The Asus N80VC (£699 inc. VAT) is the second N-series laptop we've seen from the Taiwanese company – the first being the N10.

However, while the first version was a small and compact netbook, this is a fully fledged and fully specified laptop.

You'll find similar styling across the range, with glossy brown and black plastic used, and the overall effect is simple but attractive.

Competent graphics

With a 14.1-inch display, the N80 is a compact laptop, and its weight of 2.6kg makes it easy to carry around on a daily basis.

The screen itself features a 1280 x 800-pixel resolution, so you'll be able to fit several windows onscreen just as easily. The glossy finish did prove highly reflective in direct sunlight, but we didn't find it to be an issue.

The nVidia GeForce 9300M GS graphics card offers moderate performance. You'll be able to carry out everyday tasks with ease, and we had no trouble running presentations or editing photographs. You'll even be able to play older games in your spare time.

Sufficient power

The keyboard proved disappointing. The keys are large enough to type on with ease, but the board itself flexes under pressure, and the keys rattled noisily. The touchpad was more pleasing, providing a friction-free surface that responded accurately to the touch.

The chassis is more than up to the rigours of daily use, although a protective case is recommended to prevent the glossy plastics from damage in transit. We were impressed by how cool this machine remained, even after long periods of use, with the cooling fan also remaining quiet.

Processing power comes from an Intel Core 2 Duo chip, backed by 3072MB of memory. It gives the N80 more than enough power for most uses, and we found it ran Vista Home Premium smoothly and without trouble. Battery life is merely average, at around three hours. Business users will find plenty of space for storing files, with a 320GB hard drive in place.

Excellent connectivity

Connectivity is outstanding with five USB ports for plugging in your peripherals. You'll also find VGA and HDMI interfaces, enabling an external display to be connected. Networking features are equally well specified, with the latest 802.11n Wi-Fi adapter and Gigabit Ethernet in place.

We liked the Asus N80VC, and found it a portable, well-specified machine. It's let down severely by the keyboard, however, and there are far more comfortable and better machines to use.