- Webcam features and software
- Poor speaker quality, uninspiring performance
Lightweight and fully equipped, the 1.8 kilogram W5A goes one step further than most ultraportables, coming with a swivel Webcam.
Price$ 2,999.00 (AUD)
A swivelling Webcam and an all-white carbon-fibre case highlight the ASUS W5A, an ultraportable laptop weighing just 1.8 kilograms (not including its power adapter). Vanilla-hued laptops are not my favourite, because of the smudge factor if nothing else, but I had a ball taking snapshots and making videos using the ASUS Mobile Vision Camera W5-A01, a rotating camera set in a snazzy chrome frame centred at the top of this portable's 12" wide-aspect screen, and the LifeFrame Webcam software.
The Webcam swivels 180 degrees for shooting in front of or behind the laptop. Three screen-frame shortcut buttons provide a quick way to activate the camera and take a picture, zoom into a scene digitally up to three times, and turn on the microphone for sound with videos. LifeFrame puts the bare-bones Webcam software found on other laptops to shame with its rich set of options, including interval capture, motion-detection, and even special photographic effects such as sepia. Pictures appear alongside the live window as drag-and-drop thumbnails bound for a folder, email or the recycle bin. Picture quality isn't bad for a 1.3-megapixel PC camera, but I was disappointed in the 30-frames-per-second video. The audio usually kept up with the action, but quick movements blurred. Still, I was happy enough with the quality to send a few pictures and short videos to friends I haven't seen in a while.
Beyond the camera, the W5A is nicely equipped overall, featuring a three-in-one memory card reader, a FireWire port, an S-Video-out port and three USB 2.0 ports. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi handle your short- and long-range wireless communications needs. However, a DVD-ROM/CD-RW combination drive is the only optical drive available for the W5A, so you would be able to burn CDs but not DVDs.
The matching white keyboard's slightly undersize
Boasting a native resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels, the W5A's 12.1" screen is readable and makes a fine small movie screen, too, but you'll need headphones. Despite a nifty volume jog dial provided on the right side of the case, the stereo speakers--located beneath the screen--emit terribly weak audio.
The W5A is fairly easy to expand for a small laptop. Although a base 256MB of memory comes built-in, you do get one accessible slot for upgrading the RAM. The 40GB hard drive also slides out of its own separate compartment in the bottom of the unit.
Equipped with a 1.73GHz Pentium M 740 CPU, the notebook earned a PC WorldBench 5 score of 76. The rear-mounted power pack, which adds about a couple of centimetres to the footprint of the laptop, lasted 2.9 hours on one charge during our tests.
But I still like the W5A for its good keyboard and fun camera. Those looking for a lightweight laptop with a built-in Webcam that's super-easy to use can't go wrong. To sweeten the pot, ASUS throws in a battery-operated cordless Logitech mouse, two nylon carrying cases (one is a sheath), and a pretty good Acrobat manual.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Acer Swift 7
Huawei Mate 9
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Lexar® Portable SSD
Google Daydream VR headset
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Surface Pro 4
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Subaru XV 2017 review
- 2 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 3 Kogan curved 4K UHD 55-inch LED LCD TV review
- 4 Panasonic Blu-ray recorder PVR set-top box review
- 5 Garmin Fenix Chronos fitness tracker smartwatch review
Latest News Articles
- Razer’s updated Blade Pro is the first ever THX-certified laptop
- More iPad screen sizes unlikely to stop slump
- Android struggling in tablets as Windows 10 2-in-1s come on strong
- Samsung unveils Galaxy Book, a Windows 10 tablet aimed at the Surface-curious
- Everything we think we know about Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S3
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 phone: Full, in-depth review
- Subaru XV 2017 review
- LG G6: unboxing, hands on review and detail shots
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTSocial Media ExecutiveNSW
- FTSenior Project ManagerACT
- FTAEM Architect - Blue Chip companyNSW
- CCChange and Communications ManagerQLD
- FTJava Developer - Short team Contract @ CanberraNSW
- TPSenior/Lead AEM DeveloperQLD
- CCInfrastructure Project ManagerNSW
- FTIT SpecialistACT
- TPTechnical WriterVIC
- FTService Desk AnalystsSA
- FTDatabase DeveloperVIC
- FTAgile CoachVIC
- CCSAP FICO ConsultantWA
- FTDatabase Modelling SpecialistNSW
- CCCognos Report WriterQLD
- FTJava DeveloperNSW
- CCFull Stack DeveloperQLD
- FTAgile Test AnalystQLD
- CCTraining Content and Delivery SpecialistNSW
- TPProcess Business Analyst - Digital InnovationNSW
- FTBusiness Analyst - SalesforceVIC
- FTContracts ManagerNSW
- FTInfrastructure ArchitectVIC
- CCProject Scheduler/CoordinatorVIC
- FTFinancial AnalystNSW