A large part of buying a laptop is the display and many consumers will base their buying decisions on how well the display looks. Who can blame them? Unlike RAM and the hard drive, you can’t upgrade your laptop LCD panel once you leave the store, so the decision you make will have to last you the lifetime of ownership. In this section we try to help you by giving our impression of the Asus W5F’s display.
The Asus W5F uses a non-polarized screen for better colour reproduction, but this also means you will get reflections and glare of objects around you. It would seem the best viewing angel for this laptop is about 30-degrees on either side of the unit, with the screen tilted back about 5 degrees.
The image reproduced off the Asus W5F is very sharp but the quality depends largely on how you have configured the display in the Asus Splendid Video Enhancement utility. Splendid Video allows you to choose between different colour settings based on one of the following profiles: Normal, Gamma, Vivid, Theater, Soft, and a user defined profile.
I found Theater to be the best profile to use as it gave the best contrast against the background when viewing images and video. But if Theater is too dark for you, then Soft mode lightens highlights a bit and details look a bit brighter. Vivid mode gives the brightest and most defined background which is excellent for text contrast and best viewability in different lighting conditions. If none of the profiles fit your taste, you can always define your own.
Brightness can be adjusted by using the Fn F5 and F6 keys. Also I stumbled upon the quick colour mode hot key, Fn+C, was not documented.
Colour bleeding and refresh rate is something some users look out for when picking a display since it affects how well motion is reproduced and how clear an image appears. To test this I watched parts of Sin City, Star Wars: Episode 3 and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and for good measure I also played Need for Speed: Underground.
After watching segments of both movies and playing Need for Speed, I can say that the 12″ WXGA display is very good. I did not notice any colour bleeding at all especially in Sin City as majority of the movie is black and white, with splashes of red and yellow. Colours in Crouching Tiger are very vivid and well saturated, and for gaming Need for Speed played well without any noticeable problems except for the slow frame rates (more on this in the performance evaluation).
In Star Wars Episode 3, I noticed some tearing on the W5F during fast action sequences especially the first few minutes of the movie where there is a lot ship-to-ship fights and light saber duals.
In comparison to the Samsung 710N 17″ LCD display, the W5F does a very good job at producing colours and does appear to have a bit more depth to shadows and backgrounds. Of course this may be due to the Splendid Video colour correction software used on the Asus. Text I found a bit easier to read on the Samsung which had a bit more contrast to the white portions of the text.