The Asus F3Jv (£949 inc. VAT) is a multimedia laptop that combines performance, features and strong build quality within a semi-portable 3kg chassis.
One of its best features is the vivid and bright 15.4-inch screen. It has a resolution of 1680 x 1050 pixels (WSXGA ) which is higher than most of its rival machines. This means images appear a lot sharper, making your movies, photographs and games look better. It also makes images smaller, so you'll have more room onscreen. But you may want to resize pages if you find the text too small.
Graphics are rendered by an nVidia GeForce Go 7600 graphics card. This is a dedicated mid-range adapter, which will cope easily with tasks such as video editing and games.
In addition to useful multimedia performance, we also found the Asus a comfortable machine to work on. With large and well-spaced keys, the keyboard features a firmer action than we've seen on previous Asus offerings, and even after long periods the palm rest remains cool.
Although the chassis is made from plastic, build quality is not affected, remaining strong. There is little flex, and the screen is sturdy, well attached and well protected.
Within the chassis you'll find a dual-core Intel processor. At 1.83GHz, the Core 2 Duo T5600 chip is not the quickest processor around, but it's a reasonable solution at this price. Because it's dual-core, you'll be able to run several programs with ease, with each core able to attend to separate applications simultaneously.
1024MB of memory holds data ready for the processor, which is more than enough for everyday use. Combined with the F3Jv's efficient design, you'll find outstanding performance on offer, with little lag even when running intensive software. A 120GB hard drive is average, but offers ample storage space.
There's a 1.3-megapixel camera integrated neatly into the top of the screen surround, along with a microphone for video calls. There's no dedicated messaging software, although you will find Windows Messenger included as part of the OS.
The F3Jv also excels when it comes to connectivity. It features a DVI port, enabling digital connections to external displays, along with S-Video and VGA-out ports, for connecting to older analogue equipment. As an all-rounder, the Asus is without peer. Performance is outstanding, it has a great screen and, at this price, it is difficult to ignore.
Tech Explained: Hard Drive
The hard drive is where the operating system and all of your files are stored. The average 2.5-inch hard drive offers 80GB, which is plenty of space for photographs, music and work files. The disk physically spins, with most laptop drives running at 5400rpm. The faster the drive, the smoother the laptop.