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When closed, the Asus UL50Vt looks very impressive, with a brushed aluminium lid and a relatively subtle (for Asus) logo embedded in it. It's an illusion that's a little shattered when you open it up and realise that the rest of the bodywork is a cheap glossy plastic. It's one of our pet peeves, but the Asus UL50Vt's use of piano black does mean that it's a model that looks OK on a store shelf, but quickly becomes a smudge magnet in actual use.
The Asus UL50Vt features a full keypad including number pad, which gives it some utility to the business crowd. The compromise here is a common one amongst full sized notebooks, in that the cursor keys are squished in against the number pad, making them much less distinct and easier to mistype in use.
The laptop also sports two power buttons. The right-hand button performs an ordinary boot into the operating system installed, while the left-hand one is used to quick-boot into a simplified Linux OS when the system is powered down, and to switch between the integrated Intel graphics solution and the discrete Nvidia NV G210M 512MB option.
The UL50Vt fits into the same thin and light ultra low power notebook family as products like Acer's. They're not meant to be heavy performance machines rather than long-term workhorses with good battery life. Asus' claims in this department are even more hyperbolic than Acer's, with a claimed "up to" 12 hours battery life from the 5600mAh 84Wh battery. Part of how the UL50Vt tries to achieve this lofty goal is with use of a low power Intel Core 2 Duo SU7300 chip. By default that's a 1.3GHz part, but Asus allows for a mild modicum of overclocking through its in-built Power4Gear utility up to 1.7GHz. By default that's the state that the UL50Vt ships in, so if you do need a little extra battery life, stepping it down may be advisable.
Processor aside, the UL50Vt comes with 4GB of RAM, a 320GB hard drive, Windows 7 and a switchable graphics solution. You can either pick the low performance Intel GMA4500MHD chip, or the higher performance Nvidia NV G210M 512MB chip at the cost of some battery life.
The UL50Vt's display is a 15.6-inch 1366x769 LCD. That's not that great a resolution for a screen this size, although if you were keen on it from a business perspective it would perform acceptably.