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Asus X71SL review

Barry de la Rosa
23 Feb 2009
Expert Reviews Best Buy Logo
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
622
inc VAT

The X71SL is a great all-rounder

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Asus's massive X71SL is a 17in laptop with a Blu-ray drive and a dedicated graphics card.

It has a full-sized keyboard and numeric keypad, plus all the expansion ports you might need, yet costs just £650. Considering its size, it's no surprise that it weighs in at 3.7kg, making it the heaviest laptop here. It also has a screen resolution of 1,440x900.

It certainly isn't the most attractive laptop we've seen. However, Asus has made some effort to break up the swathes of cheap black plastic with some glossy and textured panels. Two prominent speaker grilles sit above the keyboard, but the sound they produce, although clear, lacks power.

Apart from some wobble in the keys, the keyboard's action is firm and there's enough feedback and travel to please touch-typists. The layout is standard, too. The touch pad is reasonably large, smooth and responsive, but the two buttons below are flush with the case, so it's hard to locate them by touch.

The only other Blu-ray-equipped laptop here is the Sony Vaio VGN-FW31E, which costs £101 more. Asus has managed to undercut its rival by using an older, slower processor, and this means the X71SL returned below-average PCMark scores. In Call of Duty 4, however, it proved faster (with 8.1fps) thanks to twice the graphics memory.

Other features are comparable - a 320GB hard disk, support for Draft-N WiFi and an HDMI port - but three features stand out in favour of the X71SL. The memory card reader supports more formats than the Vaio's and there's an ExpressCard/54 slot, which provides more expansion options. There's also an S/PDIF audio output for connecting to a sound system.

Whereas other laptops here have the odd stand-out feature, the X71SL is a great all-rounder and is the only one to come with a two-year warranty. At this price it offers outstanding value and wins a Best Buy award.

Basic Specifications

Rating*****
ProcessorIntel Core 2 Duo T5800
Processor clock speed2GHz
Memory4.00GB
Memory slots2
Memory slots free0
Maximum memory4GB
Size42x410x298mm
Weight3.6kg
SoundRealtek High Definition Audio
Pointing devicetouchpad
Power consumption standby1W
Power consumption idle33W
Power consumption active60W

Display

Viewable size17 in
Native resolution1,440x900
Graphics ProcessorNvidia GeForce 9300M GS
Graphics/video portsVGA, HDMI
Graphics Memory512MB

Storage

Total storage capacity320GB
Optical drive modelHL-DT-ST CT10N
Optical drive typeDVD+/-RW +/-DL, DVD-RAM, BD-ROM

Ports and Expansion

USB ports4
Total Firewire ports1
Bluetoothno
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support802.11n
PC Card slots1x ExpressCard/54
ModemYes
Supported memory cardsSD, MMC, Memory Stick Pro, xD
Other portsminijack audio output, minijack microphone input, minijack S/PDIF output

Miscellaneous

Carrying caseNo
Operating systemWindows Vista Home Premium
Operating system restore optionrestore disc
Software includedCyberLink Power2Go, Nero 8 Essentials

Buying Information

Warrantytwo years collect and return
Price£622
Detailshttp://uk.asus.com
Supplierhttp://www.laptopsdirect.co.uk

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