The 12.1-inch display on the U6S is good. The vertical viewing angle is quite limited, so you may need to adjust the angle of the screen to get a perfectly clear picture. It's fine across the horizontal axis so you can watch a movie while sitting next to a friend and not miss the action. Unlike most laptops, the screen is an LED backlit model, meaning it consumes about 30 per cent less power than normal CCFL models. This should help the laptop last longer away from the mains.
The optical drive in the U6S is in no way as impressive as the hard drive. The bog-standard tray-loading DVD rewriter looks a little dated next to the optional slot-loading Blu-ray drive in the XPS M1330. It's fine for watching DVDs and making backups, but we can't help but wish there was a way of playing HD DVD or Blu-ray films, especially since the laptop has an HDMI port.
There's plenty of wireless techology to shout about in the U6S. It's packing Wi-Fi 802.11n, and more importantly perhaps, it has a SIM card slot under the battery, so you can insert your mobile phone SIM and get 3G/HSDPA Internet access pretty much anywhere you roam.
The U6S is small, but in day-to-day tasks it's just as quick as most laptops, whatever their size. It scored 4,594 in PCMark05, meaning it runs at about the same speed as the XPS M1330.
The U6S fared okay in graphics tests. It scored 1,232 in 3DMark06, which isn't bad for a laptop of this type. Like most ultraportables, you won't be running many games on it, but it's quick enough to handle HD movies, and the odd bout of Half-Life 2, if you turn the detail levels right down.
Battery life is fairly poor on the standard 2400mAh battery. It lasted about 40 minutes in our Battery Eater test, which constantly asks the CPU to perform at a high rate. More reassuringly, it lasted 90 minutes with a 7800mAh battery, an extra add-on. The only drawback here is the fact the larger battery juts out of the rear of the laptop by 38mm, and makes the entire unit heavier.
The Asus U6S is a fantastic laptop which can be considered the slightly more suave and sophisticated cousin of the Dell XPS M1330. The clever design touches, solid all-round performance and high portability make it a definite CNET.co.uk favourite.
Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Shannon Doubleday