The system comes loaded with Vista Home Premium, and the hardware rates a Windows Experience score of 3.5 which breaks down into 4.9, 4.8, 3.5, 4.7 and 5.3 for CPU, memory, desktop graphics, gaming graphics and HDD respectively.
Battery life wasn't exactly impressive. By setting the N50Vc to run PCMark05 in a constant loop before pulling the plug - our standard battery life test for laptops - it managed to hold out for 111 minutes before giving up. This is obviously an extreme test and you'd typically expect to get around twice that in real world use. That's rather less than we've achieved from other laptops, none running particularly slower CPUs or GPUs.
Battery Life Results
Battery duration in minutes
Longer bars are better
The N50Vc is a solid workhorse, and its performance is reasonable. But you're paying for the design and the Blu-ray drive. Drop the latter, and an equivalently specced big-brand 15.4in laptop can be had for around £500.
The Asus' numeric keypad nestled in alongside the keyboard, for example, is a welcome addition, and some might even be tempted by the integrated ionizer. But the relatively low resolution display means you can't make the most of the Blu-ray drive without hooking the computer up to an external display.
Increasing the pixel count even just to 1440 x 900 would make it a much more useful machine. As it stands, the N50's current resolution means the only real benefit of the 15.4in screen is that everything appears quite large. A PC for the short-sighted, perhaps?
Asus has come up with a nice-looking notebook, of that there's no doubt. But unless you're desperate for the frills - ionizer, Blu-ray drive, separate numeric keypad - you can buy a machine that's just as good a performer for less. ®
More Notebook Reviews...
Asus N50 15in laptop
I own a similar ASUS laptop...
... and the review gets it right, including the score. Mine's the M50SV (better resolution, no BluRay, faster CPU and GPU). Battery life is dreadful, cover is fingerprint magnet, screen is super shiny with lots of backlight bleed. Keystrokes occasionally fail to register (a common complaint). Fingerprint reader works, but if someone really wanted I'm sure there are a ton of my prints all over my machine perfect for making a gummy finger.
One BIG problem is the GPU cooling (or lack there-of). Doing a whole lot of nothing, CPU temp is 45 C, GPU 70 C. Ouch. Then try running any modern game, graphics driver throttles back/crashes once GPU inevitably hits 85 C. Take a look at the back cover and the cause of the problem is obvious, limited airflow to the GPU compartment. One fan cools both CPU and GPU, way more vent slots for the CPU. CPU gets majority of airflow and stays cool, so case fan doesn't cycle up (fan RPM linked to CPU temp not GPU), so GPU gets little airflow and runs hot even at idle. Genius. Can't say I'd line up to buy another ASUS without first being able to run GPU-Z or Everest.
Would have loved to see what GPU temperature readings were on the reviewed machine.
It was doing ok....
....until the weight of it was mentioned. I'm looking for a new laptop thats a bit lighter than my current old Compaq R4000. This isnt the one.
I too find 1280x800 fine for general day to day use. If you are a hardcore photoshop user then you'd obviously look elsewhere.
Comments from an Asus notebook owner
The battery life on all the recent Asus notebook models stinks. Asus really needs to address this.
The Asus fingerprint reader is especially useless - not only can it not read fingerprints reliably, the owner's fingerprints are always clearly visible on the glossy black lid in any case. :-)
Take a close look at those hinge covers, which the same design as several recent Asus models - they are flimsy plastic covers that pop off or break easily with the slightest impact. Practically every Asus notebook using this design has missing hinge covers after a year of use.
Proper grown up components?
Eh? My lovely lttle N10 plays Half-life 2, Fallout 3 quite nicely when in nvidia-gfx mode. OK, I did add an extra 1GB to bring it to 2... and it's running Windows 7b. I have to turn the settings down a bit, but it still plays games very smoothly. Bloody brilliant for long flights too - I get 4.5 - 5 hours out of the battery as well.
Oh, it also does a bit of work too - Autodesk Revit (3D Building Information Management cad app which uses Access' Jet engine - so it's more DB than cad - and will happily eat 6gb ram if you have it...) runs flawlessly, and can even cope with the small screen, something that Autocad itself, oddly, can't.
Little Point To This
With such a short runtime, you'll not be able to use it on the go for anything demanding so you might as well have had a lower performance laptop for lower cost. With the 15" screen, it's not quite fit to be a desktop replacement either.
Finally the price - outrageous. £300 should get what you're after in a short running 15" laptop, at least in the States that's a retail price with regular discounts below £250.
Granted at that price you dont' get Bluray, which you don't need since it can't do 1080p, and you don't get the discrete video chip, which is of little point since the short runtime again forces one to be plugged into an AC outlet, where one might as well have spent the difference in cost for a proper desktop gaming system video card upgrade and a 20" or larger monitor if these weren't already owned.