Asus V1JP Review – Page 2

by Reads (19,706)

Speakers

The speakers are located on the two sides of the keyboard. They aren’t particularly good, but you would not expect built in speakers to be anything special. They lack bass, and there are too many high pitched sounds – not really ideal for music listening, games or DVD movies. When using headphones or external speakers, sound quality is excellent.

Heat and Noise

The hard drive is really very silent. I cannot hear it, especially if the fans are active. Overall I think the fan might be a little bit too loud and seems to be on too often. But the volume of noise when the notebook is idle or not doing anything is not at all disrupting, even if it is not completely silent. When it is doing something more intensive, the fan starts to get louder.

Heat is blown out on the right hand side. The heat can be felt even at about 20 cm (~ 7 inches) from the notebook (this is the maximum distance and happens only after heavier usage). I use the mouse a little bit to the front of this "heated area" (towards me that is), so it does not disturb me, but if you use the mouse more to the back it could get disturbing. The notebook itself did not get too warm during usage. The right side of the keyboard got warmer and the right touch pad a little less warmer, but compared to the V6V there is less heat. The left side of the notebook stays quite cool practically all the time.

Keyboard, Touchpad and Fingerprint sensor

The keyboard feels nice to type on. There does not seem to be any flex when pushing even a little bit harder. The keys do need to be pushed harder than what I am accustomed to, but it actually feels more solid this way. The switch keys are located on the top right quadrant of the keyboard. On the far right side of them is the power on switch. The hard disk activity indicator, numlock and capslock indicators are on the left side of the extra buttons.


Switches (view large image)


Indicators for power on, battery loading, new email message, Bluetooth and Wireless (located in bottom left if viewed from top) (view large image)

The touchpad buttons are a little bit difficult to push at times.

The fingerprint sensor setup was not too difficult, although the tutorial insisted in telling me that I sweep my finger the wrong way. But after configuring it for two of my fingers now I am able to login using a sweep, instead of a password (which I now might forget, since I do not need to use it). The sensor’s software can also be configured to remember passwords on web sites that get filled in as you swipe your finger. Supposedly the BIOS might also be configured to require a fingersweep when the notebook is booting. I have not tried this feature myself.


Touchpad and fingerprint sensor (view large image)


View from above (view large image)

Input and Output Ports


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Left side:

  • Ethernet
  • S-Video
  • VGA
  • USB 2.0
  • DVI
  • DVD-RW DL


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Right side:

  • Card reader
  • ExpresssCard
  • Infrared
  • Microphone input
  • Headphone output / SPDIF
  • IEEE 1394 (Firewire)
  • Modem
  • Power


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Front view. This side only has the opening latch.


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Back view

Wireless

The V1JP is equipped with the Intel 3945ABG wireless adapter. It also features Bluetooth 2.0+EDR and has an infrared port on the right side.

Wireless connection setup is quick and easy using the supplied Intel software. I have a Linksys WRT54GL router, which I use to connect to the internet. The V1JP found the wireless router right away and after some security settings, the connection was up and running. Reception was very good.

Battery

Battery life varies between about 2:15 and 3:00, depending on which mode of Power4Gear I use the notebook with and what I actually do with it. While not groundbraking times, I am still satisfied with this – at least I can watch a movie without needing to connect to a wall socket.

Operating System and Setup

The notebook came preloaded with Windows XP Professional. As is customary here in Finland (actually all of northern Europe), the operating system is provided in multiple languages. When I first booted the notebook, it asked me to choose a language (Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish or English) for the operating system, I prefer English.

This selection makes the initial setup really painful, because after the language is specified, the notebook prepares the recovery partition according to the language selection. It is a painful and slow process of copying many files. And after that is done, the actual OS installation will begin (Windows XP), followed by driver/software install, and finally by generating the actual recovery partition. The whole process is fully automatic, but it also means that you cannot just push the power button and begin using the notebook – instead it took almost 3 hours before it was ready!

The recovery DVD also contains recovery images for all these 5 languages.

Software

The default XP installation done by ASUS does contain some applications that I do not really need and that potentially could cause a little slowdown. But uninstalling the unwanted software is a quick fix to this problem.

Here are some of the programs installed by default.

Asus MultiFrame

This utility sits near the top right corner of the window and allows you to "dock" the window to one of the corners or sides of the screen. You can neatly create window layouts with it. Seemed strange at first, but quickly became one of my favourite ASUS utilities. Especially usefull on the widescreen this notebook is equipped with.

Asus Net4Switch

Allows different IP configurations to be present on the computer and then applying them from the system tray. As I use DHCP everywhere I go, I do not need the services provided by this program.

Asus InstantFun

This is sort of an application launcher. When running it allows quick access to Windows Media Player, Nero, ASUSDVD, LifeFrame – the multimedia applications installed on the notebook. There is also a separate switch for this application above the keyboard. I myself did not find this program particularly useful.

Asus ASUSDVD

This application allows DVD playback. The interface is very similar to PowerDVD, I wonder if this is just a "rebrand" of that product?

Asus LifeFrame

This software can be used with the built in web camera. It allows recording movies, taking pictures and other operations involving the webcam.

Asus Splendid Technology

Splendid allows you to apply different color profiles to the screen with a touch of a button. You can have colors be vivid or just normal.

Norton Internet Security 2005

I don’t think I need to introduce this beast to anyone. it was the first thing to be uninstalled along with Symantec LiveUpdate.

Accessories

The notebook came with a mouse and a carrying bag. It is really nice of ASUS to include these, because they would have to be purchased in any case.

I do find that the bags that ASUS includes with the notebooks are becoming simpler as time advances. I still find that the bag is of good quality and has many pockets. I am a little unsatisfied with the padding of the bag and how well it will protect the notebook.


USB optical mouse (view large image)


Carrying bag (view large image)

The included USB Optical Mouse is really nothing special, it is comfortable to use, and fits nicely into my palm. Although I can work with the touchpad as well, I still prefer the regular mouse.

ASUS Power Station

The model I purchased came with an ASUS Power Station. The Power Station box was taped to the notebook box, and both boxes had stickers saying: The complete package includes a docking station. For extensive digital device connectivity.

Before usage, the metal bars needed to be configured for the V1 (by default they were set for the V2, which is narrower). This means unscrewing two screws, adjusting the metal bars and then attaching the screws again. After this docking is very simple. Both the Power Station and the actual notebook have a little marker, called the alignment point. This is how you align the notebook connectors with the Power Station. Then just push down and it is docked.

Some peripherals appear as a copy of the original one. For example, when I connected a network cable to the docking station, another local area connection appeared (#2). This uses the same network card (well actually there is now another copy of the network card in device manager, that seems to be connected to the PCI Express bus of the computer). Windows also found a new USB hub, that is how the USB ports on the Power Station are being used. I could not test the serial, parallel or PS/2 ports, because I do not have devices that connect to these. It is still good to know that would you be left with this sort of devices, you do not need to buy a seperate USB serial port, for example.

While docked the notebook’s own power cable does not need to be plugged in: the Power Station provides the power for the notebook. Actually, you could not even plug it in, because the ethernet port and the power port / modem port are behind the metal bars of the docking station. All the others ports might be used normally. If the battery is inserted and it is not at full capacity it will be charged. This is neat, because you can have the notebooks own power cable stored in the bag, ready for a journey, and at home you can simply dock it, and no need to worry about cables.

A new menu item appears in Start menu, at the bottom (near Log off if you are using themes in Windows XP, and at the top of the shutdown options when using Windows Vista), which says: Undock computer. This has to be chosen before disconnecting from the Power Station. This will of course disconnect all peripherals that are connected to the Power Station. You could also turn off the computer. When this is done, a mechanical button must be pushed that will release the notebook.

The Power Station has the following ports/connectors:

  • 5 x USB 2.0
  • 1 x Ethernet
  • 1 x VGA out
  • 1 x DVI out
  • 1 x Microphone in
  • 1 x Headphone out
  • 1 x SPDIF out
  • 1 x Kensington lock
  • 1 x PS/2 (keyboard or mouse)
  • 1 x Serial port
  • 1 x Parallel port

Views of the power station.


Right side (view large image)


Left side (view large image)


Back side (view large image)


Top down view (view large image)


Notebook docked to Power Station (view large image)

Customer Support

The notebook comes with 24 months of international pickup and return warranty. The battery is covered for 12 months.

Conclusion

It is really hard to make out specific pros and cons of the notebook, because the cons really do not seem to be anything special and the whole notebook is very well put together. The performance, quality and features provided are great.

Pros:

  • Performance
  • Excellent screen and good graphics capabilities
  • Fingerprint sensor
  • Great build quality, spillproof keyboard
  • Carrying bag and mouse included
  • Power Station (docking station)

Cons:

  • DVD drive closing is difficult
  • No model specific printed manual
  • Painfully long initial setup
  • Built-in speakers not really useful


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