The moment when we took N50Vn out of the box it was clear that this is no ordinary 15.4 inch notebook. It is slightly chunkier than most 15.4 models but also a lot heavier (like it is 17 inch model). Interesting and pleasant exterior shows that ASUS took extra care of all aspects of this model. Design of ASUS N50Vn is inspired by art-deco style. Dark brown color of cover with rows of light dots gives it elegant look. Thanks to this texture finger prints are not easy distinguished despite the fact that almost all surfaces have piano finish. If you are afraid that this looks is to tacky let us assured you that it is not. Palm rest area is also made with similar texture but in slightly brighter color. At the back chassis is slightly sloped so it resembles the aerodynamic shape of an sports car. Cover has good construction that protects display even from serious bending.
Segment above keyboard is covered with piano finish dark plastic that hides sensor buttons. First sensor activates upper or lower row of buttons. In upper row are multimedia controls that shine with blue light while lower row shines with while light. First “button” in lower row is used to start Power4Gear application that is used to set power profiles and settings. Second is Splendid Key that is used to activate Splendid Video Intelligent technology that is used to set display according to user needs. Third is used to disable/enable touch pad which is nice option if you use mouse most of the time. On ASUS N50Vn we meet with an interesting option that we first time encountered on one MSI model at last year’s CeBIT: Air Ionizer. Fourth button is used to activate this option and enables air ionizer that is used to purify surrounding air from dust particles. ASUS explains that emitted ions are attracted to tiny particles of dust that can be found in the air, sticks to them and then, they drop to the floor, leaving to us pure air to breathe. Opening thru which ions are emitted is located at the front in right corner. Users with allergies should benefit the most from this feature, but even the rest of us that does not have allergies should be pleased with the fact that we breath purified air when working with this notebook. Does this feature work? Of course it does, but its effects on surround air are not that grandiose so this feature should not be considered as make-or-break feature for this notebook.
Below sensor rows is grill that hides Altec Lansing speakers - average quality speakers that have problems with low frequency sounds (bass) like most other notebooks. We had higher expectations from an sound system signed by Altec Lansing.
Keyboard is good and without bending. Num pad is merged with keyboard – solution that we don’t like that much. Same solution is used on much pricier W90 models. This solution will be hard to get used to for users that intensively use cursor keys, because right cursor key is located where wide zero key should be on regular num pad. Touch pad is large and precise, but buttons are a bit noisier. Not a good solution for an business environment.
Above display are located webcam and Ambient Light sensor. Webcam is nothing special, while Ambient Light sensor help this notebook to adjust brightness and contrast according to ambient conditions. This option can be very useful but if you don’t like it, you can always disable it with Fn+A combination.
Display with LED backlight has resolution of 1280 x 800 which is usual for 15.4 inch displays. Picture is very bright even when brightness is set at lowest level. Viewing angles are good and slightly wider than most notebooks in this class. Color are nicely saturated and uniform.
At the beginning we mentioned that ASUS N50Vn is a big 15.4 inch notebook but with good reason. Huge space inside the chassis allowed ASUS to use good cooling system which resulted in very cool notebook despite components that are used. This is very good news since inside this notebook have some components that can get hot, especially during summer months.
One of these components is Intel Core 2 Duo CPU T5850 at 2.16GHz. Second is NVIDIA GeForce 9650M GT with 1GB DDR2 and it is responsible for good gaming results. Of course DDR2 used on this graphics card does have negative impact on performances and if DDR3 was used results would be much higher but, on the other hand, this would have negative impact on final price. Luckily there is enough GPU power to play games on medium details. Since a lot of users pay extra attention of HDD size ASUS used a big HDD for this notebook. Our first impression was that if big HDD was used it must be slow but ASUS suppressed us and implemented an Seagate Momentus ST932042 hard disk drive that is actually pretty fast. To be honest this one of the fastest HDDs that we saw so far.
Following contemporary trends ASUS placed all connectors along left side. On the right side, alongside optical drive, is located only one USB connector. Beside audio connectors, on the front side is also located eSATA connector. This is unusual position and, in our humble opinion, there are much better locations for this connector (at the back for instance). Only button at the front is wireless switch.
Express card slot is positioned unusually high so chassis at that area is very thin and flexible. Even slight pressure in that area produced crackling sounds that we accounted to Express card slot. After some examination we concluded that those sounds came from the bottom of the notebook in that same area, so this fault can be characteristic of our sample.
Battery bay has a cover which is solution that we didn’t see for some time. Most of other notebooks have that cover integrated in battery itself. Battery capacity is decent so autonomy is good.
Despite minor inconsistencies, ASUS N50Vn is an very good notebook. Good looking, good quality build, fast and with moderate price it presents good purchase opportunity. If you need notebook that can satisfy your gaming appetites for a reasonable price, this can be perfect solution.
|ASUS N50Vn - FP113|
|CPU||Intel Core 2 Duo T5850 @ 2.16Ghz|
|Graphics card||NVIDIA GeForce 9650M GT|
|Display||15.4 inch - 1280x800|
|Connectors||3 x USB, VGA, HDMI, eSATA, FireWire, Bluetooth, Express card, Wireless 802.11b/g/N, card reader|
|ASUS N50Vn - Results|
|PC Mark 05||4927|
|3D Mark 03||13,040|
|3D Mark 06||4629|
|HD Tach [average]||70.7 MB/s|
|Battery Eater [min / max]||1h 23min / 4h 6min|