Introduction and Overview
The Asus F5R is a new 15.4" screen notebook targeted at the budget market. The Asus F5R has a simple silver and black design that is common amongst consumer style notebooks. This laptop is expected to come with Windows Vista Home Global, 2-year Asus Global Warranty and a 30-day Zero Bright Dot Guarantee. The notebook offers the basics of what consumers are looking for in an affordable price range.
The Asus F5R is a 15.4” notebook that is targeted at users looking for basic home uses. It offers the essential features needed in a PC for productivity work. Also included as a nice extra is a rotating webcam for video conferencing. The price of the Asus F5R is estimated at $900 USD and $1,100 CAD.
Some of the other notebooks users shopping for the F5R may want to look at in this target market are:
Specs of the Asus F5R as reviewed:
The laptop has a very simple look to it, certainly basic and unsophisticated. The webcam draws attention due to its look and the fact it can swivel. The lid is silver with a small indentation for some extra styling. The bezel around the screen is black, while the webcam that sits above the screen is silver. The palm rests are silver and the chassis is black. The notebook is made of plastic, but that’s what you can expect for a laptop targeted at the budget buyer market.
When I first saw the laptop it did look appealing. I lifted it and moved it around and it definitely felt lighter than most other 15.4” notebooks I have tested.
The Asus F5R has a 15.4” screen, the resolution is 1280x800 (WXGA). The screen is pleasant to use and easy for viewing, personally I am used to higher resolutions such as 1680x1050, but the lower resolution screen was certainly fine and actually more standard.
The horizontal viewing angles are good; they are roughly 145 degrees on both sides. The vertical viewing angles are not as great, roughly 100 degrees, meaning you will need to keep yourself squared for vertical viewing.
The screen brightness it adequate for most users, but I would have liked a brighter screen. Overall I feel that the screen is satisfactory for normal users.
The keyboard is black with white lettering which has a touch of grey. The keyboard keys feel a little small but they are ergonomically placed. The keys do make an audible click sound when pushed, but I would still feel comfortable using the laptop in a library or school setting. Just be aware nearby people may notice it and look at you. The Fn key is on the far left and it is a nuisance to reach for, many of the Asus laptop keyboards are like this, it will just take some time getting used to.
There is a reasonable amount of flex on the entire notebook, it did not hinder my ability to type and use the keyboard. There is a considerable amount of travel for the keys which is nice to see, and overall I am satisfied with the keyboard.
The touchpad looks a little outdated in terms of style, but my finger does glide across it nicely. I felt that the touchpad was responsive, but I would have liked a slightly larger one.
The touchpad button is a single bar that has two sensors under it; one for left click and one for right click. It was just slightly hard to press compared to other laptops.
The webcam is 1.3 mega pixels and it swivels. Asus provides a program called LifeFrame2 which is used with the webcam. The program offers many great new features compared to the previous program.
The F5R has a toggle switch to turn on and off the WIFI; it is located on the left side of the notebook. The wireless connectivity was strong, I was able to move the laptop around the entire building and keep a strong signal.
The speakers are located at the front of the laptop and face slightly downwards. The sound emanates towards the user. The quality of the treble is good and I found that the speakers were loud enough for personal use. As expected, there is a lack of bass. I tested movies and music and found that the sound was okay, with the caveat that there's no bass.
The soundcard is High Definition Audio Device, however it is lacking many features found in Realtek or SoundMax sounds cards. When using headphones and ear buds the sound quality is excellent just as expected. The treble and bass sound good.
Input and Output Ports
Front Side Ports:
Right Side Ports:
Left Side Ports:
Back side Ports:
LED Indicator and Buttons:
In terms of build quality, the Asus F5R seems to be good. The lid shows some flex but does not ripple, even under excessive pressure. The hinges hold the screen well, there is little wobbling and there are three hinges to hold it in place. It takes two hands to open the laptop with the latch design it has.
As previously mentioned, the keyboard flexes all over, but it does not hinder my ability to type. The keyboard feels a little cheap and a little noisy but it is still satisfactory. The palm rests also have a little bit of flex under normal usage.
Overall the quality of the laptop is good. It does feel plasticky in some areas, but that’s what you can expect from a laptop of this caliber and target market.
Size and Weight
The dimensions of the laptop are 14.4” length x 10.3” width, 1.1”/1.4” height (front/back) and the weight is around 5.8-6lbs with the 6 cell battery. When I first picked up the laptop, it felt very light in my hands. It felt much lighter than the 15.4" screen sized Asus V1JP and Asus G1. Also, it was thinner than other notebooks I have tested. I was pleased by the dimensions and weight of the notebook, I wouldn’t find it too much of a problem to carry this notebook to school or work with other supplies or books.
Heat and Noise
The laptop is quite cool, even after several hours of use. Only the touchpad gets warm, the rest of the laptop just gets slightly warm. During intensive CPU tasks, like benchmarks and installing, the laptop is still only relatively warm.
Noise from the laptop is extremely minimal. Even if you put your ear to the vent you will hear only a slight amount of fan noise.
Processor and Performance
I found the Core Duo processor be a little outdated in terms of the current technology and speed. For the target market it can be acceptable. While using Vista the notebook felt snappy, so I was happy with that. Unfortunately there is no real gaming potential. I had AeroGlass on the entire time. I would liked to have seen the Core 2 Duo T5500 over the Core Duo, but it was used to reduce the cost.
Here's a couple of battery life scenarios:
The battery life is 1 hour and 30 minutes
The battery life was 1 hour and 15 minutes.
The 6 cell battery has 4400mah, 11.1V, which is a 49whr battery which is a decent size, but small when compared to other notebooks. The overall battery life is quite poor.
Overall the battery life was not up to my expectations; I would have liked closer to 3 hours of battery life. Vista could have had an effect on the battery life, another method in which you can increase battery life is to turn off AeroGlass and disable the webcam in the device manager. Making these changes could yield another 30 minutes or so of battery life.
Here are some pictures comparing the Asus F5R and the Asus V1JP side by side. As you can see, the dimensions are very similar. The weight difference is noticeable, the F5R weighing in at 6lbs and the V1JP weighing in at 6.5lbs.
SuperPi Benchmark Results
|Asus F5R (Intel Core Duo 1.6GHz)||2m 55s|
|MSI M677 (1.8 GHz Turion X2)||1m 53s|
|Fujitsu LifeBook N6420 (2.00GHz Core 2 Duo)||1m 02s|
|LG S1 (2.16 GHz Core Duo)||1m 11s|
|Dell Inspiron e1505 (2.0GHz Core Duo)||1m 16s|
|Lenovo ThinkPad T60 (2.0GHz Core Duo)||1m 18s|
|Toshiba Satellite M100 (2.00GHz Core Duo)||1m 18s|
|Samsung X60 (1.66GHz Core Duo)||1m 29s|
|Sony VAIO FS680 (1.86 GHz Pentium M)||1m 53s|
|Asus F5R (Intel Core Duo 1.6GHz, Intel GMA 950)||1,870 PCMarks|
|Fujtisu Siemens Amilo Xi1554 Review (2.0GHz Core 2 Duo, ATI X1900, Windows XP)||5,066 PCMarks|
|Fujitsu LifeBook N6420 (2.00GHz Core 2 Duo, ATI X1600)||4,621 PCMarks|
|Fujitsu LifeBook N6410 (1.66GHz Core Duo, ATI X1400)||3,487 PCMarks|
|Sony Vaio SZ-110B in Speed Mode (Using Nvidia GeForce Go 7400)||3,637 PCMarks|
|Asus Z84Jp (2.16GHz Core 2 Duo, Nvidia Go 7600)||4,739 PCMarks|
|Asus V6J (1.86GHz Core Duo T2400)||3,646 PCMarks|
|Alienware M7700 (AMD Athlon FX-60, Nvidia Go 7800GTX)||5,597 PCMarks|
Windows Experience Index
HDTune Hard Drive results
The accessories and software CDs are going to be just like many other Asus notebooks. They will provide the driver, recovery, media discs, and other accessories that are typical for Asus notebooks.
In conclusion the Asus F5R is a basic notebook that will fit the needs of a mainstream user. However, the weak points are battery life, older Core Duo processor instead of the current Core 2 Duo technology, and keyboard with flex. For the price of $900 USD, this notebook does offer a great swivel webcam and a nice chassis design though, and is worth a look if it fits your needs and budget.
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