Asus has broken the mold (and the scale) with its new W90 "laptop."
Asus has certainly broken the mold on this one, as the W90 is one of the first Asus machines to sport an 18.4-inch, full HD 1920 x 1200 screen.
Under the hood, the W90 has a X38 chipset, complimented by a 2.8 GHz Core 2 Duo T9600 which sports a 1066 MHz front side bus and six megabytes of cache. This combined with 6 GB of DDR2-800 memory and a 320 GB 7200rpm hard drive make the W90 quite the "mobile" powerhouse. What really stands out on the new offering is the graphics.
Asus includes an ATI 4870 X2 with 1 GB of GDDR5 memory, which is more than enough power for any game currently on the market. The 4870 X2 sports both VGA and HDMI outputs, with the HDMI offering a output for the onboard 7.1 soundcard. Speaking of sound, the W90 includes its own Altec Lansing 5.1 speaker system.
Many other laptop regulars also appear on the W90, including a fingerprint scanner, eSATA, Firewire, audio in/out, a 15-in-1 memory card reader, and four USB ports. For connectivity, it includes Bluetooth, wireless N, and a 2 megapixel camera. To power all this hardware, the W90 also includes a 12-cell battery. With a price tag of $2199.99, you get an above-average bang for your buck when considering what's in the chassis.
While the W90 may be portable, is it really a laptop? With a weight of 11.46 pounds and dimensions of 17.4-inches x 12.91-inches x 2.48-inches, the W90 isn't something you carry around at Starbucks or put on your lap while watching the news. If it wasn't for the backpack included with the laptop at purchase, finding a proper carrying solution for this behemoth would also be a challenge.
How does it compare to already large 17-inch notebooks in the same high performance category? The Toshiba Qosmio X305-Q706, which is large in its own right (16.2-inches x 12.0-inches x 2.5-inches and 9.04 pounds), is dwarfed by the W90, especially in terms of weight. And don't forget, the Q706 is no lightweight, either, with its own Core 2 Duo as well as dual Nvidia 9800GTS graphics cards.
If you know for a fact that your laptop won't be leaving your desk, the W90 is an attractive offer. But if you plan on doing any sort of traveling with it, the W90 is not a practical option, and you should consider a 17-inch option instead.
The Asus W90 laptop is now available on NewEgg.