The X59GL has a big advantage in coming with a two-year collect-and-return warranty
Asus’s X59GL is a new model in an old case and, while it’s not ugly, it looks outdated.
Liberal use of matt black plastic is offset with a few glossy highlights, but the control strip above the keyboard looks a bit clumsy. It does hide a surprise, though: if the laptop is turned off, the Media Center button launches ExpressGate, which is a small version of Linux that launches quickly and gives you access to the internet, email and instant messaging.
The design may be pass??©, but build quality is superb and the X59GL feels sturdy. The keyboard is firm and the keys have definite feedback. Asus opted not to use the full width of the case, but hasn’t crammed in a number pad so there are no annoying half-width keys and no surprises in the layout, except the Fn key to the left of the Ctrl key. The touchpad is large and responsive, but we don’t like the one-piece button assembly, which is too stiff to press.
An HDMI port is useful for connecting the laptop to an HD TV as it carries video and audio signals over one cable. The X59GL also has four USB ports, and there’s a full-size ExpressCard slot and a 1.3-megapixel webcam. There’s no Draft-N WiFi or Bluetooth, but you do get Gigabit Ethernet.
The 15.4in screen has a 1,280×800 resolution and is reflective, but helps overcome this by being bright. Colours are accurate, but there’s light leakage along the bottom edge of the screen. Don’t be fooled by the Nvidia graphics chipset – the X59GL isn’t powerful enough for playing 3D games. It had one of the slowest scores in our Windows benchmarks, but with such a narrow spread of performance this month it’s largely a moot point. The battery lasted just over two hours, which is around half that of the Samsung R510 battery. Still, if you’ll mainly use your laptop while connected to the mains, battery life won’t be an issue.
The X59GL has a big advantage in coming with a two-year collect-and-return warranty. This in itself makes it good value, so it wins a Budget Buy award.
|Processor||Intel Core 2 Duo T5800|
|Processor clock speed||2GHz|
|Memory slots free||0|
|Sound||Realtek High Definition Audio|
|Power consumption standby||1W|
|Power consumption idle||28W|
|Power consumption active||52W|
|Viewable size||15.4 in|
|Graphics Processor||Nvidia GeForce 8200M G|
|Graphics/video ports||VGA, HDMI|
|Total storage capacity||250GB|
|Optical drive model||TSSTcorp TS-L633A|
|Optical drive type||DVD+/-RW +/-DL|
Ports and Expansion
|Wired network ports||1x 10/100/1000|
|Wireless networking support||802.11b/g|
|PC Card slots||1x ExpressCard/54|
|Supported memory cards||SD, MMC, Memory Stick Pro|
|Other ports||minijack audio output, minijack microphone input|
|Operating system||Windows Vista Home Premium|
|Operating system restore option||restore partition|
|Software included||Cyberlink DVD Suite|
|Warranty||two years collect and return|