At a Glance
If you need a light presentation unit with a big screen and classy lines, the Asus W2P is a great choice.
The W2Pb-7M005C's slender, dark case conceals a broad array of desktop replacement features, including a high-resolution, 17-inch WSXGA+ screen and a good keyboard. With its light weight and beautiful-sounding speakers, this laptop would be a great choice for mobile presenters. The unit's 2.7-hour battery life is unusually long for a notebook in this class. And its built-in TV tuner, digital antenna, and 160GB hard drive enable you to record the evening news wherever you are and then kick back on your hotel bed with the remote control at the end of the day. For all of these reasons the W2Pb made a strong push for inclusion on our Top 5 chart. Unfortunately, at $2899 (as of April 11, 2007) it's pricey even for a notebook with a 17-inch screen.
Though it weighs 7.4 pounds, this notebook is just 1.2 inches thick, and it includes an HD DVD-ROM/DVD writer drive. The screen is so thin that it doesn't have a latch, but it closes firmly and stays shut. The WUXGA resolution of 1920 by 1200 pixels on the W2Pb's display translates into small icons and other screen elements, so it's not the best environment for lengthy word processing or e-mail sessions. But it shines at displaying large portions of lengthy documents at one time, and it's ideal for editing photos or showing videos.
We didn't get much printed documentation, and Asus's site was undergoing a redesign, so we couldn't download the user manual. That left us with little guidance us--but the notebook is fairly easy to figure out. The keyboard has a good layout, with plenty of quick-launch application buttons. Thin silver keys above the keyboard turn on the TV, change channels, start a DVD movie, or play a CD. Somewhat inconveniently, volume and mute control buttons are missing - you'll need the remote for that, or two hands to combine the <Fn> key with the <F10>, <F11>, and <F12> keys.
The stylish hidden-hinge design leaves no room for ports or connections on the back, and as a result these tend to crowd the rest of a notebook's case. Still, the WP2b handles the arrangement well, tightly grouping network and modem jacks and S-Video out, HDTV-out, and cable TV ports--all normally found on the rear--under a left-side cover.
All of the audio ports, including a headphones connection that doubles as an S/PDIF port for attaching digital speakers, are situated on the front, and USB ports are located around each corner so you can plug in peripherals quickly. The small, oblong Asus DTV+FM antenna isn't slick but it does the job.
The 2-GHz Core 2 Duo T7200 processor helped the W2PB-7M005C run mainstream applications fast; it finished in the middle of the pack in our recent 15-laptop roundup, with a WorldBench 6 Beta 2 score of 76.
The W2P-7M005C's 256MB ATI Radeon X1700 graphics controller is not up for heavy game playing. It managed to struggle through Far Cry at 1024 by 768 resolution with a frame rate of 37 frames per second, but this was its smoothest performance. Running Far Cry and Doom 3 with antialiasing turned on produced slow and jerky results. DVD movies, 2D games, and video editing all run fine, however.