Asus UL50AG review
A slimline desktop replacement with a mighty battery life, the UL50 could be the laptop you've been waiting for.
Review Date: 31 Dec 2009
Reviewed By: Sasha Muller
Price when reviewed: £565 (£650 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
The phrase “slimline desktop replacement” may sound like an oxymoron, but the Asus UL50 is just that. Asus has squeezed a 15.6in display into a chassis that stands just 31mm high, and weighs a modest 2.41kg.
From the moment you lay eyes on it, it’s clear the UL50 wants to go toe to toe with the Acer Aspire Timeline 5810T. Both have brushed-aluminium effect lids and sleek good-looks, but the Asus complements this with gloss-black innards. It’s one good-looking laptop.
The UL50 isn’t as sturdy as a traditional desktop replacement, but it isn’t far off. There’s little give in the slim base, but the lid is more flexible.
Despite its slim figure, though, the UL50 has all the features of a proper desktop replacement. There’s a DVD writer, a 500GB hard disk, 802.11n wireless and Bluetooth, and an LED-backlit panel.
And although its dimensions make it significantly bulkier than any ultraportable, battery life is right up with the longest-lasting models on the market. We recorded just less than 11 hours of life in our light-use test, and more than four hours of heavy use; a mighty achievement by any standards.
That longevity does come with some compromises, however. The low-voltage processor runs at just 1.3GHz – a whisker behind that of the carbon-copy Acer – and despite 4GB of DDR2 memory, it achieved a score of only 0.66 in our benchmarks. Entertainment potential is similarly limited by the Intel integrated graphics, which provided unplayable frame rates in our Crysis tests.
The Scrabble-tile keyboard isn’t too shabby, and although some may dislike the short-travel keys and the soft action, the wide, spacious layout lets touch-typists get right up to speed. The oddly dimpled trackpad, although reliable, is more of an acquired taste.
As long as you aren’t seeking a gaming goliath, the UL50 has much to offer. It’s both attractive and blessed with some genuine all-round ability.
The big question is whether a 15.6in laptop can remain usable with such little raw power, but if your needs are undemanding – and superb battery life is more important to you than ultimate performance – this is a fine choice.
Author: Sasha Muller
- Nokia Lumia 2520 tablet sales halted over faulty charger
- Microsoft slashes custom XP support price
- Amazon Phone: does anyone want a 3D handset?
- Virgin email fiasco hits thousands of users
- Chrome Remote Desktop now available on Android
- Google posts "average quarter" with slow growth
- What's on this week's PC Pro podcast?
- BBC iPlayer lets Android devices download shows
- Google's Project Ara modular phone arrives in January
- Hackers harvest LaCie card data for a full year
- Windows 8.1 Update: an abject surrender
- The insane economics of Sky Now TV
- No such thing as a free app... so pay up if you want quality
- Time to outlaw crapware-laden installers
- Windows Phone 8.1 video: hands-on
- Office for iPad: key information
- Why every PC buyer owes Richard Durkin a debt of gratitude
- HTC One M8 vs Samsung Galaxy S5: 2014's big-hitters compared
- Windows XP end of life: key information
- Cut out the broadband jargon? What jargon?
- The great iPhone ripoff and how it works
- Heartbleed: what you need to know and do
- Data recovery: inside the clean room
- Best tablet PCs to buy in 2014
- How much RAM do you really need?
- News of the weird: the strangest ever tech stories
- Five hyped technologies: disruptive or not?
- Piracy's dying: why we're all going straight
- Office: should you buy it, rent it - or dump it?
- Make the most of your mobile data
- Make your mobile battery last longer
- Small steps into handling Big Data
- Nexus 5: does it really run stock Android?
- How to get broadband to a garden office
- How to write your company's IT security policy
- Raspberry Pi and Wolfram: a must-have for every child
- Could you get by with Office Web Apps?
- The best Android antivirus apps for 2014
- Headings vs headers: how to use both in Word
- Windows Server 2012 R2: how the Datacenter edition could change SMBs