Design and Construction

Unlike the other Asus laptops we’ve reviewed in the past (like Asus W7J), the lid of the W2J is made of aluminum. Not only does this make the W2J look really good, it also makes it a bit more durable than if it were made completely out of plastic.

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Of all the Asus laptops we’ve reviewed so far, the W2J has the nicest and coolest exterior design that really gives it an exclusive feel. The lid is charcoal black brushed aluminum, and the trim is an attractive chrome, but this thing is a magnet for dust and finger prints as you can see in the above photo. All around the product, the edges are beveled with nice feature lines like you would find on an automobile.

Taking notes from hi-fi components, the W2J has large circular feet with chrome details that really make it look more like a piece belonging to a home theater than a 17′ laptop. Thanks to these large feet, the W2J looks thinner than it really is.

Though the W2J is elegantly designed to match your home theater equipment, it doesn’t feel as sturdy as the other 17″ laptops we’ve reviewed before like the Dell XPS M1710 (review here). Even though the aluminum gives the W2J some nice looks, it does cause the lid of the laptop to flex more than normal in the middle. Pressing my finger against it made it bow inwards which gave me concern if carried around carelessly or if something really heavy was placed in the middle. Another reason to be careful is that you do not want is to scratch up the exterior.

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Opening the laptop reveals a visual treat. The keyboard is surrounded by a flat-top that is made from charcoal black brushed aluminum. Function and touchpad buttons are also made of aluminum and sit flush to the surface and the power button lights up blue when the laptop is turned on. The aluminum finish makes a huge difference in the look and feel of the laptop — it makes it feel expensive and prestigious.

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The keyboard itself is similar to the keyboards we’ve used on the W7J and A7J — it’s soft and slightly clicky. Compared to Dell laptop keyboards and the Asus Z96Js whitebook, the W2J has much quieter keys with slightly less tactile feedback. The touchpad is similar to the one found on the W5F which is slightly textured for smoother movement. The CTRL and Fn keys are swapped, but Asus has begun making their laptops with these two keys in the right places.

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The display is a large 17′ screen with a pair of speakers along the bottom. There isn’t an integrated camera, a common feature on Asus laptops, which helps give the W2J a nice clean look.

The W2J stands out from the hordes of 17′ laptops by offering analog connections for front speakers, center and bass, and surround speakers. Most laptops just have a single speaker output option. In addition to that, the W2J supports digital output via the headphone/front speaker jack by using a mini-optical adapter on your standard optical audio cable.

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LED indicators are also located on the front using discrete LEDs rather than big flashy bulbs. There is an IR port located next to the right speaker, but you should use the included IR receiver dongle for the remote. Two speakers are located along the front, and two more can be found just below the LCD display.

Using the AV dongle, you can plug it into the AV-In jack on the front so you can send a video and audio signal into the W2J and watch it on the laptop. This is great if you want to record from TV or a DVD.

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On the left side of the laptop there is a slot load DVD-ROM drive, a USB port, the power port, and a Kensington. Hidden under a hinged cover are the LAN, telephone, S-Video, and TV-tuner ports. Though the cover uses a neat magnetic clasp, the cover does appear to be fragile so be careful not to break it.

Because the power cable is on the left side, it does get in the way of accessing the ports or the DVD drive. Just make sure it’s tucked the other way.

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On the back of the W2J there aren’t any ports or connections whatsoever except for the battery. This means the W2J also supports extended batteries which sticks out further in the back.

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Finally on the right side of the laptop you have more peripheral connections like a mini-Firewire and two USB ports. There is also a SD and Memory Stick reader next to another IR transmitter. Hidden below that is a single Express Card slot. The DVI and VGA output are located along the right hand side which could get in the way if you use an external mouse. Like the A7J, the W2J has the heat vent located on this side too which may make mousing uncomfortable for some people.

For a 17″ laptop, you only get 3 USB ports, whereas other 17″ laptops give you at least 4 and possibly 6!

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