If you want a laptop with a large screen, but your budget is tight, this 17-inch Asus K72F might fit the bill. Our review model was supplied by Laptops Direct, where it's available for £560 -- a pretty attractive price tag for a model with this screen size.
The large display means the K72F was never going to be the most portable laptop around. Weighing a hefty 2.6kg and measuring 380 by 255mm, it's not a machine you're going to easily chuck in a bag to take with you on business trips. The design isn't much to write home about, either. It has a pretty standard-issue glossy back lid, with a matte finish used inside on the keyboard surround. In truth, it looks a little boring, but not as cheap and plasticky as some of the finishes we've seen on other budget machines.
Unfortunately, the 17-inch screen doesn't stretch all the way to 1080p resolution. Instead, it stops short at 1,600x900 pixels. Nevertheless, images and videos do look sharp and bright with strong colours and deep blacks. These are helped along, partly, by the screen's glossy finish. That said, neither its vertical nor horizontal viewing angles are great. You have to be quite careful how you position the screen if you want colours and brightness to look uniform across the whole surface, otherwise the edges of the display tend to look darker than the centre.
Flex like that
As with the smaller, the K72F's keyboard has an isolated design, where each individual key looks as if it's been stamped out of the chassis. The keys are large and flat, so there's a big surface area for your fingers to land on. Because there's a fair bit of space between each key, there's little chance of accidentally hitting an adjacent key when you're tapping away at speed.
The keyboard does flex
more than usual, however, especially towards the centre, and this does make the typing
action feel a little spongy. The large trackpad is excellent, though, as
the slightly textured surface provides a good amount of tactile feedback. The
single rocker trackpad button also works a treat, responding with a satisfying
click when you press it.
Solid chassis, slim on ports
The extra chassis space available on desktop replacement machines means they're usually well equipped when it comes to ports. Unfortunately, that's not really the case here. While you do get four USB ports, as well as both HDMI and VGA outputs for connecting the laptop to an external display, there's no FireWire or eSata ports. The laptop also has neither a PC Card nor ExpressCard slot, which is a little disappointing. On the up side, you do get an SD memory card reader as well as an Ethernet port and 801.11n Wi-Fi. Bluetooth, on the other hand, is notable by its absence.