Summary

Our Score

8/10

Review Price free/subscription

Asus F3JP Core 2 Duo Notebook

Asus is a brand that is becoming increasingly well established in the UK. Like its competitors such as MSI, it has branched out into areas such as notebooks with great success. This isn't really that surprising as Asus has been an OEM manufacturer for many company's notebooks for many years.

In the past few months I've looked at a couple of other notebooks in the Asus range, such as the W3J and earlier the ultra-portable W5F. The F3JP is a larger affair, but to compensate it's also more powerful, packing Intel's very latest chip, the mobile version of Core 2 Duo. It also features slightly beefier graphics that the W3J with an ATI X1700 rather than X1600 and Asus actually bills it as a gaming notebook. Whether this is true we'll find out.

The trackpad buttons looks as though it’s only got a single mouse button - Mac stylee but in fact it is actually two - just press each side for left and right. An area on the far right of the trackpad indicates it can be used for scrolling, while below this is cool looking area of lights contained in a small silver strip. These indicate system status - such as charge and wireless on or off.

It's undeniably a smart looking machine, with a smooth grey/silver finish inside and out and an embossed grid pattern towards the bottom of the lid. Opening up the machine you'll need to press in a rather clunky central button, which is rather stiff - no fancy pants magnetic closing here. The speakers are located at the top under a grille, with four lights embedded, indicating power, hard disc activity and Scroll and Num lock status. Beneath this is a silver line and on the right hand side this is broken up into six buttons. Five of these are shortcut buttons, while the one of the far right is the power switch. The one on the far left launches what looks at first like a proprietary Asus 10ft interface, aka Windows Media Center. However, choose the video option and all you get is standard Windows Media Player launching - choose Pictures and you get the Windows Picture and Fax Viewer. This is officially stupid. There's also one button to disable to the Trackpad - fair enough - and another to turn it on again. Surely one button to do both would suffice?

The screen is a large 15.4in across and has a widescreen resolution of 1,280 x 800. This is ok - enough for regular HD video, but a higher resolution would be welcome on a display of this size. It's one of those high gloss screens which are designed to boost colour and contrast and it does just that. However, this example proved to be very susceptible to reflections and I had to lift the lid up and down to avoid the overhead lights in the office. It also has a poor viewing angle both vertically and horizontally. If you're sitting and watching too close to the notebook you'll be fine but too far back and to the sides and it will be a problem.

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