Luxury is the watchword with Asus' new business ultraportable laptop - the Asus U2E-1P014E.

Finished in grained black or brown leather and black metal trim, the compact U2E will appeal as an executive notebook for the well-heeled business traveller.

Following the recent trend of fitting solid-state memory, the Asus U2E-1P014E has an option for a 32GB SSD, in place of up to 120GB of hard disk storage. Unfortunately this is split into two separate drives, 19GB for the OS and 13GB as a D drive.

This potentially faster medium, combined with a 1.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor and 3GB of RAM, ought to make the Asus U2E-1P014E a speedy little portable.

In our WorldBench 6 Beta 2 tests, though, the little Asus U2E-1P014E mustered only 51 points, so you'll need to look elsewhere for a portable to tackle challenging work. Disappointing also is that, despite the use of a low-power CPU the U2E's cooling fan is engaged almost continuously, a distracting foible.

In other respects the Asus U2E-1P014E is well-equipped - Asus has managed to squeeze in a tray-loading DVD±R optical drive, which certainly increases versatility for anything from loading software to watching DVD films. And while its LED-backlit screen isn't much bigger than a sheet of A5 paper, it's certainly crisp and bright enough to allow even the inevitably tiny screen fonts to remain legible.

The Asus U2E-1P014E's trackpad is small but with good pointing precision - essential for comfortable use without a mouse. Clicking buttons are small, but manageable after some familiarity.

NEXT PAGE: connectivity, battery life and our expert verdict > >

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Luxury is the watchword with Asus' new business ultraportable laptop - the Asus U2E-1P014E.

A useful number of useful ports are included along each side of the Asus U2E-1P014E - besides the usual USB and audio jacks there's ethernet and an olde worlde 56k modem, plus multi-card reader, and VGA and HDMI video out. And there's even a 34mm ExpressCard slot.

An important part of a notebook's performance its battery life, and here the Asus U2E-1P014E was found to be below average for the breed. Using the standard 3-cell battery, MobileMark 2007 gave us 125 minutes - expect around double that figure when using the 6-cell battery that also comes in the box.

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See our Laptop Advisor website for expert reviews of today’s best laptops, plus read our essential advice to make sure you choose the right specs

Asus U2E-1P014E: Specs

  • Intel U7500 Core 2 Duo
  • 4GB DDR II SDRAM
  • Microsoft Windows Vista Business
  • Intel GMA X3100 graphics
  • 11.1in (1366x768) widescreen display
  • 32GB SSD drive
  • DVD±RW (+R double layer) / DVD-RAM
  • 802.11 a/b/g/draft-n, Bluetooth
  • webcam
  • fingerprint scanner
  • optical wireless mouse
  • 194x29x277mm
  • 1.25kg
  • Intel U7500 Core 2 Duo
  • 4GB DDR II SDRAM
  • Microsoft Windows Vista Business
  • Intel GMA X3100 graphics
  • 11.1in (1366x768) widescreen display
  • 32GB SSD drive
  • DVD±RW (+R double layer) / DVD-RAM
  • 802.11 a/b/g/draft-n, Bluetooth
  • webcam
  • fingerprint scanner
  • optical wireless mouse
  • 194x29x277mm
  • 1.25kg

OUR VERDICT

A stylish and well-featured ultraportable at the luxury end of the market, but ultimately more style over substance. And if the Asus U2E-1P014E appeals but the price seems a little steep, consider the ?1,199 black leather version with 120GB hard drive.

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