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Asus A7JC-R009M

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      12.10.2010 20:20

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      Old, but decent entry level multimedia powerhouse

      This is quite an old machine now, and certainly won't run your top of the line software and games, too well, but it is a surprisingly good workhorse.

      It runs Windows Media Centre Edition 2005, which is basically the tried and tested Windows XP pro with the media centre extensions, similar to that used in Windows 7. This laptop is bursting with features that take advantage of this including the built in TV tuner, which enables you to use your laptop to watch Freeview with the provided aerial (in strong signal areas), but you can also use it as a PVR, or for video capture. It comes with a video capture adaptor too, so you can copy your movies direct from camcorders and other sources, and edit them on the laptop. There is also a built in card reader, bluetooth, wireless G and infra-red. Additionally it comes with the Windows Media Centre remote control, which unfortunately relies on a rather clunky IR box that has to be connected via USB.

      The Radeon X1600 mobility graphics card does not rely solely on system memory, it has it's own dedicated memory, leaving Windows with more to play with, although there is apparently a way that you can re-assign some of the system memory to the card for more graphics intensive work.

      The screen itself is 17 inches, making this a bit of a monster size wise. The screen is nice and bright though and offers a good range of resolutions. The hinges connecting the screen are chunky and feel very sturdy, as does the case in general. The stereo speakers are placed either side of the keyboard, and offer a much better sound than many laptops.

      In it's day, this was a top notch piece of kit. Now it's still good for the amateur multimedia enthusiast on a budget, I would strongly recommend picking one up if you see a cheap second hand one.

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