The ASUS V6J is a 15-inch thin-and-light notebook, but we wouldn't label it an ultra-portable. It weighs 2.36kg with the default 4-cell battery, and 2.6kg with the upgraded 8-cell battery, while its dimensions are 331 x 272 x 25.4 - 30mm. It wont be a drag on the shoulder should you decide to cart it around with you, but it's not the most compact notebook available either.
It's got a comfortable full-size keyboard and a responsive touch pad with fairly large left and right mouse buttons. The row of keys above the keyboard -- shortcuts for accessing your Web browser, toggling Bluetooth and Wi-Fi on and off, and the power button -- are all unobtrusive and blend in well with the chassis design. Speaking of which, the design is attractive being a mixture of gun-metal grey (the lid), black trimmings and brushed dark brown colouring for the majority of the space around the keyboard. This is unique, professional and elegant.
We were disappointed to see that ASUS has placed most of the notebook's ports -- audio jacks, four USB 2.0 ports, a modern port, a LAN port and a card reader -- along the right-hand edge of the notebook. If they're populated, the resulting cabling could become frustrating should you use an external mouse. Users of the track pad won't be fazed by this qualm, however.
Along the left-hand side of the chassis is a VGA output, infrared panel, Firewire port, Express Card slot and a dual layer DVD writer. The back of the notebook is free of ports altogether.
Internally, the V6J boasts an impressive array of components despite being marketed as a thin-and-light. It's got a Intel Core Duo T2400 (1.83GHz) processor, an Nvidia GeForce Go7400 graphics chip and a whopping 2GB of DDR2-667 SDRAM. Many regard 2GB of memory as overkill, but it doesn't hurt to be future-proof, particularly given that Windows Vista is just around the corner.
It's pleasing to see that all of the major wireless networking formats are supported, including 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.0 and infrared. Wired networking is provided by a Realtek Gigabit LAN chip. The 100GB hard drive is substantial, but we were disappointed to see that there's no S-Video port for outputting to a TV.
As far as multimedia features go, the V6J pales in comparison to the Toshiba Satellite Pro P100, which is also a Centrino Duo notebook and was designed with heavy multimedia users fimly in mind. Granted, the V6J is still comparable if not better than other thin-and-light offerings. First up, the notebook features a 15-inch 1400x1050 (non-widescreen) display with a matte, as opposed to a glossy, finish. As such, it doesn't become reflective once you move indoors. Unfortunately, there's no instant-on feature or track navigation buttons along the top of the keyboard, which we've found provide for more convenient DVD viewing. The GeForce Go7400 graphics chip provides decent gaming performance, but it'll struggle to churn out high frame rates in the latest titles.
The V6J's performance was a pleasant surprise, beating out the Toshiba Satellite P100 despite the latter being a multimedia desktop replacement part. Its battery life was also impressive compared to the P100 (as expected), but it still lags behind other thin-and-lights in this respect.
BAPCo SYSmark 2004 SE performance rating
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
BAPCo MobileMark2005 (DVD playback test) battery life rating
(Longer bars indicate more battery-life minutes)
3DMark2006 performance rating
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Overall, we were very pleased with the performance of the ASUS V6J.
Service and Support
ASUS offers a two-year limited global warranty with all of its notebooks. Should the V6J break down within this period, ASUS provides service centres in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. Service costs are paid for by ASUS, provided you've got your warranty card handy.
The ASUS V6J is a reasonably compact thin-and-light notebook that has the added bonus of being quite powerful as well. There were some aspects that we disliked, but none were deal breakers and don't take much away from this impressive product.