The world's first 17.3in notebook?
Review In recent years, Asus has become a key player in the netbook revolution. Yet with the F70SL, the company is looking to appeal to a totally different audience. Touted as the world's first notebook with a 17.3in display, this bulky, 4kg desktop replacement, offers a 16:9 aspect ratio screen at a resolution of 1600 x 900.
Asus' F70SL: bulky, but easy on the eye
With a robust chassis, the F70SL feels like a notebook that could withstand a knock or two, and there's very little creaking to be heard when giving it a rough ride. The lid is decorated with an attractive horizontal line pattern - a theme that's continued on the inside of the notebook.
Measuring up at 426 x 302 x 44mm the F70SL is quite a size, so it's good to see Asus has found room for four USB2 ports – two at the rear, two on the right side – along with Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI, a memory card reader and an ExpressCard 54 slot. You also get a switch to turn Wi-Fi and Bluetooth off, along with a 1.3Mp camera embedded into the screen's bezel.
Supplied is a bog-standard DVD writer for UK customers, although some territories offer a Blu-ray drive, at additional cost. The keyboard is of a good size and features slightly concave keys. Each key has a good amount of travel, but there is some flexing when heavy hands are thrown at it.
Good trackpad, bad trackpad buttons
A numeric keypad is always useful and the F70SL just manages to squeeze one in, however the half-width keys make it tricky to use at speed. While the trackpad responds well, we weren't hugely impressed by the left and right buttons beneath it. These sit under a single chrome-effect panel that looks good but requires too heavy a push for our liking.
Where did you get the updated driver?
In the review you mention finding a driver that allowed for "n" speeds, where did you locate that driver?
...with at best 1/7th the 3D performance of my 17" Sager, it'd have to be hellishly cheap to justify.
And it seems to be mostly made of plastic. Have they stuffed half a brick in there or something?
Utterly pointless screen
There are two points to a 16:9 screen on a computer.
1) To match the aspect ratio of HDTV for video playback.
2) To save money, because a 16:9 screen has less area than a 16:10 screen with the same diagonal.
So what they've done here is charge a reasonably large amount of money for a machine with an inferior resolution to any 1680x1050 screen (let alone WUXGA), that has an inferior aspect ratio for document editing (try fitting two A4 pages on it - 16:10 is much better), and that can't display HD resolutions without scaling (blurring) them.
Personally, I've never found black bars (aka "somewhere off-screen to put the DVD player control) distracting - certainly no more than the screen boundaries. I'll be amused if someone starts doing ambilight-esque coloured borders. This is entirely a cynical attempt to fob off a cheaper panel than a "real" 17" screen would have been, and claim it's superior.
16:9 is not, and never has been, a good choice of aspect ratio. Now it's polluting our laptop screens. Eugh.
Pint glass, for looking at distorted images through.
Yep - This is the other laptop to complement your eeepc 901. When you need more memory/cpu/disk/workspace for real work.
Which is why it is disappointing to see it only has 1600x900 resolution. Using a similar dpi to the 901 you should be looking at 1920x1080 (which would also make it true HD). Given that Asus has dropped the dpi for its successor eeepc models - are they going blind (to the market). Come on Asus, recapture the market by being truly innovative.