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Asus UL50Vt review: Asus UL50Vt

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The Good Good looks; switchable graphics cards let you prioritise performance or battery life.

The Bad Low-resolution display; chassis gets filthy quickly.

The Bottom Line Unlike many laptops of its size, the Asus UL50Vt is gorgeous to look at. It also offers good performance and excellent battery life. If you're looking for a stylish desktop-replacement machine that you'd be proud to take to and from the office, it's definitely worth considering

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8.3 Overall

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The 15.6-inch Asus UL50Vt is a paradox, wrapped in an enigma, obfuscated by a cloud of contradictions. It's not designed for gaming, yet has two graphics cards. It has a low-power CPU designed to promote long battery life, yet it can be overclocked like a high-end desktop-replacement laptop. It's also large, yet not at all heavy. It's baffling, alright, so just who is this £700 mystery machine aimed at?

So hot right now
The UL50Vt is relatively large, yet, miraculously, its 386 by 26 by 259mm chassis weighs a mere 2.1kg, putting it on a par with much smaller laptops. It's beautiful to look at, too. Its glossy palm rest is exceptionally difficult to keep clean, but the black lid with its brushed-metal effect will give your fellow commuters cause to plot a jealousy-fuelled mugging. Unfortunately, Asus' global two-year collect and return warranty doesn't cover train robberies.

Cooler than most
The aforementioned palm rest is worthy of note not simply for its uncanny ability to get filthy, but also for its amazing knack of remaining cool even when the CPU is working overtime. The laptop's cleverly placed internal ventilation fans channel air away from the palm rest, meaning this area remains several degrees below body temperature, even after hours of use. We're pretty embarrassed to even bring this up -- lets face it, it's pretty sad -- but it works really well and means your hands remain comfortable even after long computing sessions.

The stippled trackpad is pleasant to use, and the surrounding wrist rest stays refreshingly cool, thanks to the UL50Vt's ventilation system

Switch hitter
If the ice-cold palm rest doesn't rock your world, the UL50Vt's twin graphics cards almost certainly will. The UL50Vt comes with an Intel GMA 4500MHD graphics processor that's designed to prolong battery life, but, at the touch of a button, and, crucially, without the need to reboot, you can switch to an Nvidia GeForce G210M GPU. The latter munches through battery reserves more quickly than its Intel cousin, but provides a great deal more power and comes in handy when you need to run high-definition video or 3D games.

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