Asus U6S Review

by tiffany boggs Reads (28,868)

The Asus U6S is a solid notebook that sports a 2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor and has a 12.1" LED backlit screen that saves on battery life. The glossy brown lid has blue accent flakes in the paint, which we like to call "flavor crystals" that really catch the eye. It performed quite well on the benchmarking tests as well, so let’s take a closer look to see how well it stacks against the competition.

Asus U6S specs as reviewed (price as tested $1,799):

  • Intel Core 2 Duo T7500 2.2GHz processor (4MB L2 Cache, 800FSB)
  • Windows Vista Business OS
  • Intel 965PM chipset
  • Nvidia G8400M graphics
  • 2GB DDR2 667MHz RAM
  • 12.1" WXGA (1280 x 800) LED backlit display
  • 160GB, 5400rpm hard drive
  • Super-Multi optical drive
  • 8-in-1 Card Reader
  • 0.3 mega-pixel web camera
  • Integrated 802.11a/g/n
  • Bluetooth 2.0
  • 10/100/1000 Ethernet
  • Express Card slot
  • 1 x microphone in
  • 1 x headphone out
  • 1 x VGA -15 pin
  • 4 x USB ports
  • 1 x RJ-11 and RJ-45
  • 1x HDMI
  • Battery: 6-cell
  • Weight: 3.5 lbs
  • Dimensions: 11.7" x 8.6" x 0.9"-1.2"


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Build and Design

The U6S has a unique design. As I mentioned above the lid has a nice glossy brown piano finish, with blue flakes, but that isn’t the only thing that catches your eye. It also has a shiny brown leather palm rest area and a black leather wrapped battery. The U6S sports that sophisticated look, while maintaining a consumer price tag.


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The leather palm rest and battery help keep the notebook’s temperature cool. I didn’t have any problems with excessive heat even when I ran the benchmarking tests. The U6S is comfortable to hold and work on.

Weighing in at 3.5lbs and having the 12.1" LED backlit screen make this notebook great for traveling. It is lightweight and doesn’t take up much room in your bag. The chassis is solid and so is the hinge. I didn’t notice any signs of flex in the design, except on the keyboard, which we will discuss later.


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The screen bezel and keyboard are silver, which make the brown color of the notebook pop. I also like that all the indicator lights were a purplish-white color. It is a nice change from all the blue LED indicator lights on most other notebooks. The U6S has a softer appeal, even the screen colors seem softer. If you like to chat with friends and family on the Web though, you are in luck because it does have a nice 0.3 mega-pixel webcam.

Screen

The 12.1" WXGA (1280 x 800) LED backlit screen is nice. The LED backlit option saves on battery life and makes the screen look very clear. It gets bright, but the colors are kind of washy. By this I mean the colors aren’t bold and vivid, they almost look kind of pastel.


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The screen is easy on the eyes though and I had no problems reading any content from my favorite sites like NotebookReview.com. It has good viewing angles, but I did notice toward the corners of the screen the color does fade out and it looks light, almost white in color. There is an HDMI port on the U6S, so if you want to hook up to a TV you can and the image quality is actually fairly good.

Keyboard/Touchpad

The keyboard is basic. It has the flat designed keys that are common on all Asus notebooks. Since the keys are flat, if you are a fast typer you have to be careful because your finger can get caught on one of the keys and pull it right off. I have had this happen on my Asus R1 tablet, which has the same keyboard design.


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I do like that it has a silver color keyboard and the finish on the keys seem more durable then on my Asus R1. I didn’t notice any fingerprint grime.

The touchpad is dark brown, which coincides with the rest of the palm rest area. It has a textured look to it, but feels smooth. Thankfully there is a nice ring around the touchpad so you know where it stops. It is accurate and responsive just like a mouse, but I wasn’t a big fan of the right and left click buttons. They seemed to stick sometimes and weren’t as responsive.


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Performance and Benchmarks

The U6S was impressive. I am used to reviewing Tablet PCs on a daily basis and was pleased with how peppy it was. The 2.2GHz Core 2 Duo processor was responsive and had no problems surfing the Web, checking email, running multiple applications or running benchmarks. I was disappointed in the 3DMark scores it ran though. I was expecting a little more out of it.

The U6S didn’t over work itself and booted up in no time. I did not test any games on the notebook because I am not a gamer, but since it has a good processor and decent graphics, I am sure it can play basic games.

wPrime is a program that forces the processor to do recursive mathematical calculations, the advantage of this program is that it is multi-threaded and can use both processor cores at once, thereby giving more accurate benchmarking measurements than Super Pi. (Lower numbers mean better performance.)

Notebook / CPU wPrime 32M time
Asus U6S (Intel Core 2 Duo T7500 @ 2.2GHz) 42.165s
Asus F8P (Core 2 Duo T7250 @ 2.0GHz) 40.842s
Lenovo IdeaPad Y510 (Core 2 Duo T5450 @ 1.66GHz) 50.184s
HP Pavilion dv6700t (Core 2 Duo T5450 @ 1.66GHz) 50.480s
Dell Inspiron 1525 (Core 2 Duo T7250 @ 2.0GHz) 43.569s
Dell XPS M1530 (Core 2 Duo T7500 @ 2.2GHz)
37.485s
Portable One SXS37 (Core 2 Duo T7250 @ 2.0GHz) 41.908s
Sony VAIO NR (Core 2 Duo T5250 @ 1.5GHz) 58.233s
Toshiba Tecra A9 (Core 2 Duo T7500 @ 2.2GHz) 38.343s
Toshiba Tecra M9 (Core 2 Duo T7500 @ 2.2GHz) 37.299s
HP Compaq 6910p (Core 2 Duo T7300 @ 2GHz) 40.965s
Sony VAIO TZ (Core 2 Duo U7600 @ 1.20GHz) 76.240s
Zepto 6024W (Core 2 Duo T7300 @ 2GHz) 42.385s
Lenovo T61 (Core 2 Duo T7500 @ 2.2GHz) 37.705s
Alienware M5750 (Core 2 Duo T7600 @ 2.33GHz) 38.327s
Hewlett Packard DV6000z (Turion X2 TL-60 @ 2.0GHz) 38.720s
Samsung Q70 (Core 2 Duo T7300 @ 2.0GHz) 42.218s
Acer Travelmate 8204WLMi (Core Duo T2500 @ 2.0GHz) 42.947s
Samsung X60plus (Core 2 Duo T7200 @ 2.0GHz) 44.922s
Zepto Znote 6224W (Core 2 Duo T7300 @ 2.0GHz) 45.788s

 

3DMark06 comparison results for graphics performance (higher scores mean better performance):

Notebook 3DMark06 Score
Asus U6S (2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7500, NVIDIA GeForce Go 8400M G) 1,021 3DMarks
Asus F8P (2.0GHz Intel T7250, ATI Mobility Radeon HD 2400 256MB)
1,511 3DMarks
Lenovo IdeaPad Y510 (1.66GHz Intel T5450, Intel X3100) 543 3DMarks
HP Pavilion dv6700t (1.66GHz Intel T5450, Nvidia 8400M GS 256MB) 1,556 3DMarks
Dell Inspiron 1525 (2.0GHz Intel T7250, Intel X3100) 545 3DMarks
Sony VAIO NR (1.5GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T5250, Intel X3100) 504 3DMarks
Dell XPS M1530 (2.20GHz Intel T7500, Nvidia 8600M GT 256MB) 4,332 3DMarks
Dell Inspiron 1520 (2.0GHz Intel T7300, NVIDIA 8600M GT) 2,905 3DMarks
Dell XPS M1330 (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, NVIDIA GeForce Go 8400M GS 128MB) 1,408 3DMarks
Samsung Q70 (2.0GHz Core 2 Duo T7300 and nVidia 8400M G GPU) 1,069 3DMarks
Asus F3sv-A1 (Core 2 Duo T7300 2.0GHz, Nvidia 8600M GS 256MB) 2,344 3DMarks
Alienware Area 51 m5550 (2.33GHz Core 2 Duo, nVidia GeForce Go 7600 256MB 2,183 3DMarks
Fujitsu Siemens Amilo Xi 1526 (1.66GHz Core Duo, nVidia 7600Go 256 MB) 2,144 3DMarks
Samsung X60plus (2.0GHz Core 2 Duo T7200, ATI X1700 256MB) 1,831 3DMarks
Asus A6J (1.83GHz Core Duo, ATI X1600 128MB) 1,819 3DMarks
HP dv6000t (2.16 GHz Intel T7400, NVIDA GeForce Go 7400) 827 3DMarks

PCMark05 measures overall notebook performance (higher scores mean better performance):

Notebook PCMark05 Score
Asus U6S (2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7500, NVIDIA GeForce Go 8400M G) 4,056 PCMarks
Asus F8P (2.0GHz Intel T7250, ATI Mobility Radeon HD 2400 256MB) 4,409 PCMarks
Lenovo IdeaPad Y510 (1.66GHz Intel T5450, Intel X3100) 3,749 PCMarks
HP Pavilion dv6700t (1.66GHz Intel T5450, Nvidia 8400M GS 256MB) 3,386 PCMarks
Dell Inspiron 1525 (2.0GHz Intel T7250, Intel X3100) 4,149 PCMarks
Dell XPS M1530 (2.20GHz Intel T7500, Nvidia 8600M GT 256MB) 5,412 PCMarks
Dell Inspiron 1520 (2.0GHz Intel T7300, NVIDIA 8600M GT) 4,616 PCMarks
Dell XPS M1330 (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, NVIDIA GeForce Go 8400M GS) 4,591 PCMarks
Sony VAIO NR (1.5GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T5250, Intel X3100) 3,283 PCMarks
Lenovo ThinkPad X61 (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, Intel X3100) 4,153 PCMarks
Lenovo 3000 V200 (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, Intel X3100) 3,987 PCMarks
Lenovo T60 Widescreen (2.0GHz Intel T7200, ATI X1400 128MB) 4,189 PCMarks
HP dv6000t (2.16GHz Intel T7400, NVIDA GeForce Go 7400) 4,234 PCMarks
Fujitsu N6410 (1.66GHz Core Duo, ATI X1400) 3,487 PCMarks
Alienware M7700 (AMD Athlon FX-60, Nvidia Go 7800GTX) 5,597 PCMarks
Sony VAIO SZ-110B in Speed Mode (Using Nvidia GeForce Go 7400) 3,637 PCMarks
Asus V6J (1.86GHz Core Duo T2400, Nvidia Go 7400) 3,646 PCMarks

 

HDTune measures the storage performance of a PC:

 

Ports

I am pleased with the array of ports offered on the U6S. It has four USB ports and an HDMI port. Asus is very good at putting enough features on their notebooks to fit any users needs. That, and giving you nice accessories included with the notebook like a bag and mouse.

Left side


Air vent, three USB ports, HDMI port, Express Card slot and Wi-Fi switch. (view large image)

Right side


Optical drive, 8-in-1 card reader, headphone and microphone, last USB port and lock. (view large image)

Front


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Rear


RJ-11 and RJ-45 ports, and VGA-15 pin. (view large image)

Wireless

The U6S comes with the standard 802.11a/g type signals and the new draft N is optional. I had no problems connecting to secured and unsecured networks. Range was good compared to my R1 tablet; the U6S picked up networks my notebook didn’t even see. If you need better Internet connectivity options, you can always get 3G/3.5G Antenna support, which is optional.

It comes standard with integrated Bluetooth 2.0. I tested it out with one of my Logitech Bluetooth mice and it worked as expected. I had no problems connecting the mouse or using it. I actually liked it better then the touchpad.

Audio

The speakers on the U6S were surprising. I was expecting a little more I guess since it’s a notebook. Not that they didn’t sound good, but they weren’t something I would jam to my iTunes with. The sound was clear and it did get loud, just nothing in the entertainment realm. Much better then any tablet I have reviewed though, except for the HP tx2000. The microphone and headphone worked great though. I used the headphone port to drown out office noise when I was busy.

Heat and Noise

Heat, what heat? That is right, the U6S never got hot, in fact it barely got warm. It was nice to work with and comfortable. I could set it on my lap and not be worried about anything. The leather may have helped or just the fact that it vented well. Compared to many other notebooks, the U6S is definitely one of the coolest. The temperature readings were even taken after running the benchmarks and the computer being on for a few hours.


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The U6S was quiet as well. That is, once I figured out how to adjust the volume. When you turn it on it makes a loud annoying startup chime during boot-up. I hardly noticed the fan running and even when playing a DVD, the optical drive wasn’t that loud. It might bother your neighbor in a library, but not in an office environment.

Battery

The standard battery that comes with the U6S is a 3-cell battery. I definitely recommend getting the 6-cell because the 3-cell battery doesn’t give you enough power to write a mid-term. After being completely charged, the 3-cell battery that came with the U6S died in less then two hours and it wasn’t even set to the High Performance mode.

The 6-cell battery doesn’t sit flush with the back of the notebook, but provides much better battery life. At least you can unplug your notebook and not worry about it crashing in an hour. I got about three to four hours of battery life with the 6-cell battery depending on if I was in Power saver mode, Entertainment mode or High Performance.

OS and Software

Windows Vista Business comes standard on the U6S. I didn’t see any other options on their website, but I am sure you can change this depending on where you purchase the notebook. I had no problems with Vista Business though. There wasn’t much if any bloatware either, which is a bonus. I didn’t have any problems entering/resuming from standby, and hibernation worked fine as well. Beware though it seems the standard battery dies quick and likes to put you in hibernation mode often, so this may be something you reset in the Control Panel.

Conclusion

The U6S has a sharp design. It is sleek, lightweight and great to travel with. If you do travel a lot make sure you get the bigger battery though because the standard battery will have you plugged in to the wall all the time. The LED backlit screen is soft on the eyes and easy to read. The leather palm rest is comfortable and a nice touch of flare. The U6S maintains that sophisticated look, but with a knock-off price tag, which we like. It isn’t a rugged notebook by any means, but has a solid chassis and can take a few bumps and bruises of your daily grind. Overall, I was impressed and would recommend it for anyone looking for a notebook for work or school. It’s not to expensive and has great features.

Pros

  • Good variety of ports, including HDMI
  • Appealing design and color
  • Solid chassis
  • LED backlit screen, preserves battery life
  • Doesn’t get hot and has nice leather palm rest
  • Included accessories

Cons

  • 3-cell battery has bad life, need 6-cell or bigger
  • Keyboard shows signs of flex
  • LED screen is light in color not vivid or bright
  • Right click button on touchpad sticks




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