The 15.6-inch Asus-Automobili Lamborghini VX7 aims to appeal to petrolheads by offering a design based upon the famous cars of the same name, and equally quick performance. Our model packed a 2GHz, quad-core Intel Core i7-2630QM processor, 8GB of RAM and a dedicated 3GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 460M graphics card.
The VX7 is available now for around £1,850.
Design and build quality
Lamborghini cars are renowned for being loud, in your face, and making mothers tut disapprovingly. This laptop is every bit as rude and in your face as the cars, but we're not convinced it's going to win the hearts of petrolheads the world over.
The shell is made of a highly reflective black plastic with deep ridges running across it. The classic Lamborghini bull logo sits proudly in the middle, with the slightly less classic Asus logo demoted to second place at the bottom. Around the back, you'll find two huge vents under red plastic 'lights'. The rear is evidently designed to look like the back end of a Lambo, but, rather pitifully, the lights don't illuminate.
From a distance, the laptop doesn't look too bad, as long as you don't mind epic amounts of vulgarity, but, up close, it doesn't do so well. The shell is not only a total fingerprint trap, but it's also made of a very flimsy plastic that bent and creaked under our pokes and prods. Squeezing our hand around the vents at the back resulted in a further symphony of horrible creaks and clicks. The VX7 seems poorly built.
It's a real shame to see such poor build quality on a laptop with such a steep price tag. We really wouldn't trust it to put up with life on the road. You probably won't want to take it on the road anyway, though, as it weighs around 3.9kg. It will be much better off staying stationary at your desk, unless you happen to have a real Lamborghini to help you carry it around. Or a truck.
If you do decide to carry the laptop around and don't have a V12-powered monster to help you do it, Asus provides a Lamborghini-branded bag with the VX7. We just couldn't bring ourselves to use it, though. It's just too embarrassing.
The VX7's lid opens on a hinge that sits slightly further forward than usual from the back of the machine. The hinge feels pretty sturdy, and it's the only part of the machine that's free from annoying creaks. The position of the hinge also seemed to help the laptop sit securely on our desk.
Keyboard and trackpad
Under the lid, further excessive design flourishes await. The wrist rest is made of real leather, mimicking the interiors of many Lamborghini cars. It does seem a rather unnecessary addition, and it's a shame a cow had to die in order to provide leather for this monstrosity. The bovine would have been much better off saving its hide for something classy like the Acer Aspire Ethos 5951G.
The isolated keyboard is comfortable, and backlit too, which is handy if you make a habit of typing away in the dark. The trackpad is made of a shiny glass which feels good to slide your finger over and the adjacent buttons provide a lovely click. We all love a good click.
The 15.6-inch has a resolution of 1,920x1,080 pixels, which means it can display your high-definition content at its best. That's great news, as there's a Blu-ray drive tucked into the side of the machine.
The screen is bright, but blacks could be deeper, so the picture can look rather washed-out at times. The display certainly does the job when it comes to watching the odd movie or TV show, but you'll need to hook the laptop up to a TV via the HDMI port if you want a more immersive cinematic experience.
To make the VX7 seem even more like a car, the power button is marked with 'start engine', and the laptop revs when it starts up. The revving made us laugh when we first heard it, but it quickly became annoying.
Instead of a massive V8 engine, the VX7 runs on a 2GHz, quad-core Intel Core i7-2630QM processor, teamed up with 8GB of DDR3 RAM. For the graphics fanatics, there's also a dedicated Nvidia GeForce GTX 460M graphics card with 3GB of GDDR5 graphics memory.
We sent the VX7 on a figurative lap around the CNET UK test track, throwing our benchmark tests at its leather-clad face. In the PCMark05 test of general computing ability, it scored 9,617. That's a great score for a run-of-the-mill laptop, but we really expected more from a Lamborghini-branded monster. The MSI GT680 gaming laptop delivered a blistering score of 14,392 and can be bought for a few hundred pounds less.
The VX7 performed better in the Geekbench test, which also gives the powerful graphics card a run for its money. Its score of 11,328 is very impressive. The GT680 only managed a score of 7,713.
To see how the VX7 really handles games, we fired up Dirt 3 and took a car for a spin around Finland. The frame rate stayed around 40 frames per second, making for pleasingly smooth gameplay. But we were troubled every so often by quick freezes in the action. That's not something we saw on other machines we tested with this game, and it could well prove disastrous during a particularly intense moment.
We then tried to encode our 11-minute 1080p video into 24fps H.264. The VX7 managed it in a speedy time of 11 minutes and 15 seconds. That's good news if you're hoping to get some video editing done on this laptop.
It's certainly not all smooth sailing with the VX7. We had numerous problems with installing parts of our benchmark software and found that the machine would sometimes simply freeze up during use. We restored it to its factory settings twice to ensure that no unwanted software was interfering with the machine's performance, and we still found various bugs that became incredibly annoying.
It could be the case that some of the drivers for the internal hardware are simply outdated and need to be updated. But, if we'd just paid £1,850 for a laptop, we really wouldn't expect these issues to keep cropping up.
The Asus-Automobili Lamborghini VX7 may pack some impressive power under the hood, but its poor build quality and software issues detract from both the Lamborghini and Asus names. If you're looking for a high-performance machine to tackle editing tasks and games, your money will be better spent elsewhere.
Edited by Charles Kloet