Asus – S6F review

leather-clad sub-notebook
Photo of Asus – S6F

There’s a penchant for programmes on the TV lately dealing with time travel, and when you first glimpse the latest small notebook from Asus, it’s more Life on Mars than Doctor Who.

The S6F comes with leather covering the lid and wristpad, making it the ideal companion to that 1973 Ford Capri you’re restoring in the garage. But this is no ordinary leather, oh no; it’s hand embossed and finished, and is offered in two shades of brown, shortly to be joined by a pink coloured finish.

Whatever colour leather you choose, it’s set off nicely by the well built chassis which is gunmetal in colour as are the trackpad and keyboard. Measuring just 270 x 191 x 23/37mm and weighing just 1.9kg (including the AC adapter) this is one notebook that you won’t be putting your back out carrying around.

Under the bonnet the S6F is bang up to date, powered by one of the latest Intel Core Duo processors backed by fast DDR2 memory. The S6F is the first notebook we have seen that uses a Low Voltage version of the Core Duo, in this case an L2400 chip which is clocked at 1.66GHz.

As standard the laptop comes with 512MB of PC2-4200 DDR2 memory on board with a SO-DIMM slot that supports up to a further gigabyte of memory; our sample had a 512MB module in the slot.

The 11.1-inch screen is in keeping with the small format of the S6F, and with a native resolution of 1,366 x 768 pixels and ColourShine technology it’s just the job for working or watching DVDs on the move. Unfortunately, since the graphics are powered by Intel’s integrated GMA950 controller chip, that’s all you’ll be doing, as 3D performance is poor. But nobody is likely to buy the S6F just to play games.

Despite its small size the S6F doesn’t scrimp on features. There is an 8x, dual format DVD burner built in, and along with a 100GB hard drive there is an 8-in-1 card reader (handling SD/ Mini SD/ MMC/ MS/ MS DUO/ MS PRO/ MS PRO DUO/ XD) and an Express card slot.

Connectivity is good when compared with any other laptop, let alone an ultra small notebook like the S6F. It includes Gigabit LAN, 802.11a/b/g Wireless and Bluetooth (with an on/off switch for both of these), plus a V.92 modem. You also get three USB 2.0 ports and a FireWire port. Two of the USB ports, along with both the LAN and modem ports and an audio port, sit behind a drop-down panel.

Battery life from the standard 2,600mAh battery was a little disappointing, it must be said; just eighty minutes under MobileMark05′s DVD Playback test and a hundred minutes under the Productivity test. But when the extended life 7,800mAh battery was tested, the DVD playback result jumped up, as you might expect, to 295mins and the Productivity result gave a very respectful 300 minutes; near enough five hours for both.

With the extended battery the S6F turns into a very versatile sub-notebook with plenty of performance and endurance.

Company: Asus

Contact: 0870 120 8340

With or without the leather finish, the S6F is a well crafted notebook with plenty of performance and (in extended configuration) battery life, and is certainly one of the best ultra-portable notebooks available at the present.