LG LW70 Express

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LG LW70 Express

LG wants you to work and play with its new notebook, the 17-inch widescreen LW70.

LG's LW Express series is a premium line of widescreen notebooks that feature Intel's second-generation Centrino platform called Sonoma, powerful ATI graphics cards, enhanced displays and plenty of multimedia add-ons. The LW70 Express is the leader of the pack with a massive 17.1-inch display.

With its bright widescreen display, LG's LW70 Express is a great way to watch movies on-the-go. It has a glossy finish and an ART (Anti Reflection Treatment), which LG says minimises screen reflection and improves the overall "visual experience". It definitely knocked our socks off in the office but the large size makes it a bit too big for frequent travellers.

The notebook comes in a predominantly silver case and has a dual click-lock mechanism at the front to secure it shut. For a desktop replacement, its 3.1 kilogram weight is reasonably light. In fact, it weighs the same as Apple's 17-inch PowerBook G4.

At 392 x 276 x 30.6mm, we found the base of the LW70 overhangs the edges of a passenger tray on a plane. Trying to be discreet while opening up the notebook certainly is an arduous task; we found the Fine Bright WXGA display intense enough to illuminate a few rows of passengers behind us during a night-time flight. Even though the brightness level is adjustable, frequent flyers would be more suited to an ultraportable notebook, such as Toshiba's Portege R200.

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LG has incorporated a full-sized keyboard on the LW70, including a dedicated numeric keypad on the right-hand side, which is handy for gaming and data entry. Below the keyboard is a touchpad with a scroll function and above it are buttons for volume, power and "IntstantON" (see below for explanation).

The gloriously large screen isn't the only thing the LW70 Express has going for it. Under the notebook's hood is a Sonoma configuration consisting of a 2GHz Pentium M processor with 533MHz Front Side Bus, Intel's 915 Express chipset and Intel PRO/Wireless 2200 (802.11b/g) for WLAN.

Running Microsoft Windows XP Professional, the LW70's zippy performance is fuelled by a 2MB of L2 cache and 512MB of DDR2 RAM. Graphics are handled by ATI's 64MB Mobility Radeon X600 card, which enables smooth video and 3D gaming.

Ample storage space for multimedia content is provided by a 100GB serial ATA hard disk drive. There is also a Super-Multi drive that not only reads and writes DVD+/- discs, but the less common DVD-RAM format used by some camcorders and home entertainment devices such as Toshiba's RD-XS34.

The LW70 supports 802.11b/g for wireless networking, 10/100Mbps Ethernet connections and has a 56kbps modem for dial-up. An infrared port and a 4-in-1 media card reader (SD/MMC, Memory Stick and Memory Stick Pro) flank the sides of the notebook along with four USB ports, one IEEE 1394 (Firewire) jack, an SPDIF audio in, S-Video out, an ExpressCard and PCMCIA Type II slot. It also comes with a remote control that gets stowed in one of the PC card slots and allows you to control DVDs, CDs, MP3 as well as presentations.

During our testing period, battery life ranged from around two and a half hours when watching DVDs with the screen set to maximum brightness, to just over four hours when using minimum brightness and less processor intensive tasks, such as word processing and e-mail.

Sound quality is above average, for a notebook, thanks to the LW70's woofer on the bottom as well as stereo speakers. For audiophiles, there is a digital audio output that supports 5.1-channel Dolby for surround sound gaming and movies.

Watching DVDs on the LW70's magnificent 17-inch screen is an absolute delight -- colours are vivid and blacks are extraordinarily dark for an LCD. LG has realised the allure of watching DVDs on the notebook and includes an InstantON button that bypasses the normal Windows boot-up process to launch movies instantly. A second InstantON button can also boot straight into a media player for music CDs.

At AU$3,999, LG's LW70 Express is ideal for users looking to replace their desktop PC with a portable workhorse. If you're after an easily portable notebook with extended battery life, there are better models on the market, but if bulk or long-lasting power are not deal-breakers for you, we highly recommend it.

LG LW70 Express
Company: LG Electronics
Price: AU$3999