Asus X70 review

Price when reviewed

Asus’ X70 is one of only two 17in desktop replacements on test here and it dwarfs its rivals.

But that’s not entirely a good thing. Its sizable frame weighs 3.52kg without the power supply, and with idle battery life stretching to a poor 1hr 53mins, you’ll have to carry the PSU around with you whether you like it or not. Pop the power supply in a bag and the whole lot weighs a whopping 4.11kg – or about three and a half Vyes. Should you dare carry it around, we’d make sure both your bag and your shoulders are up to it.

But portability is not really the X70’s thing. Set the Asus on a desk and it’ll effortlessly mimic the abilities of a modest desktop PC. The 17in screen doesn’t offer the best image quality – brightness is limited and whites a little murky – but the 1,440 x 900 resolution provides a good balance between desktop space and legibility.

The huge chassis also leaves room for a full-sized keyboard. The numeric keypad on the side doesn’t impede the layout, and only the spongy feel of the keys gives concern. Well, that and the trackpad’s stiff buttons – the metal surround looks good, but it’s a bit too resistant for comfortable use.

Producing a desktop replacement to such a modest budget is highly impressive, but take a closer look at the specification and you can see where the corners have been cut. The Asus is the only model this month to use an AMD Turion processor. With two cores running at 1.9GHz, the TK-57 looks okay on paper, but our 2D benchmark result of 0.74 shows that, clock for clock, it’s slower than the Intel options.

Still, the Asus is fast enough for everyday use, and the AMD processor means there’s room in the budget for a dedicated graphics chipset. The ATI Radeon HD 2400 is far from nippy, but a result of 15 frames per second in our lightweight Crysis benchmark proves it’ll handle older titles.

The Asus X70 is clearly a lot of laptop for surprisingly little cash. But, if you can afford it, buy the Samsung R700 instead.

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