By the strict dictionary definition, Asus' new W90 is a laptop. Practically, the only way it could possibly qualify is if you've got the thighs of a sumo wrestler. To call it a notebook is to suggest Lord of the Rings is a mere fantasy essay.

In a world where everything has been getting progressively smaller, the W90 is an unrepentant throwback. But it’s supremely powerful, too, running faster than most desktops.

Component breakdown

The W90 isn’t quite as attractive as Asus' previous gaming goliath, the G70. The brushed aluminium lid and keyboard surround are high quality and well engineered, but the base itself is a little bit plasticky for the price.

Mind you, since we've established you won't be picking it up much, that's not a total disaster, and at least it feels solid enough to bear the weight.

Making up the mass is a selection of some of the finest components you can find. Two AMD Radeon HD4870s power the graphics side of things, which should mean it ploughs through games at an acceptable pace for several years to come, and there's a whopping 6GB of memory thrown in for handling demanding applications, too.

Quad-core upgrade

The processor isn't quite the fastest available – although there is an option to trade up to a quad-core chip at a cost.

Our favourite component is the screen. It uses the TV standard of 1080p as native resolution and is pin-sharp across all of its 18.4 inches. It can seem a little washed out if you stray too far from the perfect viewing angle, but HD movies played back from its Blu-ray drive look stunning.

Sound's good

That's not the end of its entertainment prowess either, because the built-in speakers are definitely worth a mention. They're not as good as a decent set of satellites for music, but compared to the vast majority of laptops they're like sitting in on a dress rehearsal at the Royal Philharmonic.

The touch-sensitive controls for manipulating movies and music are a pleasant bonus as well.

All this top-notch tech does, of course, come at a price. But while most of us will balk at paying over £2,000 for a laptop, it actually compares quite favourably to similarly specced machines from the likes of Alienware.

The question, though, is do you need this much power from a gaming laptop? MSI's GT725 may not be as quick, but it is quick enough in most situations and much lighter and cheaper, too.

Still, if you want the best, this is pretty much it. And if you do want to carry it round, at least Asus throws in a rather nifty backpack.


Stuff says... 

Asus W90 review

Phenomenally powerful and the ultimate gaming laptop, if you can handle the weight and the price