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Asus F70SL review

Barry de la Rosa
25 Jun 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
737
inc VAT

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Specifications

17.3 in 1,600x900 display, 4.1kg, 2.16GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T5850, 4.00GB RAM, 320GB disk, Windows Vista Home Premium

Asus's F70SL is a monster laptop.

It weighs 4.1kg and is almost half a metre wide. Its 16:9 screen measures only 17.3in diagonally, leaving a rather large bezel above and below the display. It seems that the chassis was originally designed to hold an 18.4in, 16:10 aspect ratio screen. The display's 1,600x900 native resolution isn't capable of displaying full 1080p HD content. In terms of picture quality, there's a cold, blue tint to whites, but colours seem oversaturated.

The 16:9 widescreen is well suited to watching movies, so it's disappointing that there's no Blu-ray drive at this price. The Blu-ray equipped Acer Aspire 6530G costs under £500, although it does have a smaller display. It's also a surprise that there's not a better set of speakers; even with Altec Lansing branding and SRS processing, these simply aren't beefy enough to fill a small room.

The full-sized keyboard and number pad have 40mm of space on either side. Better use could have been made of this space, as although most of the keys are large, they are bunched up where the number pad meets the main keyboard. The right Shift key, for example, doesn't extend under the Enter key, but instead makes room for the Up arrow key. Touch-typists may find they hit this instead of Shift. Thankfully, the individual keys have a crisp action and good feedback, and the keyboard unit as a whole doesn't flex as you type.

The F70SL's Intel Core 2 Duo T5850 processor has a 667MHz front-side bus. This is slower than many of the latest processors, which run at 800 or even 1,066MHz. It does have a relatively fast 2.16GHz clock speed, however. Our new Shopper benchmark result of 54 showed the F70SL to be half as fast as our reference system. It's adequate for most purposes, but if you regularly use image or video editing software, we'd recommend a more powerful laptop, such as Dell's Studio 17 (Labs, Shopper 257).

There are some other niggles with the F70SL. Its dedicated graphics chipset will play modern games, but only at minimum detail settings. While it has a large enough touchpad, it's not as responsive as we'd like, and the single large see-saw button is stiff. A battery life of two hours 27 minutes in our tests isn't good enough for work on the move, but considering the size and weight of the F70SL you won't be carrying it far anyway.

If you're not bothered by its huge dimensions, the F70SL is a fair choice for those wanting a laptop with a big display. It doesn't have any major flaws, but its middling performance and input devices wouldn't make it our first choice. We'd recommend spending more on Dell's Studio 17 instead.

Basic Specifications

Rating***
ProcessorIntel Core 2 Duo T5850
Processor clock speed2.16GHz
Memory4.00GB
Memory slots2
Memory slots free0
Maximum memory4GB
Size47x466x309mm
Weight4.1kg
SoundRealtek High Definition Audio
Pointing devicetouchpad
Power consumption standby2W
Power consumption idle38W
Power consumption active63W

Display

Viewable size17.3 in
Native resolution1,600x900
Graphics ProcessorNvidia Geforce 9300M GS
Graphics/video portsVGA, HDMI
Graphics Memory512MB

Storage

Total storage capacity320GB
Optical drive modelHL-DT-ST GSA-T50N
Optical drive typeDVD+/-RW +/-DL DVD-RAM

Ports and Expansion

USB ports4
Bluetoothyes
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support802.11n
PC Card slots1x ExpressCard/54
ModemNo
Supported memory cardsSD, MMC, Memory Stick Pro, xD
Other portsminijack audio output/S/PDIF (shared), minijack audio output, minijack microphone input

Miscellaneous

Carrying caseYes
Operating systemWindows Vista Home Premium
Operating system restore optionrestore disc
Software includedCyberlink Power2Go v6

Buying Information

Warrantytwo years collect and return
Price£737
Detailshttp://uk.asus.com
Supplierhttp://www.laptopsdirect.co.uk

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