Asus is known for manufacturing IT hardware, in addition to laptops. The A6RP features solid materials, a large and comfortable keyboard, and a 15.4-inch screen. Although the chassis is nearly square in shape, the display is actually a widescreen. With a standard 1280 x 800-pixel (WXGA) resolution, images are clear due to a glossy super-TFT coating, which gives bright and colourful results.

As expected of a budget machine, the graphics card is integrated. ATi's Radeon Xpress 200M is in place, and helps the Asus to run most applications with ease. However, gaming in any form is out of reach. Build quality is similar to what you'll find on more expensive Asus machines, with a sturdy chassis, a large and comfortable keyboard, and touchpad buttons which are cut from brushed aluminium.

Unfortunately, the screen moves about too much when typing; a problem we found exaggerated if used anywhere other than on a desk. The Asus weighs in at 2.9kg. Although this affords it some portability, we found it uncomfortable to carry for long periods. Those looking for a machine to use on the daily commute should look at the other laptops, as we struggled to get over one-and-a-half hours of use before needing to recharge.

The Asus features Intel's Celeron M processor. The clockspeed of 1.83GHz may be the fast but you need to take into account this chip is based on the Pentium M, but with lower a lower FSB and less L2 cache. This means it isn't as fast as even a budget Core Duo chip.

Memory is average at 512MB, but an efficient design gives the Asus performance that belies its sub-£499 price. We found software loaded rapidly, and little lag was apparent. The MobileMark 2005 score of 229 is outstanding for such a specification. An 80GB hard drive is in keeping with the price, and offers enough space for most users.

Features are impressive. A multi-format DVD rewriter is included as standard, letting you copy files to all types of recordable DVDs. You'll also find a 0.3-megapixel camera integrated into the top of the screen surround. Although resolution isn't great, it's more than good enough for web-conferences.

The Asus A6RP makes a compelling case for itself, thanks to impressive performance, good build quality and a comprehensive features list. Not compromised by the budget price, only the battery life lets it down.