With an elegant design and black-and-orange finish, the Asus G50V resonates style. We put the G50V through its paces.
Asus showcased the Asus G50V at a Republic Of Gamers Convention (ROGCON), and our test unit has a blinking ROG crest engraved on its glossy, all-black lid. The lid's also decorated with flashing light strips, on either edge and above the hinge, that adds to the mood. The all-gloss screen is 15.4in wide, and supports a maximum resolution of 1440x900. A 2Mp webcam with microphone is recessed above the screen.
Weighing just over 3kg, the Asus G50V laptop is built like a tank, with a solid chassis and no wobble. The same holds true with the keyboard - which has a number pad, no flex.
The Asus G50V is based off the Intel Centrino 2 platform, with gigabit ethernet and Wireless N support, an Intel Core 2 Duo P8600 2.40GHz processor, and has Nvidia GeForce 9700M GT dedicated graphics.
In terms of memory, 4GB of DDR2 RAM (800MHz) along with Windows Vista Home Premium. The Asus G50V we tested comes with 320GB of storage (5400rpm), although it supports dual hard drives with RAID for extra performance. RAID options are configurable from the boot screen. An 8x dual-layered DVD writer, with LightScribe, rounds up the specs on this promising machine.
On the connectivity front, the Asus G50V continues to impress. It has four USB ports, VGA, FireWire, eSATA, HDMI, SPDIF, multicard reader and ExpressCard slot, along with modem, ethernet, and audio ports. There's also a TV antenna input to watch TV directly: just plug the coaxial cable into the included cable connector. Asus should have provided a remote control to further enhance the G50V's entertainment value. The notebook can handle high-definition video, too, as we found out while watching BBC's Planet Earth.
Between the keyboard and hinge, there's an LED console strip for quick display of info like CPU and RAM utilisation, battery life, email and chat notification. This information strip is especially useful to glance at while you're immersed in gaming, and want to see who's coming online on MSN (for eg). The LED console also has touch-sensitive buttons for instant launch of Direct Console, Asus' utility manager. Audio from the onboard Altec Lansing speakers wasn't loud enough at high volume, but sound from the headphones is up to mark.
The Asus G50V has a GeForce 9700M GT graphics card, with 512MB dedicated DDR3 VRAM: a good card capable of handling most recent games. And coupled with 4GB of RAM, it passed the test of our gaming benchmarks with relative ease. WorldBench 6 gave a score of 97. For casual testing, we enjoyed playing Tomb Raider: Underworld at maximum screen resolution and High settings; the game runs smoothly with no stutter. Of course with all that gaming, the 6-cell battery can last only 132 minutes in MobileMark 07.
The laptop supports dynamic CPU overclocking and has three performance modes (Normal, Turbo, Turbo Exteme), depending upon the usage. Some of our benchmarks, such as PC Mark 05 and 3D Mark 06, bettered up to 10 percent in the Turbo extreme mode. Asus bundles in a Siberia SteelSeries gamer's headphone and Logitech's MX518 gaming mouse with the Asus G50V, both pretty good. Mouse is ergonomic, and large, to fit comfortably in any hand. However, the overall gaming experience was marred by the glossy screen's poor viewing angles.
The notebook comes with a backpack and two years warranty. Overall, we liked what we saw of the Asus G50V, and gaming is its only mantra. But, gaming laptops are a rare breed. They cater to a niche that likes to indulge and doesn't mind splurging more on extra performance, given a laptop's form factor. If you are in that niche, the Asus G50V is a worthy contender - but it certainly ain't cheap.