The black-brushed aluminium of the chassis screams “touch me”. The detail of which is followed through to the main chassis. The mouse buttons are aluminium. It is cool to the touch and feels fantastic. Can it get any better? We take a look.



Before we continue, the first thing you need to know about Asus is that it has built its brand on style rather than how cheaply it can bring a notebook to market. If you’re wondering who the company is, it is one of the largest IT manufacturers in the world. Asus build the PlayStation 2 as well as making notebooks for the likes of Apple and Sony, not to mention high-quality PC motherboards for the past 7 years for those in love with building it themselves. So it comes as no surprise that its own brand of machines has the same high pedigree.

The W2V is the flagship model of the range, being a desktop replacement built around a stunning 17-inch screen. What would a high-end notebook be without the crystal clear anti-glare layer? With a resolution of 1680 x 1050 pixels, images simply look amazingly bright and crisp on this machine. And they need to be, as the W2V comes with a TV tuner built-in as standard. As you would expect, this comes with PVR (Personal Video Recorder) software, so you can record TV programmes while your away.

The remote control is neatly hidden away in the PC Card slot. You’ll have to remember to put it away otherwise it’ll easily get lost down the back of the sofa.

It’s not only the look and the feel that is important, as Asus has made sure that the specification is up to standard too. So, you find a Pentium M 770 processor, which has a running speed of 2.13GHz, controlling the show, while 1024MB DDR2 memory gives enough room to load applications with ease. The 80GB hard drive is enough to record plenty of TV programmes but you’ll be glad of the built-in DVD rewriter, so you can back up copies for later use.

With a weight of 3.4kg, you may want to take the W2V on the go with you but you’ll need to remember that in order to get a TV signal, you’ll need an aerial - so best to save watching reality TV when you’re away from the real world. With a battery life of just over 3 hours, you’ll be able to watch a DVD movie on the train though.

ATI Mobility Radeon X700 takes care of the graphics. This chipset can handle all the latest games without placing too much stress on the system. We played Far Cry in full screen mode without any sign of lag or delay. With so much multimedia activity going on, we were surprised to find the OS was Windows XP Home and not Media Centre Edition. However, Asus bundles its own Mobile Theatre program, which offers the same central control as Media Centre.

Verdict

The Asus W2V is a stunning example of a notebook designed primarily for multimedia use. We had great fun using it and feel that you will too.