Asus is best known lately for its Eee PC Netbook which almost single-handedly kick-started the thriving sub-notebook market.
It also provides some of the best high-end ultraportables and continues this trend with the unique and high-quality Asus U6V (£949 inc. VAT)
The lightweight 1.7kg chassis is easy to carry in hand luggage. The bamboo-veneered finish adds a unique style and is surprisingly resilient.
Build quality is excellent throughout. Even the thin screen panel is firm yet flexible enough to avoid cracking. Unfortunately, the standard 3-cell battery only runs for 124 minutes.
Thankfully, a larger 9-cell battery is also provided. This improves mobility to a far more pleasing 426 minutes, but it protrudes 40mm from the rear of the chassis and takes the weight up to 2kg.
Usability is mixed. The near full-size keyboard is a joy to use. The keys are large and responsive, and typing is comfortable.
The bamboo-veneered touchpad is equally usable. The mouse buttons are awkward, however, and must be clicked firmly several times before registering.
The 12.1-inch screen is stunning. Outstanding brightness, colour and contrast make it ideal for working in bright conditions and viewing photos and videos. The glossy coating increases reflections, which some users may dislike, but we found it easy to view even when outdoors.
Performance is very impressive. The Intel Core 2 Duo processor and 3072MB of memory allow Windows Vista to run smoothly. It is also easy to multi-task and edit photos and videos, making it a great choice for mobile professionals.
3D power is equally impressive and more than doubles the performance of many of its rivals. The nVidia GPU allows basic gaming use, and makes it easy to run high-performance applications.
Mobile connectivity is also excellent and ideal for business use. The integrated HSDPA module provides wireless internet access at broadband speed, wherever you travel. 802.11n Wi-Fi also lets you connect to wireless hotspots at the fastest speeds currently available.
Comprehensive storage rounds out the impressive package. The 250GB hard drive is ideal for carrying large quantities of data. The integrated optical drive also lets you play DVDs and CDs, as well as back up data to both formats.
The Asus U6V is a fantastic high-end ultraportable, with the power to match far larger laptops. Its screen and connectivity are also great. Only the 3-cell battery life lets it down, so consider whether this is a flaw worth accepting.