Naturally, one of the biggest considerations of any CULV laptop is its battery life. Unfortunately the manufacturer’s claims usually need to be taken with hefty pinch of salt, and as ever that proves to be the case here despite the high-capacity eight-cell (5,600mAh, 84Wh) battery.
With the discrete nVidia G210M graphics card enabled, we managed to get just over four and a half hours out of the UL50Vg in MobileMark’s semi-intensive productivity benchmark (40 per cent screen brightness), and an impressive three hours and 22 minutes for the DVD test at full screen brightness.
Switching to the Intel integrated GMA 4500HD improved on these results significantly, with six and a half hours for the productivity benchmark and four hours 43 minutes for the DVD test.
Considering that the UL50Vg’s screen is perfectly usable a tad below 40 per cent brightness and Asus’ Power4Gear application includes all kinds of power-saving tricks, it should be fairly easy to get seven hours out of this machine – but that’s still a far cry from Asus’ claim of up to 12-hours.
Finally we get onto value, where the £729 UL50Vg holds up quite well. Sure, there are far cheaper 15.6in CULV laptops available with the same amount of memory and storage, but throw in Windows 7 Professional, the slightly overclocked SU7300 processor and the dual graphics system and the price is very reasonable indeed. However, whether this laptop is actually worth getting is another matter.
We like the UL50Vg‘s brushed aluminium lid, its relatively slim chassis and light 2.3kg weight, easy CPU overclocking, the hybrid GraphiX Boost system, the extensive BIOS and the inclusion of 64-bit Windows 7 Professional. Unfortunately the mediocre keyboard and touchpad, unimpressive speakers and glossy finish on the laptop’s entire interior put a damper on things, making this an option to be considered only if you want the specific combination of features it offers.
With its UL50Vg, Asus has created an impressive laptop that uses a range of technologies to offer a rare combination of power and portability for a very reasonable price. This makes it even more of a pity that some ill-considered design choices hold it back from a recommendation.
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