15.4 in 1,280×800 display, 3.0kg, 2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P8400, 4.00GB RAM, 320GB disk, Windows Vista Home Premium
Asus’s N50V is an attractive 15.4in laptop, and the only one in this price group to have a built-in Blu-ray drive.
This would seem to make it a good choice for high-definition entertainment. Sadly, the LED backlight made the screen look dim and colours muted. Flesh tones suffered in particular.
We weren’t happy with the speakers, either, which lacked bass, and there’s no Dolby Home Theater, which is built into Asus’s cheaper N80V. Fortunately, the HDMI and S/PDIF outputs allow you to connect this laptop to a home cinema amplifier for better sound.
It’s not all bad news. Thanks to the LED backlight’s lower power requirements, the N50V lasted a respectable three hours 38 minutes in our light-usage tests. With a 2.26GHz Core 2 Duo P8400 processor and 4GB of RAM, the N50V achieved some of the highest Windows benchmark results. The GeForce 9300M GS graphics chip can cope with strategy games and older titles, but new first-person shooters will be jerky. The 320GB hard disk is a good choice and provides plenty of storage space for your files.
Asus has opted to squeeze in a number pad next to the keyboard. The keys were a little wobbly, but the action is light and there’s enough feedback to make touch-typing comfortable. The touchpad is the same as the N80V’s, and the large, raised buttons are a pleasure to use.
The N50V falls short of the smaller N80V in connectivity, with only three USB ports. It’s also worth noting that the eSATA port is inconveniently located at the front of the case: if you were to plug in an external hard disk, the cable would stick out right where your mouse-hand naturally rests.
The N50V isn’t a bad laptop, but its little problems mount up. If you’re interested in Blu-ray, Acer’s £593 6920G is a much better buy. If you’re after power and portability, Dell’s Studio XPS 13 is an excellent choice.
|Processor||Intel Core 2 Duo P8400|
|Processor clock speed||2.26GHz|
|Memory slots free||0|
|Sound||Realtek High Definition Audio|
|Power consumption standby||2W|
|Power consumption idle||27W|
|Power consumption active||50W|
|Viewable size||15.4 in|
|Graphics Processor||Nvidia GeForce 9300M GS|
|Graphics/video ports||VGA, HDMI|
|Total storage capacity||320GB|
|Optical drive model||Optiarc BC-5500S|
|Optical drive type||DVD+/-RW +/-DL BD-ROM|
Ports and Expansion
|Total Firewire ports||1|
|Wired network ports||1x 10/100/1000|
|Wireless networking support||802.11a/n|
|PC Card slots||1x ExpressCard/54|
|Supported memory cards||SDHC, MMC, Memory Stick Pro/Duo|
|Other ports||eSATA, minijack audio output/S/PDIF (shared), minijack microphone input|
|Operating system||Windows Vista Home Premium|
|Operating system restore option||restore disc|
|Software included||Nero Essentials 8|
|Warranty||two years RTB|