23rd Aug 2008 | 16:31
A semi-portable laptop offering excellent performance and a great screen
The Asus F8Vr (£779 inc. VAT) is a big laptop, featuring a 14.1-inch screen, but it's an ideal size to use as both your main computer and a mobile machine for the daily commute.
It's based on Intel's cutting-edge Centrino 2 platform. Our review unit was a pre-production machine, featuring an Intel Core 2 Duo T9400 processor and more powerful GPU.
The benchmark scores this machine achieved were excellent, but performance on production samples is likely to be less impressive, due to the slightly slower components used. Production units of the F8Vr will use a mid-range 2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P8400 processor.
The ATi Mobility Radeon HD 3650 graphics card on our review sample will be replaced by a mid-range ATi Mobility Radeon HD 3470. As such, you'll ﬁnd enough power to run older 3D games with ease.
The 14.1-inch Super-TFT screen was a pleasure to use, proving bright and easy on the eye. Its resolution of 1440 x 900 pixels creates crisp image quality. It also means you'll get more space on screen for opening multiple windows, and this is the machine of choice for those working with spreadsheets.
The keyboard has large keys that feature a comfortable but slightly springy movement, and the board noticeably ﬂexed under pressure. But we found it responsive and easy to type at speed. The touchpad
is large, and the mouse buttons also proved big and accurate.
Packed with features
The Asus features glossy silver and black plastics, and a patterned ﬁnish. We found the build quality to be good, and the thick screen surround offers plenty of protection for the display.
Because of its larger screen, the chassis weighs slightly more than many rivals at 2.7kg. It's still a highly portable device, however, and we had no trouble using it for the daily commute.
Beﬁtting its status as a high-end machine, the Asus is packed with features. A digital TV tuner lets you
use it as the centre of your home entertainment, while an integrated ﬁngerprint scanner offers extra protection for your ﬁles. An eSATA interface is provided for transferring data to an external hard drive at high speed.
If production models used the same components as our review sample, the Asus may well have won us over. With the revised specs, it's still an impressive laptop and a great all-rounder, but it's bettered by some more compact rivals.