I have just upgraded to this latest model Asus Centrino 2 notebook. I was using a 18 month old 2ghz Asus Laptop that was incredibly reliable. I do most of my daily net tasks(like writing this blog) on my Acer netbook but use my laptop for Music production, Video editing and now some gaming.
The N50vc has a Nvidea 512 mb graphics card, where my old laptop only had a 128mb, so struggled with video editing, and wasn’t up to gaming. I bought a couple of new games to test it capabilities. I got Grid( a car racing game) and Mirrors Edge, a game that’s like doing virtual Parkour(the french named sport of running around and jumping off walls and urban features).
Mirrors Edge ran flawlessly but I needed to adjust the screen resolution for Grid to run smoothly. It still looks awesome graphically, and runs a treat. I hooked up my trusty Logitech wingman formula force steering wheel and I was up and racing.
Mirrors edge was another story. I am not a fan of playing using a keyboard, so after a quick play I pulled out my old Microsoft strategic commander. Now this a seriously old relic and wouldn’t run under vista(ultimate 32bit) at first. After a bit of googling I found a very handy thread that got it running at vistax64.com , that involved running it in compatabilty mode and creating a shortcut to the exe.
After messing around I tried playing using this, which was better than keyboard but still wasn’t what I had hoped. I looked around and ended up buying a Nosrtromo N52te. This made a huge difference. I also changed my mouse from the Logitech MX revolution to a Logitech G9 gaming mouse.
The main difference I have noticed(apart from speed and zippier performance) is going from home premium to Ultimate. Ultimate is nice but I wouldn’t pay for it. I have set up dreamscene, which is where you have an animated wallpaper. After messing about with microsoft standard dreamscenes, I googled a bit and now have a really cool matrix background.
I really like the feel of the keys on this laptop and built in number pad, although now I have the laptop setup, I don’t use them except when mobile. I am running the laptop, closed sitting underneath my monitor shelf, most of the time. I have it running into an Asus 20″ LCD monitor via HDMI. I use a Logitech DiNovo edge keyboard and normally a logitech MX revolution mouse (and swap to G9 for gaming).
The unit comes with express gate, which is basically a quick internet access mode that uses a version of linux on a chip. As the laptop doesn’t need to boot up, its a quick way to get online and do basic net related tasks like surfing chatting email etc. I had a quick play and although it maybe handy for road warriors, its not a feature I would use very often, if at all.
The unit also has Asus Super Hybrid Engine, which allows you to balance power versus battery life and its a simple yet effective tool, but its geared towards road warriors, and I use this laptop as desktop replacement so again its not a feature i will take advantage of much.
One of the nice features is the touch sensitive media controls, that are on a section between keyboard and screen. The volume control(for example) is used by sliding your finger across this section and it works a treat.
This model has the Asus smart logon technology that uses face recognition to log you into the computer. It seems to work well enough but I am not using this function as I use the laptop with the lid closed.
The laptop is fitted with a fingerprint scanner, which is very handy for logon, although it takes a little bit of practice to get the speed right that you slide your fingertip across the sensor. The inbuilt web cam provides a very clear image, being a 2 megapixel unit.
The laptop features an Ionizer, which generates negative Ions. This is what you feel after a rain storm, and is meant to help keep you refreshed when using laptop for long periods. I’m not sure how effective this is but it certainly doesn’t hurt, and I have noticed that I haven’t felt stale, when using the laptop for extended periods, so its probably helping.
The unit features an LED backlit LCD screen, which enhances battery life, but I did find you needed to have the screen on correct angle or it wasn’t ideal. I doubt this is a major issue and for the road warriors the better battery life, will be worth the small trade off.
The laptop has a built in TV tuner, and I use this to record shows when I am out, using windows media centre. I have this hooked up to my roof antenna, as the travel antenna is pretty much useless for digital TV. The unit has a hybrid tuner that has analogue tuner as well as digital and so the travel antenna may prove handy if I’m traveling and using analogue reception.
Overall I absolutely love this laptop, its amazingly fast, works flawlessly, looks great, and is a joy to use, with features that are functional.
Specs: 2.53 Ghz Intel Centrino 2 processor with 1066 FSB and 6mb L2 cache, 320Gb 5400rpm HDD, 4 Gb 800Mhz DDR2 ram, 802.11 agn dual band wireless, Bluetooth, 15.4″ WXGA LED screen, Hybrid TV tuner, includes remote and IR receiver, 2 Megapixel web cam, Nvidea Geforce 9300 GS 512Mb dedicated graphics card. Firewire IEEE 1394 port. eSata connection, 3 x USB, SD/MMC card reader, HDMI out, S/PDIF out, express card slot, Gigabit ethernet port.