The Asus M70SA (£1391 inc. VAT) is a desktop replacement in the truest sense of the word. The body is made from thick and durable plastic that is finished in black and grey. The look is rather perfunctory, but the overall quality is above average.
The one area where quality drops is the keyboard. It's a good size and there is even space for a numeric keypad, but we found there was a degree of rattle as we typed. This isn't a flaw, simply that we were expecting a little more attention to detail in this area.
Superb 1TB storage
The design is impressive and while you won't want to take it on the move with you - it weighs 4.1kg - Asus has managed to fit plenty of features inside. For instance, the touchpad also converts into media function keys, which works well. The addition of Altec Lansing speakers and a good-sized subwoofer, located on the base of the unit, add sound quality seldom found on a laptop.
Asus has been keen to stress this is the first laptop to sport 1TB of storage. Admittedly, it's split between two 500GB hard drives, both of which run at 5400rpm. This is an impressive feat and adds to the overall functionality of the machine, but it's only a small part of what makes this laptop great value.
The 17-inch screen is impressively bright. The screen is Full HD compatible, but with a resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels, there is a degree of scaling when watching HD content. With a Blu-ray drive fitted as standard, you can watch movies and back up 25GB of data on to a single disc.
This being an early sample, we were unable to fully test the graphics card - the ATi Mobility Radeon HD 3650 - due to driver problems, but this card supports DirectX 10 and is optimised for Full HD, so works well with the Blu-ray drive. Alongside the standard array of features, you'll find an integrated digital TV tuner that comes with its own remote control.
The addition of a fingerprint scanner can be used to add a higher level of security. Alternatively, you can use it to launch your favourite programs at the swipe of a finger. For connecting fast peripherals, you'll even find an e-SATA connection.
With this number of features, the asking price for the M70SA suddenly feels more reasonable. Add to this the latest processor from Intel and 4096MB of memory and this machine offers plenty in the way of future-proofing.
The Asus M70SA is a great all-round desktop replacement. We found it powerful but easy to use. There are cheaper laptops on the market, but not many offer this level of quality.