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TMCNet:  Stylish workhorse [New Straits Time (Malaysia)]

[December 29, 2013]

Stylish workhorse [New Straits Time (Malaysia)]

(New Straits Time (Malaysia) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) The Asus BU400V looks great and is definitely suited for the boardroom, writes Edwin Kee.

ULTRABOOKS can more or less be divided into three categories. The first would be the usual notebook-like configuration, except that it still comes with a hybrid storage solution of a hard drive and Solid State Drive (SSD) combination. The second would be a pure SSD solution in a notebook configuration, while the third and most niche market would be a notebook/tablet combination (like the Lenovo Yoga 11S and the Dell XPS 12) which also features a SSD-only storage option. The Asus BU400V happens to fall in the first category, but here is a word of caution - it is rather heavy despite being classified as an ultrabook.

DESIGN With reinforced carbon as one of its construction materials of choice, this model does not look out of place in the boardrooms.

This extremely business-like look is also durable in nature, where it is touted to offer 20 per cent higher panel pressure resistance compared to standard notebooks, and has a spill resistant keyboard to boot, just in case you happen to knock over that glass of water by accident.

Students would most probably shun the Asus BU400V but those in suits who want to exude a serious disposition would be extremely comfortable with this ultrabook in their backpack.

HARDWARE SPECIFICATIONS The Asus BU400V is powered by an Intel Core i5-3317U 1.7GHz processor, where it is accompanied by 4GB RAM, while storage options comprise a 128GB SSD and a 500GB hard drive. Your eyes will be treated to a 14.1-inch WXGA LED display at 1,366 x 768 resolution (non-touchscreen display), so do not expect Full HD views. As for your video needs, a standard issue Intel HD Graphics 4000 gets the job done for normal word processing, while you can also call upon the power of the NVIDIA Quadro NVS 5200 with 1GB DDR3 memory as and when required for more graphics intensive tasks.

Connectivity options include Bluetooth 4.0 and WiFi, while a trio of USB 3.0 ports will definitely bring a smile to anyone's face. After all, some ultrabooks still come with a mix of USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports.

Other than that, you have VGA, HDMI, and RJ-45 connectivity, in addition to an SD memory card reader and a combo audio jack. A 1.3- megapixel webcam is there to cater to all of your video conferencing needs, while a fingerprint scanner adds another dimension of security, with Windows 8 Professional running proceedings on the software front. At 1.64kg, this is not the lightest ultrabook on the market.

The QWERTY keyboard is easy enough to use, but like all other notebooks, the layout will differ slightly from one model to another, so it took some time for me to adapt from my normal machine, which is a Lenovo Yoga 11S. I did not venture to spill some water on the spill-proof keyboard to verify that it works, but Asus says it does, and in good faith I will leave it at that.

As for the touchpad, it's in the classic style of most ultrabooks, featuring a couple of physical mouse buttons underneath. Sensitivity is decent enough for me not to get frustrated, although one ought to take note that the upper corners may be a bit spotty in terms of responsiveness. A certain degree of gesture support is included, where you are able to perform horizontal and vertical scrolling using a couple of fingers simultaneously.

Located on the right of the touchpad lies a biometric sensor.

Theoretically speaking, to identify yourself, just place your finger on the location of the sensor, and if a match is confirmed, you will be able to log in. Alternatively, there is always the alternative of using a normal password and you're good to go.

PERFORMANCE Again, in the context where I used the Asus BU400V mainly for browsing and word processing with a few image edits (resizing mainly) from time to time, the 4-cell lithium-ion battery lasted approximately 4 1/2 hours with speakers on full blast, a fair number of browser tabs open, Windows Media Player playing back my favourite tunes. This is definitely not meant for portable gaming so do take that into consideration before you make your purchase.

CONCLUSION Business folk would find the Asus BU400V to be worth checking out as an affordable business machine, but anything more than that (read: gaming) would prove a heavy burden on the battery. It looks good, performs decently, but that is about as far as it would go without really standing out from the rest of the crowd.

Asus BU400V Pros: Business-like design that exudes elegance, spill-resistant keyboard, fingerprint scanner, three USB 3.0 ports Cons: Relatively short battery life when pushed, performance that does not impress Price: Enquiries: Tel: Our verdict: *** Physical design: **** Documentation: *** User-friendliness: ***** Features: *** Performance: *** Value for money: *** (c) 2013 ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved.

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