I'll post more later when I have the time... probably on the weekend, but wanted to give my first impressions while they were still fresh in my mind.
First of all the packaging was top-notch as we've grown to expect from AW.. The 7700 does indeed come with a carrying case.. It's nothing to write home about but it fits the machine, brick, mouse, etc adequately.
This machine is big.. there's no doubt about that. It's one thing to see pictures but when you take it out of the box you can readily appreciate the difference between a laptop and a desktop replacement.
It's also not nearly as heavy as I expected after hearing all the commotion regarding weight. If you are considering not purchasing this machine primarily because of weight concerns I would reconsider that. I'm an average joe size-wise.. 6 foot 190 lbs ..and this is no problem to move around or carry around in the case.
After a few moments to plug in mouse, power, and network the power button is depressed and the 7700 comes to life. I can see blue glowing alien eyes reflecting off the glass fronted photographs sitting behind the front panel on my desk. This combined with the dark charcoal (zeno) grey of the case gives it a striking look that would impress all on its own.. but alas, it is not on its own.. As the screen finishes the bios info and xp kicks in you can see the deep richness of color. After the initial obligatory windows registration and network setup we are at the desktop and ready to have some fun. A 'new hardware found' notice interupts me at this point as it looks like the internal wireless card is missing its driver.. ok, so pull out the AW utilities disk and let it find its driver and we're back in business.
I'm happy to see at this point that there are no dead pixels, the screen looks fabulous and I cant wait to see how it handles some games. The only game I've been playing much lately is World of Warcraft so it gets the first call. The installation proceeds just fine.. the CD and DVD drives have the same sorta flimsy feel to them that I've found on all portables. The game installs fine and on startup installs the upgrade patch and opens up to the beautiful cut scene opening. After playing for awhile I just cant get the grin off my face. I just cant say enough about the screen.. it is just beautiful.
So by then it's 1am and I have to get to bed so that's all the experience I've had with it. My actual playing time on it was just over an hour without any hiccups. I didn't notice any excessive heat in this time. It certainly warmed up but not to the point of feeling hot.
Hope to have more time this weekend to write more.. I have a lan party to attend Friday 21st. So I'll have more info about heat issues then as we tend to play at least 8 hours straight..
I'm sure many of you can relate. At this point I'm extremely pleased with my purchase and would say it's rating is holding steady at about.. umm.. I don't know.. 10?