USAPatriots S96J Review
1. Overview and Introduction: This is an Asus S96J VBI Notebook, it is a 15.4inch laptop with some heavy duty power. It is made by Asus, but Intel is the one that provides the warranty. Its not what I would call a desktop replacement because it is only 6.3lbs in weight. The specs configured with mine off Gentechpc.com are as follow:
15.4inch Glossy WXGA Display
Intel Core Duo T2400 1.83Ghz
2Gigabyte Corsair Value select/Patriot Value RAM 667mhz Dual Channel (I added another gig, two months later)
80 Gigabyte 5,400rpm Samsung Hard drive
ATI Radeon Mobility X1600 with 256mb dedicated video memory
Intel A/B/G Wireless
DVD-R/W/CD-R/W (Supports Dual Layer DVD's)
Windows XP Home Service Pack 2
Integrated Web cam
6- Cell Battery
2.Reasons for Buying: My reasons for buying this notebook was that my 4yr old Athalon XP desktop wasn't cutting it for me in performance and gaming abilities. I also wanted something mobile, that I could move around the house and take to places with me. I had look at the E1505 and E1705 as well as it some of the HP's, but when I found this, I couldn't pass up what I was gonna get for the near same price.
3.Where and How Purchased: After shopping around for a place to buy the S96J, I found GentechPC.com, it offered the best price out of all the others and had all the options I wanted. They also have very good support. I paid $1,282 for it in the end, they had free ground shipping. It was definitely a good price for what I got. I highly recommend GentechPC.com, I will definitely purchase from them in the future.
4.Build and Design: Its definitely looks very sturdy by the first look and it is. It is very well built and does not feel cheap at all. The screen does ripple if you press the lid, but you have to press it pretty hard for it to happen. Overall the plastic is very good and sturdy, none of the plastic flex's only the plastic on the screen if you press hard. The case is mostly gray, except on the bottom and the screen border. The weight at 6.3lbs roughly isn't bad at all, id say it weighs a bit less if you ask me. It is fine to carry around and can be put on your laptop comfortably, but it does get a bit warm after a while.
5.Screen: I have to say I was impressed by the screen on this thing. It appears very well built, it is also bright enough that I keep it two notches down from 100% most of the time. It has Asus's “Color Shine” technology. The display is a WXGA glossy screen. The res for me is very good and I think it provides enough real estate on the screen for me. I have 0 dead pixels, none, which is great! The is also almost no ghosting visible. The back lighting is very, very even and nice, the screen does leak a bit of light around the bottom left and right, when view dark images on the screen, but that is with most notebooks anyways.
6.Speakers: This is definitely one of the weak points in this laptop. They are not very loud at all and the sound quality isn't too good, considering this thing has Realtek HD Audio with some good external speakers you will be good to go. As well as some good headphones. The audio out and microphone in are on the front of the notebook.
7.Processor and Performance: The CPU I got is the Core Duo T2400 1.83Ghz CPU, it is more than fast enough for my needs. I tested it by running a virus scan, and an anti-spy ware scan all while having 14 other apps open such as Firefox, Mozilla, Open Office, AIM, Quick Time, I tunes, WMP, Windows Movie Maker, Google Sketchup, Audacity, Lime wire and playing a DVD!!! This is definitely pushing it to its limits, CPU usage was hovering around 80% and varying while doing this. There was basically no lag while switching and using each application. I had plenty of ram left even with all these apps open ( I have 1gb RAM). All this I was doing is way more than a typical user ever will. Overall it feels quick, responsive and snappy. Games? Pfft, this thing kills games, im running all my games high so far, the CPU isn't the bottleneck its the GPU for sure.
9. Heat and Noise: These are definitely one of the strong points in this notebook. It does not get very, hot at all, only warm at most. It runs cool enough to run on your lap with much discomfort for a while. Heat wise its very cooling efficient. The fan is barely audible as well. The noise level is also very low, unless you use the DVD drive. Otherwise it is very good in these two points.
10.Keyboard and Touch pad: The keyboard is also in my opinion pretty high up there, there is some flex but not that big of a deal. It is very nice in my opinion for me, as I am using it right now, its actually battery than my desktop keyboard. Now the touch pad, I love this thing, its very good and accurate, also if you tap on the pad anywhere its like clicking which that is a great feature, considering the touch pad buttons are a little loud and make an audible click when you use them. The S96J also has a very helpful touch pad off button, up to the top right by the power button, so you can turn on the touch pad by hitting a simple switch. That is awesome.
11.Input and Output: Well it has 4 USB 2.0 Ports, 1 Fire wire Port, 1 VGA Out Port, 1 S-Video Out, 1 LAN Port, 1 Modem Port, 1 Express Card Slot, 1 5 in 1 Media Card Reader, as well as an Sound Out and Mic In Port on the front.
12.Wireless: My S96J came with an Intel A/B/G 3945 wireless card, it is very good and I get 90% to 100% connection all over my house as well as picking up three other wireless networks around me. It is very stable, I can even play BF2 on it, although there is a bit of connection lag.
13.Battery: For sure this is a weak point, and have not gotten past 2:10 minutes with it, with the screen at an acceptable brightness and the CPU throttled down. I have the 6-cell, the 9-cell should give you a nice boost of an hour or so.
14.Operating System and Software: Mine has Windows XP Home SP2, it came with Nero, and some Asus Utilities. Thats it, it very good, no bloat ware.
15.Customer Support: I ordered mine of GentechPC.com they have one year standard warranty. The reseller covers the warranty and customer support while you are on their warranty. For me it was an extra $130 to upgrade to the 3-year warranty. GentechPC has very good customer support.
16.Conclusion: The S96J is way better than I expected it to be in terms of looks, power, and features. It is very well built.
Keyboard and touch pad
Audio Out Jack (For Me at Least)