If you're a PC hardware enthusiast, Asus is well known to you. A long history of making great motherboards and video cards has given the company a large amount of credibility and goodwill in the community. Asus has also been making PC products for other, more established brands for a number of years. However, to the average Joe, the Asus name doesn't mean much, and it's not the least bit sexy. Perhaps tired of working in this relatively cachet-free anonymity, Asus partnered with exotic super-car maker Lamborghini to produce a line of luxurious laptops.
While most folks haven't heard of Asus, Lamborghini is an icon in the automotive industry, well known for not only the performance of its machines, but also their flamboyant style. An entire generation of now-30-something men grew up with a Countach on their bedroom walls. The pairing of PC and automotive brands might seem a little odd, but tech journalists have been abusing car analogies for years. Asus isn't the only one aping super-cars, either; Acer has a line of Ferrari-branded notebooks, and Porsche has had a hand in notebook design, as well.
Of course, Asus hasn't just slapped a Lamborghini logo onto one of its laptops and called it a day. Instead, the company has carefully crafted a high-end system wrapped in magnesium and leather, with remarkable attention to detail. The 12.1" Lamborghini VX3 is also primed for performance with a Core 2 Duo processor, 4GB of memory, GeForce graphics, and both 3- and 9-cell batteries. Keep reading to see whether the VX3 lives up to the high expectations associated with the Lamborghini name.
Bringing luxury to your lap...top
Lamborghini doesn't really have any low-end options. The Gallardo may be the cheapest bull in the range, but it still runs around $200,000. It should come as no surprise, then, that Asus' Lamborghini VX3 costs a pretty pennyover $3,000, to be exact. That makes the system more expensive than most notebooks, including exotics like Apple's MacBook Air, Lenovo's X300, and HP's EliteBook. The VX3 is more than just a notebook, though; it's a luxury product whose overall ownership experience should transcend its component parts.
Before diving into those component parts, it's worth taking a few moments to explore some of the VX3's premium touches. Typically, when you get your new notebook home and crack open the box, the system sits in a cardboard or foam cocoon, flanked by the battery and power adapter, and joined by a few loose papers, the manual, and maybe a handful of software and recovery discs. This type of packaging isn't terribly exciting, but it's enough for most folks. Even Acer's Ferrari notebook didn't stray from the norm here.
Opening the VX3's packaging is an entirely different experience. The box is jammed with thoughtful extras, each of which is branded with the Lamborghini logo. A sturdy, black display box with a swanky velvet interior holds the VX3, which itself is contained within a separate black velvet sleeve lined with Asus-embroidered satin. If you're looking for a carrying case that's a little more substantial than the minimalist sleeve, Asus also includes a stylish messenger-style bag that fits the VX3 perfectly.
A separate accessory box houses the VX3's 3- and 9-cell batteries along with an AC power adapter, a meaty manual, and a set of restore discs. Laptops don't usually come with two batteries by default, but Asus provides users with a couple of options here, for reasons that will become clear later in this review.
As if that all weren't enough, the VX3 also gets a few additional accessories, including a Lamborghini story book, a wipe cloth to keep everything free of fingerprints, a Bluetooth mouse that includes batteries, a velvet mouse bag, and a velvet mouse pad. Surprisingly, none of these Lamborghini-branded extras come across as tacky or gaudy at first glance. They're all tastefully done, with Asus smartly avoiding too many loud colors, instead sticking to a mostly black color scheme and a variety of textures.
Of course, the VX3 just wouldn't be a Lamborghini without a dose of color. The system's lid is painted in Lamborghini's version of canary yellow, otherwise known as Giallo Evros. Asus fills out the rest of the system with titanium alloy trim in gunmetal gray, black leather palm rests with yellow stitching, and a relatively sedate black base. Automotive accents abound. The system's lid has a cowling-like vent through which one can see status lights. The notebook's hinge has detailing, too: the ends look like Lamborghini's signature five-hole wheels. Form follows function at the hinge, which feels solid and secures the lid with tension rather than a latch.
The VX3's construction is primarily metal rather than plastic, and a quick peek inside reveals lots of yummy magnesium. Our review unit has made the rounds already, but it was still creak-free, with everything fitting together nice and tightly. Recent Asus notebooksincluding even the budget Eee PCshave exhibited excellent build quality, so the VX3's solid feel is no surprise. Asus apparently has confidence in the system's robustness, too. The VX3 is covered by a two-year warranty that includes accidental breakage for the first year (you must register within 60 day of purchase to get the accidental breakage protection).