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As far as desktop replacements are concerned, the A7D from Asus is about as jam-packed full of goodness as you can get.

It comes with an inbuilt webcam, a TV tuner with remote control, and a large (for a laptop) 100GB drive. And it also comes at a decent price. And depending on what you’re looking for, it gives Samsung’s M50 a run for its money.

This is a true multimedia monster, with its 17″ ‘Color Shine’ LCD and X700 graphics adaptor. The screen is similar to the one used in Asus’s own 17″ monitor we reviewed last month, and it’s quite nice, but hard to use in a brightly lit environment. And while the analog tuner is a nice addition, it’s probably one of the least intriguing features of this notebook. The pictures it produced were ok, but all the ghosting artifacts of analogue were made all too clear.

The A7D’s webcam is a welcomed feature in any laptop. Here it is well-integrated into the PC, sitting at the top of the screen and will help give IM clients that extra zing – expect to see more manufacturers incorporate webcams in the near future.

Performance-wise, we were torn with this notebook. It turns in a very healthy 4049 PC Marks, but the battery life is one of the poorest we’ve ever seen. This machine sucks some juice! Our default Battery Eater Pro benchmark came up with an extremely paltry 1.05 hours. Even with the screen brightness turned right down, and the more pedestrian reader test it still only managed 1.5 hours. And the weight! It’s a very awkward 4 kgs.

If you’re replacing a desktop, the A7D is a great choice, with all the features you could possibly ask for. But if you’re after a portable multimedia machine, it’s best to look elsewhere.

Asus A7D | From $2999 |

For: Great feature set; great value for money; webcam; analogue tuner.

Against: Heavy; poor battery life; plain jane looks.

Verdict: It doesn’t have the ‘wow’ factor of the Samsung, but this is a solid and economical desk-bound media centre.

 

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