Asus F8Va review: Asus F8Va

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The Good Centrino 2 certified. Five USB ports. eSATA. HDMI. Blu-ray and HDTV tuner.

The Bad Lacklustre design. Average battery life.

The Bottom Line It may not be the sexiest notebook in town, but Asus' 14.1-inch laptop is Centrino 2 certified, and sports some excellent multimedia capabilities.

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7.6 Overall

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The Asus F8Va is like the prized pig at the fair, it's not winning any beauty pageants and is better appreciated when served hot on a sandwich during Christmas dinner. Confusing metaphors aside, the F8Va is hardly eye-catching — its glossy piano black lid is such a fingerprint magnet Asus has thrown a soft towel in the box to wipe it clean. However, as with most laptops, it's what's inside that counts, and it's here that the F8Va shines.

The F8Va sports a 14.1-inch 1,440x900-pixel resolution display with an obligatory 1.3-megapixel webcam situated just above. As with the Asus M51Va, this webcam is swivel mounted and able to rotate to face towards the user or away. It is also used with Asus' mostly useless SmartLogon facial recognition security software. We say useless, not because it doesn't work, but because it is actually significantly slower to log-in with the webcam than it is to type in a password.

For those who refuse to remember a password and find SmartLogon cumbersome there is also a fingerprint scanner sitting between the left and right mousepad buttons. This stainless steel trackpad is large and easy to use; however, the material isn't as pleasant to use as soft-touch plastic trackpads, and the selection keys click loudly when depressed.

For the money, Asus has packed in quite a bit of well performing hardware. The F8Va runs a 2.53MHz Core 2 Duo 9400 processor with 2GB DDR2-800MHz RAM and an ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3650 video card with 1GB of dedicated memory. This adds up to some pretty beefy performance that is more than capable of most day-to-day tasks and is handy as an entertainment unit as well.

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