Kicking the Tires of the ASUS X72D

It's unfortunate that a journey around the ASUS X72D is going to reveal something that's large for large's sake. Don't misunderstand me: as an owner of a 17.3" notebook I can definitely appreciate the basic benefits inherent in a notebook being simply larger. You'll see that ASUS hasn't taken the best advantage of the space available, though.

Gallery: ASUS X72D

Starting where we usually do—with the lid—we find the traditional "black" glossy plastic with a silver ASUS logo in the center. If you look closely you can see a small sort of thatched diamond pattern on a dark brown background that's almost too subtle by half; overall the lid is attractive but not exciting. If they're going to put glossy plastic anywhere it might as well be here, but we still pine for the day when glossy plastic goes the way of the dinosaur.

Unfortunately ASUS continues to employ glossy plastic on the screen bezel, one of the worst places to put it. Glossy screen finishes are already reflection prone, but putting glossy plastic—even if it's black—around the bezel just exacerbates things, and that's ignoring the fact that the bezel is going to be one of the first places to pick up loads of fingerprints. It's not completely unattractive, but it also isn't exactly practical either. A minor gripe, but one we've had to repeat a few too many times.

Mercifully the body of the notebook is devoid of gloss, excepting the black plastic between the keys on the chiclet keyboard. The majority of the inside surface is a textured matte plastic that makes for a comfortable place to rest your wrists. It's brown, an unusual color for a notebook, but the color is very dark and doesn't call attention to itself. As a whole, it's not very exciting looking but not an eyesore either: the surface is functional and gets the job done.

As for the keyboard, I'm a fan of the chiclet style and ASUS has a decent implementation here. There's some flex if you push hard on the center but for basic typing it isn't bad at all. We'd prefer no flex at all, but minimal is adequate. I would like to make a request, though: the ASUS style keyboards with 10-key are too crowded. There's ample room on this chassis to stretch things out and give the number pad a full-sized zero key instead of letting it get cut in half by the right arrow key. This isn't a major gripe, but real estate has been left on the table that could've been better used. As is becoming customary, all of the X72D's shortcuts are Fn key combos, including the media, volume, and wireless controls.

The touchpad, on the other hand, suffers from the same problem I noted in the U35Jc review. While it's not horrible to use, it has the same texture as the rest of the palm rest, just indented, and again ASUS is employing a single mouse button that acts as a rocker switch for the left and right mouse buttons. These are minor issues—the touchpad is plenty functional—but they're still problems that we'd like to see addressed in future designs. Integrating the touchpad into the rest of the surface shell is always going to look and feel incredibly chintzy and cheap, and this is something that could be remedied at minor expense.

When you get to the remainder of the body, you're going to be somewhat disappointed. As I mentioned on the previous page, the port selection is ample but still missing any kind of high speed connection for external storage. Port placement is at least logical, but there's a big chunk on the front of the right side that's just blank plastic, and this is space where additional expansion—say an ExpressCard slot or the media card reader—could have gone. Alternatively, the headphone jacks could also have been moved up. It's minor, but indicative of a feeling that ASUS hasn't made the best use of the space that comes with a notebook in this form factor.

Another disappointment comes when you pop the expansion panel off of the bottom of the X72D. The hard disk bay and memory slots are accounted for, but most of the wireless NIC is covered and inaccessible. An enterprising user might find a way to upgrade the processor through here, but the real disappointment is the lack of a second hard disk bay. There's space in this build for it: the actual processor, northbridge, and GPU are all covered by a single copper heatpipe that exhausts out of the left side of the notebook, resulting in a very compact heat zone. As you'll see later, this cooling design isn't the most efficient one either. Simply stated, ASUS could've done better with the X72D given the size of the chassis.

Introducing the ASUS X72D/K72DR General Performance with the X72D


View All Comments

  • debacol - Tuesday, October 26, 2010 - link

    Except it isn't useful. The i3 compares to it in performance yet destroys it in battery life. Plus you can get a similar laptop with an i3 in it for cheaper than this. I'm really hoping bobcat competes, because Intel has completely mopped the floor with AMD in the mobile sector. Reply
  • Malih - Tuesday, October 26, 2010 - link


    this cries for Zacate, I'm on the market for 12"/13" new notebook right now, but until Zacate is released and reviewed here on AT i'm not gonna make any decision, my 3 years old 12" acer 2920z will still be around.
  • xxtypersxx - Monday, October 25, 2010 - link

    Holy thermals, that is high for even an intel chip and all the guidance I have ever seen with AMD's 45nm chips reccomends 60-70C as the top end. Reply
  • blackshard - Tuesday, October 26, 2010 - link

    60-70°C are reccomendations for desktop chips.
    mobile chips have far higher tolerances (up to 100°C and more).
  • mino - Monday, October 25, 2010 - link

    Reasons for 5470 to exist:
    1) Crappy/incompatible Intel IGP drivers (counts for Intel platform)
    2) 3x the performance of IGP's (RS880/Arrandale)

    3) Hybrid Crossfire anyone ??? You mention the uselessness of IGP and yet you not even bother mentioning whether Hybrid crossfire id available ...

    Sorry Dustin, but your bashing of HD5470 is just a spoiled kid's talk not worth of this site.

    This issue aside, thanks for an interesting revue.
  • JarredWalton - Monday, October 25, 2010 - link

    Take your comments in light of the laptop being reviewed and you'll see the problem. Intel IGP is a different platform, 3x slow is still slow, and ASUS didn't use Hybrid CrossFire--or switchable graphics. The bigger problem is that there's just not much utility in these low-end parts anymore.

    If you were talking about the old Core 2 GMA 4500MHD IGP, I'd give you point one, but the Intel HD Graphics has had very few problems, particularly with the latest drivers. It is, as far as I'm concerned, essentially equal to the HD 4200 IGP. Yes, there are a few areas where I'd give the 4200 the edge, but for casual users it just doesn't matter. It can handle HD video (including YouTube HD), and even if you wanted to argue about audio bitstreaming capabilities Intel can do DTS-HD and DD TrueHD if I'm not mistaken (though it may require getting a setup with proper BIOS support).

    Anyway, I'll give you the existence of the HD 5470 as something the market wants, but when we say "the market" I think we all understand that it really means "big OEMs like Dell and HP". Any consumer that knows their stuff understands that entry-level discrete graphics chips are a joke. The "midrange" stuff only costs a bit more, typically doubles performance and allows improved quality, and it doesn't even use that much more power. If you have switchable graphics thrown in, then there's really no reason to bother with 5470.

    NVIDIA's GT 415M looks to be more like a low-end 5650 competitor based on the specs, so hopefully the next-gen AMD mobile parts will finally move beyond the pathetic 80 Stream Processor mark. That's our real complaint: IGP = 40 SP, entry dGPU = 80 SP, midrange GPU = 400 SP. That's a major jump in shader capabilities.
  • Dustin Sklavos - Monday, October 25, 2010 - link

    Jarred covered me but I'd like to point out...we haven't had Hybrid Crossfire since the 3400 series. Reply
  • BaronMatrix - Monday, October 25, 2010 - link

    If you notice the Asus i7 has an 84Wh battery where the AMD has a 48Wh battery. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, October 26, 2010 - link

    Which is why we have the "relative battery life" chart. Reply
  • orionmgomg - Tuesday, October 26, 2010 - link

    about 1,000$

    I would say a little too high for this computer.

    For 1000 you can get a better set up, or better hardware (better GPU) and performance

    I dont understand why you did not have a price chart necx to overall performance chart - that way you could clearly see what you get for your money, system to system,

    but oh well - hooray for AMD and their ability to get any traction in the laptop marketshare catagory

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