The W3J arrived on Friday, and it is HOT. That brushed aluminum lid alone makes it worth the purchase. And the hinge-mounted power button - I think those are awesome, and very few computers designed in 2006 have them.
Close-up pics of the bamboo hinge and power button.
The W3J has an Intel Core 2 Duo T5500 processor, a 1.66GHz dual core with a 667MHz front side bus, along with 2GB of 667MHz DDR2 RAM, 100GB 5400RPM hard drive, the awesome 256MB ATI Mobility Radeon X1600, a 14" 15:9 (weiiiiiiird ratio) 1280x768 screen, and XP Pro (more on the OS in a minute). I'm a bit disappointed with the processor's clock speed, I'm thinking I might upgrade to a faster T7400 or T7600 (2.16 and 2.33 GHz respectively) when prices on those fall to below $100. However, for now and for what its doing, I probably don't need to.
First impressions of using it: the keyboard is pretty mediocre, and the touchpad isn't great either. Both are decent, but not that fantastic, or even as good as my Asus W7S. The mouse is interesting in that it has two buttons, but they are connected, so it only looks like a single button mouse. The bamboo hinge feels very awesome, but it adds height to the notebook when open, so even with a lower profile 15:9 ratio widescreen, the W3J feels pretty tall. The screen is pretty decent, not much to report there. I'm happy that its a 1280px width screen, since that lets me get any wallpaper from Autoblog or Wallpaper Garage. The hotswappable modular optical drive bay is pretty awesome, and I currently have the second battery in there, which gives me some more battery life to work with. With the 8 cell main battery alone, the W3J is getting around 3.5 hours of battery life, add in the second bay battery and I'm looking at above 4.
There is a problem though. Whenever I unplugged the laptop from AC, no matter how much battery there was, Windows would shut down. Like, log off and shut down, not just power off and die. It was ridiculous. I ended up figuring out that it was because of Asus' Power4Gear utility manager screwing itself, but I can't seem to fix Power4Gear. Actually, I don't even want to, since P4G's UI looks like it came from 1996, as do the rest of Asus' notebook controls/utilities. This is a stark contrast to the very sharp, very modern utilities in the W7S, and the extremely user friendly nature of Power 4 Gear Extreme. I'm betting that all the utilities were overhauled for the transition to Vista, so I'm thinking of putting 32bit Vista Business on it over the XP Pro install (I've got a spare copy of Vista laying around somewhere.) I mean, heck, at this point, Vista is stable and nice to use with some customization, so I might as well. Better than living with the terrible utilities on XP, which I might add, after so much time in Vista, feels kinda antiquated on a full sized computer. Ultimately, this computer will get Windows 7, probably when the Release Candidate comes out, so its only a matter of time.
Friday was apparently tech delivery day, since I also recieved a replacement pair of Shure SCL2 headphones to replace my broken Shure E2g earbuds. Just a pic (along with the laptop cooler that came with the W3J):
OK, time to go install Vista. I'll keep the blog updated as to how that goes...