Now that the home entertainment market has moved towards streaming video services and Blu-ray content, there has never been a better time to convert DVD collections to digital.
ASUS S6F Leather
- Compact design, first leather notebook, good test scores, 100GB hard disk and in-built optical drive
- Price point
The first leather encased notebook on the market, the S6 also performs quite well.
Price$ 3,499.00 (AUD)
The ASUS S6 is the first leather covered notebook seen on the market. The unit combines ultra-portability with mid-market performance, but has a designer price tag to match its designer looks.
Without a doubt the key element of this particular model is the leather design. The outer lid and interior wrist guard are both finished in leather, embossed by hand with a snake skin pattern. Two shades of brown are available: we would have liked to have seen an option to buy this model in black. A leather-plated USB optical mouse is also included in the package.
The leather design combined with the S6's dimensions - the notebook weighs 1.37kg with the 3-cell battery inserted (1.53kg with the 6-cell battery) and is only 270.4mm wide, 192.1 deep and 22.5mm thick - make this notebook perfect to tote around town for all to see.
The rest of the design is quite impressive with a solid titanium alloy base and display bezel. The metallic finish on the keyboard cements the overall aesthetic and the shallow key mounting means it is easy to type on. However due to the compact design, the keyboard is fairly small and as such some people with larger hands may find it hard to use.
Importantly, when you actually do arrive at your meeting you have at your hands a fully functional notebook PC and not just a leather satchel. The S6 has an Intel Core Duo L2300 Processor running at 1.50GHz, a generous 100GB hard disk and 1GB of RAM. The system returned a World Bench 5 score of 85, a result on-par with some of the Core Duo 2600 and 2800 machines we have reviewed of late. The system includes onboard Intel 945GM VGA graphics that returned a mediocre 3DMark 2001 score of 5323. This is not a machine to play high-end games on.
The 11.1in screen is incredibly clear and bright with a maximum resolution of 1366x768; the same native resolution of many high definition televisions. We put it through its paces with DisplayMate Video edition and found no problems whatsoever. The screen isn't too reflective, has no back light bleeding and offers excellent vertical and horizontal viewing angles.
ASUS has managed to include an optical drive in the S6: a rarity in notebooks of this size and an extremely welcome addition. The combination drive can burn all formats except DVD-RAM.
The S6 also has a memory card slot which supports Secure Digital (SD), SD/Mini, MMC, Memory Stick (MS), MS DUO, MS PRO, MS PRO DUO and XD formats. There is also an Express PCI slot and three USB slots. A VGA port allows the notebook to be connected to an external monitor and networking is offered by way of a 10/100Mbps RJ45 Ethernet port, a RJ11 modem jack and 802.11a/b/g wireless connectivity. Bluetooth is also supported together with a switch to turn off all wireless connections.
We ran battery tests on the 6 cell battery that comes standard with the ASUS S6 using MobileMark 2005 and were quite impressed. It ran for 242 minutes during our productivity tests and 180 minutes during DVD playback. This means it has the lasting power to be used in a roaming office situation but can also be used to comfortably watch DVDs when away from the mains.
The ASUS S6 is a solid notebook with reasonable performance and good features. While there are similarly priced notebooks that offer higher performance, if you are willing to pay a premium for the leather design and the portability of this unit then the S6 may be worth considering.
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