Asus – L3C review

Heavy-duty Mobile Pentium 4 notebook
Photo of Asus – L3C
£1,850 + VAT

The Mobile version of Intel’s Pentium 4 chip hasn’t been around for long, but Asus has already packaged it into this 1.7GHz notebook. That’s not as high a clock speed as the desktop Pentium 4 found in some notebooks, but the theory is that the Mobile chip should better match the rest of the notebook’s components, giving good performance and also good battery life. The other important factor, one that’s readily seen from the Asus L3C’s dimensions (326 x 267 x 40mm), is that the Pentium 4 Mobile chip consumes considerably less space than its desktop counterparts, although this machine does still weigh just over 3kg.

Styling-wise this machine isn’t anything special, but it’s not too over-the-top and quite discreet. Most of the casing is made from plastic, but it’s thick enough to survive a few knocks and drops and there’s sufficient screen support to prevent any serious flexing. The 1400 x 1050 pixel resolution LCD display, which is 15.1 inches in size, is sharp and bright and gives plenty of work space. This screen is powered by the ATI Mobility Radeon 7500 in 32MB guise and there’s the option of sending the display output to either the VGA D-Sub port at the rear or the S-video port, i.e. to an external monitor or television set respectively.

Aside from the 30GB hard drive, there’s also a floppy drive and an 8-speed DVD-ROM drive. The latter is modular and can be swapped with other factory options, such as a CD-RW drive or a combo CD-RW/DVD-ROM drive. The floppy drive is integrated into the left-hand side of the case and cannot be swapped. The notebook has 256MB of DDR memory, which can be upgraded to a maximum of 1GB via SODIMM sockets in the base of the unit.

The Asus L3C has both a 56Kbps modem and a 10/100Mbps network adapter built in and there’s also a brace of IEEE 1394 (FireWire) ports provided for digital video editing or the connection of external hard drives and other high-bandwidth peripherals. There’s also the usual audio and USB connectivity. An 802.11b wireless network adapter is available as an optional extra, as is a Bluetooth module and GPRS modem. The notebook has a full-featured keyboard and trackpad mouse with extra scroll buttons, and comes with Windows XP installed.

This machine is best used as a desktop replacement; quite apart from its power, the cooling fans push out warm air underneath the machine, so the space provided by the raised rear feet is essential to allow the internal components to be properly cooled.

Company: Asus

Contact: +886 2 2894 3447


Verdict
The Asus L3C is a fast machine with pretty good battery life given its power - about two and a quarter hours - and a comprehensive range of features. The screen, storage, keyboard and general design are all good. One of the first Mobile Pentium 4 notebooks to be launched in the UK, the Asus L3C is a worthy desktop replacement notebook.