The case is plastic, complemented by a matt magnesium alloy on the palm rest and keyboard surround. The surface is extremely firm and cool, which is why we assume it is metal. The thin black perforated strip on the lid is also metal, but not the chrome strip below it. Despite the majority of the case being made of plastic, the VX6 has a sophisticated, high-end appearance.

The classy impression is, however, offset somewhat by the greasy finger marks which accumulate on the lid and screen edging. The lightly rubberized surface of the palm rest is not safe from this either. The glassy-looking touchpad (made of a very hard plastic) also gets covered in smudges, which could have been avoided.

The relatively thin construction of the base unit turns out to be surprisingly sturdy. Surfaces on the top and bottom of the base unit, including the keyboard area, do not flex, with the understandable exception of the lid, which does flex in the middle when you apply some serious pressure. The hinges hold the lid firmly in position; we needed both hands to open the netbook.

Connectivity

The 12-1-inch machine does not have a DVD drive, so the space available for ports is relatively large. All ports are on the right and left sides of the netbook, with the back edge reserved for the battery unit.

The VGA port is positioned immediately next to the HDMI on the left-hand side. Since these ports are towards the back of the netbook, there should be no awkward cables getting in the way of your mouse (for both right and left-handers). The selection is rounded off with a USB 2.0 port and a card reader (SD, SDHC, MMC, RJ45). As with all its netbooks, Asus uses a tiny mobile phone-style power socket.

Looking at the right-hand side it becomes apparent why the VX6 can call itself a 'performance' netbook. Asus has splashed out on two USB 3.0 ports for the netbook. This new standard is theoretically ten times faster than USB 2.0, as it can reach transfer speeds of up to 625 MB/s in Super Speed mode. This rate is a theoretical 60 MB/s for USB 2.0. Also, the unit load of power that it can supply to a device is increased from 100 mA to 150 mA, which enables you to run devices with higher energy needs (like external hard drives) without them having to have their own power supply.

Front: no ports
Front: no ports
Left: AC, VGA, HDMI, USB 2.0, card reader
Left: AC, VGA, HDMI, USB 2.0, card reader
Back: no ports
Back: no ports
Right: line-out, microphone, 2 x USB 3.0, Ethernet, Kensington lock
Right: line-out, microphone, 2 x USB 3.0, Ethernet, Kensington lock

Communication

As well as a WLAN Draft-N module (Broadcom 802.11n), the netbook has Bluetooth and a Fast Ethernet controller. The Bluetooth module supports the latest standard, 3.0+HDR; unfortunately the same cannot be said for the LAN controller, which does not support the higher transfer rates of Gigabit LAN. An integrated 3G module has not been included, though it would have been a big help to the VX6’s aspirations of being a high-end, ultra-portable machine.

Accessories

In terms of software, Asus has stuck with the usual practice of including no disks other than a driver and utility DVD. A copy of the operating system on factory settings is stored on a recovery partition on the hard drive.

The USB ports can be used to recharge mobile phones, iPods and so on, even when the computer is switched off. This feature must be activated using the USB Charge+ tool, which also allows you to differentiate between mains power and battery modes. Using the Eee PC Dock, a tool that hovers over the top of the desktop, you can access (amongst other things) Asus Web Storage (500GB of online memory) and entertainment services (Asus @ Vibe, internet games, AP Bank).

Warranty

For its high-end Eee PCs Asus offers a 24-month warranty with a collection service (Pick Up & Return). You can extend this warranty from 2 years to 3 years by paying €80 extra in the online store. The package includes a handbook, a CD, a VIP card and a sticker. The extended warranty has to be activated within 90 days of the netbook’s purchase. The package also extends the international warranty by the same amount of time.

Input devices

Keyboard

Asus has built an excellent keyboard into the Lamborghini VX6. The pebble-style keys are separated from each other by a suitable distance. The tactile feedback and travel of the keyboard are very clear. The impact at the end of the keystroke is hard, with the keyboard bed not flexing at any point. The arrow keys, which have often been criticized in the past, are a normal size and are relatively easy to find without looking. The Enter key and the right Shift key are a little smaller than usual, but we got used to it. The keyboard can be recommended for people who type a lot, as it doesn’t make a lot of noise and the level of feedback is good.

Touchpad

The touchpad is clearly an integral part of the Lamborghini-style design. It is shaped like a parallelogram, with a silver border. The pad is not sensitive beyond its white corner markings, so that it is in fact normal sized. The cursor moved accurately across the desktop when we slid a finger across the very smooth plastic surface. However, we always felt a greasy film on the surface from our fingers, like we were touching the bottom of an empty tub of Nivea. 

The multi-touch pad (Synaptics V7.2) can be switched on and off using a function key (F9). It recognizes two-finger gestures, such as zooming or horizontal and vertical scrolling. Traditionalists can also restore the familiar single-finger scrollbars using the touchpad software. The smooth touchpad buttons give firm tactile response but do not depress far enough. The loud click when you press them can get annoying after a while.

Keyboard
Keyboard
Pebble-style keys
Pebble-style keys
Touchpad
Touchpad

Display

The glossy Hannstar screen (HSD121PHW1) did not convince us with its contrast or brightness. The colour space is also extremely small. Asus has chosen a 12.1-inch screen with a 1,366 x 768 resolution (16:9). The HD Ready resolution is appropriate given the netbook’s role as a portable companion. It means you can fit in a good view of your web browser or email client, and won’t have to scroll as much.

With a black level of 0.82 cd/m² we calculated a maximum contrast of 184:1. A higher contrast of more than 400:1 would have been preferable, especially for a netbook with an emphasis on entertainment. Colours do look very attractive on the screen, but this has more to do with the effect of the glossy finish.

As with 95% of the laptops we review, we weren’t expecting a professional-standard colour space from this Hannstar screen. Our measurements confirmed this, with Adobe RGB or sRGB not even being half-way covered. Even compared to a bog-standard office laptop display, like on the MSI CR620 (15.6-inch), the VX6 still lags behind somewhat.

Asus VX6 vs. AdobeRGB(t)
Asus VX6 vs. AdobeRGB(t)
Asus VX6 vs. MSI CR620(t)
Asus VX6 vs. MSI CR620(t)
Asus VX6 vs. DellStudioXPS(t)
Asus VX6 vs. DellStudioXPS(t)
135
cd/m²
142
cd/m²
139
cd/m²
144
cd/m²
151
cd/m²
148
cd/m²
152
cd/m²
146
cd/m²
149
cd/m²
Information
Gossen Mavo-Monitor
Maximum: 152 cd/m²
Average: 145.1 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 89 %
Center on Battery: 151 cd/m²
Black: 0.82 cd/m²
Contrast: 184:1
Distribution of brightness

The screen brightness is disappointingly low. On average we measured 145 cd/m². The maximum brightness picked up by our meter was only 152 cd/m² in the lower left corner. Such a poor brightness has become very rare for notebooks and netbooks in recent years. Considering the netbook’s intended portability, a brightness above 230 cd/m² would have been preferable. For indoor use the display brightness is acceptable.

 

The 12.1-inch display is not particularly suitable for outdoor use, thanks to its glossy finish (causing reflections) and the significantly below-average brightness. Even with an overcast sky, the observer can only make out a darkened picture directly in front of him. In strong sunshine the effect intensifies. From the side, we could hardly make out any colours or text. As a result, working with the VX6 in sunlight is only possible with a great deal of effort.

Side view, sun from the right, sunshine
Side view, sun from the right, sunshine
Front view, sun from the right, sunshine
Front view, sun from the right, sunshine
Side view, sun from behind, reflection
Side view, sun from behind, reflection

The horizontal viewing angles are acceptable. Up to around a 40 degree deviation from the front-on viewing position, we could still read text and there were no ghosting. But beyond that point, colours inverted extensively and the screen darkened.

If your viewing position changes vertically, text stops being readable after about 25 degrees due to the darkening screen. But colours start to invert noticeably after only 15 degrees. With this screen a more or less straight-on viewing position is needed for an optimal picture.

Viewing angles for the Asus Lamborghini VX6
Viewing angles for the Asus Lamborghini VX6

Performance

The VX6 is based on the latest in mobile chipsets and processors. The combination of a dual-core Atom D525 (2 x 1.8 GHz) and a dedicated Nvidia Ion 2 graphics card is currently right at the top of the wishlist of technophile netbook fans. Whereas Nvidia provided the whole chipset with its first Ion generation at the start of 2009 (Geforce 9400M integrated into the Nvidia chipset), now the graphics processor is attached to the Intel NM10 chipset. This allows the use of Optimus technology, which Asus has promptly used in the VX6 model currently before us and in the  Eee PC 1215N, which has identical specs. More on this in our gaming section.

The twin-engine Atom D525 is notable for its high TDP of 13 Watts, particularly in comparison to the Atom N550 (1.5 GHz, 8.5 Watts, mobile version). The D525 was actually designed for stationary nettops. The VX6 also comes with 2 GB of DDR3 RAM and a 250 GB hard drive by Western Digital. The version of the VX6 that you can find in stores always comes with a 320 GB HDD according to the product description.

System info CPUZ CPU
System info CPUZ Cache
System info CPUZ Mainboard
System info CPUZ RAM
System info CPUZ RAM SPD
System info CPUZ Ion 2
System info GPUZ Ion 2
System info GPUZ Intel 3150
DPC Latency Checker: idle, no delays
DPC Latency Checker: WLAN off/on slight delays
System information for Asus Lamborghini VX6

So do the high TDP and high speed of 1.8 GHz give you strong performance? Compared to a single-core Atom N450/N455 or N270 (1.66 and 1.6 GHz respectively), this is most certainly the case; the D525 doubles the processing speed. The multi-core Cinebench R10 32-bit benchmark gave a score of 1,715 points for the VX6. The single-core systems we just named scored around 850 points in the same test (not including overclocked varieties). The improvement in performance is 101 per cent.

Taking a look at AMD's netbook processor V series V105 (Eee PC 1015T) shows similarities in performance. The AMD single-core processor scores 1,021 points with only 1.2 GHz, admittedly in the single-core part of the Cinebench R10 32-bit benchmark. Our Lamborghini VX6 only manages 625 points. The AMD Athlon K125 (1.7 GHz) in the popular 10-inch Acer Aspire One 521 measures up even more impressively with 1,491 points.

No problems with HD content: Here a 1080p video plays without interruptions on battery power, and CPU usage at only 24%; Ion 2 supports the CPU
No problems with HD content: Here a 1080p video plays without interruptions on battery power, and CPU usage at only 24%; Ion 2 supports the CPU
3.2
Windows 7 Experience Index
Processor
Calculations per second
3.5
Memory (RAM)
Memory operations per second
4.9
Graphics
Desktop performance for Windows Aero
3.2
Gaming graphics
3D business and gaming graphics
3.7
Primary hard disk
Disk data transfer rate
5.9
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
625
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
1715
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
326
Help
PC Mark
PCMark 052292 points
PCMark Vantage1645 points
Help
PCMark Vantage in comparison
Sony SV-S1311G4E (min)
 2350M, HD Graphics 3000
811
   ...
Asus U32U-RX042V
 E-450, Radeon HD 6320
1636
Packard Bell dot SE 045GE
 N550, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 3150
1636
Samsung NF210-HZ1
 N550, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 3150
1640
Asus Lamborghini VX6
 D525, ION 2
1645
Toshiba Satellite T110-10R
 SU2700, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 4500MHD
1645
Lenovo E125-303522U
 C-50, Radeon HD 6250
1647
Acer Aspire 3810T
 SU3500, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 4500MHD
1647
   ...
One K56-3F (max)
 4700MQ, GeForce GT 750M
23558

We can’t compare the Atom D525 against the AMD V105/K125 in a multi-core benchmark, since the AMD netbook CPUs only have one real and no virtual cores. But the system benchmark PCMark Vantage can show us whether the user will be better of with a D525. In this test the VX6 scored 1,645 points.

This result puts the D525 system on a level with the AMD K125 (Aspire One 521: 1,686 points); the V105 (Eee PC 1015T) is beaten with 1,360 points. Classic netbook systems with a single-core N450 (for example the Samsung N150 Eom) achieve 1,332 points at their best.

The PCMark Vantage test gives the Ion 2 GPU a gaming subscore of 1,724 points, which feeds into the overall score. The Aspire One 521 only achieves 1,118 points in the gaming section with its weaker ATI HD 4225. The Eee PC 1015T only manages 940 points with the same GPU but a weaker CPU.

As expected, we could play our FullHD test videos without juddering and with low CPU usage. HD videos from YouTube also played fluently. The screenshot (above) with just about 24% CPU usage during a FullHD 1080p trailer was taken on battery power (power-saving mode, GT218 for video active).

In short, the VX6 is a netbook with exceptionally high performance. It is still some way short of being a subnotebook; for instance the latest  Intel Core i5-520UM systems, like the Acer Aspire 1830T (11.6 inches), score around 4,000 points in the PCMark Vantage test with their IGP graphics (without overclocking).

3D Mark
3DMark 035716 points
3DMark 053817 points
3DMark 06
 1280x1024
2397 points
3DMark Vantage724 points
Help
WDC Scorpio Blue WD2500BEVT-80A23T0
Transfer Rate Minimum: 38 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 58.6 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 52.9 MB/s
Access Time: 21 ms
Burst Rate: 31.9 MB/s
CPU Usage: 3 %

The Western Digital hard drive (model number WD2500BEVT-80A23T0) has a 250 GB capacity and a speed of 5,400 rpm. HD-Tune measured an average rate of 52.9 MB/s for sequential reading. The Crystal Disk Mark 3.0 test gave a result of 68 MB/s, but this test always gives a result about 10 MB/s higher than HD Tune. This throughput rate is noticeable lower than the average for comparable 2.5-inch hard drives (which is around 65 MB/s). The VX6 notebooks available in stores have 320 GB hard drives, which could certainly lead to better rates.

Anyone wanting to upgrade the hard drive is out of luck, because only the RAM can be changed via the access panel in the base plate. The SATA II hard drive is always audible with a continual whirring sound, but the room has to be very quiet for you to even notice it.

HD Tune
HD Tune
Crystal Disk Mark 3.0
Crystal Disk Mark 3.0
Comparison HD Tune Vaio Z12 SSD 306 MB/s reading
Comparison HD Tune Vaio Z12 SSD 306 MB/s reading

Gaming performance

Nvidia Optimus started appearing in notebooks and subnotebooks at the beginning of 2010. This technology allows the GT218 (Ion 2 Next Generation) to be automatically switched on as soon as it is needed. When that isn’t the case, the Intel GMA 3150 which is integrated into the processor will handle the image information. This means, at least in theory, that having a relatively strong graphics card will not cause the battery life to suffer.

The GMA 3150 always remains active, because its frame buffer is needed for producing images. Unlike earlier hybrid GPU solutions, the computer doesn’t switch back and forth between the two graphics cores, which meant that the frame buffer kept switching and each core had to be wired to the VGA output. The dedicated Nvidia GT218 is not physically connected to the VGA output; instead it writes the image information directly in the frame buffer of the GMA 3150. For this reason, when the switch happens it goes unnoticed by the user, without wait times or a black screen.

The netbook gets 2,397 points for gaming performance in 3DMark2006 (1,280 x 1,024). Asus has used the 16-pipeline version which is faster than Ion 1 with around 1,733 points (on average). The chip speed is 475 MHz, while the memory has a speed of 790 MHz.

The score is low compared to standard notebooks with dedicated graphics (for example the (ATI HD 5650, around 6,000 to 7,000 points in 3DMark2006), which suggests that the netbook will not be especially suitable for modern games. We tested that theory using some older and new titles.

Crysis

This visually stunning hit from the end of 2007 can only be played at a frame rate of 19 fps (CPU benchmark) or 17 fps (GPU benchmark) on its low setting (1,024 x 768). If the resolution is reduced still further to 800 x 600, the frame rate unfortunately does not increase (19.8 fps, 17.3 fps). In the CPU and GPU benchmarks, Crysis suffers because of the weak Atom processor, whose performance is significantly below that of the Core i3 or i5s. Even an  Intel HD (IGP in the i3/i5) gives you 20% more frames. And even the old Ion 9400M with a Core 2 Duo P8700 (2.5 GHz) could manage 60 fps instead of 17 fps on low settings.

Left4Dead medium 22 fps
Left4Dead medium 22 fps
Sims3 medium 26 fps
Sims3 medium 26 fps
CoD6 low 12 fps
CoD6 low 12 fps
CoD6 low 12 fps
CoD6 low 12 fps
Crysis low 12 fps
Crysis low 12 fps
Crysis - GPU Benchmark
 ResolutionSettingsValue
 1024x768Medium, 0xAA, 0xAF9.6 fps
 1024x768Low, 0xAA, 0xAF17 fps

Left4Dead

You will not get perfectly fluid gameplay while on the hunt for zombies in this game, as the lowest resolution of 640 x 480 pixels and the low detail settings only produce a frame rate of 25 fps. That may be 90% better than with a N455 or N550 system (both single-core processors with GMA 3150), but here too an Intel HD in a standard processor would work twice as fast.

Left 4 Dead
 ResolutionSettingsValue
 1024x768very high, 0xAA, 0xAF22.5 fps
 640x480min, 0xAA, 0xAF25.16 fps

The Sims 3

This family extravaganza can be played fluidly (43 to 25 fps), but only on the 800 x 600 and 1,024 x 768 resolution settings. Players can choose between minimum and medium details settings. Single-core Ion 2 systems (Atom N450,  Eee PC 1201PN) only manage 23 fps. The dual-core Atom (four processing threads with hyper-threading) can double the frame rate in Sims 3 (low settings) or raise it by 50% (medium settings).

Sims 3
 ResolutionSettingsValue
 1024x768med / all on26.5 fps
 800x600low / off42.7 fps

Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2

As you might expect, this first-person shooter from the end of 2009 is the least playable on the VX6. Only 12 fps is possible on the lowest resolution of 800 x 600. The processor shows its weakness here too: an Intel HD and the Geforce 310M (based on the same GT218 core) can handle the game much better, 110% and 291% better respectively.

CoD Modern Warfare 2
 ResolutionSettingsValue
 800x600all off/low vsync off, low textures, 0xAA12.36 fps

Gaming summary

Granted, Crysis and Modern Warfare 3 are perhaps a little unfair for a gaming test with the GT218. But we were able to show how weak the Ion 2 is compared to modern notebook GPUs. You cannot think of playing performance-hungry games on the VX6, and it puts up the white flag even for some of the more demanding older titles. The Ion 2 could achieve more in these games, but the Intel Atom puts the brakes on, as we saw in our comparison with pure Intel HD systems. The two cores are not much help here, with the processing power remaining low overall. Ion 2 supports the CPU in its processing work (e.g. for 1080p videos, CUDA) but the VX6 is not a miniature gaming machine.

low med.high ultra
Call of Juarez Benchmark (2006) 4.1fps
Crysis - GPU Benchmark (2007) 179.6fps
Crysis - CPU Benchmark (2007) 199.5fps
Left 4 Dead (2008) 25.1622.5fps
Sims 3 (2009) 42.726.5fps
CoD Modern Warfare 2 (2009) 12.36fps

Emissions

Air vent
Air vent

System noise

Good ergonomics is one of the strengths of the Lamborghini netbooks. Quite unlike a real racing car, this 12.1-inch netbook is extremely quiet in every situation. No matter how hard we tried to put the VX6’s cooling system under pressure with stress tests and the like, it would not get any louder than 32.8 dB(A).

Likewise the performance netbook stayed at a quiet and constant 30.5 dB(A) during normal use. The fan was off for most of the time, and the only noise was from the hard drive. When surfing the web and looking at photos you will not even notice that there is a fan.

Noise Level

Idle 30.3 / 30.3 / 30.5 dB(A)
HDD 30.4 dB(A)
Load 31.1 / 32.8 dB(A)
 
    30 dB
silent
40 dB
audible
50 dB
loud
 
min: , med: , max:    Voltcraft 320 (15 cm distance)
Stress test: CPU max. 58, GPU max. 66 degrees Celsius
Stress test: CPU max. 58, GPU max. 66 degrees Celsius

Temperature

The temperature gain picks up where the system noise left off. In idle and office use, individual areas of the surface do not get much warmer than 31 degrees (top) and 37 degrees Celsius (bottom). An effect also crops up which is odd but not unknown to us - the temperatures go down under heavy use (see the lower average readings below). In idle the fan generally turns itself off, mostly for good; this lets the temperature build up in the case. When the Ion 2 GPU and Atom D252 are put under stress, the fan runs constantly and so it removes the build up of warm air.

For this reason the Asus VX6 stays consistently cool during the processor and graphics stress tests. On the top of the base unit we measured a maximum of 31 degrees Celsius after two hours of the stress test. In places our thermometer measured 37 degrees on the bottom under heavy use. The average here was only 32 degrees. During this the processor and the Nvidia GT218 GPI did not get hotter than 58 degrees and 66 degrees respectively (measured by the internal sensors). In short, the high-performance Intel Atom netbook turns out to have excellent ergonomic features.

Max. Load
 31 °C30.6 °C25.8 °C 
 29.5 °C28.3 °C25.5 °C 
 27.3 °C25.6 °C25.2 °C 
 
29.2 °C36.7 °C37.4 °C
27.9 °C28 °C37.9 °C
25.7 °C31.7 °C31.7 °C
Maximum: 31 °C
Average: 27.6 °C
 Maximum: 37.9 °C
Average: 31.8 °C
Power Supply (max.)  49.5 °C | Room Temperature 19.4 °C | Voltcraft IR-360

Loudspeakers

The two loudspeakers are positioned below the palm rest area and produce a balanced sound, which even has a little bass. They were able to properly differentiate the acoustics of the computer games we tested (music, speech, background, etc). High tones and certain amount of bass tones were reproduced with a respectable degree of differentiation. The table top works with the speakers as a kind of sounding board, so much of the acoustical effect is lost when the netbook is placed on carpet, a lap, or is being carried.

Battery life

Battery life is very important for a netbook, and generally the best argument for getting an Intel-based system. Run times of from 6 hours (Asus Eee PC 1001P, Samsung NP-NB30, WLAN test) to 10 hours (Acer Aspire One 532, Asus Eee PC 1008P, WLAN test) are the norm. The first Nvidia Ion netbooks of 2009 (e.g. Samsung N510) were also in the same ballpark with almost 5 hours of battery life.

Optimus did not disappoint, and placed the VX6 slightly above the old Ion netbooks by Samsung, with 287 minutes in the WLAN test. That is 4:47 hours. We could also watch a film from the hard drive (not H.264) quite happily; the netbook lasted for 4:26 hours (266 minutes). The screen brightness was 100 cd/m² during this and the wireless module was deactivated.

With heavy use (BatteryEater Classic mode) the battery life was 216 minutes. That is still 3:36 hours. The wireless module was active this time and the brightness on max. The idle battery life was 6:11 hours, but for that the brightness was on its minimum, the wireless was off and the CPU was not being asked to do anything.

The weaker single core netbooks still dominate the battery life comparison. But the similarly powerful, AMD-based Aspire One 521 (4,400 mAh, 48 Wh) also does well with its 5 hours of life (WLAN test). Asus has generously given the VX6 a strong 56 Wh battery (5,200 mAh) which balances out the netbook’s high energy demands (13 Watt TDP). Unfortunately it does take a full 3:25 hours to recharge.

WLAN surfing 287 min.
WLAN surfing 287 min.
AVI film 266 min.
AVI film 266 min.
Heavy use 216 min.
Heavy use 216 min.
Idle 371 min.
Idle 371 min.
Battery runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
6h 11min
WiFi Surfing
4h 47min
DVD
4h 26min
Load (maximum brightness)
3h 36min

As you would expect with a TDP of 13 Watts, the energy consumption is considerably higher than single-core Atom netbooks without dedicated graphics. In idle, with maximum brightness and active wireless modules, our meter showed an average consumption of 15.2 Watts. When the D525 has absolutely nothing to do and the maximum energy-saving measures are active, we measured 12 Watts. Atom single-core netbooks use from 6 to a maximum of 8 Watts.

Nor is the VX6 a good energy-saver compared to conventional subnotebooks. The 13.3-inch Toshiba Satellite T130-14T (9.5 Watts) and the  Asus UL30A-QX050V (8.8 Watts) are much more frugal when idle.

Power consumption

Off / Standby 0.4 / 0.5 Watt
Idle 12 / 14 / 15.2 Watt
Load 25.2 / 30.1 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         Voltcraft VC 960

Verdict

Asus Eee PC VX6 Lamborghini
Asus Eee PC VX6 Lamborghini

The Asus Eee PC VX6 Lamborghini is one of the fastest netbooks around. With its dual-core Intel Atom D525 (1.80 GHz), DDR3 RAM and dedicated Nvidia Ion 2 graphics (GT 218 core), it easily puts Intel’s single-core netbooks in the shade. But in terms of overall system performance, an AMD system (Athlon K125, Aspire One 521, 10-inch) is roughly on a level will this Intel hot-shot.

The Ion 2 graphics takes the load of the processor during HD video decoding and encoding (HDMI port). If you are looking for a mobile video player with HD Ready resolution (1,366 x 768), the VX6 offers exactly the right hardware. Except - the glossy screen with its low brightness is not much fun in the sun. The bog-standard screen’s limited viewing angles make matters worse. But appropriately for an entertainment machine, the small speakers produce a balanced sound quality which even has hints of bass.

The miniature racing car gets top marks for ergonomics, as it stays extremely quiet and cool even under heavy stress. The keyboard gives strong feedback and is suitable for typing emails and longer texts. The touchpad, unfortunately, is so smooth and apt to get greasy that we would recommend using an external mouse.

The high-quality appearance of the Lamborghini design is spoiled a little by the sight of the glossy lid covered in fingerprints. But the matt internal surfaces, the extremely rigid chassis and the small Lamborghini details produce a sophisticated overall impression. As for the ports, speed is the name of the game with two USB 3.0 ports. Also the 2,048 MB of DDR3 RAM is all in one socket, so the second could easily be filled to take you up to 4 GB. But at this point at the latest you would want to upgrade to the 64-bit version of Windows 7 Home Premium.

In the realms of the Atom-based netbooks there are few alternatives at present. The Eee PC 1215N (12.1 inches) is the VX6’s equal in terms of hardware and costs €500. In our comprehensive tests the 1215N matched the VX6 in practically every way. So anyone who is not interested in all the Lamborghini trimmings can save themselves €100. Another recent addition to the market is the Eee PC 1201PN with Ion 2. But this 12.1-inch netbook only has the usual netbook processor, the Intel Atom N450, and no DDR3 memory.

Acer has reinstated its Aspire One 532g with supplementary Ion 2 graphics, and apart from that only offers the Aspire Revo R3700 in the same configuration (mini-desktop). But Asus does also have the cheaper 10.1-inch Aspire One 521 (€315) in its line-up, which offers the same performance (HDMI) with a single-core Athlon II Neo K125 (1.70 GHz), and also has a very sturdy case. But the graphics performance of the  ATI Radeon HD 4225 (1,046 points in 3DMark2006) does not come close to the Nvidia Ion 2.

Asus Lamborghini VX6: Strong performance for a netbook
Asus Lamborghini VX6: Strong performance for a netbook
In Review: Asus Lamborghini VX6
In Review: Asus Lamborghini VX6

Specifications

Asus Lamborghini VX6

:: Processor
Intel Atom D525 1.8 GHz @ 1.836 GHz
:: Mainboard
Intel NM10
:: Memory
2048 MB, PC3-10700
:: Graphics adapter
NVIDIA ION 2 - 512 MB, Core: 475 MHz, Memory: 790 MHz, DDR3 GT218-Core, ForceWare 257.41
:: Display
12.1 inch 16:9, 1366x768 pixel, HSD121PHW1, glossy: yes
:: Harddisk
WDC Scorpio Blue WD2500BEVT-80A23T0, 250 GB 5400 rpm ShockGuard, WhisperDrive
:: Soundcard
Realtek ALC269 @ Intel NM10 ICH
:: Connections
1 USB 2.0, 2 USB 3.0, 1 VGA, 1 HDMI, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: line-out, microphone, Card Reader: SD/MMC/SDHC,
:: Networking
Atheros AR8152 PCI-E Fast Ethernet Controller (10/100MBit), Broadcom 802.11n (a b g n ), 3.0+HDR Bluetooth
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 37 x 297 x 204
:: Weight
1.547 kg Power Supply: 0.136 kg
:: Battery
56 Wh Lithium-Ion, 5,200 mAh, 10.95V
:: Price
599 Euro
:: Operating System
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 32 Bit
:: Additional features
Webcam: 0.3MP, 24 Months Warranty

 

Outdoor features like a matt screen
Outdoor features like a matt screen
have been sacrificed for the glossy look.
have been sacrificed for the glossy look.
Dust accumulating on the netbook.
Dust accumulating on the netbook.
The chrome-plated and varnished external parts
The chrome-plated and varnished external parts
have to be cleaned and polished like on a real racing car (cleaning cloth not included).
have to be cleaned and polished like on a real racing car (cleaning cloth not included).
Instead of a steering wheel, you control it with a conventional keyboard.
Instead of a steering wheel, you control it with a conventional keyboard.
Unfortunately the touchpad is a slippery, greasy surface.
Unfortunately the touchpad is a slippery, greasy surface.
For the visual details, Asus has done some clever things with synthetic materials.
For the visual details, Asus has done some clever things with synthetic materials.
For example the rubberized area around the webcam provides grip when you open the laptop.
For example the rubberized area around the webcam provides grip when you open the laptop.
‘Ice’ has nothing to do with temperature, but refers to the loudspeaker system.
‘Ice’ has nothing to do with temperature, but refers to the loudspeaker system.
The stereo loudspeakers, which actually sound good, are positioned below the palm rest.
The stereo loudspeakers, which actually sound good, are positioned below the palm rest.
The keyboard and palm rest are enclosed in a lightly rubberized plastic.
The keyboard and palm rest are enclosed in a lightly rubberized plastic.
Visual details like the on/off button underline the high-quality feel.
Visual details like the on/off button underline the high-quality feel.
The on/off button glows fiercely in the dark and is a distraction during films.
The on/off button glows fiercely in the dark and is a distraction during films.
Asus has included the netbook-standard ports,
Asus has included the netbook-standard ports,
but USB 3.0 for high-speed data transfer is also on board.
but USB 3.0 for high-speed data transfer is also on board.
They found room for a Kensington lock slot.
They found room for a Kensington lock slot.
Even the bottom of the base unit has something of the car about it.
Even the bottom of the base unit has something of the car about it.
There seem to be two cooling vents here.
There seem to be two cooling vents here.
So lots of bells and whistles and some power under the hood.
So lots of bells and whistles and some power under the hood.
But does the Eee PC VX6 Lamborghini also have good battery life?
But does the Eee PC VX6 Lamborghini also have good battery life?
The 56 Wh battery (5,200 mAH) should give you about 5 hours on the go according to Asus.
The 56 Wh battery (5,200 mAH) should give you about 5 hours on the go according to Asus.
We came close to this figure with 4:26 hours.
We came close to this figure with 4:26 hours.
The mains adaptor only weighs 136 g,
The mains adaptor only weighs 136 g,
and has a narrow plug.
and has a narrow plug.
The tiny power socket is similar to a mobile phone’s.
The tiny power socket is similar to a mobile phone’s.
The base plate does not give you many options for upgrading;
The base plate does not give you many options for upgrading;
only the memory (one module with 2 GB) could be easily expanded.
only the memory (one module with 2 GB) could be easily expanded.
The review model arrived with no recovery disks, only an instruction booklet and a warranty card.
The review model arrived with no recovery disks, only an instruction booklet and a warranty card.
Asus Eee PC VX6: the Lamborghini badge graces the lid of an Eee PC with a high-quality, exclusive feel.
Asus Eee PC VX6: the Lamborghini badge graces the lid of an Eee PC with a high-quality, exclusive feel.
The Lamborghini names stands for tradition, power and exclusivity.
The Lamborghini names stands for tradition, power and exclusivity.
But a Lamborghini Gallardo with 570 HP would not fit in here.
But a Lamborghini Gallardo with 570 HP would not fit in here.
Asus has teamed up with the traditional firm,
Asus has teamed up with the traditional firm,
to produce specially branded VX and ZX mobile phones and laptops.
to produce specially branded VX and ZX mobile phones and laptops.
The VX6 is a 12.1-inch netbook,
The VX6 is a 12.1-inch netbook,
whose design is reminiscent of the trim, spoiler,
whose design is reminiscent of the trim, spoiler,
paintwork and interior of the sports car.
paintwork and interior of the sports car.
But it can be called a racer only in comparison to other netbooks.
But it can be called a racer only in comparison to other netbooks.
The VX6 is part of the Eee PC family
The VX6 is part of the Eee PC family
and is based on the Pine Trail platform, Intel’s netbook chipset.
and is based on the Pine Trail platform, Intel’s netbook chipset.
The VX6 is probably the strongest of the Intel netbooks,
The VX6 is probably the strongest of the Intel netbooks,
with its a dual-core Atom D525,
with its a dual-core Atom D525,
2 GB of DDR3 memory,
2 GB of DDR3 memory,
and Optimus graphics with the Nvidia GT218 (Ion 2).
and Optimus graphics with the Nvidia GT218 (Ion 2).

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Links

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Pro

+Sturdy case
+Good keyboard
+Very quiet
+Stays cool
+2 x USB 3.0 and HDMI
+HD Ready resolution
+Relatively good performance with Intel Atom
+Reasonable battery life
 

Contra

-Weaker graphics
-No integrated 3G
-Poor screen brightness
-Poor screen contrast
-Slippery touchpad

Shortcut

What we liked

The sleek but exceptionally robust chassis with a matt palm rest.

What was missing

A better view through the front windscreen, so to speak. A matt screen with better brightness would have perfectly rounded off the netbook.

What surprised us

That the fastest Atom netbook could also be one of the quietest.

The competition

Only Asus currently offers alternatives with Nvidia Ion 2: Eee PC 1201PN, single-core Atom; Eee PC 1215N, identical hardware. AMD alternatives: Acer Aspire One 521, similar system performance but weaker graphics; Eee PC 1015T, weaker performance and graphics with 1.2 GHz.

Rating

Asus Lamborghini VX6
12/04/2010 v2
Sebastian Jentsch

Chassis
90%
Keyboard
88%
Pointing Device
84%
Connectivity
62%
Weight
91%
Battery
90%
Display
65%
Games Performance
57%
Application Performance
65%
Temperature
91%
Noise
94%
Add Points
90%
Average
81%
86%
Netbook *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Review Asus Lamborghini VX6 Netbook
Author: Sebastian Jentsch, 2010-11- 8 (Update: 2013-06- 6)