Asus K50 review
A mediocre machine with an overly glossy display and questionable ergonomics
Review Date: 12 Oct 2009
Reviewed By: Sasha Muller
Price when reviewed: £522 (£600 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
To use a trackpad, you have to slide your finger across it. That may seem an obvious point, but it's apparently escaped Asus, as the K50's trackpad is covered in little indentations that add friction. You have to get used to moving the cursor with an extremely light touch.
The insubstantial keyboard, meanwhile, bends inward every time you press a key, and the numeric keypad and cursor keys are weirdly undersized.
The most glaring problem, though, is the glossy 15.6in widescreen display. To be sure, it's large and bright, but it suffers from a pinkish colour cast. Tweaking the graphics driver reduced the effect, but a truly neutral tone proved impossible to achieve.
If you can get past these issues, what's left is still pretty unexciting. The high point of the specification is probably the Nvidia G102M GPU, which helped the K50 achieve 24fps in our low-quality Crysis test. It's partnered with a 2GHz T6400 CPU, which yielded only a middling benchmark score of 1.02.
Battery life was slightly on the low side: its smallish 4,400mAh battery delivered 4hrs 9mins of light use, but only 1hr 12mins of heavy use.
Of course, the K50 is powerful enough for everyday use, and its 4GB of DDR2 RAM certainly doesn't hurt (even though 32-bit Windows wastes around half a gigabyte of that). Performance-wise, you can certainly do worse for £522.
And in a few ways the K50 does better than most at this price. Its 320GB hard disk is comparatively generous; and the Altec Lansing speakers aren't bad. They're not very loud, and predictably lacking in bass, but they do have a pleasing clarity.
You could even - if you were feeling charitable - call the K50 stylish. The shiny chassis sports a tasteful dotted pattern that changes subtly depending on your viewing angle. The interior is pleasingly uncluttered by superfluous stickers and buttons.
For all this, though, we can't recommend the Asus K50. It has too many foibles, without any real technical distinctions that might excuse them.
Author: Sasha Muller
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