The ASUS W3H00V is a solid notebook with a 14in widescreen display, good looks and plenty of great features. If it was a car, you would admire its lines - it's a sleek-looking machine with a neat layout and a refined design.
The first thing you'll notice is that the power button is located on the edge of the right-hand hinge instead of on the front bezel. You will also find that control buttons for many of the W3H00V's functions are located on both edges of the unit. The left edge contains CD player controls, which can be used to manipulate music CDs even when Windows XP isn't loaded. The right-hand side contains shortcut buttons for disabling the Bluetooth adapter and wireless card, as well as a convenient button for disabling the touchpad.
The location of these buttons along the sides means that there is more room for the keyboard itself, as well as the palm rest, and the W3H00V's keyboard has full-sized keys as well as very wide and comfortable palm rests.
The previously mentioned touchpad was not as comfortable to use during our tests. It wasn't 100 per cent responsive in its movement, and we had to use a fair bit of downward pressure to initiate some movements of the cursor. Likewise, the left- and right-click buttons are very shallow (in fact they are slightly submerged) and not as easy to manipulate as elevated ones. We do like the fact that the touchpad has a scroll-function, and this let us scroll pages effectively, even though it was plagued by the same travel problems we faced with the touchpad in general.
Built-in Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g) and Bluetooth adapters make this model ideal for the road warrior who wants to communicate over the Internet at hotspots or who wants to share data from a mobile phone. Online connectivity is further aided by integrated 10/100/1000 Ethernet and modem ports. The 2.5kg weight of the unit is excellent considering the built-in DVD burner (it resides in a modular bay) and the widescreen, and the 4800mAh, eight-cell battery should let you use the notebook continually for at least two hours, assuming you are conservative with power. Conveniently, the brightness control for the screen has a scale of 15 levels, which gives you a good range of adjustment for battery-powered working or when in bright or darkened rooms.
The W3V relies on a Pentium M 770 processor and has 1GB of DDR2 SDRAM. It performed as expected in PC Worldbench 5 and its graphics performance was particularly pleasing due to its discreet graphics chip - ATI's 128MB Mobility Radeon X600.
Its performance is more than enough to drive today's office applications, and the capable graphics chip and the availability of VGA and S-Video ports makes it a powerful presentation tool.
An 80GB, 5400rpm hard drive (with shock protection) gives plenty of data storage and backups can be made on CD or DVD using the built-in DVD burner. This burner can burn to "DVD+" and "DVD-" write-once and re-writable media, as well as double-layer DVD+R media. Three USB 2.0 ports and a FireWire port can be used to connect external devices, while an SD memory card slot resides under the single PC Card slot. It can't read CompactFlash cards.
Verdict There are plenty of things to like about this notebook. Its specifications are top-notch, its screen is excellent and its design is elegant. It also comes with a global, two-year warranty. The only drawback is its touchpad, which we think needs to be refined even more.
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