Review Asus Pro31S (F3SC) Notebook
Old Friend. At a closer look the Asus Pro31S, offered by MediaMarkt, turned actually out to be a F3SC, a well sold model of the well-known Asus F3 series. Obviously, the equipment was hardly changed: Core 2 Duo CPU, nVIDIA Geforce 8400M G, 2 GB main memory, and 160 GB harddisk capacity. However, the price has changed in the meanwhile - it was reduced.
As already mentioned the Asus Pro31S is in general an Asus F3SC notebook, which we already reviewed a while ago. However, one cannot completely exclude differences regarding the built-in hardware components. Here you'll find the comprehensive review of the Asus F3SC.
The notebook has a typical geometric Asus design. Silver top parts were combined with black base unit and black keyboard. Besides of a silver molding with imprinted "Asus Revolutionary Notebook Series", there are no further striking details. In total the notebook is rather decently designed.
Regarding stability of the case the Asus Pro31S is alright. Concerning flexural rigidity and pressure resistance of the base unit there are no complaints. The same is also true for the display, which is equally stable and the lid does even not yield too much.
Both of the spacious hinges allow an easy adjustment of the opening angle and at the same time the display does not see-saw too much after adjustment. Furthermore, it is possible to open the lid completely (180°). Both transport hooks, fit at the display, keep the display relatively stable closed. The latch can be opened by a rather hidden button located at the front edge.
Considering the low price, we were very pleased by the provided interfaces. Four USB ports, Firewire, S-Video, VGA, and a DVI out leave hardly anything to be desired. Most of the ports are located at the right side, whereas interfaces, which are likely to be used permanently are near the back. An exception are the audio ports which are on the front side.
The key size is standard and the keyboard's layout is strictly geometric. During use, we did not detect any anomalies. We hit all keys without any problems. Typing is also user-friendly. Even when typing more forcefully, the keyboard does hardly yield. Being tightly attached to the case also contributes to the way typing feels, i.e., the stop at the end of the travel is somewhat abrupt.
The provided touchpad has a user-friendly surface, which makes navigating easy. On the contrary to the F3SC the Asus Pro31S is not equipped with a fingerprint reader. Instead the part in front of the pad is completely used by a rocker switch. Besides of the somewhat annoying dead zone in its upper part, it is passable in use.
Hot-keys above the keyboard provide shortcuts for changing the preferred energy profile or launching the configured standard mail client or Internet browser.
The built-in 15.4 inch WXGA display with a resolution of 1280x800 pixels provides an average desktop size. It is a panel with reflecting surface. At maximum brightness, the display seems a little bit too white.
The measured maximum brightness of 173.2 cd/m² is rather passable.However, the brightness diminished at the upper display part to down to 138.8 cd/m². With these measured value, the illumination is still acceptable at 80.1%.
The possible maximum contrast ratio of the provided display is due to a minimum brightness of 0.9 cd/m² 192:1. This is below-average.
The Asus Pro31S is hardly proper for outdoor usage. First of all you'll face heavy reflections in bright environments due to the reflecting surface of the display. On the other hand, also the brightness of the display does not improve the legibility of it outdoors.
Horizontally, the viewing angles of the Asus Pro31S are adequate. But, vertically, the viewing angles are rather narrow, which is typical for the provided panel. Outside the acceptable big area of operation, the display quickly darkens or whitens.
Video of Display's Viewing Angles
Equipped with a Core 2 Duo CPU with 2.0 GHz and a nVIDIA Geforce 8400M G video card the performance of the Asus Pro31S is passable, considering its price.
Despite of the dedicated video card with 128MB video memory we decided to categorize the Asus Pro31S as office notebook. Although the performance of the built-in Geforce graphics adapter is good compared to integrated video solutions, the version labeled with "G" indicates the least powerful of the available 8400 video cards (G, GS, GT).
The Asus Pro31S is a good notebook for typical office applications like mail, Internet, and also DVD and video playback. However, weaknesses get obvious, if the applications demand better multimedia performance, or if you'd like to play computer games. Here, you'll quickly reach the Asus Pro31S's performance limits.
Besides of CPU and video card this notebook is equipped with a 160GB hard disk, whose transfer rates are average and whose access-time is slightly above-average. 2 Gigabyte main memory are nowadays standard and guarantee trouble-free work with Windows Vista.
|3DMark 05 Standard||1721 points|
|PCMark 05 Standard||4201 points|
|1024x768||Ultra, 0xAA, 0xAF||25 fps|
|800x600||High, 0xAA, 0xAF||40.5 fps|
|640x480||Medium, 0xAA, 0xAF||60.4 fps|
|640x480||Low, 0xAA, 0xAF||60.7 fps|
|1024x768||GPU: max, CPU: max, 0xAA, 0xAF||11 fps|
|800x600||GPU medium, CPU medium, 0xAA, 0xAF||32 fps|
|640x480||GPU min, CPU min, 0xAA, 0xAF||188 fps|
The Pro31S is similar to the Asus F3SC regarding noise emissions. Despite the fan also runs in idle and office mode, its noise level is limited and does not annoy at all. Time and again the fan speeds up a little.
Although the noise level is higher under load, the noise emissions of the Asus Pro31S are overall alright.
The surface temperature of the Asus Pro31S stay at the top and at the bottom side alright. Regardless whether under load or idle, the surface temperatures did not impact usability.
There is also nothing to complain about the two speakers located above the keyboard. The speakers sound full and clear and also there maximum volume is alright. However, the basses are moderate, but, this is nothing worth mentioning considering the notebook's price class. The sound output via the 3.5mm stereo out is alright.
Depending on the demanded performance, the runtime of the 4800mAh battery ranges from about 1.5 hours under load to up to about 3 hours at minimum energy demand. In practice you can expect a runtime of about 2.5 hours.
|Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)||2h 55min|
|Load (maximum brightness)||1h 40min|
|Off / Standby||0 / 0 Watt|
|Idle|| 24.6 / 26.5 / 38.8 Watt|
55 / 58 Watt|
Key: min: , med: , max:
The most important criterion pro Asus Pro31S is presumably its price. It is a decent notebook with rather passable equipment available for clearly below 1000,- Euros. However, despite of being equipped with a dedicated video card, it is still rather an office notebook.
The workmanship of the case is overall good. Especially, the good stability of base unit and also display left a positive impression. The look of the notebook is more or less simple and decent, so, it should not really influence the buying decision.
The keyboard seemed to be passable, and so the touchpad. Although a fingerprint reader was missed out, the notebook still provides an integrated 1.3 Mega pixels web cam. However, the absolute highlight of the Pro31S is the provided DVI port which allows to attach the notebook to an external display without quality loss.
Apropos display: The built-in 15.4 inch WXGA panel scored passable regarding brightness and illumination, but, has slight weaknesses regarding contrast ratio and viewing angles. Unfortunately, it is not fit for outdoor usage.
Regarding performance the Asus Pro31S is well-equipped for office applications, however its multimedia capabilities are rather limited. We did not really understand, why the notebook was just equipped with a Geforce 8400M G video card, which hardly provides any reserve capacity for current games or multimedia applications whilst it is over-sized for standard office applications.
The noise emission of the Asus Pro31S is alright. The same is also true for the surface temperatures. The sound of the built-in speakers is passable.
The battery runtime is sufficient for a mobile use of about 2.5 hours, but, this heavily depends on the demanded performance.
Many thanks to the company MediaMarkt Wels, which kindly provided us with the reviewed notebook. There you can also buy this notebook.