Taiwanese company Asus is best known for its revolutionary Eee PC netbooks, but also produces full-sized laptops. The P52F-SO006X is a smart business model that's solidly built, with strong Intel Core performance.

Our first reaction was highly positive, as the all-black chassis looks and feels reassuringly solid. The lid barely flexes at all, protecting the display within, while the shock protected hard drive helps to prevent damage to your data by resetting the read/write head if vibrations are detected.

At 2.7kg this is quite a heavy laptop, though, so bear this in mind if you travel often.

As with the Samsung R440, an Intel Core i3 370M processor provides the power. Anyone wishing to multitask with all their office applications will be pleased with the response, and only the Core i5 laptops showed better performance.

Benchmarks

Battery life: 238 minutes
MobileMark 2007: 224
3DMark 2003: 3250

Although the chassis is not particularly portable, we squeezed 238 minutes of battery life from a single charge, which was only beaten by the Toshiba Tecra A11.

A basic Intel GMA HD integrated graphics are in place, which limits multimedia use. We had no issues playing HD video, which also sounds surprisingly good thanks to the built-in Altec Lansing speakers, but there isn't enough power here to edit your media.

Bright display

The Asus comes equipped with a 15.6-inch screen. It's one of the brightest displays, although not as vibrant as the Hi-Grade Notino D8000i, HP G72 or Samsung R440, as it lacks a glossy Super-TFT coating. This makes it better suited to outdoor use, however.

The P52F's keyboard flexes a little in the centre but is comfortable to use, even if some of the keys are quite compact. We liked the smooth touchpad, which is a generous size without being obtrusive, and we never accidentally brushed it with our palms when typing. However, there's no gesture or scroll support.

Asus p52f

Along with the Toshiba Tecra A11, this laptop features the Professional edition of the Windows 7 operating system.

The 320GB hard drive will be enough for most people to carry their important files and media collections around, although the Hi-Grade offers far more storage.

Networking is strong, thanks to the inclusion of 802.11n Wi-Fi and Gigabit Ethernet for wireless and wired connections.

We found the P52F to be a well constructed and usable business machine, with decent battery life and commendable performance from the Core i3 processor. If you travel often, however, a more compact laptop such as the Dell Vostro V130 test might prove a better option.

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