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ASUS M70Sa 17″ Multimedia Notebook
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by Rob Williams on July 24, 2008 in Mobile

Does the idea of having Blu-ray capabilities on the go excite you? How about the idea of having 1,000GB worth of storage at the tip of your fingers? Or having a 1920×1200 resolution to keep the best possible work-flow? The ASUS M70Sa has those and a lot more, in a beefy 17″ package.

Introduction

Over the course of the past few months, my tastes in notebooks has changed. I’ve always been interested in big, powerful and great-looking notebooks, but when I dealt with two different 12.1″ notebooks over the course of a few months, I realized just how amazing they can be. If you travel often, a smaller notebook is incredibly convenient. It’s nice to walk onto a plane and know that the notebook will actually fit under the seat properly, and that you could use it during flight, comfortably.

Many still want or need larger notebooks, though, and DTR’s are the way to go, especially if you use your notebook more than your desktop. But what does it take to become a proper DTR? For starters, a large screen and resolution would be nice, and at 17″ / 1920×1200, this ASUS M70Sa hits the goal. Of course, you need to add sufficient hard drive space, and this notebook again delivers, offering a staggering 1TB, divided between two 500GB drives.

Toss in a fast processor, sufficient graphics, lots of memory, a Blu-ray drive, TV Tuner, lots of connectivity and great design… on top of a completely reasonable price, and we have a proper DTR.

Closer Look

If you take a look at our notebooks page, you’ll notice a common theme… lots of ASUS-related reviews. Don’t worry, even though I personally can stand by ASUS’ notebook quality most of the time, we don’t mean to stick to a single manufacturer. ASUS loves sending us the latest models to check out, and we love receiving them. In the months to come, we’ll have reviews from both Dell, Gateway and hopefully others. I just thought this should be mentioned.

I was thrilled to receive the notebook I’m taking a look at here, because after reviewing smaller and underpowered notebooks, I finally received one that’s huge, powerful and offers far more functionality than what I’d ever need. It’s also one of the most expensive notebooks I’ve had here, at $2,399. Given all the features packed in though, it’s actually happens to be a reasonable price, but I’ll touch up on that later in the article.

The ‘M’ series from ASUS denotes ‘Multimedia’, which is why the M70Sa includes a 1080p-capable resolution and also a Blu-ray drive. Although this particular review sample doesn’t include a TV Tuner, the model you purchase will. So if you happen to find the M70Sa on sale somewhere and it doesn’t include one, leave it, then go find a place that’s stocking a more recent model, unless of course, you happen to get a great deal, or don’t want a tuner.

On the surface, the M70Sa somewhat resembles the M51S 15.4″ notebook that I took for a spin this past April. That was a bit more modest though, and cost under $1,000. It still won me over with its design and the vast amount of features, however. We should be able to expect similar thoughts with the M70Sa.

One problem I had with previous ASUS notebooks, is that the webcam ‘straps’ (black rubber-bands) have the ability to be yanked off when rubbed against a certain way. I haven’t experienced that with this particular notebook, but I’ve had it happen with the F8S, which has a similar design. Their implementation may have improved since that time, however.

Opening the lid will unveil most of what the notebook has to offer in way of key features. Included are some excellent Altec Lansing speakers, including a subwoofer underneath and also a robust touchpad, which is designed with the multimedia buff in mind.

When the ‘Mode’ is tapped, it will lock the touchpad and replace the functionality with the labels shown here. It’s all straight-forward; tap a function to activate. Don’t worry if you are sitting in bed and watching a movie, these labels light up so that you can see them.

On the following page, we’ll continue our trip around the M70Sa, then dive right into some testing.


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