Asus X50R review

£391
Price when reviewed

The X50R comes sheathed in Asus’ familiar F5 chassis, which – given its understated good looks – is no bad thing. There’s no recourse to flashy paint jobs; instead, the Asus is finished in pleasingly subtle shades. The black lid is interrupted only by the silver Asus logo, and the silver trim is a nice touch, too.

Asus X50R review

A push button at the front releases the lid’s twin catches, and the display tilts back smoothly on two sturdy hinges. Asus has livened up the interior with a generous silver wrist rest, which is both attractive and practical, as it helps make the most of the keyboard’s sensible layout and positive-feeling keys.

At 2.6kg, it’s one of the lighter laptops on test, but build quality is excellent. There’s barely any flex in the Asus’ base, and we had to press firmly on the lid before noticing any show-through at all.

In addition to pleasing looks and a sturdy build, the Asus has a fine specification. With a 1.73GHz Intel T2250 processor and 2GB of memory, it managed a solid 0.73 in our benchmarks. The accompanying ATi Radeon Xpress 1100 graphics also managed to outdo other laptops equipped with Intel’s integrated chipsets, averaging just over 7fps in our low Crysis benchmark.

The Asus’ display isn’t quite so remarkable, though. Its matte finish keeps reflections to a minimum, but a noticeable bluish cast left it struggling to produce realistic skin tones. There’s also some backlight leakage around the panel’s edge, which often left blacks looking excessively grey. Battery life lets the side down, too: sitting idle, the Asus only lasted a little more than two hours.

Where the Asus truly excels, though, is storage. The 200GB hard disk is the largest here and is highly generous for a budget laptop. There’s no lack of features, either: a memory card reader, 1.3-megapixel webcam and ExpressCard/54 slot are topped off by a two-year global collect-and-return warranty – the best here.

The Asus X50R is a good all-rounder that does nothing wrong, but fails to stand out from the crowd. Spend a little extra on one of the award-winning laptops and you’ll get more for your budget.

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