Known for producing high-performance laptops, Asus is still relatively new to the ultraportable market. While underpowered compared to its peers, the Asus U1F (£1334 inc. VAT) is a tiny and well-built laptop ideal for long-term use.

With its shiny black screen panel and leather trim, the U1F has a style of its own. The ultra-slim 1.1kg chassis is one of the smallest we've seen and comfortable to carry on even the longest journeys.

With a battery life of just 92 minutes, we didn't get far before needing to recharge. A long-life battery is also included in the price, providing a more satisfying 210 minutes of uptime. The larger battery protrudes 15mm from the rear of the laptop, but adds just 145g of weight.

In terms of usability, the interface is well-designed and reliable. However, despite a good typing action, most keys are tiny and may prove awkward for larger-handed typists. The touchpad and mouse buttons are also small, but equally usable.

Although small, the 11.1-inch Super-TFT screen provides bright and natural images, using the latest LED backlight technology. While ideal for viewing photos and videos as much as documents, the glossy coating increases reflections, which can reduce outdoor visibility.

Impressive for such a small laptop, an integrated camera is fitted above the screen. The low 1.3-megapixel resolution suits basic video-conferencing on the move. A fingerprint scanner lets you access secure data with a swipe of your finger.

Low performer

Using Intel's first-generation Core Duo technology, performance was disappointing. There's enough power for basic office tasks, but the laptop soon slows down when multi-tasking while running virus scans in the background.

3D performance via the integrated Intel graphics card is equally unsuitable for gaming or multimedia editing. General business use and even the occasional game of Solitaire runs with speed, but don't expect to use this as a mobile multimedia or gaming system.

While the 60GB hard drive provides basic storage space for business data and even music and photos, the small chassis includes no built-in optical drive. An external drive is included and connects via USB, so you can record data to dual-layer DVDs, as well as all CD formats.

For size and features, the Asus U1F is a great ultraportable at a reasonable price. Its low power and battery life mean that it's not the best choice for the mobile professional, but for users seeking a usable companion for short journeys, there's plenty to recommend.