Asus M50Vm review: Asus M50Vm

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The Good Solid construction. Affordable for what's offered. Good extras.

The Bad Multimedia touchpad far too easy to accidentally turn on. Video log-on and Splendid modes as useless as ever. 32-bit Windows limits the amount of RAM you can use. Heat exhausts from the left.

The Bottom Line The M50Vm is a great mid-weight laptop, with a few years of longevity in it as well. And at AU$1,999, it's definitely worth a look.

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8.0 Overall

Review Sections

Design
Asus' M50Vm comes from the same genus as its M51Va, featuring a similar half tone, faded wave design on its lid, silver interior and full-sized numpad, bundled with a 1,440x900, 15.4-inch screen.

However, there are differences that go beyond different patterns on the interior — the most notable is its featured multimedia touchpad, that at a press of a button, changes the touchpad into a series of quick access buttons for media functions. It's a good idea, although the switch to turn on the multimedia button is on the trackpad itself above the scroll area, and during our testing was turned on accidentally many, many times. Unlike the M51Va it also doesn't require a button to be pushed to open the lid, only force is required. The M50Vm also packs Altec Lansing speakers (with the always hilarious Dolby certification), which as far as laptop speakers go aren't terrible — but they are laptop speakers, and so you'll want to hook up headphones to get decent results.

At the top left of the keyboard are four quick access buttons, which allow quick switching of power profiles, disabling the touchpad, cycles through "Splendid" modes (Asus' monitor presets), and access to Asus' "ExpressGate", a quick load operating system based on the embedded Linux "Splashtop" system, giving fast access to music, Web, photos, online games, chat and Skype.

A fingerprint reader is situated in between the two mouse buttons, and an ambient light sensor sits just below the screen, dynamically altering screen brightness depending on the light level of your surroundings.

A webcam at the top of the screen, which supports Asus' SmartLogon, allows you to log in to Windows using only your face. The implementation is a little different from Lenovo's — for a start, the preview sits at the top right of the log-on screen and doesn't overlap the user list, and it also allows different levels of "security", altering how stringent it is on the facial check before it will log you in.

It is also next to useless. Apart from taking longer to log you in than the traditional method, it can easily be fooled by a low resolution, black and white print of the same person's face who's logged in.

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