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Asus U46SV review: Asus U46SV

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The Good Sturdy construction; excellent gaming performance; good power for general computing tasks; attractive design.

The Bad Screen could be better; thicker and heavier than other ultra-portables; lid hinge will be annoying for some.

The Bottom Line The Asus U46SV may be at the heavier end of portable, but it's slim enough to slide into a bag and will be right at home in your office space. It's got enough power to chew through your work and will even tackle some games when you're finished.

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8.3 Overall

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If you're after a slim and light laptop for some work on the go but don't quite want to stretch your wallet for the Asus Zenbook UX31, then the Asus U46SV may be a suitable alternative.

It's a portable machine, packing powerful components that are just itching to tackle all your office work. With a dedicated graphics card, it will happily take a stab at 3D gaming too.

The U46SV-WX044X model we reviewed is available now for around £700.

Design and build quality

Those who crave the lightest, slimmest laptop for working on the go will no doubt be seriously eyeing up an ultrabook like the Asus Zenbook UX21. If you're on a more modest budget and you want a machine that will sit firmly at a desk throughout the working day, the Asus U46SV is a great compromise.

Asus U46 thickness
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The Asus U46SV is light enough to avoid having to make any unwelcome appointments with the chiropractor.

At just over 2kg, it's sat at the top end of the ultra-portable scale, but it's easily light enough to carry around for a while without feeling too much strain on your shoulders. At around 25mm in thickness, it's nowhere near as slim as the razor-sharp Zenbook, but you'll have no problem sliding it into most cases and bags and carting it off to your exciting destination.

On the underside of the machine, the battery sticks out by about 10mm. Some people might find this annoying but it helps to raise the back end, providing a slight slope to the keyboard that makes typing particularly satisfying.

Asus U46 keyboard
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Typing is comfortable on the slightly sloped keyboard.

This means that the U46SV is perhaps best suited to business tasks at an office desk rather than sitting on a stylish knee in a fancy coffee house. This makes more sense as it's been bundled with Windows 7 Professional, rather than the Home edition.

The lid is encased in aluminium that's been given a rough circlular texture that we're keen on. We can't agree on whether we like textures normally, but the general consensus was that this one was rather attractive. Our model had a yellowy-grey colour (Asus calls it 'Champagne'). It's a very welcome change from the usual black or dull grey colours on most laptops.

The metal shell makes the whole body feel very secure. We prodded and poked like it was going out of style and were pleased to find very little flex in either the shell or the hinge when we opened the lid. Rest assured then that when you take this thing off on your adventures, it will put up with a whole heap of abuse.

The lid's hinge is set slightly forward from the rear of the machine. This means that there's extra body space at the back. It feels more sturdy when you're opening it and it provides a secure footing when sat on a desk.

Asus U46 hinge
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Setting the hinge slightly forward has resulted in sturdy opening and closing.

Keyboard and trackpad

The keyboard uses square, isolated keys that are very easy to press, without feeling flimsy. They're spaced well apart. Together with the minimal flex offered by the metal keyboard tray, this provides a very comfortable typing experience. If you're lumbered with a late night working at your desk typing out those long reports everyone hates, at least your fingers won't suffer too much -- even if you did miss the office drinks at the pub.

The keys sadly aren't backlit so if you're wanting to work at night -- or simply stalk your friends on Facebook -- you're going to have to make the ultimate effort to get up and turn a light on.

The trackpad is a decent size and it's very responsive. Fast clicking around a web page is no hassle. The buttons beneath feel a little too flimsy for our liking but at least they're big and easy to press.

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