TheStreet.com needed a new laptop computer to edit video on location. Our old system had become, well, old and we needed to try something new. We looked around and spotted a mega machine from Asus, the people who also make the terrific line of small Netbook Eee PCs, and decided to try their M70VM C2.
This notebook computer runs 64-bit
Windows Vista (much more stable than the 32-bit version), comes standard with a 2.8 GHz,
Core2 Duo Processor (1066MHz, 6/3MB On-Die L2 Cache), 4GB of RAM, 1TB of storage (via twin, 5400 RPM, 500GB hard drives), a 17-inch, 1920x1200 (full high-definition) WUXGA) screen,
GeForce 9600M GS video card (512MB VRAM) and Blu-Ray disc playback. All I can say is wow!
A Bold Multimedia Monster
var config = new Array(); config<BRACKET>"videoId"</BRACKET> = 4528093001; config<BRACKET>"playerTag"</BRACKET> = "TSCM Embedded Video Player"; config<BRACKET>"autoStart"</BRACKET> = false; config<BRACKET>"preloadBackColor"</BRACKET> = "#FFFFFF"; config<BRACKET>"useOverlayMenu"</BRACKET> = "false"; config<BRACKET>"width"</BRACKET> = 265; config<BRACKET>"height"</BRACKET> = 255; config<BRACKET>"playerId"</BRACKET> = 1243645856; createExperience(config, 8);
As you might be able to tell, this is not an Eee PC. This thing is loaded to the gills. In addition to the eye-popping specs above, this laptop also comes with a powerful, built-in surround-sound audio system with Altec Lansing speakers and
Home Theater features, built-in fingerprint recognition security and something called "Total Video Communication," which, with the built-in video system, makes it "easier to log on to your system, capture and edit images, and video conference with multiple parties in separate locations at the same time."
You can get a better idea about what this computer is capable of by glancing at the list of inputs and outputs around the edges: There is a microphone-in jack, a headphone-out jack (analog and S/PDIF), a VGA port/Mini D-sub 15-pin for external monitor, four USB 2.0 ports, one IEEE 1394 (Firewire) port, a RJ11 Modem jack for phone lines, a RJ45 LAN Jack for LANs, one HDMI port, a CIR for remote controller, an E-SATA port (Serial Advanced Technology Attachment) and a TV antenna input. Starting to get the idea?
This is one heck of a portable computer. I say portable and not laptop because you'll need a very large lap to hold it comfortably. Overall, the big Asus measures 16.1 by 11.7 by 1.5 inches and weighs in at 8.3 pounds with the standard 8-cell battery pack (5200mAh). For the record, battery life hovers around 1.5 hours per charge -- low but not unreasonable for such a large machine. On the other hand (remember, you actually need both hands), this portable does comes loaded with nearly every feature you think they can stuff into a multimedia powerhouse.
I'm being assisted in this review by
multimedia guru/video editor Dan Byrne, who told me flat out that he loves this machine. In his own words: "I've been using this Asus as my primary computer for two weeks now, for editing, designing and everything else you do with a computer, and have been nothing but surprised at the speed and performance of this machine."
I can second that opinion. While not the most portable laptop on the planet (that's what little Eee PCs are for), this machine is one of the most-powerful and easiest-to-use computers I've ever tried.
Dan and I are also using the M70Vm as our test platform for the new version (PS4) of
Premiere video editing suite. That review is coming soon.
As you might expect, all these features come at a price. The top-of-the-line Asus M70V carries a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $2,399. That's a lot of money for a laptop, but this is a lot of computer for the money. You should shop around, online, for the best price. Here's something else to note: Buy an M70V between now and the end of the year, send your receipt into Asus, and instead of a rebate, the company will send you a 2GB Eee PC laptop. How cool is that?
Gary Krakow is TheStreet.com's senior technology correspondent.