Introduction and Overview
The Asus V1JP is a new high-end 15.4” business notebook. The V1JP offers many features such as a fingerprint reader, webcam, multi-bay, spill proof keyboard and optional docking station. The ASUS V1JP reviewed here comes with a Core 2 Duo T7200 CPU, an ATI X1700 graphics card, a WSXGA+ (1680x1050) screen, 1x1GB DDR2 @ 667mhz ram, 120GB hard drive @5400 rpm, DVD-super multi dual layer, Windows XP Pro and 2 years ASUS Global Warranty with Global Zero Bright Dot Guarantee for 30 days.
Click on images in this review to see larger pictures
Reasons for Purchasing
I have waited exactly 16 months for a laptop with everything I could want in it. It has been roughly 6 months since ASUS announced the existence of the V1 series, and I knew I wanted one. It was finally released in the US on Dec. 19, 2006.
My main reasons for wanting a laptop is to have a portable computer that I can take to school, and bring it home and use it as a desktop replacement (DTR).
I have seen many laptops come and go, helped many pick the right laptop for others. Some of the many laptops I have considered, was the Samsung X60 series, Asus G1 which is a hot seller right now, A8js and W3J series for portable performance, the Compal HEL80 and ASUS S96/Z96J because they are customizable.
However, I have had my eye and mind set on the V1JP and waited for its arrival into the North American market.
Where and How Purchased
I purchased the ASUS V1JP from MilestonePC.com. I have known them ever since my first days of shopping for a laptop. As previously mentioned above, the ASUS V1JP was just recently released on December 20th 2006 in the US, and Danny from MilestonePC.com shipped the notebook to me in 2 days from the US to Toronto, Canada. It was supposed to arrive in one day but there was a delay. Danny from MilestonePC.com called me immediately, telling me there was a delay and it will take one more day. I was happy to get a call to inform me about the delay.
This makes me one of the first to own an ASUS V1JP in North America. MileStonePC.com was very helpful, resourceful and their service impeccable. The notebook itself costs $2,000 USD ($2,300 CAD), the price is a little steep but worth every penny.
Specs of the Asus V1JP-AK006P
What’s in the box?
The packaging of the laptop is nice and simple. The shipping package weight is 16lbs and the box protects the laptop well. The laptop itself is protected in a plastic foam sleeve, and then there is a foam sheet protecting the keyboard. Each accessory is individually wrapped in plastic. Overall the packing is simple and nice and provides ample protection.
The design of the laptop is very sleek. It's smooth with silver accents, which make it a pleasure to view the laptop. The colour of the laptop is a dark grey matte look, and does not show finger prints very easily on the lid. The palm rest area is a grey colour which compliments the dark grey and silver accents on the notebook. This laptop definitely appeals to the business user with its looks.
My initial impression of the notebook was a “wow”. The more I used it the more the ASUS V1JP continued to impress me, especially the screen. The design and accents on this laptop are very nice, a masterpiece even.
The screen on the ASUS V1JP is a high resolution glossy screen. The native resolution is 1680x1050 (WSXGA+) which was one of the features I wanted in a notebook. After spending a day with the laptop I found one bright dot located in the bottom left corner. It is not annoying and mostly unnoticeable, but since ASUS provides Zero Bright Dot warranty I may take advantage of it. The screen is made by Chi Mei, CMO1523 (N154Z1-L02). This may the same screen as the ASUS G1.
The screen can scale pretty nicely, it is not perfect, but close. I changed the native resolution of the desktop to 1280x768 and the icons and text seems just a little bit off, it could just be my eyes being used to high resolutions.
Max Brightness---------------------------------------Low Brightness
The screen is very bright, and I do feel comfortable using it at the maximum brightness. There are 16 levels of brightness, and the lowest brightness does not turn off the screen. In order to conserve the battery I also feel comfortable at the 6th level of brightness. To further increase battery life, the last 3 lowest brightness levels are still usable, which is good in my opinion, since I want to maximize battery life.
The viewing angles of the screen are very good. This screen resembles the one used in the Asus G1 Laptop from comments I have read. The horizontal viewing angle is roughly 145 degrees on both sides!
The vertical viewing angle is roughly 110 degrees which allows for a reasonable amount of head room up and down.
The backlight is very good in my opinion; there is no light leakage evident which I am very happy about. The screen seems to not have any reflections when there is low light, however when there is a lot of lighting there is a noticeable amount of glare.
The keyboard is a black colour with grey letters on the keys. The sound of the keys is a soft click. The keyboard exhibits no flex when typing, if you press hard on the top right corner there is a small amount of flex there, but nothing to be concerned about. It would have been nice if the letters glowed in the dark or if the keyboard had a backlight.
The keyboard is easy to use; the keys are placed in reachable positions for your fingers to press. One thing that does bother me is the FN and CTRL key, the FN key is placed left of the CTRL key and this is rather annoying since I use the CTRL key often for shortcuts. However, I will adjust to this in time.
The touchpad has a textured feel to it and the colour is also a dark grey. There is a silver accent around the touchpad as well, which enhances the look of the laptop. The touchpad feels great while swiftly moving across the touchpad. The touchpad also has a scroll section which is indicated in silver to the right of the touchpad. There is also a hidden horizontal scroll, which allows you to scroll side to side.
The touchpad buttons are also a dark grey colour and they are relatively easy to press. The sound of the buttons is more of a soft click sound which I do not find to be intrusive when in a quiet room. There is a fingerprint reader that is placed in between the touchpad buttons, which I will discuss more about later on in the review.
The ASUS V1JP has many features in which one can appreciate; these are what I factored into when purchasing the ASUS V1JP, when compared to other laptops.
The Bluetooth manager is very easy to use, it takes roughly 3 minutes to set up a profile for a Bluetooth device. Unfortunately, despite setup being easy for my Motorola RAZR V3i, the connection could not establish, and an error pops up. Oh well, I will further investigate on how to connect my phone with my laptop.
The multi-bay is a feature that a few ASUS notebooks have. It allows the user to remove the optical drive and replace it with a modular bay battery to extend battery life. It also has the option of being a second hard drive to be placed into multi-bay. However, the hard drive tray is not provided by ASUS, both devices you will have to purchase separately. My estimate from the watt consumption per hour is that the modular bay battery would last roughly 1 hour and 30 minutes.
The fingerprint reader is a great tool for extra security. I played around with the software and practiced taking fingerprints of my index finger. It does take some time using it, because it can measure, speed, length, and how hard you swipe your finger across the reader.
The docking station is one of the key features of this notebook. The docking station is a great addition to this notebook and has an array of ports. I did not purchase one, however I may in the future. The docking station has the following ports: 5x USB 2.0, DVI-D Video Out, VGA, S/PDIF out, Mic-in, Line in, Gigabit LAN, Parallel, Serial, PS/2, Power.
The speakers are located to the left and right of the keyboard, where the sound can distribute evenly around the user. The soundcard is a SoundMAX Integrated HD Audio, but it seems not to offers much options. I will have to browse through the laptop and Internet to find more sound options.
The speakers is not up to par in my opinion, with all the sound options maxed, the volume output is very low. Also there is an evident lack in bass. However, I do not plan on using the laptop speakers very much.
On the other hand, using headphones, my experience was quite pleasing, the treble and bass through my Plantronics Audio 90 headset. I also use this headset for gaming as well, in which the sound quality was good. Overall the sound on the headphones was good, but not stellar like my desktop which uses Realtek HD Audio and my other desktop using SoundBlaster Live.
Input and Output Ports
The ASUS V1JP has an array of ports where the majority of ports are placed to the left and right side of the laptop.
The front side of the laptop there is only a latch in which you press to open the lid. The latch is simple and easy to use, I like it.
The right side has the following ports in order from left to right:
The left side has the following ports in order from left to right:
The back side hosts the battery compartment and Kensington Lock Port.
The ASUS V1JP comes with a Built-In Intel PRO/Wireless 3945 A/B/G miniPCI, which is very nice since it only took me a couple of clicks to get wireless internet working. My router is a Linksys WRT54GC. Here's a quick rundown of the general connectivity I get:
Overall I am pleased with the signal strength and speed of the wireless internet.
The build quality in my opinion is good, but when you compare this to the wonderful Asus V6 series laptop, there is some room for improvement. The materials used are high quality, the lid is constructed from magnesium alloy and the chassis is carbon fiber.
Firstly, the lid exhibits a considerable amount of flex, I personally am disappointed. Even though the lid is made from magnesium alloy, the lid flexes, and then shows ripples in the screen. I do feel a bit weary of the lid not being able to protect the screen at its highest potential.
Secondly, the hinges seem to exhibit some flexing but no creaking sound or anything, I do feel comfortable with the hinges, but I would have liked to have the same hinge design of the ASUS W3 series.
Thirdly, the wrist pads exhibits very little flex when excessive force is being applied. The feel of the wrist pads are nice, not a plastic feel, but a high quality feel to it.
Lastly, the overall quality, and feel of using the laptop is high, but the lid is a drawback in my opinion. I appreciate the fact that ASUS created a well designed laptop with great materials like magnesium alloy and carbon fiber but it could maybe have been thicker.
Size and Weight
The size of the laptop is just like any other 15.4” laptop. The dimensions are, 13.3" (length) x 10.4" (width) x 0.98"/1.4" (thickness). This is quite reasonable since the footprints of other laptops are roughly the same in all aspects as well.
The weight of the laptop is roughly 6.5lbs and that is with the main battery and optical drive in the laptop. The power brick and cords weight roughly 450 grams which is 1 pound. So when you add the power brick and cords to the laptop weight your total ends up being 7.5lbs, which is quite standard in my opinion.
The dimensions of the power brick are, 5” (length) x 1.2” (width) x 1.2” (height). I find that the power brick to be big, but I guess this is just average size for a power brick. I would have liked a smaller one if possible. The power brick does not get hot, it is just warm.
When placing the laptop onmy lap I don’t feel the weight at all, however I feel the heat coming from the right side of the laptop, especially where the vent is located. I am wearing jeans and the heat from that right side of the laptop makes my right thigh warm.
The weight in terms of carrying it in my hands feels ok, not light but not too heavy. When I place the laptop into my backpack, I can definitely feel the weight increase, but it is not uncomfortable.
Heat and Noise
When I first received the laptop and plugged it into the AC adapter, I noticed warm air coming out of the vent. Unfortunately the vent is located on the right on hand side and will blow warm and hot air onto your mouse hand, I found this to be annoying.
One of the first parts to get warm spots on the ASUS V1JP is the area of the vent and the touch pad, also the right palm rest gets warm too. I tested this during gaming. When doing light tasks the same warm spots on the laptop are slightly cooler than when gaming, which is ok in my opinion since this laptop has a reasonably sized footprint.
There are also cold spots on the laptop while gaming, the middle of the keyboard gets just slightly warm. The left side of the keyboard is cool, same with the left palm rest.
The cooling system in my opinion seems to be efficient, since it can remove the heat effectively to the right side of the laptop without spreading the heat to the left side of the laptop.
The noise of the laptop while doing light tasks is slightly audible. When doing medium tasks, the fan is audible, the fan noise will travel roughly 1 foot from the vent, and the sound is a slight “whir” sound. However, while doing heavy tasks like rendering and gaming the fan noise is audible to roughly 6 feet away, however if the speakers of the laptop are on, you will not hear it unless you try to listen for it. Also if you are wearing headphones you will not hear the fan noise while gaming, since the game sounds will overcome the fan noise.
Unfortunately, I was a little disappointed in this because I want to be able to do light tasks without having any fan noise at all, because I will be taking this laptop to school and be using it in classrooms and in the library.
I used Everest Ultimate to gather temperature readings:
Gaming Temps with Battlefield 2142
Gaming Temps with NFS Carbon
Battery Life and Real Life Experiences
The main battery of the ASUS V1JP is a 8 cell, rated at 14.8V and has 5200mAh, which is a total of 77mhw battery. You can see on CoolMon 2 how many W (watts) you are consuming per hour.
Battery Life Test 1 – My first battery life test, I unplugged the AC Adapter and the laptop automatically gets set to Quiet Office mode in Power4Gear, WIFI on, but Bluetooth off. The screen brightness automatically goes down a few levels.
I adjusted the brightness at 50%, 8/16 and the CPU runs at roughly 1000 MHz, but the CPU fluctuates a little. The fan noise that comes from the vent is a very faint “whir” sound that is audible from 2 feet away.
I spent most of my time browsing the internet, typing and viewing images. The weight of having the laptop on my lap was pretty much nonexistent.
However, the heat coming from the upper right hand side, it is not uncomfortable to use, but you do feel the heat. I have had the laptop in my lap for 30 minutes. The temperatures are, HD: 40, CPU: 52 and Motherboard: 54.
The battery lasted 2 hours and 50 minutes under these conditions, which I think is quite decent. The discharge rate was roughly 25W.
CoolMon 2 program
The program above is called CoolMon 2. This program displays and monitors many sensors and aspects one may desire to have on their desktop. The program uses plug-ins to get information and then it is displayed withinCoolMon 2. It can be downloaded here:
Battery Life Test 2 – My second battery life test will be about watching movies and DVDs. The settings I used were Quiet Office mode in Power4Gear, and max brightness. I placed my DVD Madagascar into the tray loaded optical drive and started to watch the movie. There was no noise from the optical drive; it was silent the entire time.
I had the laptop on my lap for 30 minutes and the heat was evident but did not burn, but you can feel it through jeans. The weight of the laptop is nice on your lap. The battery lasted 2 hours and 30 minutes and the discharge rate 31 W. You can easily watch a long movie on this battery with these settings.
Battery Life Test 3 – My third battery life test will be gaming on battery. The settings I will use is WIFI on for those who want to play online games on the go, max brightness, and Power4Gear set to Super Performance.
I played NFS Carbon with the above laptop settings, however when gaming on battery, I had to turn down all of the settings and graphics, in order for the laptop to play the game at reasonable FPS, and yes these are different settings than the ones below with the AC adapter.
The heat and noise was not as bad as I thought it would have been, it was quite reasonable and I was able to play the game on my lap for a good amount of time, but I also used a table as well.
The battery lasted an amazing 1 hour and 50 minutes , this shows how efficient the CPU and GPU are when heavily taxed by gaming.
To measure boot time, I used a program called BootLog XP.
Here’s a screenshot of SuperPi, the ASUS V1JP calculated 2 million calculations in 1 minute and 3 seconds. This is beats my stock clocked desktop Core 2 Duo processor gets, 1 minute 10 seconds.
This tests the graphics and performance of the laptop. When the laptop is plugged in the X1700 is set at 472/396. When the laptop is running on battery the X1700 is set at 209/135.
This tests the graphics and performance of the laptop with Shader Model 3
This tests the overall performance of the laptop. When running PCMark05, for the first time I heard the hard drive spin, the sound was soft but audible.
One thing that is nice is that the hard drive makes no noise when accessing it. From my experience the hard drive is cool and noise free. The hard drive is a Seagate Momentus 5400.3 @5400rpm 120GB but it is partitioned, C drive is 66GB and the D drive is 43 GB.
Here’s a screenshot of HDTune which shows the performance of the hard drive.
This game is very fun to play, but it is very tough on the laptop there is some lag at these settings.
Battlefield 2 is a great game, many play it online, and the game runs very well on this laptop.
Oblivion is another game that many have played and is very tough on computers. The game plays nicely, no lag when in combat or outdoors.
COD2 another great hit first person shooter that many play online as well. The game play is smooth, only some minor stutters if there is an excessive amount of smoke or bodies.
The game looks great! Zoom in and out and the quality is quite nice, despite low FPS. The game run smooth for the most part, only minor amount of stutter if you zoom in too fast when there’s a big battle.
Lastly, Battlefield 2142 is an awesome game and decent graphics. The game play is smooth, except when excessive amounts of particles and smoke are present, and then you will feel some difficulty in rendering.
The ASUS V1JP comes with Windows XP Pro pre-installed, which is great since this is the operating system I prefer. When you first receive the laptop you will have to setup some basic Windows setup which takes 5-10 minutes. When you boot up the system, you will find an array of programs, some are useful but many are not.
I would like to point out that ASUS MultiFrame is a program I like a lot! It allows you to manipulate the sizes of windows automatically. For example you can take a word document and a web browser and have it vertically side by side, or manipulate it top and bottom. Moreover, you can take four windows and put each of them into all 4 corners of the screen, with equal sizes.
Unfortunately, there is a small amount of bloat ware which you will have to clear up, such as Norton and others, and these programs slow down your boot time. You get the following CDs in the box, Nero, ASUS V1J Drivers and Utilities, ASUS Recovery CD and 3-in-1 Multimedia Pack of CDs. There is a lot more programs installed on the laptop than the ones I mentioned above.
There are two main accessories that come with the ASUS V1JP the ASUS laptop bag and the mini USB optical mouse made by Logitech. The laptop bag is nicely padded and has many compartments.
The mini USB mouse was a nice treat, since I didn’t have an extra mouse, I had to use this, and it was a pleasure to use. Nice and small, portable, and works great, I am considering taking it with me to school. The other accessories included are the mini DVI to DVI cable and the micro fiber cloth which is a great way to clean the screen from particles and dust.
I have not had the chance to use ASUS’s customer service, but I may have to since I do have a bright dot pixel (ZBD) at the bottom left corner of my LCD. This laptop comes with a 2-year ASUS Global Warranty and ZBD warranty which allows me to get a new screen.
Overall it is a pleasure to be one of the first to own the ASUS V1JP in North America. This laptop has a lot to offer in terms of performance, quality, features and decent battery life. I would recommend this laptop to business users looking for performance, graphic designing, security features, flexibility and a docking station. This laptop is my first laptop, and it is a pleasure to own the ASUS V1JP.
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