Asus V1s User Review

by matt_h1 Reads (50,797)

The Asus V1s is a 15.4" screen notebook that comes equipped with the latest Intel Core 2 Duo Santa Rosa platform and Nvidia 8600 graphics card. The V1s is ultra slim and lighter than the average 15.4" screen notebook so it’s possible to treat it as more of a mobile machine, yet still have all of the power you’d expect in this sized notebook.

Reasons for Buying

My current laptop, a Sony VAIO FE590 is almost two years old and is falling to pieces, so I decided it was time to upgrade. I saw the Asus V1Jp and fell in love with its looks and its features. I decided with the Santa Rosa refresh around the corner that I would wait for Asus to release an update, after waiting for close to two months and with university starting in mid July I couldn’t wait any longer and ended up buying a Dell Inspiron 1520. It turned out to be ugly, loud, and arrived with half the features I had paid for absent. For a $2,000+ notebook I expected better. So I returned the Dell and within two days the Asus V1s had started appearing on various sites. Another month of waiting and pre-orders started.

Reasons for Buying Overseas

Many manufacturers tend to grossly inflate the price of their products in Australia compared to the USA and European markets. Because of this I decided to order overseas. I looked through many retailers and narrowed it down to MilestonePC, GenTech, ExcaliberPC, and ProPortable. I ended up going with ExcaliberPC because they had been active in the NotebookReview.com forums helping users and answering questions. They were more than happy to answer the slew of questions and concerns I had. They also offered me a fantastic rate on the International shipping and price matched the modular battery. They gave me a promotional deal on the notebook and extended 3 year warranty. After placing my pre-order I gathered my funds on the Friday night when the AUD bought 88US cents. Unfortunately after weeks of highs the dollar had dropped to 82 cents by Monday. It bounced on Wednesday to 85 cents so I paid then. The V1s was released in Australia for $2,600 and was offered for as little as $2,485 but it came with the Intel 2.0ghz T7300 and Windows Vista Ultimate so I was happy with my decision to buy overseas. The total cost was $1,983 USD. This translated to $2,385 AUD. After I paid the 10% duty and $50 customs processing fee it came to $2,673 AUD.

My Configuration

As a student I was concerned about battery life and gaming performance, So I opted to get the 8-cell and 6-cell modular battery.

  • CPU: T7500 2.2ghz, 800mhz FSB, 4MB cache
  • RAM: 2x1GB 667mhz + 1GB Turbo Cache
  • LCD: 1650×1080 WSXGA + with Colour Shine
  • HHD: 160GB 5400RPM Sata
  • WLAN: 4965AGN 802.11n
  • GPU: Nvidia 8600GT w 512mb DDR2
  • Battery: 8Cell 5200mAh + 6cell 3600mAh
  • DVD-RW
  • Other ports: 3xUSB, FireWire, HDMI, S-Video, Card Reader, ExpressCard /54, VGA, Gigabit Lan + Modem Port, BlueTooth, Stereo In, Stereo / Spdif out, E-Sata / USB port combo

Delivery and Packaging

The box was sent via Express Post International on Friday night in the USA and was in customs in Australia by Sunday. I called on Monday and received my customs reference number and faxed through the various forms and invoices. My item was released on Wednesday by mid-day and made it to me by Friday. I was extremely pleased as my last notebook and PC ordered from America took 3-weeks and 5-weeks respectively. The laptop arrived in a large brown box containing the carry bag, a second box, the modular battery and the 3 year warranty extension details.

Design and Looks

The V1s is incredibly sleek and slim, it looks amazing. I’m not too fond of the slightly sparkly keyboard with raised keys having become used to my Sony’s flat keys. The Modular bay is very easy to remove and swap.


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The V1s looks stunning. It’s sleek small and light. I love the metallic lid and palm rests. The LED and port layout is really good. The one complaint on the design side is it would have been nice to have had the exhaust vent on the back, not the side.

Build Quality

There is a fair amount of flex on the lid of this notebook, touching anywhere on the back of the screen results in a ripple just below the webcam. But no matter how hard I push I have not been able to make the palmrest flex or bend. There is no keyboard flex and overall it feels very sturdy.

The palm rest is either very rigid plastic or a metal alloy. It dosen’t chink like metal when you tap it but it stays cold unlike plastic. The hinges are very strong, the screen dosen’t wobble or shake when you move the laptop, nor is it ridiculously hard to open like my old Sony. The bottom of the notebook has a much more plastic feel to it, but is also extremely hard and rigid. The lid is metal, my guess being magnesium alloy.

Bloatware

I was surprised at how little bloat there was on this machine. It had a full install of Office 2007 that needed to be activated, a 90 day trial of Symantec Internet security, Nero Essentials, and a few Asus utilities that are pretty useful.

Ports

The V1S has a number of ports not found on most laptops such as E-Sata and HDMI. Amusingly there is a big sticker on the palm rest advertising the notebook’s u-DVI port which it dosen’t actually have anymore.

Left Side


Gigabit Ethernet, S-Video, VGA, 2xUSB, HDMI, Modular bay – DVD (view large image)

 

Right Side


DC Jack, Modem Port, exhaust port, FireWire, USB, Mic, Spdif/Stereo out, Esata/USB combo port, Card Reader Expresscard/54 (view large image)

 

Keyboard

I am very happy with the keyboard, there is no flex and the keys are well spaced. My only complaint is the Fn key is on the outer edge and the Ctrl key is to its right. I am used to the reverse so I keep hitting FN + C or FN + V by accident.


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The FN options are sleep, WiFi, email, Internet, brightness up and down, turn off the LCD, turn on multiple displays, disable/enable touchpad, volume up and down, mute, play, stop, skip, and Power4Gear settings. Many of these are duplicated with dedicated keys to the left of the power button consisting of Instant Media, Power4Gear, screen setting, Bluetooth, wireless, and touchpad on and off.

Touchpad

The touchpad surface is very rough and quite abrasive against the finger tips. It’s also not quite as sensitive by default as my old Sony, but this is easily solved with the touchpad settings. The fingerprint reader is a very nice touch, but it is a little tough to use registering about 1/3 of the time correctly. I assume as I get used to using it I will place my finger for it to scan more correctly. The left click button has to be pressed very hard to drag and often will drop the item. This is really annoying when cropping photos.

Benchmarks

Vista 620/500


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Vista Stock With Turbo Memory Disabled


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Vista Stock With Turbo Memory Enabled


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XP


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PCMark05 Turbo Cache Enabled


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PCMark05 Turbo Cache Disabled


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HDD Test Suite Turbo Cache Enabled

HDD Test Suite Turbo Cache Disabled

CPUZ Full speed

CPUZ Downclocked

E-Sata Performance 250gb 7200rpm 7200.10 Seagate 3.5" On Desktop


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Esata on V1S


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160GB Internal 5400RPM


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Windows Experience Index


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Super PI: 2M Calculation: 57seconds

CineBench 9.5:

  • Rendering (Single CPU): 365 CB-CPU
  • Rendering (Multiple CPU): 672 CB-CPU
  • Multiprocessor Speedup: 1.84
  • Shading (CINEMA 4D) : 423 CB-GFX
  • Shading (OpenGL Software Lighting) : 1229 CB-GFX
  • Shading (OpenGL Hardware Lighting) : 2140 CB-GFX
  • OpenGL Speedup: 5.06

Screen

The high res 1650×1080 WSXGA+ screen is stunning. There is a small amount of light leakage along the bottom of the screen. The V1S also comes with splendid video technology which lets you use a hot key to change the LCD’s colour presets. Some just make it look yellow, but most look really fantastic. It’s nowhere near as bright as my old Sony, but it’s more than bright enough for day to day tasks. On minimum brightness it looks like the backlight actually switches off all together, making it near impossible to see unless there is sufficent ambient light. The difference between 0/8 and 1/8 brightness is massive. The viewing angles are above average, but once again just not as good as my old Sony.

Low brightness


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Full Brightness


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Heat and Noise

The CPU runs surprisingly cool as does the GPU at default. When idle the CPU runs around 48-50C and under 100% load for twenty minutes it went up to 67C.

The fan is almost silent when doing light tasks but when it gets hot it spins up to a high RPM and is quite noisy.

Speakers

The speakers are subpar in comparison to the rest of the notebook. They are very tinny and not very loud. Even at full volume it is a struggle to hear them. They are placed on either side of the keyboard and they do not really project the sound well.

Battery

The first number represents the total time achieved on the 8-cell main battery and the second number shows what the modular battery got. For a total just add the two. I was very happy to get just over five and a half hours on the combined batteries while typing.

Usage Scenario 8-cell battery 6-cell battery Total
Video: Brightness 2/8, video playing, Wifi BT off 2:25 1:15 3:40
Typing: Brightness 0/8,Wifi BT off, MS Office 3:40 1:40 5:20
Surfing: Brightness 2/8, Wifi BT on, surfing 2:55 1:20 3:15
Gaming: Brightness 8/8, Wifi on, CPU 100%, GPU active 1:35 45 2:20

 

OS Options

I, like many others, am not overly impressed with Vista and as such I decided to put XP on my V1s. Unfortunately Asus does not officially provide support for XP on the V1s. It took several hours of trial and error and searching for drivers before I was satisfied that I had all the drivers and utilities I needed. I ended up sticking with Vista in the end because it looks so much better. If you want to put XP on your V1s I created a very basic guide.

Overall

I really love the Asus V1s. It has a few faults, but overall it’s exactly what I wanted. It’s light, portable, powerful, and the perfect price. I recommend this machine to anyone looking for a business class machine with high quality components.

Pros:

  • High resolution screen
  • Great performance
  • Modular bay battery for easy swapping
  • High build quality

Cons:

  • Left click must be pressed hard
  • Screen quite dim, especially when at lowest setting
  • Battery life could be better
  • Lack of true Windows XP support

 




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