Asus has launched the world's first 17.3in 16:9 laptop. The Asus F70 is capable of handling high-definition content up to 1,080p.

The 17.3in machine features an LED backlight, while Altec Lansing surround sound speakers offer audio to match. The large display combined with surround sound makes it ideal for those that want to watch movies on their PC without loosing any aspect of the cinematic experience.

The Asus F70 runs off an Intel Core 2 Duo processor paired with 4GB of RAM. Asus offers a choice of 320GB or 500GB hard disk drive while an HDMI port ensuring users can connect the laptop to a larger HD screen.

Running Windows Vista Home Premium or Business, the 466x309x47mm laptop also features a 1.3Mp webcam, DVD optical drive, Bluetooth and 802.11b, g and n Wi-Fi connectivity. However at 3.9Kg, its not the most light weight machine we've ever seen.

The F70 also features a rubber 'chiclet' keyboard, similar to those found on a ZX Spectrum. Asus says the keyboard's concave keys "fit the user's fingertips and offer a rebounding elasticity" and thereby ease the strain of typing over longer periods.

There's also a four-in-one card reader and a software bundle including Nero 8 Essentials.

Asus' F70 follows in the footstps of other large screen laptops aimed at users that want to enjoy HD movies and TV on their PC. Other similar machines include Medion's Akoya E6210, which has a 16in widescreen display and the Toshiba Qosmio G50, which although only has a 15.4in screen benefits from a quad-core processor that can upscale DVD content and play it back as though it were high-definition.

The laptop is a depature from the netbook market, which the PC manufacturer pionerred with its Eee PC. However, while its netbook models have proved very popular, sales now appear to be tailing off . Asus only managed to shift 900,000 units in the Q1 of 2009, although it had predicted it would sell one million machines. This has lead the company to explore other PC markets.

Prices for the F70, which is available immediately, start from £859.

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