The Asus W2Jc (£1999 inc. VAT) is the flagship model of the Asus range and, befitting its status, comes with the latest technology available. You'll find Intel's Core Duo processor at the heart of the machine. The T2500 has a running speed of 2GHz and is matched with 1024MB of DDR2 memory.
In test, this system scored a MobileMark 2005 score of 220, which isn't up to the scores we've seen from similar Duo machines, but is powerful enough for most tasks. With 100GB of storage based around a 5400rpm drive from Hitachi, you'll find plenty of space for storing media files. That said, this drive will soon become full once you start to use the built-in digital TV tuner for recording programmes.
Small quicklaunch buttons can be found above the keyboard that allow you to switch into TV and record modes. It's not only the core specification that is impressive, as you'll find the ATi Mobility Radeon X1600 handling the graphics. This is a mainstream card, but is more than capable of handling the latest games with ease.
Under test it scored 7360 under 3DMark 2003, which is impressive, and with 256MB of dedicated memory there were no signs of lag when playing. The screen is a 17-inch Super- TFT panel that will support a resolution of 1440 x 900 pixels (WXGA ). The quality of the screen is simply stunning, with images looking sharp and impressive.
Weighing in at 3.6kg, this isn't the heaviest 17-inch machine you'll find on the market, but you won't want to use it on the move too often. Conversely, with a battery life, under test, of 202 minutes, it offers a degree of time away from mains power. With so much performance being pumped from the W2, we were expecting it to be a noisy and warm-running machine. Even after long-term use, it was still cool to the touch and ran quietly.
As an upgrade of the W1, Asus has developed and pushed the finish in a more satisfactory styling. The look is still minimalist with the quick-launch buttons, along with the mouse buttons, cut from the same aluminium sheet as the casing with pressure pads beneath. To this end, the finish is flush and smooth.
There is now a mini-DVI out port, which means you can connect the screen to a larger display for a complete digital solution. Sound is more than adequate, as you'll find four speakers and a separate sub-woofer, which is built into the base of the unit, for good all-round quality.
Considering the size of the chassis, it's surprising to find the keyboard has been pushed to the back of the main body, as you need to lean over the body to get to the keys. With good performance and a pleasing finish, we were impressed with it in daily use but we were left wondering why it's so expensive.