ASUS K50IN Series Notebook
If you're in the market for a no-nonsense, reasonably priced notebook that's not going to fall apart in your your rucksack, then the ASUS K50IN could well be one for the shortlist. The build quality and strength of the materials used are exceptional for a notebook in this price range, and despite not being trimmed with anything as fancy as leather or aluminium its subtle carbon fibre like appearance still managed to turn heads.
ASUS are the first to admit that the K50IN is a "no-frills" model and as such you don't get anything not entirely necessary. For example, there's no Bluetooth connection, no HDMI output, no dial-up Modem and the sound quality is pretty average. The Nvidia GeForce G102M GPU is also completely incapable of playing any half decent games made in the past few years, and the CPU options are more suited to general home or office usage rather than anything such as photo/video editing which could be deemed as 'demanding'.
The LED backlit 15.6" display on the other hand is crisp and vibrant, and was a joy to use during testing. Visibility in daylight was acceptable, though having not seen any sun for the past few weeks it's impossible to comment how it would perform sitting in the garden on a summers day. Battery life was also a little better than some of the other notebooks we've tested in the past (possibly thanks to the LED display), but not to the point where it made a significant improvement on productivity. 2hrs 15mins of internet usage is certainly enough time to reply to a few emails or watch a few vids on youtube, but it's never going to compare to the staying power of a netbook.
Overall it seems that ASUS have distributed their money wisely on K50IN, putting it into the areas most important for a budget notebook, rather than skimping in quality just to get a little higher performance figures. Priced at £400-500 depending on where you shop and what specs you decide on it's anywhere from £50-150 more expensive than a decent quality netbook. But if you need the larger screen and the power to run anything from Windows XP to Windows 7, then it's definitely worthy of consideration.
- Subtle but appealing looks.
- Very solid construction.
- High Quality display.
- Reasonable performance.
- Official support for Windows XP, and unofficial support for Windows 7.
- Sound is pretty good, but not great.
- Touchpad could be better.
- Battery life is good but not great.
- Stiff hinges make lid hard to open.
- All the junk installed on the laptop and outdated Vista install make the first few days of use absolute hell.