Asus launches 16:9, 17.3-inch F70 notebook

In the absence of an F70 pic, here are the Northern Lights on a Japanese mobile phone
In the absence of an F70 pic, here are the Northern Lights on a Japanese mobile phone

Continuing the tradition of reinventing its Asus laptops, the Taiwanese manufacturer today announced a F70 laptop that it calls the "world's first 17.3-inch 16:9 notebook".

HP might have something to say about that, with its HP Pavilion dv7-2045ea and Compaq CQ71-100 laptops already sporting 16:9 17.3-inch displays.

Asus goes on to claim that the F70 has a LED backlit, Full HD (1080p) screen, before admitting in its specs that the display has 1600x900-pixel resolution.

At least we can all agree that its 'Infusion styling' is unique in apparently being "reminiscent of the Aurora Borealis" - few other laptop manufacturers have tried to associate their product with an unreliable electromagnetic phenomenon that looks lovely but achieves very little.

Rebounding elastic fingers

Other features of interest could be a HDMI output for, er, watching its DVDs (there's no Blu-ray option) on a big telly, SRS surround sound from Altec Lansing speakers and a 'chiclet' keyboard that "offers a rebounding elasticity", which sounds rather fun.

If you can't wait to tinker with the F70, Asus's own Express Gate technology can boot up Skype, web, music or email functions in a flash and there's also a 1.3MP webcam on board.

With such a big screen, it comes as no surprise that the F70 weighs in at hernia-inducing 3.9kg with battery (no life figures quoted).

The F70 starts at around £860 for a 2.16GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4GB, 320GB, Vista Home Premium configuration, rising to £960 for a 2.26GHz chip and half a terabyte hard drive. It's available now.

--- Update --

Apparently, the F70 was the first 16:9 17.3-inch laptop when it was showcased in January, but Asus held off launching it until product was in the shops. So that's that cleared up then.

Mark Harris is Senior Research Director at Gartner.