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Asus F70SL review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £737
inc VAT


17.3 in 1,600×900 display, 4.1kg, 2.16GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T5850, 4.00GB RAM, 320GB disk, Windows Vista Home Premium

Asus’s F70SL is a monster laptop.

It weighs 4.1kg and is almost half a metre wide. Its 16:9 screen measures only 17.3in diagonally, leaving a rather large bezel above and below the display. It seems that the chassis was originally designed to hold an 18.4in, 16:10 aspect ratio screen. The display’s 1,600×900 native resolution isn’t capable of displaying full 1080p HD content. In terms of picture quality, there’s a cold, blue tint to whites, but colours seem oversaturated.

The 16:9 widescreen is well suited to watching movies, so it’s disappointing that there’s no Blu-ray drive at this price. The Blu-ray equipped Acer Aspire 6530G costs under £500, although it does have a smaller display. It’s also a surprise that there’s not a better set of speakers; even with Altec Lansing branding and SRS processing, these simply aren’t beefy enough to fill a small room.

The full-sized keyboard and number pad have 40mm of space on either side. Better use could have been made of this space, as although most of the keys are large, they are bunched up where the number pad meets the main keyboard. The right Shift key, for example, doesn’t extend under the Enter key, but instead makes room for the Up arrow key. Touch-typists may find they hit this instead of Shift. Thankfully, the individual keys have a crisp action and good feedback, and the keyboard unit as a whole doesn’t flex as you type.

The F70SL’s Intel Core 2 Duo T5850 processor has a 667MHz front-side bus. This is slower than many of the latest processors, which run at 800 or even 1,066MHz. It does have a relatively fast 2.16GHz clock speed, however. Our new Shopper benchmark result of 54 showed the F70SL to be half as fast as our reference system. It’s adequate for most purposes, but if you regularly use image or video editing software, we’d recommend a more powerful laptop, such as Dell’s Studio 17 (Labs, Shopper 257).

There are some other niggles with the F70SL. Its dedicated graphics chipset will play modern games, but only at minimum detail settings. While it has a large enough touchpad, it’s not as responsive as we’d like, and the single large see-saw button is stiff. A battery life of two hours 27 minutes in our tests isn’t good enough for work on the move, but considering the size and weight of the F70SL you won’t be carrying it far anyway.

If you’re not bothered by its huge dimensions, the F70SL is a fair choice for those wanting a laptop with a big display. It doesn’t have any major flaws, but its middling performance and input devices wouldn’t make it our first choice. We’d recommend spending more on Dell’s Studio 17 instead.

Basic Specifications

Rating ***
Processor Intel Core 2 Duo T5850
Processor clock speed 2.16GHz
Memory 4.00GB
Memory slots 2
Memory slots free 0
Maximum memory 4GB
Size 47x466x309mm
Weight 4.1kg
Sound Realtek High Definition Audio
Pointing device touchpad
Power consumption standby 2W
Power consumption idle 38W
Power consumption active 63W


Viewable size 17.3 in
Native resolution 1,600×900
Graphics Processor Nvidia Geforce 9300M GS
Graphics/video ports VGA, HDMI
Graphics Memory 512MB


Total storage capacity 320GB
Optical drive model HL-DT-ST GSA-T50N
Optical drive type DVD+/-RW +/-DL DVD-RAM

Ports and Expansion

USB ports 4
Bluetooth yes
Wired network ports 1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support 802.11n
PC Card slots 1x ExpressCard/54
Modem No
Supported memory cards SD, MMC, Memory Stick Pro, xD
Other ports minijack audio output/S/PDIF (shared), minijack audio output, minijack microphone input


Carrying case Yes
Operating system Windows Vista Home Premium
Operating system restore option restore disc
Software included Cyberlink Power2Go v6

Buying Information

Warranty two years collect and return
Price £737

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