The VX2 is the second laptop born of Asus and Lamborghini's collaborative efforts. This new model keeps the corporate yellow livery but adds faster components and a widescreen display to the mix, along with tweaks to various elements of the chassis.
We've become so used to companies putting form before function on fashion products, so it's good to see that Asus hasn't fallen into the classic design traps here.
Asus has put a lot of thought into the design and presentation of the VX2. The retail box consists of the laptop itself, a Lamborghini carry case, Lamborghini wireless mouse and a Lamborghini chamois for polishing purposes, all inside one of the most stylish laptop presentation boxes we've seen in some time.
The VX2 comes in two flavours -- a black carbon fibre premium edition and the standard yellow version, which we've reviewed here. The bright yellow lid had as many detractors as it did fans in our office -- it's a retina-searing shade that'll either win you admiring glances or make people think you have a serious taste deficiency.
The revered Lamborghini badge sits in the centre of the outer lid -- an ideal position for showing off to fellow commuters. There's a black honeycomb mesh panel near the hinge, behind which is a set of white LED status lights for the power, battery, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
Questionable though the outside may be, you'd have to be a cold, heartless beast, or a vegetarian, not to love the leather interior. We've seen this type of thing before in Asus' S6F and W6Fp laptops, but it's all the more impressive here thanks to the angular cut of the leather panels and stylish yellow stitching. The leather looks great next to a pair of gunmetal speaker grilles, which run the entire length of the laptop's base section.
There are other nice touches, too. The bottom of the laptop is home to a replica alloy wheel from a Lamborghini Gallardo. Then there's the swivelling metallic 1.3-megapixel webcam above the screen. We also couldn't help but fall in love with the white LED status lights above and below the keyboard.
The final touch of genius, however, happens when you hit the power button. The white LEDs flare up, the Automobili Lamborghini logo pops up and the speakers emit a satisfying "vroom vroom". If that doesn't give you the attention you crave, nothing will.
The VX2 has a specification that matches its excellent design. It uses a 2.16GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7400 CPU, 2GB of PC2-5300 RAM and a mid-range Nvidia GeForce 7700 graphics card -- all of which, on paper, make it a very quick all-round laptop. Asus could have been forgiven for installing components designed for a desktop PC in order to make it faster, but has wisely opted for laptop-oriented components that promote a better balance of battery life and speed.
Storage space is akin to that of a real Lamborghini -- fair to middling. The 160GB hard drive offers just about enough space to stash a couple of hundred DivX movies, but that's without considering other applications and files. Our review sample arrived with 60GB of free space on the main drive partition and 60GB on the data partition.
There's no option for a Blu-ray or HD DVD drive, but you do get an LG GMA-4085N dual-layer DVD burner with Lightscribe technology. This lets you burn up to 8.5GB of data to dual-layer discs and to laser-etch labels on to compatible discs by flipping it over in the drive tray. Our only gripe is the fact the drive uses a tray-loading mechanism -- we'd have much preferred a more stylish slot-loading design.
There's no skimping on the software. Asus supplies the VX2 with Windows Vista Ultimate Edition, which provides the Media Center interface. The laptop features the ubiquitous D-Sub and S-Video graphics output ports, but you also get an HDMI port, which HD TV owners will find useful. There's no onboard DVI port, but you do get an HDMI to DVI adaptor in the box. Sadly the laptop lacks a remote control of any form, and there's no TV tuner.
The 15.4-inch display is one of the VX2's strongest assets. It runs at a very high resolution of 1,680x1,050 pixels, which is more typically found on desktop monitors of 20 inches or higher. This gives you plenty of room to view multiple document windows simultaneously, and even for viewing two documents side by side, but there is a drawback -- such a high resolution makes text look a tad small, so you may want to enable the 'large fonts' display option if your eyesight isn't up to scratch.
Above the screen there's a 1.3-megapixel webcam, which can be swivelled through 180 degrees. The laptop's integrated microphone is mounted just to the right of this, which is a good position for video conferencing since users tend to speak towards camera lenses.
The VX2 has other welcome additions including a 4-in-1 memory card reader, a PCI Express card slot, an infrared port and a fingerprint reader for secure logins. When you swipe your finger across it for the first time it lets you 'enrol', so that on future occasions you may log into Windows without entering a password. It's a shame, however, that there are only three USB ports -- two on the left and one on the right -- plus one 4-pin FireWire port. You do, at least, get a Gigabit Ethernet port on the left side and a modem port on the right.
The Lamborghini VX2 is pretty quick. Its ample 2GB of RAM helped ensure it never felt slow during everyday use, and it fared well in our synthetic benchmark tests, too. It returned a positive 4,713 in PCMark 2005, which indicates it's right up there with the fastest laptops in its class, including Asus' own G2P gaming laptop.
The VX2's gaming performance is good, but it's nowhere near as good as the fastest gaming laptops. It scored 2,344 in 3DMark 2006, which is slightly quicker than the G2P, but nowhere near the 5,434 achieved by the Alienware m9700, which uses two graphics cards in an SLI configuration.
With its faster components, widescreen display and nicer design, this laptop is bound to make you the envy of all your friends. It can't, unfortunately, offer a cure for your mid-life crisis, but this is one fashion product that isn't style over substance.
Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Kate Macefield