However with the loan of these computers, I decided to change my view. So the first that I will look back on is the ASUS F70 notebook, when this first arrived with me my first reaction was ‘wow, that is huge'. This was mainly to do with the 16:9, 17.3" full HD screen which meant that the keyboard area was substantial.
It came complete with Windows Vista, was WiFi ready and with a trial of Norton anti-virus, and it was rather quick in setting up although a dashboard, similar to that found on Mac OS X v 10.4 (the last Mac OS I used), caused it to be a little slow to load.
On the positives of it, it was smooth to use and substantially equipped me when I was working from home in early June due to the London Underground strikes. With such a large screen it is very simple to operate and use for everyday purposes, though on the negatives it is tricky to carry around due to its 3.9 kg weight. You wouldn't want to be trying to get this onto your lap on a busy train or plane, trust me.
Then again if you were looking for a laptop for work and personal use in one location, for example for watching films on or showing a photo slide show, then this is a perfect option for all three. It is also equipped with Altec Lansing co-brand speakers and SRS Premium Sound for optimum sound.
One final negative is that the battery life is a little limited, although ASUS claim that its battery life is 62 Whrs, I struggled to get more than a few hours from it at a full charge. Then again if it is in one place all of the time, is there any need for it to be unplugged from the mains?
As a desktop replacement, admittedly the ASUS F70 notebook is the first I have sampled and used, but for its capability, speed and practicality for use without being moved, this is a very competent machine.
The other laptop supplied to me by ASUS was from their Eee range. Anyone who had been to a conference and seen me reporting from it will have seen me with the Eee PC 1000HE, there are many reason for this - mainly its portability, weight but mainly its capabilities.
For the specifics, it is small, very much so, and it is a Mac in disguise due to its extremely sturdy white casing. The screen is small at 10.1" but large enough to view a document on and work competently on without your eyes being strained due to its LED Backlight WSVGA, and even with a small keyboard the likes of my fat fingering does not pose a problem.
I'll start with the negatives, unlike the F70 this came with Windows XP but without any Word package, instead it came with a setup option for Open Office which facilitated my needs in terms of performance, but it is nice to have some familiarity. Also, despite it being compact it did have the feeling that the keyboard and screen were a little fragile if you hit them too hard.
As for the positives, well I really don't know where to begin as it met my needs perfectly. It was small enough to throw in my work bag that I usually carry so need for a second laptop bag, the battery life gives around six to seven hours on a full charge and as it does not have a lot of data stored it is remarkably fast to start up.
It is quite hefty to carry at 1.45 kg, and is not the sort of thing you are going to leave behind by accident, but as with most notebooks its practicality in a small situation is perfect.
It is WiFi enabled and came with Internet Explorer as part of the XP package. It also features three USB ports, one VGA port, one LAN port, two audio jack ports and a MMC/SD (SDHC) card reader.
At the time of writing I have been able to negotiate this laptop for a further two weeks and I hope that will turn into a permanent deal. If I was a laptop sceptic a few months ago, I am now well and truly sold.