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January 19, 2005, Intel introduced its new platform previously known under its codename Sonoma. This release of the next edition of Intel’s Centrino technology was followed by numerous releases of notebook models based on the new platform. As a result, the entire situation in this market changed.

This review is about the ASUS M5A model that has all the typical traits of a small-size notebook like small dimensions and weight, portability, compactness, but is not technically impaired as it is based on the new platform. Yes, ASUS based the M5A on the second-generation Centrino technology thus increasing its performance in contrast to its analogs on the older platform.

Design and Ergonomics

The M5A looks cute and exquisite. It is a small lightweight smooth-cornered computer colored deep-blue and black with a silvery frame around its sides. The case of the notebook is robust enough as it is made of an alloy containing hydrocarbon fiber. So, the appearance of the notebook is nice, but without any extravaganza or decorations.

When the lid is open, you can see a round blue-highlighted Power On/Off button near the right hinge of the display, a hole of the inbuilt microphone above it, and a Power4 Gear+ button in the left corner. The latter button allows to choose among ten power modes for higher performance or longer battery life. Three modes are available when the notebook is powered from the wall outlet (AC) and seven when it is working on its accumulator (DC):

  • Super Performance: AC
  • High Performance: AC/DC
  • Game: AC/DC
  • DVD movie: DC
  • E-mail/Office applications: DC
  • Presentations in PowerPoint: DC
  • CD-Audio: DC
  • Battery saving: DC

The indicators of the system status are located not only on the top panel of the M5A, to the left of the touchpad buttons, but are also duplicated on the notebook’s lid. More precisely, the lid has round small windows right above the indicators. So, these indicators are visible irrespective of the position of the lid, which is very convenient.

The system status indicators include: a power indicator (alight when power is attached), a battery charge indicator, a hard disk drive access indicator, and a WLAN connection indicator (it lights up when the integrated adapter sends or receives data packets).

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