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ASUS, $899,


OWN­ING a Fer­rari or a Lamborghini no longer means what it once did. An in­creas­ing num­ber of lux­ury mo­tor­ing brands are adding their fa­mous in­signia to mo­bile phones and com­put­ers, in­clud­ing this lap­top from ASUS.

Un­like other Lamborghini lap­tops, how­ever, this ASUS cre­ation is only mod­estly lux­u­ri­ous. The VX6 is not a fully fea­tured lap­top, but rather a souped-up net­book. And in that cat­e­gory it goes to the top of the class.

The VX6’s form cer­tainly of­fers the con­ve­nience of a net­book. The 12.1-inch com- puter weighs just 1.45kg and sits 2.8cm off the desk, mak­ing it well suited to travel.

But the VX6 veers from the net­book path in two ways: looks and grunt.

On the su­per­fi­cial side, this net­book has plenty of slick Lamborghini touches. The brand’s bullish in­signia ap­pears on the box and the lap­top’s lid and, in­side, an an­gled panel an­nounces its name again. Its top and track­pad are also cov­ered in shiny plas­tic, and its is­land-style key­board is pleas­ingly com­fort­able to use.

But what re­ally sells this net­book is its pow­er­ful hard­ware.

Most net­books of­fer a low-speed pro­ces­sor, but the VX6 has a dual-core 1.8GHz Atom pro­ces­sor. This not only boosts its speed, but ex­tends its bat­tery life to a promised seven hours.

Also kick­ing its Win­dows 7 Home Pre­mium soft­ware along is 2GB RAM, up­grade­able to 4GB, and a NVIDIA ION graph­ics card that takes some of the graph­i­cally in­ten­sive heavy lift­ing away from the pro­ces­sor.

Three USB ports have also been added to this ma­chine — a rar­ity for a net­book — and they are geared to trans­fer data faster us­ing the new USB 3.0 stan­dard. HDMI, Eth­er­net and op­ti­cal ports also fea­ture on the sides of this lap­top, and its multimedia cre­den­tials get

a boost from a built-in we­b­cam, 250GB stor­age space and Bose ICEpower speak­ers, though they are not ca­pa­ble of more than very in­ti­mate vol­ume.

Com­bined with a high­def­i­ni­tion LED-back­lit screen, the VX6 is an im­pres­sive net­book. But it is a net­book, and users shouldn’t for­get it.

This com­puter is not de­signed for dig­i­tally bur­den­some tasks. Just stream­ing video saps it of most re­sources, en­sur­ing tasks in other win­dows are im­pos­si­ble to per­form.

Like­wise, edit­ing pho­tos or video is a task best achieved with a more sub­stan­tial com­puter, and one where the screen can be moved back to a greater an­gle.

Those with mod­est com­put­ing needs, and a love of fast cars, could find a com­put­ing com­pan­ion in this Lamborghini, how­ever. As a net­book, it’s an ob­vi­ous over­achiever, with ef­fi­ciency and com­fort to spare.

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