So I got an Asus W7J via UPS today (joy!) for my sister-in-law, who's attending college as a freshman this upcoming semster. I had a very good impression of the W5F when I purchased it for my wife in May, so I decided to stick to Asus laptops (I did momentarily, in a haze of insanity, contemplate a Dell as the W7J availability was scarce).
At the time of purchase, the W7J was selling for far less than the W5F (difference of ~$250.00), which made it an awesome deal considering that the W5F is only equipped with integrated video while the W7J has a dedicated video card. However, as I checked Geared2Play's website, I noticed that the W5F is now retailing for less (@ $1329.00) than the W7J (@$1449.00). D'oh!
Unfortunately, the W7J is only available in the US in black. I guess this is to differentiate it from the W5F a bit? As with the W5F, you can tell immediately as you pick up the laptop that the W7J is a high quality component; the chasis is very sturdy. You'll see in the pics just how similar these two notebooks are, at least cosmetically.
Still in the box
Profile shot; not the thinnest I've seen, but very compact considering what's in the package
Touchpad is made of the same material that the handrest is. It's not a very "slick" material, so there is some added resistence when using it
Screen is better than I expected! From what I read, the new "V-Cut" technology was supposed to be a bust, but the screen is extremely bright with good contrast and very good viewing angles
From the other side...
Vertical viewing angle...
Surprisingly, the size is extremely close to that of the W5F; I expected it to be larger (the angle distorts the size in this photo)
About the same height...
Can't see the W7J under the W5F at all!
Another size comparison shot, this time the W5F in front
The W5F and W7J screens, side by side. Both laptops are on AC power and on the second highest brightness setting. My opinion is that the W7J screen is better than the W5F in terms of contrast and brightness. The W5F's screen, compared to the W7J's, looks ever so slightly washed out. In addition, the larger diemensions of the W7J's screen makes things much more legible and reduces eye strain.
The W7J seems to have better vertical viewing angle...one of the best I've seen on a laptop.
Two very nice laptops from Asus
Back to back...
The W7J is indeed a nice laptop. Knowing that the W5F is cheaper than the W7J now, would I still have picked the W7J? Well, not for my sister-in-law, who really has no need for the additional processing and graphics capabilities (1.66 Ghz vs. 1.83 Ghz, W5F and W7J respectively). While $1449.00 is a damn good price for this laptop, it's ultimately more than I would have liked to spend since she'll probably just end up using the office applications and browsing the web. For any business users and developers, the W7J is a steal. As for myself, even I'm getting itchy to pull the trigger and forego Merom (so tempting).
As a side note, I find it weird that many developers prefer monster 17" behemoth laptops. I myself have a 15-incher currently and I find even that to be intolerably cumbersome when I have to travel. As such, I've made up my mind that I'll likely get a smaller 12"-13.3" laptop the next time I upgrade. Since I hardly ever use the laptop keyboard or screen, as I am always plugged into a proper LCD screen and I use a wireless USB keyboard, I don't see the need to get a laptop with a big screen. If I'm travelling, I'm more than willing to give up the screen real estate in exchange for a laptop that's easier to handle.
But that's just me