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ASUS W3J - finally got it!! REVIEW

Discussion in 'Portable & Small Form Factor' started by BlaYde, Jun 1, 2006.

  1. BlaYde

    BlaYde Member

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    Hi all,

    I just received my brand new ASUS W3J Notebook and am so excited that I felt I had to share this with someone :) .

    I haven't had the chance to play with it much but my 1st impression when I unpacked it was WOW!! And it takes a fair bit to impress me I must say, hehe.

    The main specs of the notebook are;

    CPU: Intel Core Duo T2500 2.0Ghz
    Mem: 2GB of DDR 667
    HDD: 120GB 5400
    GFX: ATI X1600
    Optical: Dual Layer DVD+|-R/W
    Network: LAN 1000 / BT / WiFi
    LCD: 14" Wide Screen

    Going to perform a clean install on the weekend and if anyone is interested I can write up a small review or if you have any questions then feel free to ask.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2006
  2. Varuna

    Varuna Member

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    When you get a chance, how hot does it get when you put it through a 3dmark?
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2006
  3. OP
    OP
    BlaYde

    BlaYde Member

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    I will be able to give you a better idea sometime on the weekend once I do a fresh install and run the benchmarking utility.

    What I can say is that I had the notebook running for around an hour, mainly browsing net, and checking out all pre installed software. I also watched a short BMW movie (about 20min) and the notebook stayed very cool around the keyboard and palm rest areas and was a little warm on the bottom left area which is where the cpu must be.
     
  4. beeker

    beeker Member

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    Bottom left, next to the touchpad should be the HDD I think. I'd be keen to read your thoughts about the notebook when you have the chance to write about it. I've got the older W3V.

    :)
     
  5. Conventional

    Conventional Member

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    I'd be interested in how this compares - especially in terms of battery life! A review from a fellow OCAUer may swing the odds in favour of the W3J as opposed to the XPS M1210. :) Looking forward to your first take.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2006
  6. nOOSE

    nOOSE Member

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    hey dood.

    got mine tuesday this week aswell!!

    have u noticed that when u have ur headphones plugged in you can hear like buzzing?

    sounds like maybe hdd noise or whatever but it's kinda shitting me

    nOOSE
     
  7. tntman

    tntman Member

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    If you dont mind guys, how much did you pay for your w3J?
     
  8. OP
    OP
    BlaYde

    BlaYde Member

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    tntman: all up I paid $3.5k but that includes about $300 worth of additional accessories.

    nOOSE: I haven't tried using the headphones yet but I will as soon as I perform clean install.

    And speaking of which, I'm in the middle of doing that right now. Once I'm done I'll run some benchmarks, install WoW, NFSMW and some FPS game to suss out the performance of games on this small beast :)
     
  9. OP
    OP
    BlaYde

    BlaYde Member

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    When you read this fellas just keep in mind that I have done my best to present you my thoughts on this notebook. I am no pro in writing reviews :)

    Specs:
    Processor: Intel Core Duo T2500 2.0GHz
    RAM: 2048 MB (2 x 1024MB) DDR2 Memory
    HDD: 120 GB Hard Drive
    Display: 14 inch WXGA Colour shine Display
    Optical Drive: DVDRW Dual Layer
    Graphics: ATI Radeon X1600 256MB (512MB Hyper memory)
    Wireless network: 802.11b/g + Bluetooth
    Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP Professional
    Warranty: 2-year limited global hardware warranty


    Build Quality

    The build quality of this notebook is superb IMO. The notebook feels very solid and doesn’t flex in any way even tho the base of the notebook is predominantly all plastic. The top part of the notebook houses the LCD screen, is made of aluminium I presume and has a very impressive gunmetal finish. This model also has a very solid hinge system that houses the power button on the left hand side and it feels sturdy and smooth when opening or closing the LCD screen. Battery is on the back of the notebook which means all ports are located both on the left and right hand side of the notebook.


    Screen

    This model comes equipped with a very nice, thin and glossy 14” wide LCD screen. The LCD screen has a native resolution of 1280x768, is bright and crispy clear.
    Asus also included their proprietary technology called “Splendid” which supposedly improves the image contrast, brightness, skin tones and colour saturation but that’s something I haven’t had a chance to play with and see how well this works.


    Keyboard / Touchpad / Media and Short cut keys

    The keyboard is very smooth, quiet and a pleasure to use. The touchpad is black and does what it supposed to do well. On the right hand side of the touchpad there is a touch scroll feature which enables you to scroll pages up or down by dragging your finger over it. The touchpad is surrounded by a chrome metal border and the mouse button is made of the same chrome material. The one thing I don’t like about the mouse buttons is that they feel abit stiff when pressing them but that’s no biggy.

    On the left hand side of the keyboard you will find a set of 5 thin and chrome looking multimedia keys which will allow you to control the playback of the CD/DVD. On the right hand side you will again find a set of 5 keys and their function includes WiFi, Bluetooth and touchpad ON/OFF, Power profile key and Screen profile.

    Ports / Batter Life

    On the left hand side of the notebook you will find 2 USB 2.0 ports, 1 VGA, 1 Lan and 1 Modem as well as the Dual Layer DVD burner.

    On the right hand side of the notebook you will find the power connector, 1 USB 2.0 port, 1 S-Video, 1 IEEE 1394, 1 Express card slot and SD card slot as well as 1 headphone and 1 S/PDIF connector.

    The battery is well implemented in this notebook, meaning that it doesn’t stick out or doesn’t look out of place unlike on some models I have seen. So far I have managed to get 3hr and 7min of life out of this battery just installing software, browsing net with WiFi ON, 15min worth of WoW game time (testing), some word processing and 2 runs of 3DMARK05 benchmark utility. So whilst I am very happy with this, it is obviously not as much as some other models of this size however most don’t run a powerful X1600 video chipset along with T2500 CPU, 2GB of ram etc.

    Heat

    The notebook runs very cool and does not get hot anywhere near or around the keyboard, palm rest and touchpad areas. The bottom left part of the notebook is very cool whilst the bottom right hand part is a little warm as the HDD is located in that area as well as the CPU / GPU and the air vent but so far it is just warm. I will test later on the heat during an extended session of WoW.

    Performance

    Running an Intel Core Duo 2.0Ghz cpu in this notebook along with 2GB of 667MHz DDR ram and a beefy ATI X1600 video card one would expect great things from this unit. I am happy to inform that IMO great performance is what you get. The notebook is very speed. Multi tasking is a breeze and gaming performance seem to be very good (basing my opinion here on 15min worth of game time in WoW at this stage. I will update once I play more and test other games). Watching a DVD was a pleasure on this 16:9 Screen. I ran one benchmark test, the 3dMark05 and I got a score of 3960.

    Summary

    I was in the market for a new portable yet powerful notebook for around 3 months. I have learned about the Asus W3J very early on in my research and from the specs and early reports this notebook was what I wanted. It was a difficult decision to wait as I have come across 2 or 3 other notebooks in the 3months which I have seriously considered, namely the Toshiba Tecra M5, Sony Vaio SZ18GP and a MacBook Pro.
    Firstly let me say that the long wait for the W3J to hit our shores was worth it. The W3J thanks to the fact that I was able to get it custom build (specs), previous review I read and the reputation that ASUS carries for building quality notebooks was more than enough to make the wait worthwhile.
    The other notebooks whilst had plenty of good things to offer just had too many negative issues going against them. The Toshiba was an expensive unit which lacked a decent graphics card (integrated Intel 900 chipset) to warrant the price tag. The Sony also an expensive unit that had a better ( but still not good enough for me) graphics card (7400Go) than the Toshiba but the massive headaches that people had with installing a fresh copy of XP was enough to turn me off this model. The MBP is a top notebook and had everything going for it but at the end of the day 15.4” screen was too much for me and the fact that at that time of me looking at it, the MBP had serious heat issues and again I wasn’t prepared to spend $4k for something that would be able to warm up my whole house just by browsing the net. Plus having never used OS X I was very hesitant at buying it.

    Anyway enough of my dribble. Bottom line is that I am over the moon with the W3J.
     
  10. Conventional

    Conventional Member

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    Awesome review - just what I was looking for -

    Just some other things I was curious about:

    Was the battery life from a 4 cell battery, or the 8 cell battery?

    Would there be much of a performance difference between using a 5400rpm drive and a 7200rpm drive?

    and how much noise does it generate in operation?

    But otherwise - Thank you BlaYde :thumbup: for the detailed and hands on review - looks like W3J is the way to go.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2006
  11. OP
    OP
    BlaYde

    BlaYde Member

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    This is the 8 cell (4800mAh) battery. Also keep in mind that I did not put any power saving features to use when I did the test and got little over 3hrs out of it.

    As far as the HDD goes that really depends on what are your priorities. I went with a 5400rpm HDD mainly with power saving in mind plus knowing that this laptop will not be used primarily for gaming. Yes I will game on it but my main use of the laptop will be office work, photoshop and internet. I'm sure the 7200rpm will make some sort of difference especially if you plan to game on it heavily but so far I have just been playing WoW and NFS:MW and the HDD don’t appear to hinder the performance. The good thing is that HDDs are not expensive these days so which ever option you go for you could always upgrade and/or downgrade should you not be happy with the original HDD.

    The only thing I can't comment is how much more power the 7200rpm HDD will chew up. Perhaps nOOSE might be able to answer this as he got the same lappy as me with a 7200rpm HDD if I'm not mistaken..

    As far as noise is concerned, this lappy is very quiet. Infect it is so quiet that in a quiet room you will hear yourself breathing more than you will the lappy noise. Also after gaming (WoW and NFS:MW) for nearly an hour on it lastnight I found that the fan on the cpu increased its rpm slightly and only then you could hear it but only just, definitely not something you should be concerned about.

    Again I would ask nOOSE the same question just to get another persons view as well.

    Hope that helps :)
     
  12. Pie_Lad

    Pie_Lad Member

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    Does the laptop have DVI-out on the video card? Not that this is a huge concern for me, but very useful all the same
     
  13. ballfire99

    ballfire99 Member

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    did u by any chance get the 2ndary modular battery option ?
    just want to know how long it would last with both a primary and 2ndary battery in place ;)
     
  14. delpieropadova

    delpieropadova Member

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    I'm not Noose, but recently I just tried with my own laptop both a 80Gb 5400 rpm Seagate vs a 7200 rpm Hitachi. Heat and power draw difference*, in summary, is "F-all". Go for the 7200 rpm if you have the cash...

    Currently I'm using the 7200 rpm in the laptop and the 5400 rpm is serving as a cloned-monthly-backup drive. 7200 rpm though to me is about 20% faster in terms of practical performance, so for a gamer it's pretty much a must.

    * Using a laptop mon utility while running on battery.
     
  15. Conventional

    Conventional Member

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    Thanks guys - that answers about all of my questions :D

    and extra Thanks to BlaYde for being so helpful :D

    :thumbup:
     
  16. nOOSE

    nOOSE Member

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    the laptop is very quite. i've overclocked my x1600 and the fan can be heard but it's not high pitched or anything.

    Once gripe i have with the notebook is the vents are on the right side of the notebook. Yeah that where ur mouse goes and if ur running an overclocked x1600 playing games for 4 hours straight it makes for a nice heater in winter. :p

    Recently i found a dead pixel in the centre of my screen and one left of hte lcd and a couple of dark pixels to the right so i'm following this up with ITC since this should be replaced as a DOA case. It's not the notebooks fault but i'm a bit of a perfectionist.

    nOOSE
     
  17. beeker

    beeker Member

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    Yeah you get that for the W3V as well. I have a piece of paper that shunts the heat to the back. It's only an inch wide. Works well for summer :)

    Sorry to hear about the dead pixel. Hope it gets fixed. Thankfully I didn't have any on mine. I recently did use the ASUS service centre though. Swapped out the battery because it wasn't holding the charge for long enough (the battery has had heavy use though) Anyway, I dropped into the centre and they swapped it out on the spot. Really nice service.

    :)
     
  18. hsv2000

    hsv2000 Member

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    I've got mine ordered. Should arrive any day now.. Yippeeeee! :thumbup:
     
  19. beeker

    beeker Member

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    Congrats! Hope you enjoy it!
     
  20. Phat Devil

    Phat Devil Member

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    Lol I ordered my refreshed spec'ed W3J 2 week ago, shipment is coming this week so we'll get it built and sent to us by early next week hopefully, fingers crossed.

    Cant wait!! Oh the modular battery is exxy from Asus au! $275 !!!!

    BTW i am going to be ordering the optical battery from the states coz its cheaper (US$125 + shipping), if anyone wants i'll can grab a couple to save on shipping.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2006

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