Asus W2V

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Asus W2V

The W2V proves that you don't need Media Center to enjoy a good multimedia notebook experience. It's a pity, then, that the battery isn't a bit meatier.

Asus' designers must have had one thing - and one thing only - on their minds when designing notebooks, as so far, we've seen the W1N, W3V and now the W2V, and for the most part they've shared a very simple design philosophy. Slight cosmetic differences aside, you'd be hard pressed to tell the differences between them without flipping them over to check the label on the base. The W2V is a large notebook that fits more comfortably in the "luggable" category (Asus calls the W series its "Digital Home" series) than as a truly portable notebook.

Like the W3V, the W2V omits any kind of screen latch, relying on a magnetic attraction between screen and base to keep your display intact. That'll make some people nervous, although a notebook with a 17" display isn't really all that luggable in the first place, so it hopefully shouldn't come up all that often.

The W2V is, to put it politely, a fuller figured notebook. At full dimensions, it measures in at 395 x 288.6 x 33.8 mm and weighs in at 3.4kg, further cementing its non-portable status. Like the W3V, it's encased in graphite black casing that's quite cold to the touch, although as with many notebooks, prolonged usage can turn this unit into a mini-cooker.

The W2V runs off a Mobile Pentium M 760 running at 2.13GHz, with 1GB of memory and an ATI X700 graphics processor with 128MB of dedicated memory. It's equipped with a slot loading DVD burner and the suitable Intel innards to earn it a little shiny Centrino badge, something that stands out quite starkly against the flat black finish of the notebook. Four USB ports, one Firewire and a multi-card reader complete the W2V's PC-based offering. Like its other Digital Home notebooks, the W2V also takes aim at Microsoft's Windows Media Center OS, as it includes dedicated software and hardware designed to turn it into an entertainment centre. On the hardware front, this includes an integrated digital TV tuner that connects to an external antennae from the side. There's also a remote control for couch junkies, although we were unable to test this as it was accidentally omitted from our test kit.

We've been mostly impressed with the performance of Asus laptops in the past - be they home-branded laptops or the variety that they make for other vendors - and the W2V didn't disappoint us. Its MobileMark 2002 score of 235 puts it in the top tier of most notebook designs in terms of sheer grunt. It's probably a good job that its size limits the amount you'll lug it, as the battery conked out in the performance test just shy of two hours at 111 minutes. Even dropping to the less intensive reader test only added another five minutes battery life to the equation. It's always a delicate balance between performance and power, and we suspect the bright 17" display is more than a little bit guilty of sucking up what power the W2V has to offer.

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Slot loading drives on notebooks undoubtedly look really cool, but we're yet to see a slot-loading model with sufficient noise dampening. The W2V's slot loading drive is no better or worse than any other we've seen, with the practical upshot being that it rattles more than just a bit when active - especially when burning discs.

The 17" display is beautiful and bright, with a wide viewing angle - exactly what you'd want in a mobile theatre notebook. The integrated digital tuner is a nice inclusion as well, although the accompanying Mobile Theatre software is a bit kludgy in places, especially as it can be quite slow to respond to selections. Then again, the same can be said of some existing Windows Media Center packages, so it's hardly a unique problem for a TV-capable notebook.

At AU$4999, the W2V is hardly a casual purchase notebook, but it's certainly a good contender in the desktop replacement category, especially if you've got an eye on a notebook that'll look good on your desk at work and play well into the evening.

Asus W2V
Company: Asus
Price: AU$4999
Phone: 1300 880 038


Processor / Chipset
Data Bus Speed 533 MHz
Chipset Type Mobile Intel 915PM Express
Cache Memory
Type L2 cache
Installed Size 2 MB
Read Speed 24x (CD) / 8x (DVD)
Type Standard
Technology DDR II SDRAM
Installed Size 1 GB
Max Supported Size 2 GB
Hard Drive
Spindle Speed 5400 rpm
Installed Qty 1
Capacity 100 GB
Type Keyboard, Touchpad
Optical Storage
Type DVD+/-RW
CPU Type Pentium M
Manufacturer Intel
Clock Speed 2.13 GHz
Floppy Drive
Type None
Recharge Time 2.5 hour(s)
Technology Lithium ion
Max Transfer Rate 56 Kbps
Data Link Protocol Ethernet, Fast Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet, IEEE 802.11 a/b/g
Color Black
Features Bluetooth
Diagonal Size 17 in
Dimensions & Weight
Width 15.6 in
Depth 11.4 in
Height 1.3 in
Data Bus Speed 533 MHz
Chipset Type Mobile Intel 915PM Express
Physical Characteristics
Weight 7.5 lbs
Operating System / Software
OS Provided: Type Microsoft Windows XP Media Center
Type Drivers & Utilities, ASUSDVD XP 5.0
Video Output
Graphics Processor ATI Mobility RADEON X700
Video Memory
Installed Size 128 MB