The Asus K50C-SX009V certainly won't impress with its specification, but it will draw gasps of astonishment at its amazingly low price tag. Our review model was supplied by Laptops Direct, where you can purchase it for just £320. That makes it one of the cheapest Windows 7 laptops available right now.
Netbook in laptop clothing
Given its low price tag, you'd expect this to be a pretty boring-looking machine, but Asus has done a really good job of giving it quite a distinctive look. This is achieved mainly by adding a cross-hatch pattern to the lid and keyboard surround, which not only looks cool, but also helps to disguise the fact the whole chassis is essentially matte black plastic. The laptop feels very solid when you pick it up -- there's very little give in the chassis and the lid is sturdy, too. At 2.6kg, it's not too heavy for a 15.6-inch model, and measuring 370 by 256mm, it's not overly bulky, either.
While the design does a good job of hiding the laptop's budget origins, the cost-cutting becomes obvious when you take a look at the range of ports on offer. It's rare for netbooks to outdo laptops when it comes to connectivity, but that's certainly the case with the K50C. All you get here is a pair of USB ports, a VGA output and an Ethernet jack. That's pretty poor when most netbooks manage to pack in three USB ports and often include an HDMI output, too. Naturally, the laptop has 801.11n Wi-Fi on board, but, as you might expect, there's no Bluetooth support.
Things improve slightly on the storage front. Asus has fitted a reasonably generous 320GB hard drive that provides a decent amount of space for storing documents and media files. There's also a DVD writer built in, so you can burn your own CDs and DVDs. On the front lip, you'll find an SD card slot that's useful for transferring files from portable devices like phones and digital cameras.