Home desktop PCs have long becomes all-purpose machines for a wide range of applications. They are employed as an entertainment multimedia center for reproducing DVD and CD discs, playing new 3D games and watching TV channels after installation of an additional device like a TV-tuner.
As yet, portable computers are lagging behind their full-size mates in performance and functionality, although this gap is ever dwindling. The notebook model from ASUS, the hero of my today’s review, is an example of the rapid development of computer technologies and – yes, it is equipped with an integrated TV-tuner! It represents the W1B00Na notebook family (W1 series).
Let’s find out what it is worth now.
Design and Ergonomics
The elegant and exquisite design of the computer adds it an air of solidity: metallic (aluminum-alloy) silvery-colored case with side insertions of black plastic – all straight lines and right angles. This design can’t be called typical for ASUS’ notebooks, but it’s new and hence interesting.
You don’t need to fumble with a string latch to open the W1B00Na up – there is simply no such thing here. You just lift the cover and set the screen at a comfortable angle. A magnet is integrated into the top of the screen’s bezel and it sticks to the metal of the case when the lid is closed.
The widescreen display (15.4” diagonal, 1280x800 maximum resolution) has a non-typical aspect ratio of 16:10. The matrix with matte coating is manufactured with TN+Film technology. At the maximum screen brightness, the level of black is 0.97 candelas per sq. m, and the level of white is 154 candelas per sq. m, so the contrast ratio is calculated to be about 160:1. The viewing angles of the matrix are rather average: the W1B00Na is between junior TN+Film matrixes (in ASUS’ A2 series notebooks, for example) and more expensive IPS matrixes (installed into ASUS’ L5 series under the “AceView” brand) in this respect. The contrast ratio is closely approaching that of IPS matrixes, being much better than with inexpensive TN+Film’s which usually have a contrast ratio of 50:1 or 70:1 at the very best. The full response time of the W1B00Na’s display is 22 milliseconds (16msec pixel rise time + 6msec pixel fall time). Thus, the speed of this matrix is higher than that of more inexpensive TN+Film as well as of expensive but slow 35-millisecond IPS matrixes. Overall, the screen of the W1B00Na notebook features a relatively high contrast ratio, fast response time, and good viewing angles, allowing you to enjoy watching movies or playing dynamic games. The screen brightness is controlled with special functional keys (the current setting is then displayed onscreen). There are fifteen levels of brightness available; the minimal setting allows for a comfortable reading in a well-lit room.
The round turn on/off button is located near the display hinges – it is beautifully highlighted in bright orange. Next to it, on the right panel of the computer, there are instant launch buttons (you should press their sides, rather than their tops, as usual):
- A button to launch the default Internet browser;
- A button to launch the default e-mail client;
- A button of the Power4 Gear+ power-saving modes. Three modes are available when the notebook is powered from the wall outlet, seven – when it is working on the battery:
- Super Performance: AC/DC;
- High Performance: AC/DC or battery ;
- Game: AC/DC or battery;
- DVD movie: battery;
- E-mail/Office applications: battery;
- Presentations in PowerPoint: battery;
- CD-Audio: battery;
- Battery saving: battery.
- A button to block the touchpad to avoid accidental presses when you’re typing text;
- A 3D sound button (when you use headphones, this button disables/enables the integrated speakers).