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Asus A7J: Multimedia powerhouse

Never one to procrastinate on new technology, Asus has just released the A7J -- a Core Duo-based laptop featuring everything but the kitchen sink

The onslaught of laptops using Intel's new Core Duo processors and next-generation Centrino technology (Napa) continues in earnest this week. The latest to join the ranks is the Asus A7J, which is billed as a complete multimedia workhorse.

We had the pleasure of playing with one this morning, and it seems to live up to the high standards we expect from Asus. The unit uses an Intel T1400 Core Duo CPU clocked at 1.83GHz, 1GB of DDR2 memory, and has more switches and dials than you can shake a stick at.

There's a set of buttons at the front that lets you play music CDs without booting up the PC, and our unit came with both digital and analogue TV tuners. These work very well with its excellent 17-inch widescreen display.

The A7J's not shy when it comes to games. It uses an ATI Radeon X1600 graphics adaptor, and Crave wasted no time firing up a game of Half-Life 2, (although a great weekend and its sweeping 3D visuals made us feel a tad nauseous.) The A7J also features Bluetooth, a Wi-Fi adaptor, dual-layer DVD rewriter, 1.3-megapixel camera and sound recorder, and will set you back £1,399. Expect a full review soon. -RR