Features: Software & Hardware
In this section we will focus on proprietary software from the notebook vendors. Whether you buy from Dell, HP, Compaq, IBM, etc., each company usually has software that is branded with their name to enhance the notebook experience. By that we mean easier, simpler, more feature laden, enabling user fixable solutions, etc...
Asus' OS indicators for brightness (meter increase/decrease, Fn + F5/F6):
Asus' touchpad status indicator (Fn + F9):
Asus' WiFi status (includes Bluetooth):
All of Asus' recent notebooks have included their Power4Gear battery software, as well as a button dedicated to changing the battery usage scheme. Basically, this is Asus' way of "optimizing" battery life. The problem is that Asus still needs to further developing the software; at least when it comes to what IBM has done with the ThinkPad line...
Asus simply supplies a single Power4Gear software package for all their notebooks. The problem with this is that a notebook like the W5A is going to be left with a "Game" setting, even though the 915GM will refuse to run games like Halo. The other problem is that the end result of all these power schemes doesn't really help maximize battery life. Asus' doesn't cut the power to the optical drive or anything; it just changes the sleep, hibernation, display timeout, hard drive timeout, and screensaver timeout settings. In the end, the real difference in battery life between these settings is less than one might think; ~ 10 minutes. You can more effectively save battery life by manipulating CPU speed, GPU power drain, brightness settings, etc...
The button for Power4Gear (pointed out earlier) only switches within four schemes when on AC: game, presentation, super performance, and high performance. The other 5 settings are accessible once the notebook is on battery life. The screenshots above show the difference between the different power schemes.
Left to Right: Camera shot from 1 foot (about the distance from camera to your face if video conferencing), Camera shot from 2 feet
Obviously one of the W5A's key selling points is the built in 1.3 megapixel camera. (It swivels down back and forward, not on the top side.). For a camera it is ok, but it doesn't seem to be able to focus very well for macroshots. It should be fine if it is used for video conferencing, though. There is a snapshot button below the microphone button on the left side of the display frame designed to be used for quick picture taking.
Asus' included LifeFrame software is used to interact with the camera. The camera is still supported natively by Windows XP though, so you should be able to use other third party software as well.