Asus UL50Vg - 15.6in Laptop - Asus UL50Vg

Ardjuna Seghers

By Ardjuna Seghers

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

7

The rest of the UL50Vg’s specifications are inevitably a bit dull in comparison but that’s certainly not to say they’re poor. Memory duties are handled by 4GB of DDR3 1,066MHz RAM, while a very generous 500GB hard drive takes care of storage. The impressive specification list is nicely polished off by Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11Draft-N) and Bluetooth V2.1 plus EDR, leaving you wanting for nothing.

Yet another nice surprise concerns the installed OS, as rather than the Home Premium version of Windows 7 you will find on most laptops, Asus provides Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. This means you get access to Windows XP Mode, encryption and enhanced network functionality.

Aside from being almost as reflective as a mirror, the UL50VG’s 15.6in, 1,366 x 768 screen is decent enough by laptop display standards. Viewing angles are acceptable and the greyscale tests revealed smooth gradations - with minimal compression between the levels - even at the light or dark ends of the scales (though this did vary depending on the viewing angle).

Furthermore there’s no sign of backlight bleed and banding is so minimal as to be unnoticeable. One caveat is that sharpness is somewhat less impressive than we’re used to, but you’ll only notice this if working with very small fonts (six points or less) or in other scenarios unlikely to trouble the average consumer. Overall then, it’s certainly good enough for daily use, whether work or play.

Integrated laptop speakers have seen dramatic improvements recently, with many now producing a degree of depth at audible volume levels. However, the UL50Vg's Altec Lansing models are surprisingly disappointing considering the brand generally provides relatively impressive efforts. Mind you, they do get fairly loud, but distortion creeps in at higher volume levels and bass is weedy at best. Basically they’re usable for the occasional film, but if you have an external solution to hand you’re better off using that instead.

BOFH UK

December 10, 2009, 1:42 pm

One thing I really don't get about the current batch of laptops: How the hell are companies that have been building these things for years (decades in some cases) making such god-awful keyboards and touchpads? The HP Envy is a great example as it's hardly a budget machine and yet the trackpad is meant to be absolutely terrible. And the same here, this looks like a very nice bit of kit (although if someone at TrustedReviews could maybe give us an idea of how the world of Intel laptop processors stack up in real world use these days, Atom v CULV v Celeron v C2D v i5/7 for instance, it'd be much appreciated as it's getting tricky to keep up...) but if the way you interact with the machine is poor then what's the point in buying one?

GherkingTR

December 10, 2009, 3:52 pm

According to other sites (Engadget articles, Amazon user reviews), The Asus ULv series overclocks to 1.72 Ghz. Has our UK version been hobbled? Is your test unit around to verify this please?





Looked like hot specs, shame about the design. I'm happy to have a budget name and same cash, but it looks like the Acer ULV laptop you reviewed is the one to get.

HarryGlass

December 10, 2009, 6:04 pm

@GherkinG: I'd always take ASUS over ACER, unless the price differential was really substantial. ASUS machines have far better build quality and resilliance (IMOYMMV).

TechVegan

December 10, 2009, 7:38 pm

@GherkinG:


No, the UK version has not been hobbled. Despite the website claiming this 1.72GHz overclock (referred to as Turbo33, because it's essentially a 33 per cent overclock) applies to the entire UL range, in fact it's only found on the VT models, not the VS, VT or indeed the VG reviewed here.





I have confirmed this information with Asus, though I do think it's a pity...

Hibou

December 12, 2009, 4:47 am

This review seems rather subjective. The author simply doesn't like the glossy black finish, which is characteristic of many successful laptops, and despite the objective advantages of the machine finds many other design "flaws" to niggle about. Other reviews of the Asus UL series are much more positive eg http://www.notebookreview.com/... and http://hothardware.com/Article...

TechVegan

December 16, 2009, 6:30 pm

@Hibou:


It might be characteristic of many successful laptops, but just because it's popular doesn't mean it's good. Non-adjustable monitors are also popular, does that make them a good thing?





To be fair, I was leaning perilously close to an eight for this machine, but the reasons it doesn't get one are mentioned in the concluding paragraph and its glossy finish is only one of them.





Mind you, if this model had offered the Turbo33 mode discussed above it would almost definitely have received an eight for sheer innovation alone.

ming

January 7, 2010, 7:15 pm

I have just bought a UL50vt-black that comes with Turbo33. Despite overclocked, it's still not very powerful compared to other laptop you can get at this price range. But for a slim ULV 15.6" laptop at this price, this is the best that I can ask for. NVIDIA G210 CUDA, DDR3, switchable graphics, HDMI, low power consumption, windows 7 64-bit and expressgate are the plus side. At 1.72GHz, clock speed is of average, in my opinion. There are noticeable lags on running certain application for sure. For me, these are acceptable, unless you have already get used to super-performed pc - you'll hate it.





Dear Ardjuna, your review is very good and had helped me in making this wise decision in going for this laptop, when I have compared this to other models such as the timeline and other ULV-based laptop.





The glossy finish on the inside looks great, ONLY at first look, like the author has said. The chilet design of the keyboard looks good but the keys are too "plastic". The typing feels low-class. 0.3MP camera really sucks. I am also disappointed with the lack of dedicated shortcut buttons. No slot-in drive is a pity.





Other than that, I am very happy with what this laptop could perform. I watched 2 full movies on battery in almost 6 hours with 70% brightness, full sounds, and Power4Gear "Entertainment" mode during a battery drain calibration. This really amazed me. It handles HD movie very well. The Altec speakers aren't too bad for movies, but I'll say no for music. The aluminium lid looks great too on both black and silver model.

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