The new Asus U46 notebook lays claim to up to ten hours of battery life – a lure for any potential laptop user. Add in a neat, slim chassis and some top notch specs, and what’s not to like?
One of our first ports of call when looking at the U46 was that battery life claim. We played a DVD movie off a full charge for as long as the battery would allow, having chosen the Asus Battery Saving power plan. We got playback for just over seven hours.
That’s good by any standards – and if you’re a careful user, keeping screen brightness down, turning off the Wi-Fi and performing processor-friendly tasks such as word processing rather than power-hungry gaming, you just might approach that ten hour mark. That has to be good news.
One of the things Asus is most proud of with regard to the U46 is its chassis design. The silver spun aluminium casing looks nice, but that’s only part of it. More importantly from an ergonomics point of view, the lid hinges are a little way forward from the back of the chassis. This lets you open the notebook to a good range of viewing angles even in cramped conditions such as in an airplane seat. Yes, you won’t be in that situation often, but when you are, the feature could come in very handy.
The U46′s 14in screen has a slim bezel so that it fits in a smaller chassis than usual, so the U46 gets away with measuring just 333x245mm, and its thickness tapers between 24.6 and 27mm. At 2.08kg, it’s a bit heavy, though.
The display’s 1366×768-pixel resolution is no surprise, while its shiny reflective coating may irritate a little in some conditions. We just don’t like how reflective it can be. A range of presets are provided for screen colour variations – soft, normal, gamma correction, vivid and theatre. We tried all these and none was really vibrant enough for our tastes, though we have to admit that having the variety for things like gaming and video watching is a plus point.
The U46′s main components are nothing to sniff at. An Intel Core i5 2410M 2.3GHz provides decent processing power, with 4GB of RAM helping it along. Graphics are managed by an nVidia GeForce GT540M chipset. Storage is provided by a 500GB hard disk.
The machine boasts three USB ports, one of them USB 3.0, along with HDMI, Ethernet, a standard D-Sub monitor connector, headphones and microphone ports and a flash memory card slot. Windows 7 Professional 64-bit is the operating system. There’s an optical drive too – something often missing from lighter, slimmer laptop models. There is no mobile broadband integrated, but you can easily use a dongle. We like the button above the keyboard that lets you switch between different usage modes – High Performance, Entertainment, Quiet Office and Battery Saving. You can fiddle with the configurations of these modes to suit your needs.
- Good battery life; clever chassis design for cramped spaces.
- Screen is a little disappointing.
The Asus U46 certainly delivers on battery life and design style, and the specifications are good. We were a little disappointed by the screen though, and if you fancy this notebook it would be worth taking a look yourself before taking the plunge.