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Asus W2Vc 17in widescreen notebook

A stylish aluminium clad 17in notebook from Asus...

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Review With the notebooks taking a huge share of the home market, Sony has been one of the most popular brands, partly due to its stylish designs, but mostly thanks to its well-know brand name. Asus seems to be very keen on taking some of Sony’s share in the home laptop market, and the W2Vc is one in a range of new ultra-stylish notebooks it hopes will do just that...

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Asus hasn’t simply strapped a few bits of aluminium to an existing mode - the W2Vc represents a whole new design approach from Asus. With the new Reduction of Hazardous Substance (RoHS) programme in Europe, many companies have had to think again about which materials they use to make electronics kit. Asus has taken this one step further - its thinking behind the new laptop is to use renewable materials or at least materials that are easily recyclable. Time will tell how well Asus implements this philosophy across its laptop range.

But on to the subject at hand. The W2Vc is a Centrino-branded machine, although a Core Duo-based model is in the pipeline and should be available shortly. The model I tested features a Pentium M 770 which is clocked at 2.13GHz and paired with 1GB of dual-channel PC4200 DDR 2 memory. The chipset of choice is Intel's 915PM as Asus has gone for a discreet graphics solution in the shape of an ATI Radeon Mobility X700 with 128MB of memory. This isn’t the fastest mobile graphics solution, but it’s a fair compromise between power consumption and 3D horsepower.

On the storage side of things you get a 100GB 5,400rpm hard drive and a slot-loading DVD writer. The Matsushita drive writes to DVD-RAM at 5x, as well as DVD±R at 8x, DVD±RW at 4x and DVD+R DL at 2.4x. So nothing out of the ordinary here, then, but at least the specs are reasonably up to date.

Wireless connectivity comes in the form of an Intel Pro/Wireless 2915ABG Wi-Fi card that works with all three standards, though it's not Intel's latest-generation product. Asus has also squeezed in Bluetooth as part of the package.

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