On most notebooks, the speakers are situated just above the keyboard. However, on the F70SL, the Altec Lansing speakers are located under the front lip of the chassis. When sitting back to watch a film, this provided us with a far more immersive audio experience.
Speakers at the front improve sound projection
However, there's no sub-woofer, so although the audio is impressive it does lack bass. Should you want to hook up a 5.1 surround sound speaker system, a 3.5mm SPDIF output is also available.
An Atheros AR928X wireless adaptor lurks inside and is supposed to support 802.11n connections, but on our review unit we could only connect at 802.11g's 54Mb/s. After extensive rummaging on the net we found updated drivers that, once installed, allowed 802.11n speeds. Surely, Asus could have shipped the F70SL with the latest Atheros drivers? Bluetooth also comes as standard and, thankfully, worked without the need for tweaking.
Asus has plumped for a relatively lethargic processor in the form of an Intel Core 2 Duo T5850. With a clock speed of 2.16GHz, 2MB L2 cache and 667MHz frontside bus, it sits near the bottom of Intel's dual-core CPU line up.
While the 17.3in display seems ideal for a bit of gaming, the Nvidia GeForce 9300M GS graphics card means you won't want to trouble the F70SL with the latest 3D titles. There's enough memory, though, since the F70SL is fitted with a pair of 800MHz 2GB DDR 2 modules.
If you like horizontal lines, you'll love the F70SL
As is the norm, the installed 32-bit Vista Home Premium will only recognise 3GB of this 4GB configuration. This begs the question, why does why Asus bother with the extra 1GB of Ram for the domestic model, when the Vista Business version of the F70 is sold with only with 3GB installed?
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.