Resilience aside, the Asus F5RL laptop also looks the part. It is solid and durable for most scholarly needs and very professionally designed with a solid display mount and keyboard slate. The silver casing gives it a great look and feel, housing the keyboard area very neatly. The keyboard itself is of a good build quality, in keeping with others in this range, and the individual keys are responsive with a relatively nice flex. Sometimes, they do appear to rattle, certainly when put through their paces by a quick-fire typist. The touchpad is responsive and nice to use if you are inclined that way. I personally like a combination of mouse and touchpad, and for such users a toggle on / off button would be a nice addition, providing added flexibility of use.
The 15.4in widescreen display is an average performer amongst its competitors, offering an decent combination of vibrancy and image processing. This is not a negative of the screen itself, as the Asus F5RLs visuals are driven by a distinctly average processor and memory specification which don’t lend themselves to good visuals. As with anything on the Asus F5RL, the screen is built to be functional, not fancy. However, one nice touch is the addition of an adjustable 1.3 mega pixel webcam which is built into the bezel (making it thicker than others). This is a great little add-on which other manufacturers should take note of and incorporate as standard on all multimedia laptops.
On the subject of processor power, the Asus F5RL runs a Core 2 Duo T5450 1.66Ghz processor and carries 2GB Ram, which makes it a middle of the road performance specification, and far from convincing in delivery of 3D applications, Windows Vista and multi-tasked operability. That said, the ATI Xpress 1100 integrated graphic chip helps out in this regard, providing solid performance ratings across the board. It certainly is a worthy addition and one that beats hands down the integrated Intel offerings, even if it isn't on a par with the Radeon HD 2400 installed in the Fujitsu Siemens Amilo Pi 2540.
The Asus F5RL comes with four USB ports, Wireless G (but no Draft-N), multi card reader, Ethernet, DVI and DVD Burner, plus your standard video and audio comms. Such features make it a good multi-dimensional laptop, which is further enhanced by a 200GB HDD which provides adequate storage capacity for a scholar's multiple media needs.
Finally, the F5RL has a solid 4,400mAh battery pack which provides excellent power for up to 2hrs of video playback and around 2.5hrs in normal application use or web browsing.