Asus G50 review: Asus G50

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We Brits have one up on our foreign friends, however, thanks to the included Blu-ray combo drive. Using this to watch Blu-ray flicks on the laptop itself won't reap you any huge rewards, but you can always pipe the video signal through the HDMI port on the left of the laptop to a 'full HD' TV for an splendid Media Center experience.

Asus wants users of the G50 to go nuts and install as many games as they please -- it has supplied two 320GB hard drives, totalling 640GB of storage. We've seen more storage in the media-oriented M70, which comes with 1TB of storage, but this amount of disk space is nothing to be sniffed at -- particularly in a laptop.

The HDMI port is useful for watching Blu-ray movies on a large TV

You'll find this space comes in handy when you realise the laptop ships with a digital TV tuner that can record television. In our review sample this used a DIB 7700 chip, which can receive Freeview signals, digital radio Teletext and subtitles. Unfortunately it doesn't come with a remote control or any dedicated software, but you can at least use it with Windows Media Center.

The G50 package is rounded off with Bluetooth 2.0, 8022.11b,g,n Wi-Fi and a copy of Microsoft Windows Ultimate edition. Sadly, no games are included.

The G50 is quick. Its 2.26GHz CPU and 4GB of RAM helped it achieve a healthy PCMark 2005 score of 5,774. That's on a par with the 5,830 achieved by the Dell XPS M1730, which used a 2.2GHz Core 2 Duo T7500.

Graphics performance was impressive, too. Its Nvidia GeForce 9700M GS graphics card guided it to 6,923 in 3DMark 2006. For reference, the Dell XPS  M1730 achieved 8,870, but that was with two Nvidia GeForce 8700M graphics cards running at once.

The G50 is not a truly portable laptop. It lasted just 1 hour and 10 minutes in our BatteryEater classic test, which isn't enough to watch a feature-length movie. We'll give it some credit though, it doesn't get very hot or noisy and it can be comfortably used on your lap.

The G50 is an attractive, well-constructed laptop with decent, if hardly stunning performance. It isn't the best gaming laptop we've seen, but its HDMI output and Blu-ray combo player make it a solid Media Center machine.

Edited by Marian Smith