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Quite a number of laptops have already trooped into our test lab. Some have stunningly good looks a la Megan Fox while others look like plain Janes. The new ASUS K42Dr, at first glance, seems to belong to the latter, but is it hiding something beneath its exterior that will make it a super machine in our books?

Of course, when we said that it looks simple, we didn't mean that it looks bad, because it doesn't. It may not have the fancy designs that other notebooks boast, but this ASUS is still a quite elegant-looking gadget. It sports an alluring glossy dark-brown facade with an imprinted pattern overlay that adds a tinge of sophistication to its looks.

As for its physical interface and ports, the K42Dr has the usual mix that laptops in its category have these days – HDMI, VGA, and Ethernet ports and a headphone jack. However, given that it's a full-sized lappie, we were quite disappointed that it only has 3 USB ports. Another thing that we didn't find quite amusing is that its touch pad is also covered by the pattern imprint found on its facade, something that feels awkward to the touch.

As for its innards, the tandem of the AMD Turion II dual-processor P520 and ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5470 graphics runs the show for the K42Dr. That means you can have a bit of good HD viewing as well as some gaming on the side. Add to that the 4GB of DDR3 memory, and you can have some raw power at hand for multitasking and running resource-extensive applications.

We took the liberty of running the K42Dr to its paces to see how much punishment pressure it could take. First, we loaded several HD movies, then we ran a couple of programs in the background. The K24Dr performed pretty well with only a few lags in playback, although this depends on what other programs you are running. Still,m we're giving this a thumbs-up for doing what it's supposed to be doing.

We then tried to play some games (not the most demanding, of course, so we didn't include Crysis and the likes) namely Mirror's Edge and Left 4 Dead 2 and it's satisfying to see that the K42Dr performed very well, especially at lower settings. We decided to take it a notch higher by playing the games at medium video settings. This while still running some programs in the background. Even though the K42Dr still performed quite well, we already noticed a few lags and hiccups especially with in-game movies. And yes, playing older games (like Doom 3 and Neverwinter Nights 2) at the highest video settings can be done. However, it's not advisable if you're gonna use the newer titles 'cause you just have to kiss very smooth gameplay goodbye.

Still, this doesn't take away the fact that you can play games with the ASUS K42Dr, thanks to its ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5470 graphics. Just don't be too ambitious.

At 294 NovaBench points, the ASUS K42Dr belongs to the upper echelons of portables we've tested so far, though we expected a bit more from this worker.

The Windows Experience Index tells pretty much the same tale, giving the K42Dr a good score of 5.0.

As for battery life, we managed to juice out almost 3 hours of normal use from a single charge, significantly more than what the BatteryBar advertised, but still way below what a laptop should have. The built-in Power 4 Gear power-management software can help you manage battery power more effectively when needed, though.

As far as notebooks go, the ASUS K42Dr is one solid item. It can play HD movies seamlessly. It can hold its own against multitasking and some really graphic-intensive applications. It has that "simple yet elegant" looks to boott. So if you can get over its rather thick frame, short battery life, and of course, its price tag, then the K42Dr is definitely for keeps.

The ASUS K42Dr isn't OFFICIALLY available here yet. It is set to sell for $882 (about P40,500) overseas.

Click here to see the ASUS K42Dr in the Buyer's Guide.