Strong usability and an extensive warranty, but performance fails to impress
Poor battery life
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Asus has built a reputation for producing powerful high-quality laptops at affordable prices. However, while the F5V (£629 inc. VAT) packs in strong components and a stunning screen, it's unfortunately let down by sub-standard performance and poor mobility.
Using Asus' trademark silver and black design, the chassis suits business as much as home use. Its 2.7kg weight makes it a comfortable travel partner on short journeys, but the 100 minute battery life means you certainly won't have the option for longer trips.
Providing strong usability, the keyboard is large with a comfortable typing action. We noticed no errors when typing over long periods. The board is set fairly far back on the chassis, which some users may find uncomfortable, but most will find the Asus a pleasure to work on.
A noticeable highlight is the 15.4-inch Super-TFT screen. Images are bright and vibrant and photos and videos are shown to their full potential. A nice touch is the addition of an integrated camera above the screen for online video messaging and taking snapshots.
Using a dedicated graphics card from ATi, 3D performance suits basic gaming and editing home photos and videos. Don't expect to use the Asus as a full gaming or media system, but there's enough power for day-to-day home multimedia tasks.
Unfortunately, despite using an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, general performance is poor. Basic power is provided for the home office, but not much else. For running high-performance software, you'll be disappointed.
Other components are more impressive. The 120GB hard drive lets you carry all your documents, photos and music. The rewritable DVD drive makes it easy to copy data to CDs and DVDs using the pre-installed Nero disc creation software.
Other software includes applications for internet security and proprietary Asus tools make system monitoring and maintenance simple. For home office use, you only get a 60-day trial version of Microsoft Office, so you'll need to add your own software.
A real strength of the Asus package is its two-year warranty cover. Your laptop will be collected, repaired and returned to you in the event of a fault. This alone may be the strongest selling point for new users.
Despite poor mobility, the Asus F5V is a usable laptop. If performance is your main requirement, you'll need to look elsewhere, but for home use the Asus is well worth a test run.
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