November 7, 2011
- Ultraportable design
- Comfortable keyboard/touchpad
- USB 3.0
- Strong performance
- Some design issues
- Only average battery life
The Asus U46SV-DH51 is another one of those ultrabook laptops that are coming out these days and it's very similar to the Asus Zenbook that we reviewed a little while ago. This model has a lightweight aluminum design and a very bright, good quality display. It also has strong performance for its category, which is important because it's rapidly becoming very competitive.
The Asus U46SV-DH51 measures 4.6 x 9.7 x 1.0-inches (wdh) and weighs about 4.6-pounds, which puts it into the ultraportable category. While still very portable, it definitely felt a little "chunkier" than the Asus Zenbook and other ultraportables. The aluminum chassis looks decent, but it is a little flimsy near the center of the lid, which flexes inward with just light pressure. So in the end, the design of this laptop isn't horrible, but it could be better in the few ways that we described above.
Asus includes a chiclet-style keyboard with well-spaced and sized keys, which provides a comfortable typing experience. The smooth touchpad is centered under the Space bar and has a relatively large size, which means you have plenty of space to move around. The two discrete mouse buttons have a good "click" to them, but they attract fingerprints very easily.
The 14-inch display has a native resolution of 1366 x 768-pixels, which is just above 720p HD quality. We found the display to have good viewing angles and excellent brightness levels too. Watching HD video on the screen was a pleasant experience with no hiccups in terms of image quality. We will note, however, that because the laptop has an awkward lip that sticks out the back, you cannot tilt the screen back by more than about 45 degrees, which will sometimes make it tough to get aligned with your eyes if you're using it on your lap.
In terms of connectivity and ports, Asus doesn't leave anything to be desired. You'll find one USB 3.0 port, two USB 2.0 ports, HDMI-out, VGA-out, Ethernet, the usual audio ports and a 5-in-1 memory card reader. There is also 802.11b/g/n wireless connectivity and a dual-layer DVD+/-RW optical disc drive. We applaud Asus for continuing to include USB 3.0 ports on all of its new laptops as this is rapidly becoming a standard that some PC makers still leave out on occasions.
Internal specifications of the Asus U46SV-DH51 include the latest Sandy Bridge Intel Core i5-2430M (2.4GHz), 8GB of RAM, a 750GB 5400RPM hard drive and discrete Nvidia GeForce GT 540M graphics with 1GB of dedicated video memory. These are pretty good specs for an ultraportable, which usually have a low-power CPU and only integrated graphics.
Performance with the U46SV was impressive, mostly due to the slight bump of the i5-2430M CPU over the 2410M model and the 8GB of RAM. We found performance to be near top-of-the-class for this laptop and definitely capable of watching HD videos, multitasking, photo/video editing and even some 3D gaming thanks to the discrete graphics, but you'll have to dial down the graphics settings to get playable results.
The 8-cell battery provided about 5.5-hours of life, which is a little less than other ultraportables (and the Apple MacBook Pro), but it's decent for what this computer offers in terms of performance and specs.