A no frills laptop that surprises at many levels.
One thing that distinguishes ASUS from many notebook manufacturers is their desire to experiment with design. Be it a Bamboo cover based notebook or a tablet that transforms into a notebook, ASUS never shies away from trying something new. The U46S that we are looking at today also offers something not found in any other notebook- the thinnest 14″ display panel. Granted that is not exactly the boldest experiment that ASUS has done, it is something that is different.
The U46S has a very tasteful design with a shiny champagne colored chassis that is complemented by matte black base and frame around the screen. It has a thickness of under an inch making it reasonably slim- although in a world populated with ultra thin laptops like the MacBook Air and Samsung U series, this isn’t something that stands out. At 2.08kgs the ASUS U46S isn’t the lightest of the laptops either.
Where ASUS scores is with the construction quality of the U46S- it is built like a tank and should easily be able to take some beating. The left side of the laptop features a DSUB connector along with two USB ports and 3.5mm jacks for audio input and output. One of the USB ports is 3.0 standard. Another USB 2.0 port is present on the right side that also offers faster charging of USB devices. Along with this USB port, you also have an HDMI port, a Gigabit network socket and the DVD re-writeable optical drive. Lastly, the card reader is on the front and the power connector and the Kensington lock on the back on either side of the removable battery.
On the specifications side, I received the unit that was powered by the Intel Core i3-2310 CPU running at 2.1GHz along with 3GB RAM, however, a Core i5 version is also available and memory can be increased to 8GB. For storage, my laptop had a 750GB hard drive but lower capacity models are also available. The usual assortment of wireless radios is present such as the 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth 3.0.
Using the NVIDIA Optimus technology, the ASUS U46S features dual GPUs- the integrated Intel HD graphics GPU for most of your 2D rendering and power saving as well as the NVIDIA GeForce GT 540M with 1GB DDR3 VRAM for the times you need some extra graphical power to kick in such as for games. The distinguishing feature of the U46S is the super slim LED panel that is beautiful to look at along with wide viewing angles. The screen is a tad bit glossy but the brightness levels make up for it. The only complain I have is the lower 1366×768 resolution which seems a tad bit low on a 14” panel.