Asus F5R Review

by reviewer@MilestonePC Reads (178,448)

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.

Reasons for Purchasing

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:

  • HP dv6000 series
  • Dell 1504/E6400
  • Compaq v6000 series
  • Toshiba Satellite A135
  • Acer Aspire 500 series
  • Sony VAIO FE Series

Specs of the Asus F5R as reviewed:

  • Processor: Intel Core Duo T2250 1.6GHz
  • Display: 15.4” WXGA (1280×800) with Color Shine (glossy screen)
  • Memory: 1GB DDR2
  • Hard Drive: 120GB @ 5400rpm
  • Optical Drive: 8x Super-multi drive burner
  • Wireless: Integrated 802.11b/g
  • Battery: 6 Cells, 4400mah, 11.1V and 49whr
  • Operating System: Windows Vista Home Premium
  • Dimensions: 14.4” length x 10.3” width, 1.1”/1.4” height (front/back)
  • Weight: ~5.8-6lbs with 6 cell battery
  • Warranty: 2 years Asus Global Warranty and 30 ZBD Guarantee

Design

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.

Screen

The Asus F5R has a 15.4” screen, the resolution is 1280×800 (WXGA). The screen is pleasant to use and easy for viewing, personally I am used to higher resolutions such as 1680×1050, 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.

Keyboard

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.

Touchpad

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.

Features

Webcam

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.

Wireless

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.

Sound System

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:

  • Left Speaker
  • MultiMedia Card Reader
  • Latch
  • Right Speaker

Right Side Ports:

  • 8x DVDRW SuperMulti

Left Side Ports:

  • LAN Port
  • Modem Port
  • 3x USB
  • WIFI Toggle Switch
  • ExpressCard Slot
  • Mic In
  • Headphone Jack (SPDIF)

Back side Ports:

  • Kensington lock port
  • Power Input
  • Vent
  • USB
  • VGA output

LED Indicator and Buttons:

  • Hard Drive Usage
  • Numlock
  • Capslock
  • Scroll Lock

Build Quality

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.

Battery Life

Here’s a couple of battery life scenarios:

  • Using the 6 cell battery
  • Screen brightness set to 1/16 (dimmest)
  • Vista set to battery saving power mode

The battery life is 1 hour and 30 minutes

  • Using the 6 cell battery
  • Screen brightness at full (16/16)
  • Vista set to battery saving power mode

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.

Comparison

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.

Benchmarks

SuperPi Benchmark Results

Notebook Time
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


PCMark05
Results

Notebook PCMark05 Score
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

Accessories and Miscellaneous

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.

Pros

  • Build Quality – Asus build quality lives up to its name
  • Heat and Noise – The notebook is very quiet and cool
  • Weight and Dimensions – Regular size, but low weight
  • Webcam – Swivel Webcam
  • Screen – It is quite nice

Cons

  • Performance – compared to today and current competitors it lacks in performance
  • Battery Life – Low amount of battery life
  • Keyboard Flex – The keyboard has a considerable amount of flex

Conclusion

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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