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.

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