In fact, a PCMark05 benchmark score of 3,464 is well over twice what an Atom N270 chip can achieve, and it blows the Core 2 Solo SU3500 chip used in the X340 out of the water (it scored 2,013). It's still far from fast, but, together with 4GB of RAM, the UX30 is able to run several applications at once without grinding to a disk-thrashing halt.
The UX30's 3D performance isn't quite so good. The integrated Intel GMA 4500MHD graphics provided by the Intel GS45 chipset are merely adequate, scoring 698 in 3DMark06. This isn't really a problem for a laptop like this, since it's enough to enable transparency in Vista's Aero interface and maybe for some light, low-resolution 3D gaming.
As we pointed out earlier, a fixed internal battery shouldn't be a problem if battery life is up to scratch, but we were disappointed with the UX30's result of 2 hours and 13 minutes in Battery Eater's intensive Classic test. Battery life proved better in the more forgiving Reader's test, at 3 hours and 50 minutes, but you won't get much more than 3 hours of use with Wi-Fi enabled when away from the mains. That's not great for a laptop of this kind, particularly one that costs this much.
There's plenty to like about the Asus UX30. It's better value than the Dell Adamo and has a better specification than the MSI X340. At £1,000, though, it's not that much cheaper than the MacBook Air and, while it's a fantastic-looking laptop, it's nowhere near as lust-worthy as Apple's offering.
Edited by Charles Kloet