Pretty decent review.
Pretty decent review.
1GB RAM (2 x 512mb) Kingmax
60 SATA HD
Nvidia Go 6600 VRAM128mb
Intel Pro2915 a/b/g Wireless
CDRW/DVD Combo Drive
It is now 11pm and I have nothing to do, so im gonna do a short review on my recently purchased Asus Z71V. But unlike other z71v reviews on the net where large amount of info on benchmarks are provided, I’ll try to be concise and to pinpoint the likes and dislikes of this machine. I’ll first state that this is not my first notebook, but a replacement for my Toshiba A60. So, expect me to make some references and comparisons to the A60.
Believe me, before planning to buy this computer, I’ve done MASSIVE amount of research on today’s field of notebook computers. I’ve checked out almost the complete collection of notebooks from all major laptop brands, including Toshiba, Dell, HP, Gateway, Alienware, Acer, Fujitsi, Sony, IBM, and Compaq. Looking at these models, I’ve realized that these machines are rarely able to exceed what I called a perfect “power-mobility balance”. Well, it means how it’s written out. Achieving a balance between having a powerful system and having a mobile unit (battery life and heat/noise). Almost all Toshiba Satellites, have extremely short battery life. On my A60, under normal usage (word processing) my battery lasts only about an hour. I can say that almost all Toshiba Satellites are designed for desktop replacements. This also applies to Dell, in addition to Dell’s poor quality machines developed in recent years. Including Alienware’s Area-51m, these machines are designed for what they called a “mobile desktop”. In contrast, Sony and Fujitsi’s computers are beautifully made and have extensive battery life. Most of these machines are light and elegantly designed. However, these models fall into the mobile end of the power-mobility scale. They are simply not powerful enough to handle today’s graphics demanding games. Ok, let me cut to the chase. Then I found the Asus built-on Z71V. Having Nvidia’s Go6600 graphic card and Intel’s newest Sonoma chipset with SATA HD compatibility, and most importantly around 4 hours of battery life under normal usage (word processing etc), it becomes the perfect machine for students and those who want both gaming and mobile-ing power. (I know, mobile-ing is not a word)
The looks (8/10):
Looks are really up to individual’s taste. Most people say that they really like the sleek and professional look of the z70v (a strong competitor model of the 71v). For me, I enjoy the design (colors, shape and construction) of the z71v more than the 70v’s. It’s more “young” looking than the 70v’s black casing with sharp corners. But I gotta admit, 70v’s carbon fiber casing will surely last longer than 71v’s metallic-looking plastic body.
The Construction (10/10):
Well, what can I say. Like all those who have reviewed the z71v, it is solidly built. No flexes anywhere, not even around the screen.
The Keyboard (5/10):
Having used Toshiba A60’s beautifully made full size standard keyboard for a year, I gotta admit this one is less user-friendly. They have 4 keys that they seriously need to consider switching around. First, the “Ctrl” and the “FN” (function) key definitely should be switched around. Every time for 2 days as I was trying to Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V, I pressed the wrong key and did FN+C and FN+V instead. > This is driving me nuts!
Then There’s the “Delete” and “start menu” key. Unlike how it’s SUPPOSED to be, they put the start-menu activation key beside the space bar between alt and ctrl and placed the Delete key onto the very top right of the keyboard.
With not much flex in the keyboard, I’d rate this part of the machine 5/10 in contrast with the 10/10 for Toshiba A60’s.
Utilities/Softwares for Hotkeys [AudioDJ] (6 +1* /10):
I don’t know if it’s just me or what, after installing Asus DVD player, the AudioDJ keys started responding to the DVD player software instead of my all-time favourite WMP. I looked everywhere and installed all asus’s drivers/utilities/softwares, but no deal, I could not change this option. Unlike A60’s complete set of utilities/softwares for hotkeys from Toshiba, Asus’s software support still has a long way to go.
*Wow thanks to external software, it is now possible to configure AudioDJ
The Screen (7/10):
Yup, definitely sparkles. But after several days of looking at it, you’ll soon not notice it. Other than that, the screen is great. Very vivid colors, magnificent when displaying black colors. The bottom part of the LCD frame gets extremely hot after several hours of continuous usage. I don’t really need to touch it, but it worries me that it might melt the plastic Some light leakage on the top and bottom of the screen. Nothing really major.
I’ve been turning this baby on for 10 hours now (on AC power/plugged), no major noise from fans whatsoever. As I’m typing, I can feel a bit warm underneath the left side of my keyboard aka heat from the hard drive. Only major noises (squeaking ones) when the CDRW/DVD combo drive reads a disc. Comparing to the A60, it is much much cooler and more quiet!
What else about the Z71V? 3D Sound effects works great on a pair of external 2.1 speakers. You actually feel the 3D surround.
I think it’s great how Asus included a small thing like the s-video to rca adapter. With less than 50 cents of manufacturing cost, I think Asus made a very wise move to make the customers more pleased. I also like the included Nero suite and don’t mind having the multimedia package from Asus (asus dvd player, video editor, and slide-show makers)
Battery Life (8/10):
Battery life under normal usage is around 3 hours. This 'normal' usage includes Power4Gear set to Email/Office and Panel brightness set to 46%, Ethernet adapter disabled, Wireless ON, continous music playing for about half an hour, web browsing including downloads, installation and uninstallation of small programs.
I like how the battery LED flashes indicating low battery life. I think with the machine set to Battery Saving mode, the battery life of Z71V can reach more than 4 hours. Out of the possible 10, I give this part of the machine 8/10 compared to the 3/10 for Toshiba's A60.
Customer Support (8/10):
Excellent efforts in doing what they can for their customers. I called Asus notebook centre in Canada and the staff was friendly and helpful. They tried their best to satisfy my needs even though the centre does not support built-on Asus machines. I wish only if they could have the ability/power to not consult with their supervisors in Taiwan so much. Let North Americans make their own decisions!
I purchased my Z71V from CanadaSys Markham. An excellent store to deal with. Friendly staff, straight forward answers to your questions and inquiries. Unlike Futureshop's salesmen, they don't push you or influence you to do anything. They give you the time you need to completely check out the computers before purchasing or even without any commitment to buy. Their customer-oriented and on-the-ground pricing made them one of the best Canadian Asus notebook resellers.
To conclude, I'm extremely pleased with my purchase. The Built-On Asus Z71V has achieved what I believe to be one of the best power-mobile unit. With Nvidia's Go6600, it's got the power to handle today's 3D demanding games, but at the same time, it is able to sustain a reasonable battery life (around 3 hours: tested). Comparing with its competitors like the Toshiba M40 with Go6600 and Centrino technology, its battery life is way more superior. My dislikes about this machine include the "sparkle" effect of its LCD (I'll notice it in very rare suitation but still, I'd prefer perfection), the placement of keys on its keyboard, and Asus's lack of utilities/softwares for modifying the hotkeys of its machine. However, the likes exceed the dislikes. I'm very pleased with the construction of the machine, the variety of LED indicators, its internal speakers, and of course the quietness and coolness of the Z71V. So, if you're looking to buy a solidly built and fairly priced machine that can handle today's graphic demanding games but at the same time is able to hold at least 3 hours of battery life (up to 6 hours with secondary battery in modular bay), then the Z71V is the way to go. Out of the possible 10, I give the Asus Z71V an amazing score of 8.5.