I purchased the Asus M6Ne laptop, a member of the Asus M6000N notebook series, to replace my large desktop (AMD XP1.6, 512Mb ram, 120 Gb HDD, ATI9600XT), so I was looking for a desktop replacement that was still portable with decent battery life, so that I could take it to work, friends houses on the odd occasion (to LAN). Other usages would be for watching movies/DVDs, playing games (Farcry, HL2 eventually), playing Mp3s, office and web surfing. Photoshop, Dreamweaver, and Flash will be also be used. Thus I was looking for a high res widescreen notebook, that was around or less than 3kg, had greater than 3hr battery life, and had a decent GPU. I was considering a Dell 8600, Acer 2010 and ASUS W1N, before deciding on the M6Ne.
The main reasons for my choice were that it was available in store, which meant that I could play with it before I purchased, came with a 2yr international warranty, a great screen, reasonable weight (2.8kg), was packed with goodies, and was all at a great price (AUD$3700, NB: W1N is selling for 4000+).
Following are the specs on the Asus M6Ne that I purchased:
I'll start with the best bit first. The screen is just brilliant. It's better than my old CTR (LG 17” 775FT). In comparison to my wife's ASUS M2N, the viewing angle, brightness and sharpness is far superior on the M6. I'll refer you to the pics as I think they will explain everything. As for gaming, I haven't seen any ghosting but then I'm not a super serious gamer and am not to concerned about this. There weren't any obvious dead pixels but I did find one the other day, so I'm super happy about that.
It's quite comfortable to use (this on your lap for general web surfing), but if your playing games it can get quite hot, especially on the back right where the CPU is (I think). Having said that the temp runs at around 45-55C most of the time, the fan rarely kicks in and is very quiet, especially compared to my old desktop.
I'm still getting used to the different key placements and am often hitting the wrong keys but the keyboard is responsive, has a nice bounce and I'm happy with it. There is a nice amount of room behind the keyboard which provides a comfortable palm rest.
General Layout & Features
The short cut buttons are very useful, especially the WiFi on/off button, although the icons could be a tiny bit bigger as my poor eye sight struggles to see which is which, but then 5 buttons isn't to much to learn. I'm a bit disappointed with the positioning of the USB ports, all 4 are on the back and all together. It would be really useful if one was on the right hand side for a mouse, especially considering the mouse included has a short lead that barely reaches from the ports to the right hand side. There is a mini firewire port on the back left which is a nice inclusion but it would be good if it was a full sized port, and I would prefer this on the back. Also the CD control buttons on the left side would be much better on the front. I'm always hitting them when I pick up the laptop. The other disappointing thing is that there are no dedicated buttons for volume, which would be really handy when I watch DVDs, although there is a function+F11 option, so it's not all that bad. There is a SD memory card slot just above the pcima slot which works well, and is handy, although it would be great if it took CF as well but you can't have anything. The construction of the laptop feels and looks solid, the screen does not creak when you open it although there is a fair bit of resistance and two hands are required to open the lid. The aesthetics of the notebook are a nice surprise, I got to play with a W1N in a store today and was actually a bit disappointed with its looks, don't get me wrong it's a great machine but it looked a lot better in the pics, so now I glad I got the M6Ne, especially as its $300+ cheaper. Otherwise everything else is great.
I'm really not a huge fan of touch pads, mainly because I am not very good at using them, but this one works. I haven't had too many problems (although it does seem to play up after my wife has been using it!) For some reason the scroll function doesn't always work with some web pages, this is very annoying, but not sure if it's a touchpad problem or webpage, this problem is yet to occur in other programs. Dirt does seem to get trapped around the edges a bit which is also disappointing, I guess that is why the touch pad on the W1N is being touted so much.
Unfortunately I have not done any detailed testing of the battery, for one I don't have a stopwatch and two I've been too busy/lazy to do these time consuming tests. But I can say that I get 3.5-4h off one charge when running general web surfing/office applications (with WiFi on, battery saving mode). 2.5-3h when playing DVDs (DVD mode), and around 1.5-2h playing games (game mode).
I'm quite happy with this.
I'm really pleased with the size of the notebook, it is quite slim line and compact especially compared to my wife's M2N (see pictures). The weight is around 2.8kg, but when you add in the power adapter and case etc, the travelling weight is closer to 3.5kg. This is fine for the odd travelling, but I'm glad that I don't have to take this to work everyday. If you're planning on buying this notebook for everyday travel then you may want to reconsider.
I had a MSI 8X DVD burner in my desktop which burnt really well, but it was picky with low quality media CD/DVD media that was burnt on other burners. It just refused to read some CDs. I have not had any such problems with reading these same CDs in the notebook burner. As for its burning performance, it does a full DVD- disc a 4X speed in around 15min, which is pretty good. I have had no problem backing up a few DVDs, and these play well in every player so far, so I'm more than happy with its performance. On the downside it does make a few loud seeking noises at times, but then maybe it's just that the rest of the notebook is so quite that these seem more noticeable.
There are 4 speakers two at the front, and two at the bottom of the screen. While the sound is much louder and ricer than the M2N, it is still disappointing when watching DVDs or listening to MP3s, but then I'm yet to hear laptop sound that is as good as a pair of small powered external speakers. On the upside the soundcard is not to bad at all, it sounds as good as my old Soundblaster 5.1DE.
Works really well, and at a rough estimate I have around twice the range of my wife's M2N, while connection speed to my wireless router ranges from 36-54Mbps, which I am happy with.
I am going to let the following benchmarks speak for the specific performance of this machine. But I will say that I am very happy with the performance, in general it is faster than my old desktop in running applications and games. I'm sure a 7200HDD would also help bump up performance even more, which I may consider getting later, and I also plan on getting an extra 512Mb of RAM when I get some spare cash.
For the benchmarks I used BenchemAll v2.58 to run the benchmarks except for PC Mark and 3DMark 2001, which I ran separately. I used the default settings for all tests. The GPU was not over clocked with the default settings of 390 for the core and 210 for the memory.
SUMMARY (4.5/5 Stars)
All pictures were taken with a Canon Powershot pro1, edited with Photoshop7 and resized with the Windows XP image resizer powertoy.
The spectacular desktop images shown are of paintings by my wife VR Morrison ©2004 (A shameless plug) (Click on pics to enlarge)