Asus V6J with Core 2 Duo Review (pics, specs)

by buster9772 Reads (34,449)

by Brian King

Introduction:

The V6J series notebook by Asus is the most recent incarnation of the V6V.  Both of these notebooks are in the thin and light category.  Both are built for style.  The clean lines of the design mixed with brushed aluminum and polycarbonate material, not only make this notebook beautiful to look at, but rock solid and durable.  Coupled with a case that is packed full of cutting edge hardware, this machine has been a pleasure to own so far.

Specs as reviewed:

  • Processor — Intel T7400 merom (2.16 GHz Core 2 Duo, 65nm technology, 4MB Cache, 667MHz front side bus)
  • 2.0 GBs of DDR SDRAM running at 667MHz
  • Hard Drive Size — 80GB 7200 RPM, by Hitachi, 2.5" format
  • Screen Size — 15.1", SXGA+ (1400×1050)
  • Graphics Card – nVidia GeForce Go 7400 PCI-E Graphics w/ 256MB VRAM (256MB w/ Turbo Cache)=512mb total in super performance mode
  • Wireless — Intel PRO/Wireless 3945 A/B/G miniPCI, Bluetooth 2.0+EDR
  • Operating System — Windows XP Professional, Service Pack 2, and a browser link to download windows Vista
  • Battery – ~4.2 hour, 8 Cell Battery
  • Ports
  • Left Side — Optical Drive (Super Slim 4x Super Multi DVD Burner with Litescribe), Express Card Slot , IR port, Firewire, VGA, Lock Slot
  • Right Side — 4x USB, Card Reader (SD, MMC, MS, MS Pro), Headphones/Digital Audio Out, Microphone, Modem, Network, Power
  • Dimensions – 13" (length) x 10.7" (width) x 1"-1.2" (height)
  • Weight — 5.73 lbs
  • Warranty – See below.  (The notebook is actually warrantied from BTOtech)

Reasons for buying:


Asus V6J (view large image)

I have been looking for a new laptop for about 3 months.  My first laptop was a Sony V505-ACP ultra-portable.  Weighing in at a hair over 4 lbs, it was very stylish and portable.   I took it to class and on vacations; it was used well and lasted almost 5 years.  These were my criteria for my new machine as well.  After looking at 20 or so models I decided that I didn’t need the high portability that an ultra-portable provided.  I decided on thin-and-light instead.  I traded off size and weight for a little more power, more comfortable keyboard, and a bigger screen.  The reason for this decision was simple — I was not a student anymore, I was a professional.  I didn’t walk to class, I drove to work.  I narrowed my search further to three machines: The HP dv2000t, the Sony SZ series, and the ASUS V6J.  I was online getting ready to buy the Sony SZ series and got an email from a friend that said he had seen a website which had a V6J with a Core 2 Duo processor. 

Where and how purchased:

After a quick search on the ASUS website in the “where to buy” section I found a company called BTOtech.com.  I emailed a nice guy named Eddie who helped me to find a Core 2 configuration that I wanted.  Five days later I had my machine.  It was $2,500 and came with a 3 year no questions asked warranty and a 256Mb NU flashdrive.  The package also includes Nero OEM, Powermedia software suite, a Windows XP Pro OEM disk and system recovery disks.


(view large image)

(view large image)

 

Build and Design:


Asus V6J fresh out of the box with accompanying hardware accessories and battery (view large image)

This notebook is one of the best looking machines I have ever seen.  Do you remember when all notebooks were boxy and plain; built for function and not for form?  Then Sony came out with V and T series notebooks which had  power and style.  Well that’s exactly what ASUS has done here.  I ogled over the Sony SZ series for weeks.  I thought it was the slickest thing since Crisco, and then I checked out the review of the V6J on NotebookReview.com and I realized Sony had a serious competitor.  A company that not only delivered on every critical aspect of notebook design like, power and durability; but also brought some serious style to the package. On the outside of the unit you will find clean lines and a mechanistic form.  Every detail designed to say, ‘WOW!”  The finish is part matte and part shiny with small flecks of silvery particles.  On the inside you will find an almost full sized keyboard with a feel only matched by an IBM ThinkPad.  Framing the keyboard is a brushed aluminum surface that screams style.  The aluminum is bulleted with small holes around the speakers which face up.  I must say that the casing and cover are tough as nails and very scratch resistant.  Nothing on the notebook gives and it feels sturdy when held in any position.


Keyboard view of the V6J (view large image)

Functional Characteristics:

Weight:  Ringing in at 5.7 lbs, this notebook has enough weight to feel substantial and solid, but is not overly cumbersome and is still well into the portable range.  This machine is easy to grab and take out to the Starbucks patio or carry on for the business traveler.  I would not want to use this machine if I had to have it with me at all times and my routine involved me being constantly mobile though.

Screen:  The screen is beautiful!  It is large, sharp, has a high contrast ratio, and comes with a software management suite (Splendid technology) to infinitely adjust to your own style and preference.  It has no flex or twist when grabbed by a corner or pushed on from behind.  In contrast, my Sony V505 had a lot of play.  The hinges holding the screen are solid.  They do not move independently.  If you want the screen to move you have to do it.  The screen’s hinges are so tight in fact that the lid can not be opened one handed.  I don’t know if this is a pro or a con — depends on your preference.

Sound:  The speakers are very good for laptop speakers, but as we all know that is not great.  The speakers have good treble, which is realistic and not tinny sounding, but there is almost no bass.  Volume is very adequate and only distorts at the highest volume settings playing 320kb/s MP3 files.  The addition of an s/pdif out is a huge plus, especially if you have 5.1 headphones or an external optical amp.

Touchpad:  The touchpad is just brilliant!  It is very user friendly and intuitive.  Although this is a highly configurable touchpad, I like the default settings so much that I did not change a thing.  The pad surface is just barley set in, and actually looks flush unless you pay special attention to that area.  Multi function areas are neat, but I haven’t played around with it too much.

Battery life:  I got an 8 cell 5200ma battery with my unit.  With the video card set to cache maximum system RAM and all the stops pulled; wireless on, Bluetooth on, virus scan, browse, max brightness, and outlook running plus normal system processes I only got about 2 hours and 42 minutes of battery.  In battery saving mode, which is about half power on everything and no Bluetooth, I got about 3 hours and 41 minutes.

Heat: The notebook runs fairly cool for the most part, however it does get hot above the hard drive under the right palm and the air from fan exhaust is pretty warm.  On a well ventilated desk area or similar, you probably won’t notice the heat for as long as the battery lasts.  The machine also seems to run cooler in battery saving mode. Most of the time the CPU’s are running at around 41 degrees Celsius and the HD is around 25.

Software:

My unit came with an ASUS recovery disk, a full copy of Windows XP Pro SP2, link to download Vista, PowerDirector4, Asus DVD, Norton Internet Security, Nero, and Power4Gear.  The later of these is awfull!  Power4Gear is a hardware control and monitoring software…it’s useless.  I immediately took it off and replaced it with the free version of Notebook Hardware Control 2 beta with Core 2 Duo patch.

Processors and performance:

I used SuperPpi to calculate pi to 2 million places.  With 47 processes running in normal performance this machine calculated Pi faster than any other machine I have seen in this class.

Notebook Time
Asus V6J (2.16GHz Intel Core 2 Duo) 53s
 Dell Inspiron e1705 (2.0GHz Intel T2500) 1m 12s
 Sony VAIO FS680 (1.86 GHz Pentium M) 1m 53s
 IBM ThinkPad T43 (1.86 GHz Pentium M) 1m 45s
 IBM ThinkPad Z60m (2.0 GHz Pentium M) 1m 36s
 Fujitsu LifeBook N3510 (1.73 GHz Pentium M) 1m 48s
 Dell Inspiron 6000D (1.6 GHz Pentium M) 1m 52s
 Dell Inspiron 600M (1.6 GHz Pentium M) 2m 10s
 HP Pavilion dv4000 (1.86 GHz Pentium M) 1m 39s
 Asus V6Va (Pentium M 1.86 GHz) 1m 46s
 Lenovo ThinkPad T60 (2.0GHz Core Duo) 1m 18s

 

Here’s a link to the Everest report for this laptop

 

PCMark5 scores:

Notebook PCMark05 Score
Asus V6J (2.16GHz Core 2 Duo) 4,265 PCMarks
Fujitsu N6410 (1.66GHz Core Duo) 3,487 PCMarks
Alienware M7700 (AMD Athlon FX-60) 5,597 PCMarks
Sony Vaio SZ-110B in Speed Mode (Using Nvidia GeForce Go 7400) 3,637 PCMarks
Panasonic ToughBook T4 (Intel 1.20GHz LV) 1,390 PCMarks
Dell Inspiron e1405 (1.66 GHz Intel T2300) 2,879 PCMarks
Toshiba Satellite M70 (Pentium M 1.86GHz) 1,877 PCMarks

 

3Dmark5 scores and Comparison

  Asus V6J (2.16GHz Core 2 Duo, Nvidia Go 7400) ThinkPad T60 (2.0GHz Core Duo, ATI X1400)
3DMark Score 2,918 3DMarks 2,092 3D Marks
CPU Score 6,217 CPUMarks 4,462 CPUMarks
Gaming Tests
GT1 – Return To Proxycon 9.8 FPS 9.7 FPS
GT2 – Firefly Forest 11.8 FPS 5.7 FPS
GT3 – Canyon Flight 10.8 FPS 10.6 FPS
CPU Tests
CPU Test 1 4.7 FPS 2.5 FPS
CPU Test 2 4.6 FPS 3.5 FPS

 

All ports, slots and connection possibilities for the V6J are listed below:

  • 1 x 26 pin Express Card (54 mm)
  • 1 x VGA port (support up to UXGA 1600×1200)
  • 1 x Card Reader (SD/MMC/MS/MS PRO)
  • 1 x Headphone-out jack (SPDIF)
  • 1 x Microphone-in jack
  • 1 x RJ11 (modem)
  • 1 x RJ45 (LAN)
  • 4 x USB2.0
  • 1 x IEEE 1394 port
  • 1 x Infrared Port
  • 1 x IDE Ultra DMA 100 (2.5"/supports up to 100GB/7200RPM)
  • 2 x SODIMM socket (DDR2-/533/667 DRAM support)
  • 1 x PCIe mini slot (per default used for an Intel 3945ABG adaptor)
  • 1 x Battery slot
  • 1 x Power (DC) input (19V DC, 3.42A, 65W)
  • 1 x Kensington Lock Port


Left side view of ports(view large image)


Right side view of ports(view large image)


Back view (view large image)


Underside view (view large image)

Conclusion:

This is by far one of the most incredible laptops I have ever owned, or been privy to play with extensively.  It is sleek and stylish and with the Core 2 Duo CPU it is smoking fast.  It has great GPU power for the money and is highly customizable from a number of places.  I recommend BTOTech for the great buying experience, fast ship times, and generally knowledgeable crew.  I hope this machine has good longevity and holds up well…it seems, by the feel of it so far, that it will.  The only thing I would like to see for this machine that’s not offered is widescreen as well as a fingerprint reader for security and convenience. 

Pros:

  • It is super stylish!
  • The screen is bright
  • Loads of inputs/outputs
  • Digital sound
  • Good balance of weight and durability
  • Mostly good sowftware

Cons:

  • No widescreen
  • No fingerprint reader
  • HD gets moderately warm
  • Mediocre battery life
  • Power4gear is useless

Video


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