Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Top 5 All-Purpose Laptops (2)

Asus A8JR-4P021C



CPU: 1.66-GHz Core 2 Duo T5500
Display Size (inches): 14
Wide Screen: Yes
Total HD Size (GB): 120
Min. Weight (lbs.): 5.5
Price When Reviewed: $1099


A dim screen is the only significant drawback on this otherwise solidly performing and reasonably priced laptop.

The $1099 (as of 5/9/07) A8JR-4P021C has the makings of a quality notebook for worker bees limited by their company's tight budget. It lasted exactly 2 hours in our battery tests, well below average for a small laptop but enough to tide you over for short periods of unplugged work.

The 14-inch display has a good resolution, but its side-on viewable angle is quite narrow compared to other notebooks we've looked at recently.

The keyboard is easy to type on, though the mouse buttons accompanying the touchpad are slightly stiff. It's full of conveniences, including five thin black keys along the top that provide shortcuts to various functions, such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless communications. And the notebook is nothing if not generously equipped: It has a FireWire port, a dual-layer DVD burner, both ExpressCard and shared flash-memory card slots, and three different video-out ports (VGA, DVI, and S-Video). The unit is also equipped with a 120GB hard drive, a Webcam, and enough ports (including five USB ports) to connect a small office of peripherals.

Unlike Asus's A8Js, which features a 512MB nVidia GeForce Go 7700 graphics chip, the A8JR uses ATI's new Mobility Radeon X2300 graphics chip, which can also use up to 896MB of main system memory. Our test model also included 1GB of RAM and a 1.66-GHz Core 2 Duo T5500 processor, making it agile enough for challenging work apps and light entertainment such as DVD movies. The system earned a WorldBench 6 Beta 2 score of 60, which places it about 20 percent behind the fastest all-purpose Vista notebooks we've tested so far.

The light, 5.5-pound A8JR-4P021C has a nice design and represents a good value for the money; but test-drive the screen for yourself before you commit your cash.

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