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Asus’ Lamborghini VX3 notebook
If you’re a PC hardware enthusiast, Asus is well known to you. A long history of making great motherboards and video cards has given the company a large amount of credibility and goodwill in the community. Asus has also been making PC products for other, more established brands for a number of years. However, to the average Joe, the Asus name doesn’t mean much, and it’s not the least bit sexy. Perhaps tired of working in this relatively cachet free anonymity, Asus partnered with exotic super car maker Lamborghini to produce a line of luxurious laptops.
While most folks haven’t heard of Asus, Lamborghini is an icon in the automotive industry, well known for not only the performance of its machines, but also their flamboyant style. An entire generation of now 30 something men grew up with a Countach on their bedroom walls. The pairing of PC and automotive brands might seem a little odd, but tech journalists have been abusing car analogies for years. Asus isn’t the only one aping super cars, either; Acer has a line of Ferrari branded notebooks, and Porsche has had a hand in notebook design, as well.
Of course, Asus hasn’t just slapped a Lamborghini logo onto one of its laptops and called it a day. Instead, the company has carefully crafted a high end system wrapped in magnesium and leather, with remarkable attention to detail. The 12.1″ Lamborghini VX3 is also primed for performance with a Core 2 Duo processor, 4GB of memory, GeForce graphics, and both 3 and 9 cell batteries. Keep reading to see whether the VX3 lives up to the high expectations associated with the Lamborghini name. The Gallardo may be the cheapest bull in the range, but it still runs around $200,000. That makes the system more expensive than most notebooks, including exotics like Apple’s MacBook Air, Lenovo’s X300, and HP’s EliteBook. The VX3 is more than just a notebook, though; it’s a luxury product whose overall ownership experience should transcend its component parts.
Before diving into those component parts, it’s worth taking a few moments to explore some of the VX3’s premium touches. Typically, when you get your new notebook home and crack open the box, the system sits in a cardboard or foam cocoon, flanked by the battery and power adapter, and joined by a few loose papers, the manual, and maybe a handful of software and recovery discs. This type of packaging isn’t terribly exciting, but it’s enough for most folks. Even Acer’s Ferrari notebook didn’t stray from the norm here.
A Lamborghini humidor full of tasty cigars? Sadly, no.
Opening the VX3’s packaging is an e Toms Shoes Outlet ntirely different experience. The box is jammed with thoughtful extras, each of which is branded with the Lamborghini logo. A sturdy, black display box with a swanky velvet interior holds the VX3, which itself is contained within a separate black velvet sleeve lined with Asus embroidered satin. If you’re looking for a carrying case that’s a little more substantial than the minimalist sleeve, Asus also includes a stylish messenger style bag that fits the VX3 perfectly.
Everything you need to impress friends and neighbors is included in the box
A separate accessory box houses the VX3’s 3 and 9 cell batteries along with an AC power adapter, a meaty manual, and a set of restore discs. Laptops don’t usually come with two batteries by default, but Asus provides users with a couple of options here, for reasons that will become clear later in Toms Shoes Outlet this review.
If people still used mouse pads, this would be the one to get
As if that all weren’t enough, the VX3 also gets a few additional accessories, including a Lamborghini story book, a wipe cloth to keep everything free of fingerprints, a Bluetooth mouse that includes batteries, a velvet mouse bag, and a velvet mouse pad. Surprisingly, none of these Lamborghini branded extras come across as tacky or gaudy at first glance. They’re all tastefully done, with Asus smartly avoiding too many loud colors, instead sticking to a mostly black color scheme and a variety of textures.
Note the mag wheel motif on the hinge
Of course, the VX3 just wouldn’t be a Lamborghini without a dose of color. The system’s lid is painted in Lamborghini’s version of canary yellow, otherwise known as Giallo Evros. Asus fills out the rest of the system with titanium alloy trim in gunmetal gray, black leather palm rests with yellow stitching, and a relatively sedate black base. Automotive accents abound. The system’s lid has a cowling like vent through which one can see status lights. The notebook’s hinge has detailing, too: the ends look like Lamborghini’s signature five hole wheels. Form follows function at the hinge, which feels solid and secures the lid with tension rather than a latch.
Asus’ attention to detail is extraordinary
The VX3’s construction is primarily metal rather than plastic, and a quick peek inside reveals lots of yummy magnesium. Our review unit has made the rounds already, but it was still creak free, with everything fitting together nice and tightly. R Toms Shoes Outlet ecent Asus notebooks Toms Shoes Outlet even the budget Eee PCs exhibited excellent build quality, so the VX3’s solid feel is no surprise. Asus apparently has confidence in the system’s robustness, too. The VX3 is covered by a two year warranty that includes accidental breakage for the first year (you must register within 60 day of purchase to get the accidental breakage protection).
Asus’ Eee PC 4G XP sub
Asus created a whole new class of budget sub notebooks when it launched the Eee PC late last year. Since its launch, the Eee has been so popular that the likes of MSI, Gigabyte, HP, and even Dell are scrambling to come up with their own take on the formula. The formula, of course, combines relatively low end hardware that’s fast enough for basic tasks with an ultra portable sub notebook form factor that’s much smaller than other budget notebooks. These systems come pre loaded with Linux and free software to keep costs down, allowing Asus to sell the standard Eee PC 4G for only $400.
The marriage of true PC functionality with sub notebook portability at an affordable price makes the Eee PC ideal for a wide range of applications and users. Many folks who have never even heard of alte Toms Shoes Outlet rnative operating systems may be turned off by the Eee’s unfamiliar Linux OS, though. The device’s Xandros distribution is by no means difficult to use, and the bundled applications offer Toms Shoes Outlet all the right functionality. But the alien environment does take some getting used to, especially if you want to be productive.
The vast majority of consumers have little experience outside the Windows world. While some may enjoy learning the ins and outs of a new operating system, I suspect that most would rather get rolling in a familiar environment. It seems Asus agrees, because the Eee PC is now available with Windows XP.
Getting Windows running on the Eee isn’t a particularly impressive achievement original was fully compatible with Windows XP, and Asus even provided the necessary drivers if you wanted to install the OS yourself. What makes this latest XP powered Eee PC 4G special is the fact that it’s selling for the exact same price as the Linux version, so you’re essentially getting Windows for free. And we like free. Read on to see if XP makes the Eee PC better or if its budget hardware bogs down under the weight of a Windows OS.
An introduction to the Eee PC
Indulge me for a moment, because I’m going to kick things off by getting up on the soapbox. Even after our initial review of the Eee PC, some folks still don’t seem to get what makes this little sub notebook such an, er, big deal. $400 for a budget notebook, they say, is nothing special.
And they’re right, sort of.
$400 isn’t new territory for budget notebooks, and if you’re willing to spend a little more, you can even find models with dual core processors and gaming friendly discrete g Toms Shoes Outlet raphics chips.
What most folks seem to be missing is that the Eee PC isn’t a notebook. It’s a sub notebook, and the smaller form factor makes all the difference in the world.
The Eee PC measures just 225mm wide, 165mm deep, and up to 35mm thick (8.9″ x 6.5″ x 1.4″ if you prefer inches), which is very small indeed. That gives the device about the same footprint as a couple of CDs. (Kids, you’ll hear about this archaic music storage device in school one day. It’s how your parents listened to music, back when people used to actually pay for it. But I digress.)
So the Eee PC is quite small, then. Small enough that you don’t really need a laptop bag. The Eee PC will easily squeeze into smaller backpacks, purses, and even my CamelBak hydration pack. Asus ships the unit with a neoprene slip case, if you just want to tote it around on its own.
While you might be able to find a budget notebook in the Eee PC’s price range, there’s no way it’s going to compete with the Eee on size. Above, the Eee PC is pictured with a standard aspect 14″ Dell. The Dell is smaller than the 15.4″ designs that dominate the budget notebook space, but it’s quite a bit bigger than the Eee PC. Weighing in between five and six pounds, the Dell is much heavier, too. The Eee PC weighs only 920 grams than two pounds it several times lighter than most budget notebooks.
A couple of extra pounds shouldn’t be a burden to carry around, at least not unless you have arms like the Olsen twins, so it’s the Eee PC’s diminutive dimensions that really make the difference. Try cracking open a 15″ notebook when crammed into steerage class on an airline as the passenger in front of you reclines their seat for a nap, and you’ll see there’s a very big difference between a full sized l Toms Shoes Outlet aptop and a sub notebook like the Eee PC. There’s really no sense in comparing the two, even if they’re competitive on price.
Asus’ Eee PC 4G sub
We spend a lot of our time here at TR evaluating cutti Toms Shoes Outlet ng edge hardware, but not because we’re particularly drawn to extremely expensive components. Rather, it’s the fact that new technologies tend to debut at the high end before trickling downstream to more affordable mid range parts. We also spend a great deal of time playing with those mid range products, combing through their ranks in search for that perfect intersection of price and performance glorio Toms Shoes Outlet us sweet spot.
It’s a little odd, then, to be sitting in front of Asus’ Eee PC sub notebook. With a Celeron ULV processor chugging along at 630MHz, GMA 900 integrated graphics powering a 800×480 display, 512MB of RAM, and just 4GB of internal storage capacity, the Eee PC’s specs are hardly awe inspiring. In fact, this may be the first system we’ve ever reviewed that’s slower than Jessica Simpson.
And unlike Jessica, the Eee PC isn’t a knockout, either. So at first blush, it’s a little hard to see what all the fuss is about. Sure, the system may be a fine option for developing nations and Ugandan schools, but its appeal for enthusiasts isn’t as obvious.
I assure you, however, that it’s there. After a few weeks of quality time with the Eee PC, I’m absolutely sold on the concept and pretty enamored with Asus’ implementation. Keep reading to see why.
Size really does matter
Asus cops Apple’s all white aesthetic for most Eee PC models, which at least in my mind, makes the system look like it belongs in a hospital or dental clinic. Years ago, PCs were ripped for being boring and beige, and this is supposed to be progress? Fortun Toms Shoes Outlet ately, the Eee PC can also be had in black. White models with pastel green, blue, and pink top panels are available, as well.
Opened up, the Eee PC looks even smaller. Granted, my years old 14″ laptop is hardly a sub notebook, but it absolutely dwarfs the Eee PC. The difference in size is worth more than just bragging rights and portability, too. When crammed into economy class in an airline, there’s rarely enough room to even open my laptop, let alone to get a decent angle to view the screen straight on. And that’s before the idiot in front of me decides to recline his s Toms Shoes Outlet eat without warning. This isn’t a problem with the Eee PC, whose modest proportions easily squeeze into tight spaces.