Asus X59GL review

£426
Price when reviewed

We’ve seen the X59GL, or rather its chassis, used by several Asus laptops over the years, but while it’s unlikely to win any design awards, this laptop is monumentally well-appointed given such a modest price.

Asus X59GL review

Take a leisurely look through the Asus’ list of specifications and it’s astounding what you get for your money: Gigabit Ethernet, draft-n wireless, dedicated Nvidia graphics, a 1.3-megapixel webcam and a 250GB hard disk for just £370.

Somehow Asus has managed to create this enviable list of specifications without crippling the X59GL in other areas. An Intel Core 2 Duo T5800 processor sits alongside 3GB of memory; not the fastest combination, but it achieved a solid 0.89 in our benchmarks. Graphics performance is fine thanks to the laptop’s discrete Nvidia GeForce 8200M G graphics. These helped the X59GL to 13 frames per second in our least taxing Crysis benchmark.

The 15.4in display might not boast a spectacular native resolution – it’s the usual 1,280 x 800 pixel affair – but it more than makes up for that by virtue of its image quality. It’s bright and, although images have the tendency to look just a little washed out, it’s blessed with even-handed colour reproduction and good overall levels of detail. Only some backlight leakage along the screen’s bottom edge gives any cause for disappointment.

Using this Asus doesn’t throw up many surprises either. The keyboard isn’t fantastic, with unresponsive keys that feel a little dead under the finger, but it’s still eminently usable given the asking price. The trackpad is beyond reproach and we particularly liked the firm, short-travel buttons.

Take a closer look and feel of the Asus, however, and it soon gives away its low-cost roots. The glossy black lid is the only sop towards any sense of style, and considering the hefty 2.68kg weight the build feels too pliant. Tug on the base or display and the X59GL’s frame squeaks and creaks as if in pain. Battery life of 2hrs 16mins is poor, too.

The Asus might find itself outclassed by some of the other laptops here, in looks and build quality, but if you’re on a strict budget its performance means it’s still a contender.

Warranty

Warranty1 yr return to base

Physical specifications

Dimensions368 x 263 x 42mm (WDH)
Weight2.680kg
Travelling weight3.1kg

Processor and memory

ProcessorIntel Core 2 Duo T5800
Motherboard chipsetNvidia nForce 730i
RAM capacity3.00GB
Memory typeDDR2
SODIMM sockets free0
SODIMM sockets total2

Screen and video

Screen size15.4in
Resolution screen horizontal1,280
Resolution screen vertical800
Resolution1280 x 800
Graphics chipsetNvidia GeForce 8200M G
Graphics card RAM256MB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs1
HDMI outputs1
S-Video outputs0
DVI-I outputs0
DVI-D outputs0
DisplayPort outputs0

Drives

Capacity250GB
Spindle speed5,400RPM
Internal disk interfaceSATA/150
Hard diskHitachi HTS542525K9A00
Optical disc technologyDVD writer
Optical driveTSST TS-L633A
Battery capacity4,400mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT£0

Networking

Wired adapter speed1,000Mbits/sec
802.11a supportno
802.11b supportyes
802.11g supportyes
802.11 draft-n supportyes
Integrated 3G adapterno

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switchyes
Wireless key-combination switchyes
Modemyes
ExpressCard34 slots0
ExpressCard54 slots1
PC Card slots0
USB ports (downstream)4
PS/2 mouse portno
9-pin serial ports0
Parallel ports0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports0
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports0
3.5mm audio jacks2
SD card readeryes
Memory Stick readeryes
MMC (multimedia card) readeryes
Smart Media readerno
Compact Flash readerno
xD-card readeryes
Pointing device typeTouchpad
Audio chipsetRealtek HD Audio
Speaker locationFront edge
Hardware volume control?no
Integrated microphone?yes
Integrated webcam?yes
TPMno
Fingerprint readerno
Smartcard readerno

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use2hr 16min
Battery life, heavy use51min
Overall application benchmark score0.89
3D performance (crysis) low settings13fps
3D performance settingLow

Operating system and software

Operating systemWindows Vista Home Premium 32-bit
OS familyWindows Vista
Recovery methodRecovery disc
Software suppliedCyberLink Power2Go 6

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