ASUS F3Sv

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ASUS F3Sv
  • ASUS F3Sv
  • ASUS F3Sv
  • ASUS F3Sv

Pros

  • TV-tuner card, DVI port

Cons

  • Screen contrast, below average battery life

Bottom Line

Sturdy, speedy and yet simple, the F3Sv has some perks, but mainly it just gets the job done. The TV tuner is a nice addition and so is the DVI port. If you're after a unit that will run a wide array of applications without too much pizzazz, the F3Sv is a good choice.

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The F3Sv is one of ASUS's less fancy looking options. Unlike the W5FE (2P002A) or Lamborghini VX2, the F3Sv is just a sturdy machine that does what it's meant to do, without too much flare. That's not to say it's entirely devoid of interesting features.

Apart from its base hardware; an Intel Core 2 Duo T7300 2GHz CPU, 1GB of DDR2 RAM and an NVIDIA 8600m GS graphics card, the ASUS F3Sv also features a digital TV tuner, allowing you to watch TV (including high-definition channels) on the notebook. Thanks to some expansive connectivity choices you can also output to another monitor or TV using the DVI, D-Sub or S-Video outputs. The one connection lacking here is HDMI, which is becoming very common on modern televisions and home theatre systems.

As well as the TV tuner there is, of course, a DVD re-writer drive. Not only can you use this device to burn music, photos or other data, but you can watch DVD movies. Again, this can be output to a larger screen via the three video-out ports, but without HDMI you'll have to resort the SPDIF audio jack to hook up some speakers. Alternatively you can watch movies or TV on the notebook itself.

This 15.4in notebook screen does not have the best image on the block. The brightness levels are good enough, but the contrast levels aren't so notable and it suffers from the same issue seen on most notebook screens: a poor vertical viewing angle. Fortunately the horizontal viewing angle is better, meaning you can see the screen from sharp side angles. This is particularly useful when sharing the screen with someone else. The internal speakers are reasonable for a notebook, though they lack bass. However, overall there's little to complain about, especially if you're on the road and want some entertainment.

Adding to the media aspect of this notebook, a 1.3-megapixel webcam is built into the screen. Above the keyboard you'll find a set of shortcuts. Among these are shortcuts for a music player, power modes, brightness modes, the Internet and a switch to mute the touchpad in the event that you have a USB mouse connected.

We saw some fair results in our benchmarks. We used WorldBench 6 to gauge the system's ability. Its score of 74 showed it will handle most commonly used applications like Adobe Photoshop and Microsoft Office, as well as some video encoding and rendering applications among other tasks. In our MP3 encoding tests, the F3Sv took 86sec to encode 53 minutes worth of WAV files to 192Kbps MP3 files in iTunes, then 136sec in Cdex (using one core of the CPU only).

Gaming tests showed reasonable results for a notebook, thanks to the series 8 NVIDIA chip. In 3DMark 2006 it scored 2464, enough to play some of the latest games, but only at low settings. In 3DMark 2001 SE it scored a healthy 16,369, more than enough to handle older games with ease.

The battery test results showed below average results. The F3Sv lasted just 73 minutes in our DVD rundown test. This test is a worst-case scenario as it uses the speakers and optical drive, as well as the main components such as the CPU and screen, increasing the strain on the battery.

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