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If you're going for a large laptop to fulfil the functions of a full-sized PC, rather than something to carry around to work on the go, then you might as well make sure it's feature-packed.
The Asus A7CC-R054C certainly fulfils that criteria, packing in components you're more likely to see in a desktop machine, all for just £745 from LaptopsDirect.co.uk.
The Asus A7CC carries a specification that would make a desktop proud. Not only does it have a large 17-inch 1,440x900-pixel resolution display, but it comes with both VGA and DVI connectors if you want to hook it up to something larger. What's more, it comes with an internal hybrid TV tuner, making it perfect for watching or recording analogue and digital TV transmissions via the Media Center application bundled with Vista Home Premium.
In terms of power, it's not a bad performer. It's not the fastest we've seen, but it still managed a reasonable score for a portable machine. Its 1.66GHz Core 2 Duo T5500 processor combined with 1GB of RAM returned a PCMark05 score of 3,847.
If you're into gaming, then a laptop is rarely the best choice if you want to play the latest and greatest titles. However, its ATI Radeon X1450 graphics chip at least gave it a fair chance. Its 3DMark06 score of 1,208 isn't anything to write home about, but it's still respectable given that most portable machines fail to get above three figures.
If you've got lots of kit to hook up to your machine, the A7CC will do its best to provide the appropriate connector, including a generous five USB ports, split between four at the back and one on the left for easy access.
Despite having plenty of space to play with, the A7CC doesn't make the most of its extra girth in the keyboard department. The keys are actually quite small for a model this size and there's no numeric keypad, with the space being given over to speakers instead.
In addition, it seems to have been hit by the design fad of yesteryear -- the thin alloy metal keys on the touchpad are reminiscent of Motorola's dated Razr keypad. Although they're pleasant enough to look at, they're not that great to operate, requiring a fair amount of determination to register a click.
It's also not something you'd want to take further than from one room to the next -- it measures a colossal 405 by 37 by 312mm and tips the scales at nearly 4kg.
Even if you were strong (or stupid) enough to take it out of the house, you wouldn't get that much work done before its battery conked out. It only managed 1 hour 20 minutes running Battery Eater's intensive test and switching down to the more sedate reader test only added another hour to its total, at 2 hours 18 minutes.
The Asus A7CC, costing £745 at LaptopsDirect.co.uk, is destined to be a stay-at-home, desktop-replacement machine, but it largely makes the most of its massive dimensions. It's generous on the connector front and its performance for both applications and 3D is passable. Just don't count on getting much out of it on the road -- it'll slow you down and will be out of breath in no time at all.
Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Jon Squire