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The ASUS W3000A is a value for money notebook. The big advantage is that it is made by a pedigree notebook company who just happen to make notebooks for Sony, Apple and Dell.

Before we begin the review proper, it’s bearing in mind that just a handful of Taiwanese outfits are responsible for the vast majority of the world’s notebook PC production, including those sold by virtually all the big brand PC companies. Asus, for instance, produces some of the lushest laptops on the market for Sony and Apple, among others.

So, it’s not awfully surprising to see that elements of the Sony Vaio design vibe, feature set and top-notch build quality have leaked into this new mid-sized portable.

The ASUS W3000A
might be a dead ringer for Sony’s S-series from some angles, but it’s more than just a rip-off: it’s a great looking system in its own right. Attention to detail abounds, from the brushed alloy trackpad buttons and magnetic screen latch to the blue, back-lit power button integrated into the screen hinge. There are real, practical benefits, too, including a row of handy quick-set buttons for controlling functionality such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity and system performance and turning the trackpad on and off. And if you don’t jive with the white and silver colour scheme (we reckon it works well), it’s also available in a more sober-suited (and Sony-esque) grey and black combo.


Form factor-wise, the W3000A pips the S-Series by the best part of inch in terms of screen diagonal – 13.3 inches versus 14. Despite that, this remains an eminently portable system that will slip easily into most shoulder bags. As for the luscious widescreen LCD display itself, it sports an XBlack-aping glossy screen surface and boasts rich, vivid colours and bags of brightness. Twist our arms and we’ll concede that it can’t quite compete in terms of viewing angles and contrast with the best wet-look screens from Sony and Toshiba.

Interestingly, the W3000 is available with both the original 855 Centrino chipset and its new-fangled 915 successor. The ‘A’ model tested here is the latter, and so benefits from a faster 533MHz CPU bus and dual channel memory support among other improvements. Enough, in fact, for this 1.73GHz Pentium-M equipped system to be just capable of passing our ultra high bit rate HD WMV9 video decode. Gamers, on the other hand, should look elsewhere. The integrated Intel GMA 900 graphics delivers only the most basic 3D gaming power (the ‘N’ spec W3000 based on the 855 chipset offers the far superior ATI Radeon Mobility 9700).

Otherwise, there’s no nasty surprises from the reasonable, if not exactly earth shattering all-round specification which includes a dual layer DVD burner, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Intel HD audio and gigabit LAN. Style, portability and desirability is what this notebook is all about. It delivers, and for an impressive price.

Processor: Intel Pentium M 1.73GHz (Sonoma)
L2 Cache: 2MB
Chipset: Intel 915GM
Memory: 512MB DDR 2 533 MHz
Graphics: ATI Radeon X600
Hard drive: 60GB 4200 RPM
Optical Drive: Combo drive
No of USB ports: 3
Card Reader: 3-in-one, SD/MMC, Memory Stick
FireWire: Yes, IEEE1394a
Wireless: Infrared, 802.11g Wireless LAN & Bluetooth

 

Reccomended Retail $1892.00

 

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