Design and Ergonomics
The ASUS W2P00VB borrows the basic design solutions from the ASUS W1J00Ga model that we have reviewed earlier. Despite rather large dimensions (395x293x28mm) the notebook resembles a thin folder (or book) of a large format. The W2P00VB looks elegant and exquisite but official at the same time: straight lines and sharp, not rounded, corners. The case of the notebook is made of an aluminum alloy as you can guess looking at the texture of the lid. The ASUS W2P00VB differs from the silver-color ASUS W1J00Ga as it has a dark-gray case with silvery insertions on right and left sides only.
The spring latch is simply missing here, just like in the ASUS W1J00Ga. So, to open the notebook, you only have to lift the lid up and set the screen at a comfortable angle. When closed, the lid is held with the help of a small magnet built into the top of the screen bezel. This magnet attracts to the metal surface of the case. The LCD matrix of the reviewed model has an aspect ratio of 10:9 and features an anti-flicker coating for reducing reflections and refractions of light rays.
Notebook users have long been putting up with desktop LCD monitors being better than typical notebook matrixes. If a notebook has a TN+Film matrix, the viewing angles and the contrast ratio are generally poor. If the matrix is manufactured by MVA or S-IPS technology, it is very slow, as a rule.
The striking thing about the ASUS W2 is not just the sheer size of the screen but also the excellent image quality it provides. Although a TN+Film matrix is in use here, it is no worse than its desktop counterparts of the same type. It has rather wide viewing angles (yes, the narrowness of the vertical viewing angle, typical for all TN matrixes, is observed here, too, but this doesn’t interfere with your work), a good contrast ratio and an accurate color reproduction. The W2 matrix even surpasses the desktop ones in the resolution: 1680x1050 or WSXGA (that is, Wide Super eXtended Graphics Array Plus – I really wonder why such abbreviations are so popular among the manufacturers; I think it would be more convenient to use bare numbers instead).
The surface of the matrix isn’t matte but glossy, following the current fashion. The notebook manufacturers tout this as a means to improve the color reproduction and the contrast of the matrix, but it’s not that simple as it seems. Under bright external lighting the glossy coating does create an impression of a high-contrast and sharp image, but on the other hand, all brightly lit objects behind your back (lamps, walls, etc.) will reflect in the notebook’s screen as in a mirror. If it’s dim, like in the evening, you notice that the contrast of the matrix is in fact the same (it can’t be improved with the help of the glossy film alone), so this gloss brings no real advantages. That said, it all depends on your personal taste and work conditions that you are going to like the gloss or not.
Our measurements showed that the brightness of the matrix can be varied from almost zero (5 candelas per sq. m. – it’s too low even for working in total darkness) to 99 candelas per sq. m. The latter number is nothing exceptional, but it means the matrix looks normal in any conditions, maybe except if you want to play a game or watch a movie on a bright sunny spring day. The contrast ratio, according to our measurements, is about 250:1. That’s an excellent result for a notebook screen, even if you compare it to desktop monitor models.
The gamma curves suggest that the color reproduction is set up accurately. The level of blue is too high, but apart of that everything is all right.
The matrix response time looks somewhat untypical in comparison with desktop monitors. Most of the range it remains close to the maximum value, about 40 milliseconds. The declared response time of the matrix (it is measured on black-white-black transitions and corresponds to the rightmost point of the graph above) is a little more than 25 milliseconds. Of course, many modern TN+Film matrixes are going to be faster both on black-white and black-gray transitions, but the matrix of the ASUS W2 performs well enough for a notebook. It is going to do fine with games and movies.
Overall, the matrix of the ASUS W2 is among the best notebook matrixes we’ve ever met. It offers sufficiently wide viewing angles, good color rendition, excellent contrast and low response time. These things combined make it an excellent choice for a multimedia notebook, like the reviewed W2. It is really possible to work comfortably or enjoy movies on a notebook with this matrix. You won’t even think of an external monitor.