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Asus W2V review: Asus W2V

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The Good Elegant design; beautiful screen; DVD burner; built-in TV tuner.

The Bad Previous-generation components; merely average gaming performance; limited support package.

The Bottom Line The elegant Asus W2V's strong performance and gorgeous screen will appeal to media users, but its 3D performance will leave gamers cold.

Visit for details.

6.7 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 7
  • Performance 7
  • Support 4
Editor's note: This story originally appeared in Computer Shopper magazine. (3/15/06)

Best known in the United States as a manufacturer of motherboards, PC components, and laptops for other vendors (Apple, Hewlett-Packard, Sony, and others), Asus has begun churning out its own models stateside over the past year or two. The company's attractive, powerful $2,599 W2V makes a strong impression with its speed, elegant design, and impressive multimedia capabilities.

Outfitted in a black, brushed-aluminum chassis measuring 1.4 inches thick, 17.6 inches wide, and 12.7 inches deep, the W2V is wide but has a sleek, high-end appearance. At 7.5 pounds, it's quite light for a desktop replacement, yet it feels extremely sturdy. The three-prong AC adapter brings the W2V's weight to 8.7 pounds.

The Asus W2V's expansive keyboard and average-size touch pad provide plenty of room for typing and navigating documents with comfort, and the mouse buttons are flush with the case, making for a very clean aesthetic. To the right of the keyboard are five buttons to quick-launch commonly used applications and turn the touch pad on and off so that you don't displace the cursor while typing. Above the keyboard sits a crisp 17-inch wide-screen display with a fairly fine 1,680x1,050 native resolution; the screen delivers rich colors, smooth playback, and excellent off-axis viewing, making it great for video.

A true-blue multimedia system, the W2V comes equipped with Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 and has a number of features for playing DVDs, burning discs, and working with photos. You get a full suite of ports and slots--four-pin FireWire, VGA, S-Video, and four USB 2.0 ports--as well as a four-in-one flash-card reader (supporting the MultiMediaCard, SecureDigital, and Memory Stick/Memory Stick Pro formats), a Type II PC Card slot (though no ExpressCard slot), and a fancy slot-loading, double-layer DVD burner. The Asus W2V is also one of a select few laptops to include a built-in TV tuner for watching and recording live programming. Rounding out the package are a wireless mouse, a remote control, a USB-interface radio-frequency antenna for catching TV broadcasts, and a dongle for connecting cable and satellite boxes. Networking connections include modem, Ethernet, 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth.

Our test unit was built on a 2.13GHz Pentium M 770 processor; 1GB of 533MHz DDR2 RAM; a large 100GB, 5,400rpm hard drive; and an ATI Mobility Radeon X700 GPU with 128MB of VRAM--a top-notch configuration six months ago, but inferior to those of the current breed of Core Duo systems, such as the Toshiba Qosmio G35-AV600 and the Dell Inspiron E1705, which are comparably priced. Nevertheless, on the SysMark 2004 portion of CNET Labs' benchmark tests, the W2V delivered a strong score that was in line with those of the Gateway NX850XL and the previous-generation Toshiba Qosmio G25. The Asus W2V was less adept at gaming, though, posting a mediocre 20.9 frames per second on our Doom 3 tests.

The W2V's support package was disappointing. The standard one-year warranty covers parts and labor, but you'll have to pay to ship the laptop back to a repair depot for service. Also, phone-support hours are limited, and the call is not toll-free.

SysMark 2004 performance  (Longer bars indicate better performance)
BAPCo's SysMark 2004 rating  
SysMark 2004 Internet-content-creation rating  
SysMark 2004 office-productivity rating  
Asus W2V
Toshiba Qosmio G25
Gateway NX850XL

Doom 3 High Quality 1,024x768 4XAA 8XAF in frames per second  (Longer bars indicate better performance)

System configurations:

Asus W2V
Windows XP Media Center Edition; 2.13GHz Pentium M 770; 1GB PC4200 DDR2 SDRAM 533MHz; ATI Mobility Radeon X700 128MB; Fujitsu MHV2100AH 100GB 5,400rpm

Gateway NX850XL
Windows XP Media Center Edition; 2.13GHz Intel Pentium M 770; 1GB PC4300 DDR2 SDRAM 533MHz; Nvidia GeForce Go 256MB; Hitachi Travelstar 541010G9AT00 100GB 5,400rpm

Toshiba Qosmio G25
Windows XP Professional; 2GHz Intel Pentium M 760; 1GB PC3200 DDR2 SDRAM 400MHz; Nvidia GeForce Go 6600 128MB; two Fujitsu MHT2060BH 5,400rpm

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