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Review Asus U6S sub notebook

One and only...

Advertising the Asus U6S one word dominates – luxury. The piano finish as well as the great equipment including LED display, Penryn CPU, and GeForce 9300M, emphasize luxury. Even at the first glance the 12 inch Asus U6F looks luxurious. The same is true for the price of this 12 inch notebook, which is at least 1.799,- Euro.

Review Asus M51S Logo

Case

You'll definitely get notebooks with elegant shapes, attractive surfaces, and harmonizing colours, if you desire such and are willing to spend money on these. The Asus U6S is one of those. Nonetheless, it clearly differs from other design laptops. The reason gets obvious immediately after unpacking it: Leather - no, not a cheap textile copy. You can feel it, you can smell it – genuine calf leather.

Many won't require such a surface and will wrongly call fetish. But, the leather was precisely fit into the case and its colour harmonizes well. Covering the palm rest areas, it does not only look good, but also feels nice to the touch. The haptics is further improved by being warmed by the hardware components beneath the front edge. No other surface, neither metal nor plastics can ever feel that good. Obviously, Asus also liked it that much, they also covered the smaller of the two provided batteries with leather.

However, also overall the design of the notebook is good. Typical Asus the shapes are straight and geometrical. But this is not all. Also the wise colour choice contributes to the good look. Thereby different grey levels dominate the inside of the notebook between a glossy black lid and a black bottom shell made of robust metal.

But, the Asus U6S does not only look good, it is also rather stable, and weighs only 1610 grammes.The base unit can be hardly deformed by applying force. However, the part with the DVD drive has the usual weakness. The LED display is flexural rigid too, however, if force is applied  the  picture changes.

The hinges look gook and steady the very thin LED display without problems. So, there is hardly any see-saw after adjusting the opening angle. Alike so many other notebooks whose look and design was taken very serious, also the Asus U6S comes without transport hook. So, you should take care to use a separate cover during transportation in order to avoid damages by penetrating objects, even more, because the lid opens easily. Fortunately such is included.

Interface Equipment

Talking about the U6S, we expect luxury, also in this aspect. The leather of the palm rest areas is continued at the front edge and finally ends at the metal bottom shell. For sake of appearance there are no ports at the front edge.

The right side of the notebook provides a card reader, a DVD drive, audio ports, which include a port combining headphones and S/PDIF, and a microphone port, USB ports, and a Kensington lock close to the hinge.

The back side of the laptop offers the rechargeable battery, a modem port (RJ-11), a LAN port (RJ-45) and a VGA connector, which is still needed to attach some beamers.

If this notebook offered only the ports mentioned so far, it would be, except of the power connector, which is left near the back, sufficient for the daily routine, especially considering that it is a compact 12.1 inch notebook. However, the Asus U6S provides even more. Adjacent to the power connector there are the vent holes and three further USB ports,which gives a total of four USB 2.0 ports. But, this is still not all. The crowning glory of the interface equipment is the digital HDMI port, located under the Express Card slot, which enables connecting this laptop to digital screens and TVs. Finally, that's all. Nevertheless this nearly makes a multimedia notebook out of the Asus U6S. This variety of ports is seldom provided by subnotebooks.

A FireWire port, which is sometimes used for transmitting video data or connecting external hard disks, is missing. The same is true for a docking port, which is actually a standard requirement for business notebooks. So, the elegant Asus U6S, is not designed as solid, and durable business notebook, but should attract another target group.

Front side: no ports
Front side: no ports
Left side: power connector, fan, 3x USB, HDMI, ExpressCard
Left side: power connector, fan, 3x USB, HDMI, ExpressCard
Back side: modem, LAN, battery, VGA port
Back side: modem, LAN, battery, VGA port
Right side: DVD drive, card reader, audio ports (S/PDIF), USB, Kensington lock
Right side: DVD drive, card reader, audio ports (S/PDIF), USB, Kensington lock

The provided communication ports are especially crucial for mobile subnotebooks. are important for  subnotebook. The Asus U6S is equipped with a LAN port (Realtek RTL8168/8111 Gigabit PCI-E) and a good old analogue modem (Motorola 56k). The Asus U6S also provides an Intel Wireless WiFi 4965 AGN module, which not only supports the nowadays usual WLAN connections, but is also the new n-standard, which makes data transfer rates of up to 300 Mbps (Mega Bit per second) possible.

Furthermore, the Asus U6S is equipped with a Bluetooth module (V2.0 + EDR), which enables connecting a cell phone, headset or PDA wirelessly.

Data security is indeed crucial for business laptops. The U6S provides a fingerprint reader for user authentication. It can be used for logging in or replacing passwords by fingerprints. Even a TPM chip for data encryption is available.

Furthermore, many accessories are included. Two different notebook bags are shipped with the U6S, and that’s luxury. One on them is a protection cover made of black leather, which can only take up the notebook (even with the bigger battery). If you need a little more space, e.g. for the power pack, other laptop equipment and diverse documents, then you can use the other one, a classical laptop bag by Targus.

In addition, a shapely Bluetooth mouse by Logitech is included too, whose design harmonizes well with the U6S. Moreover, some goodies are included as well, e.g., a microfiber rag for cleaning the display, a hook-and-loop fastener for cables and a batteries for the Bluetooth mouse. Even a manual and a recovery- and driver DVD's are provided.

Asus U6S accessories
Asus U6S accessories
Asus U6S accessories
The Asus U6S provides many accessories

Input devices

The keyboard of the Asus U6S is elegance in silver-gray . Arranged in a strict rectangular and without gaps between single keys, the keys are placed beside each other. The   compact U6S benefits of such a design.

The size of the standard keys is 18 mm x 18 mm, which is user-friendly. However, there was obviously not much space available close to the double-spaced enter key. Some keys like mutated vowels and cursor keys are shrunk to a width of 13 mm. It takes time to get used this size, before you can work without problems.

Furthermore, you'll also need some time to get used to the keyboard layout, which differs from the usual standard. For example, the [><] key was moved from its standard position between the shift button, and the letter Y, and is here in between the spacebar and the alt key. So, left shift button could be made bigger. Some function keys like page up and down are right beside the enter key.

Typing feels  in general good. The key travel is adequately long, and the feedback early and clear. If you apply force, the left side of the keyboard slightly yields, but, this does not have any impact on typing. Also the noise caused by typing is all right. You can only hear a silent and convenient tapping.

Although Asus included an external mouse, the touchpad is still a crucial aspect for a mobile subnotebook. During our test we came to grips with the touchpad in some degree. The surface supports to quickly move the finger over it and reacts well to clicks. Actually this works that well, could nearly do it without the two touchpad buttons. These are very small, because a finger print reader is in between them. Furthermore, they only work properly on their front part. So, they do not react frequently, because they weren't ideally hit at their front edge. Something which should definitely be improved.

There aren't  many hot keys, to conform to the minimum design of the U6S. One launches the Asus Lifeframe Tool (web cam), the other allows selecting the performance profile. Both are designed alike the power switch and located in a molding above the keyboard. The Asus U6S is equipped with a hardware based WLAN on/off switch, which is quite handy. It is at the left side of the notebook, and difficult to use without fingernails.

Keyboard
Keyboard of the Asus U6S
Touchpad
Touchpad of the Asus U6S

Display

A luxury notebook also needs an extraordinary display. Therefore, the Asus U6S is equipped with a panel („Glare Type Color Shine“) with LED backlight. These panels are thinner, their power consumption is lower, they are brighter, and also more evenly illuminated than conventional displays. Of course they are also more expensive, but U6S customers won't care.

The display has a maximum resolution of 1.280 x 800 pixels, which is a wide-spread resolution of today's widescreen panels. This is sufficient for a single window for office or Internet applications. However, it is difficult to keep track of many tile windows. The same is true for graphical applications with many toolboxes.

262
cd/m²
263
cd/m²
266
cd/m²
280
cd/m²
280
cd/m²
287
cd/m²
314
cd/m²
317
cd/m²
331
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
Maximum: 331 cd/m²
Average: 288.9 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 79 %
Black: 2.45 cd/m²
Contrast: 114:1

The brightness proved to be very good in our test. We measured a maximum of 331 cd/m², which is respectable. The minimum value at the upper left corner of the display was 262 cd/m², which is still an excellent value. However, these two values give an illumination of 79.2%, which is not that good. Nevertheless, this is at least not recognizable with the naked eye.

The black level of the display, which is 2.45 cd/m², is very high (minimal representable brightness), and was measured with 2.45 cd/m². Together with the maximum brightness this gives a contrast ratio of 135:1, which is below-average.

Outdoor Operation
The Asus U6S used outdoors

The display is reasonably capable of outdoor operation. The maximum brightness is available while working on battery, but, if the environment is very bright, i.e., in the sunshine, it reflects. Nevertheless, this notebook still rates, alike the transreflective panel of the Toshiba Portégé R500, even in the sunshine good.

The viewing angles are also not absolutely ideal. Especially, vertically, the viewing angles are narrow, so, the picture quickly darkens respectively whitens.

Horizontally, the viewing angles are a bit wider, but, you'll face reflections at acute angles.

Asus U6S Viewing Angles
Asus U6S Viewing Angles
Asus U6S Viewing Angles
Asus U6S Viewing Angles
Asus U6S Viewing Angles
Asus U6S Viewing Angles
Asus U6S Viewing Angles
Asus U6S Viewing Angles



Video of Display's Viewing Angles

Performance

The Asus U6S is indeed equipped with powerful hardware. Anyway, the possible choices for subnotebooks are limited. Still, there are some interesting options. The U6S is equipped with an Intel Penryn T8300 CPU with 2.4 GHz and 3 MB L2-cache. Penryn CPUs are successors of the Merom processor generation. Although they are more powerful, their wattage is lower.

Unlike many competitor subnotebooks, Asus decided not to use an integrated video chip. Instead the U6S is equipped with a NVidia Geforce 9300M G with 256MB Video RAM, which is the successor of the GeForce 8400.

The 3DMark benchmark results of the 9300M G are brilliant. The performance of comparable notebooks, including the Dell XPS M1330 with Merom CPU and GeForce 8400M GS video card, at the 3DMark 2005 and 2006 was lower.

3DMark benchmark
3DMark benchmark

Likewise are the results of the PC Mark 2005, where the Asus U6S reached 5037 points . It is the top notebook of its category in this benchmark mainly due to benefiting from the Penryn CPU, but, also other components are important here. A total of 3 GB RAM (1 GB + 2 GB) allow Windows Vista Business to run smoothly.

Asus chose a powerful hard disk too, i.e., a Segate Momentus ST9250827AS. This mass storage device has a disk space of 250 GB. Its data transfer rates are high and the access times are low compared to other hard disks with 5400 rpm.

To summarize, the Asus U6S is indeed a powerful bundle, whose office performance is convincing.  In addition, it also has sufficient reserve capacities for 3D applications. Due to its hardware equipment its performance is top of 12 inch notebooks.

System information CPU
System information CPU
System information CPU
System information CPU
System information GPU
System information HDD
System information Asus U6S
3D Mark
3DMark 2001SE14725 points
3DMark 035443 points
3DMark 053204 points
3DMark 06
 1280x1024
1665 points
Help
PC Mark
PCMark 055037 points
Help
Cinebench R10
 SettingsValue
 Rendering Single 32Bit2620 Points
 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit4837 Points
 Shading 32Bit2361 Points
250 GB - 5400 rpm
Transfer Rate Minimum: 31.9 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 61.9 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 49.4 MB/s
Access Time: 15.7 ms
Burst Rate: 103.8 MB/s
CPU Usage: 3.8 %

Emissions

Loudness

The Asus U6S is equipped with powerful hardware, but the developer neglected one important thing: cooling. Regardless of the selected energy profile the system fan runs permanently in office mode and even when idling. Even if the energy saving profile is selected, the noise level is as high as of 37.6 dB(A). Nevertheless, it's a rustling noise, so, unlike you are very sensitive, it's not extremely annoying.

Under full load the fan speeds up and it gets louder. The measured maximum noise level is 42.4 dB(A). When running office application, the notebook is quieter, but computationally intensive applications like 3D rendering boost the noise level. The hard disk is audible with a silent clicking noise.

Noise Level

Idle 37.6 / 37.6 / 37.6 dB(A)
HDD 37.9 dB(A)
DVD 41.2 / dB(A)
Load 39.8 / 42.4 dB(A)
 
    30 dB
silent
40 dB
audible
50 dB
loud
 
min: , med: , max:     (15 cm distance)

Temperature

The temperature of the Asus U6S case is all right. The measured maximum temperature  is 33.2°C at the top side, respectively 36.1°C at the bottom side. These values are good, and make an intensive mobile use possible. Considering the low surface temperature, it might be possible to improve the fan control. Let's wait and see. Maybe there will be a BIOS update available soon.

Max. Load
 28.5 °C27.9 °C25.8 °C 
 31.1 °C29.6 °C26.3 °C 
 33.2 °C30.8 °C26.2 °C 
Maximum: 33.2 °C
Average: 28.8 °C
34.4 °C33.3 °C36.1 °C
31.8 °C33.8 °C35.6 °C
30.9 °C33.3 °C33.3 °C
Maximum: 36.1 °C
Average: 33.6 °C
Room Temperature 21.0 °C

Speakers

The Asus U6S is equipped with a single speaker at the front of the case. The maximum volume of the laptop is acceptable. The sound quality of the single speaker is average. The basses are poor,  but, at least the sound is clear. So, it's definitely good enough for silent background music. If you demand more, you can use headphones. The sound output via them was all right.

Battery Runtime

Readers Test (2400 mAh)
BatteryEater Readers Test with 2400 mAh battery (maximum runtime)
Classic Test (2400 mAh)
BatteryEater Classic Test with 2400 mAh Akku (minimum runtime)
Readers Test (4800 mAh)
BatteryEater Readers Test with 4800 mAh Akku (maximum runtime)
Classic Test (4800 mAh)
BatteryEater Classic Test with 4800 mAh Akku (minimum runtime)

Asus included two different batteries. A small one, which fits perfectly into the notebook and is covered with leather, and a bigger one, which juts out at the back of the case, and weights 150 grams more.

The smaller battery has a capacity of 2.400 mAh (26.6 Wh). This two-lined lithium ion battery achieves 4.800 mAh(53.3 Wh) and weights 300 grams. The battery runtime of the 2.400 mAh battery was not very good. We performed a BatteryEater reader test, and it reached only 87 minutes. Under full load, the runtime was 53 minutes (BatteryEater Classic). We performed some practical tests as well, and the runtime was 78 minutes with WLAN (energy saving profile, medium brightness). The runtime was 62 minutes while watching a DVD (profile: entertainment, WLAN off, maximum brightness).

The bigger battery has a much better runtime. The maximum battery runtime is 192 minutes, and the minimum battery runtime is 80 minutes. Browsing the Internet, that is with activate WLAN, we reached a battery runtime of 176 minutes. If both batteries are charged and you do not mind interrupting your work and changing them, you can work unplugged for quite a while. Furthermore, you can also either opt for battery runtime  or weight.

2400 mAh battery
2400 mAh battery installed in the Asus U6S
4800 mAh battery
4800 mAh battery installed in the Asus U6S

 

Due to being equipped with high performance hardware, the wattage of this subnotebooks is higher than of others. Even if all energy saving options are on, the maximum power consumption is still 36 watts in idle mode. However, the power consumption in standby mode was surprisingly low. We measured only 21 watts. Even if we switch the notebook off, the power consumption was still 21 watts. The power pack still needs energy, even when no power consumer is connected. This is bad, because some notebooks are plugged their whole lifetime.

Power Consumption

Idle 36 / 39 / 43 Watt
Load 55 / 60 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         
Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
1h 27min
WiFi Surfing
1h 18min
DVD
1h 02min
Load (maximum brightness)
0h 53min

Verdict

The Asus U6S is inspiring in many ways, e.g. by its straightforward design and the first-class materials like genuine leather. Other aspects are four USB 2.0 ports and a HDMI port, its data communication capabilities, which include WLAN standard-n, gigabit Ethernet and Bluetooth. However, also Bluetooth and a docking port would be nice features, which are not built-in.

The Asus U6S is equipped with a very bright LED display, and user-friendly input devices. The display surface is reflecting, so it's not ideal outdoors, especially in the sunshine.

The performance of the notebook is very good, because it is equipped with a Core 2 Duo Penryn CPU, and Nvidia GeForce 9300M G graphics with 256 MB video RAM. Furthermore, it gets supported by 3 GB RAM and a fast and powerful 250 GB hard disk.

The noise emissions of the notebook are not as good as the rest. Especially, the system fan is always running and audible, even when running non-demanding applications. The temperatures of the case are good.

The battery runtime depends on the chosen battery. Asus includes two, a smaller one with 2.400 mAh battery, whose battery runtime is not long, and a bigger one with a longer battery runtime, which weights more. So, you can either opt for battery runtime or weight.

Asus U6SG-2P010E
Asus U6SG-2P010E
Reviewed: Asus U6SG-2P010E
Asus U6SG-2P010E

Specifications

Asus U6S

:: Processor
:: Mainboard
Intel PM965
:: Memory
3072 MB, DDR2 PC5300 667 MHz, 1024+2048MB, max. 4096MB
:: Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce 9300M G - 256 MB, Core: 400 MHz, Memory: 400 MHz, 7.15.11.6749
:: Display
12.1 inch 16:10, 1280x800 pixel, Glare Type Color Shine, glossy: yes
:: Harddisk
250 GB - 5400 rpm, 250 GB 5400 rpm Seagate Momentus ST9250827AS
:: Soundcard
Realtek ALC888
:: Connections
1 Express Card 54mm, 4 USB 2.0, 1 VGA, 1 HDMI, 56K Modem, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: Mikrofon, Kopfhörer (S/PDIF),
:: Networking
Realtek RTL8168/8111 Gigabit-LAN (10/100/1000MBit), Intel Wireless WiFi Link 4965AGN (a b g n ), 2.0+EDR Bluetooth
:: Optical drive
HL-DT-ST DVD +/-RW GSA-U10N
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 32 x 220 x 300
:: Weight
1.61 kg Power Supply: 0.46 kg
:: Battery
26.6 Wh Lithium-Ion, 11.1V 2400mAh
:: Price
1799 Euro
:: Operating System
Microsoft Windows Vista Business 32 Bit
:: Additional features
notebook bag, protection cover, Bluetooth mouse, 24 Months Warranty, 0.3 mega pixel webcam, TPM chip

 

[+] compare
The Asus U6S stands out due to its design.
The Asus U6S stands out due to its design.
Furthermore, there is a 0.3 MP web cam integrated.
Furthermore, there is a 0.3 MP web cam integrated.
The notebook provides many accessories, like a laptop bag,...
The notebook provides many accessories, like a laptop bag,...
...a protection cover and a Bluetooth mouse.
...a protection cover and a Bluetooth mouse.
Although the size of the keys was reduced the keyboard is user-friendly,...
Although the size of the keys was reduced the keyboard is user-friendly,...
...but, it takes some time to get used to the modified layout.
...but, it takes some time to get used to the modified layout.
The touchpad works well, however, the touchpad buttons don't.
The touchpad works well, however, the touchpad buttons don't.
The installed display with LED backlight offers good brightness,...
The installed display with LED backlight offers good brightness,...
...and enables using the notebook outside.
...and enables using the notebook outside.
The other hardware is powerful:
The other hardware is powerful:
Asus included a Core 2 Duo "Penryn" CPU and a Geforce 9300M G graphics.
Asus included a Core 2 Duo "Penryn" CPU and a Geforce 9300M G graphics.
However, the powerful hardware equipment causes the fan to run all the time.
However, the powerful hardware equipment causes the fan to run all the time.
The surface of the notebook did not get very hot.
The surface of the notebook did not get very hot.
It has 4 USB 2.0 ports and one HDMI port.
It has 4 USB 2.0 ports and one HDMI port.
The U6S provides many different ports.
The U6S provides many different ports.
This thin 12.1 Zoll subnotebook has an overall weight of 1.6 kilograms,...
This thin 12.1 Zoll subnotebook has an overall weight of 1.6 kilograms,...
...offers a straight forward design without curlicues.
...offers a straight forward design without curlicues.
Even the colour of the U6S is very decent.
Even the colour of the U6S is very decent.
The notebook is black, silver, and grey.
The notebook is black, silver, and grey.
Some surfaces are glossy, e.g., the lid, which has a piano finish.
Some surfaces are glossy, e.g., the lid which has a piano finish.
Leather covered area are sure to captivate all.
Leather covered area are sure to captivate all.
They look good and feel nice to the touch.
They look good and feel nice to the touch.
The leather harmonizes perfectly with the whole design and colour choice.
The leather harmonizes perfectly with the whole design and colour choice.
The shapes are simple and geometrically.
The shapes are simple and geometrically.
The same is true for the hot keys.
The same is true for the hot keys.
The case of the Asus U6S is very solid...
The case of the Asus U6S is very solid...
... because magnesium and aluminium was used.
... because magnesium and aluminium was used.
There are two different batteries included: A smaller 2400 mAh and a bigger 4800 mAh Li-Ions battery.
There are two different batteries included: A smaller 2400 mAh and a bigger 4800 mAh Li-Ions battery.

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Price comparison

Pro

+Nice design
+High-quality materials (leather, aluminium/magnesium)
+Surfaces feel nice to the touch
+Many ports including an HDMI port
+WLAN standard-n, Gigabit Lan, Bluetooth and UMTS (ready)
+A lot of accessories (Bluetooth mouse, bag)
+User-friendly keyboard
+Very bright LED display
+Brilliant performance
+Low temperature emissions
+Second, bigger battery included
 

Cons

-No docking option
-No Firewire port
-High noise level even in idle mode
-High energy demand, even if turned off

Rating

Asus U6S
02/10/2008
J. Simon Leitner

Chassis
90%
Keyboard
84%
Pointing Device
82%
Connectivity
84%
Weight
93%
Battery
78%
Display
82%
Games Performance
78%
Application Performance
96%
Temperature
89%
Noise
72%
Add Points
90%
Average
85%
85%
Subnotebook *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Review Asus U6S Subnotebook
Author: J. Simon Leitner, 2008-04-22 (Update: 2012-05-26)