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Closer Look

Out of the box came a notebook that looks very much alike to the ASUS A3500L we tested earlier in our labs (for details see our article called ASUS A3500L Notebook: Stylish Doesn’t Mean Expensive). This is only a first impression, though, because the A3 series has changed a lot and for the better since the A3500L whereas visual similarity is typical of many models produced by ASUS.

The coloring of the ASUS A3500Vc03 is mostly dark silver against which the light silver latch of the display and the almost white name of the manufacturer on the lid stand out. The sides of the notebook are rounded a little to give it a neat, sleek appearance.

The same color scheme is continued inside the notebook except for the black bezel around the screen (it crawls over to the notebook’s base and serves as the background for the Turn-On button with instant-launch keys). The touchpad is surrounded with a silver frame and one group of system indicators with the Audio DJ buttons on the front panel are silvery, too.

The ASUS A3500Vc03 is equipped with a classic 15” display with a maximum resolution of 1024x768 and an aspect ratio of 4:3 (XGA). The viewing angles, both horizontal and vertical, are subjectively wide enough.

I measured the brightness and contrast of the screen using a Pantone ColorVision Spyder with OptiCAL version 3.7.8 software. I selected the highest brightness setting before this test, but the screen brightness is considerably lower when the notebook works on its battery switching to power-saving mode. The contrast parameter is rather low as you can see:

AC power source:

  • 94.8cd/sq.m brightness, 35:1 contrast ratio

DC power source:

  • 78.6cd/sq.m brightness, 34:1 contrast ratio

There’s an oval grid above the display under which a rather sensitive microphone is placed. The A3 series is optionally equipped with a 1.3-megapixel web-camera, but our sample lacked one.

The touchpad of the ASUS A3500Vc03 is the same as other recent notebook models from ASUS come with, but it is not “wide” and lacks a scrolling zone. The bezel around the touchpad and its two buttons are silvery. The touch-sensitive panel is a bit sunken down; there’s no joystick for scrolling text.

The notebook has an 88-key black keyboard. The movement keys are a little below the keyboard’s baseline to minimize the risk of your pressing them accidentally. The Fn button is located in the bottom left corner, not quite conveniently for people who are used to shortcuts like Ctrl+C or Ctrl+V because Fn may be accidentally pressed instead of Ctrl. Numeric buttons and three special Windows keys are available: the Context Menu key is in the bottom row on the left of the spacebar; the Windows keys are in the same row. The functional keys are smaller; Home, PgUp, PgDn and End make up a vertical column on the right. Pause, Print Screen, Insert and Delete are placed in the same line with the functional keys (press them in combination with Fn to access their additional functions).

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