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Asus N50 15in laptop

Have integrated ionizer, will purify air

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Security for virtualized datacentres

By including a large screen, the N50Vc obviously isn't going to win any awards for easy portability, but it's not overly big, with a footprint of 369 x 276mm and measuring 2.9mm at its thinnest point and 43mm at its thickest. At at 2.95kg, it's not exactly a commuter's best friend, but it's fine if you're not planning on carting it too far.

Asus N50

Decent array of ports

On the N50's right side next to one of the three USB ports, in the spot you'd usually find the DVD drive, Asus has gone one better and included a Blu-ray compatible unit so you can play HD movie discs as well as burn CDs and DVDs. The screen resolution isn't high enough to show 1080p movies without downscaling, but you can hook it up to a big screen TV thanks to the HDMI port situated over on the other side.

As well as a HD hookup, down the left-hand side you'll also find Gigabit Ethernet, VGA, two USB, four-pin Firewire, ExpressCard, eight-in-one card reader and power ports and slots. Headphone and microphone sockets are round the front next to a - somewhat bizarrely positioned - eSATA port. Wireless connections are well catered for, with both 802.11n and Bluetooth built in.

One thing it has that you probably won't find on other laptops is a built in air ionizer which, according to Asus, not only cleans the air around the user of allergens and germs but also helps increase air flow and circulation. It all sounds like a bit of a gimmick, although to be fair at no point did we get sick while using the laptop, so make of that what you will.

There's also a quick-launch Linux-based ExpressGate interface from Splashtop that will have you up and running in just eight seconds and provides fast access to basic apps like a web browser, music player and photo viewer.

Asus N50

Blu-ray Disc included

The NV50's powered by a 2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T5800 chip, with 3GB of DDR 2 memory thrown in for good measure. Graphics come from an Nvidia GeForce 9300M chip, complete with 512MB of video memory, and it packs a huge 320GB hard drive, although it's only a 5400rpm unit.

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