If you just want something small and cheap to do a bit of surfing and email on, a netbook is fine. If you need to actually get some proper work done, though, the cut-down spec often isn't really up to the task - which is where something like the Asus N50Vc comes in. Asus N50 Asus' N50: cool looks Sibling of the smaller N10, …
Glossy screen => no buy
I wanna see what's on the screen, not a reflection of myself.
Consumer Reports did a review on the Ionic Breeze which is what this uses... Their results were that Ion based devices place potentially harmful levels of Ozone into the air and fail to remove any measurable levels of any thing. However I would hope that the kid that came up with the idea of Ionic computer cooling is getting royalties for making the connection... (If i remember correctly he made 3 different machines with 3 totally different systems with 3 different results).
do they actually work? 100% secure? they sound like a dixons-techno-add-on-for-£30 gimmick to me?!
Dunno about others here, but I find that 1280 on a 15" is getting into eyestrain territory for normal usage. Anything above that would be a total no-no.
So you can't play full HD video without downscaling? Why would you want to on a 15" screen anyway? It's a bit like carefully ripping CDs to a lossless format and then playing the results through the internal speakers.
I reckon that the difference between 1024p and 720p on anything shy of 32" is perishingly close to indetectable.
What's the obsession with video playback around here anyway? Don't any of the reviewers here use their laptops for work and watch films on a sodding great telly like normal people?
Of course they aren't 100% secure. At worst, a criminal could chop off your hand to fool the reader.
They do work quite well though, on the dell I use, you can set it to need fingerprint authentication at BIOS level, and then again when you get into Windows. If you combined that with full disk encryption, you'd have a pretty secure setup. It won't unlock if I use a different finger, or the same finger on my other hand, so it seems pretty good.
"What's the obsession with video playback around here anyway? Don't any of the reviewers here use their laptops for work and watch films on a sodding great telly like normal people?"
Sod that, I resent the implication I'm abnormal because I don't want a sodding great tele in my house. I'm abnormal for millions of reasons, but not wanting to watch the crap that's on terrestiral, digital and/or satellite nowadays isn't one of them.
Plus I can't exactly take a sodding great telly with me on the daily commute (circa 4 hours), and if ever you look around in the morning you'll actually find hundreds of people watching movies on their laptops.
Plus, for those of use occasionally ditching the movies and working on our laptops, 1280 pixel resolutions are rubbish for photoshop work if you're trying to do something else simultaneously. Granted, 1920 x 1200 is a little extreme, but something like 1680 x 1050, or at least 1440 x 900 is far better. If you don't like it - you can whack the settings down. Or, alternatively, visit an opticians and get your eyesight sorted
re: fingerprint readers?
Well I can’t say much for this laptop but the one fixed in my vaio AW11 is a UPEK device and is bloody good - takes 3 readings of all your digits (if you choose to) which works for averaging out slight miss-reads... another point is the software - can use my finger to log on to El Reg, mail, windows etc so yeah it works IMO.
Battery life ...
... would probably be better if it wasn't ionising the air around it.
1280x800 is the resolution I'm currently using on a 15" laptop and I find it to be just right: enough screen real estate to do most work while still being readable. Indeed, if you're doing photoshop work, you may want a higher resolution. Then again, in that case you may want a much more expensive latop with a non-glossy 17" screen that's properly colour calibrated.
could you take someones fingerprint with cellotape and use that on the reader? i'm being daft, but does the reader also recognise that a finger is being used ie. does it feel the heat?
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.
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.
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.
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.