Asus M50Sv-A1 User Review

by Reads (89,704)

by David Li

Asus recently introduced the M50Sv-A1 personal entertainment laptop, featuring the newest Intel Penryn processor, nVidia’s 9 series mobile graphics card, and many other bells and whistles fused together to provide anyone the option for serious gaming while granting them a multi-media experience. The M50Sv-A1 is a brand new concept from Asus, integrating many features that no other competitors have. Their Multimedia touch pad, Altec Lansing speakers, and a full sized keyboard with a number pad are truly eye-catching qualities.


Specifications

  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Penryn processor T9300 2.5GHz 6MB 800FSB
  • Graphics: nVidia GeForce 9500m GS 512MB DX10
  • Operating system: Windows Vista Home Premium 32bit
  • Memory: 3GB DDR2 667MHz (1GB + 2GB); supports up to 4GB
  • Display: 15.4" WXGA+ (1440 x 900) glossy
  • Hard drive: 250GB 5400rpm
  • Optical drive: 8X DVD/RW Double layer Super Multi Drive
  • Ports & slots: 4x USB 2.0, HDMI, eSATA, IEEE 1394, Express card, 8 in 1 media card reader, VGA, microphone-in, headphone-out, Ethernet
  • Wireless: Intel 802.11a/g/n
  • Battery: 6 Cell
  • Other features: Built in Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR, 1.3MP swivel webcam, fingerprint reader
  • Dimensions: 14.2" x 10.5" x 1.6"
  • Weight: 6.5lbs
  • Warranty: Asus 2-year limited global hardware warranty + 1-year accidental damage warranty, + 30 days zero bright dot LCD warranty.
  • MSRP: $1,359
  • System configured with Windows XP Pro: $1,504

Reason for Buying

I was in the market for a sound 15" laptop packed full with features that include the latest hardware currently available. The rugged Lenovo T61p lingered in my mind for a long time, but due to its 1980s glamour and lack of eSATA, HDMI and other features, I couldn’t convince myself to click the order button at the end of the check out page. There were several other laptops that came to mind, such as Dell’s XPS m1530 and HP’s 8510p, but after further debating, the Asus M50Sv-A1 came out to be the better bang for the buck.

Where and How Purchased

Like all my other Asus laptops, mine was purchased online at www.gentechpc.com (aka www.1toppc.com). GenTechPC offers several upgrades for the M50Sv-A1, including RAM, hard drive, operating system, 9-cell battery, and additional power adapters. I chose to downgrade (upgrade?) to XP Pro due many software programs I use that are not Vista compatible. My order was processed and shipped within 24 hours. Now that’s what I call service!

What’s in the Box?

  • 1x M50Sv-A1 laptop
  • 1x 6 cell battery (+11.1V, 4800mAh)
  • 1x 90 watts power adapter
  • 1x Carrying case
  • 1x External optical mouse
  • 1x Micro-fiber cleaning cloth
  • 1x Set of drivers, recovery DVD and Nero software
  • 1x Telephone cable
  • 1x Cable tie
  • 1x User manual and Quick installation guide
  • 1x Warranty card


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Build and Design

The M50Sv-A1 is solidly built. Rigidity in the chassis allows very little flex and feels durable. Hinges on the screen are also firm, and shouldn’t cause any wobbling during a cross-country flight. As mentioned in another review, the back cover and palm rest is made with Asus’s Infusion Technology to resist scratches from everyday use. The ample supply of ports all around the laptop also makes the laptop more user friendly than other similarly priced systems. Another new feature found on the M50Sv-A1 is the AI Light sensor, similar to Apple’s ambient light sensor on the iPhone and iPod Touch. The light sensor automatically adjusts the screen’s brightness according to your ambient light conditions.


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Screen

Put on your shades, folks! The M50Sv-A1 is equipped with a 330cd/m² AUO LCD screen! (Most laptop screens are often limited to 200 cd/m2). The M50Sv-A1 screen does not suffer from any graininess and is extremely bright – so bright, that it puts my 22" Samsung 226BW external monitor to shame. Note the yellowish tint on the external monitor when compared with the M50Sv-A1.


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The screen also has a slightly higher glossiness than regular glossy screens, but images are exceedingly vivid. The intense brightness of the screen also helps overcome the reflectivness in a high lighting environment.

Left and right viewing angles are excellent, but vertical viewing falls short. Light leakage is also quite noticeable at the bottom of the screen too.


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Although the screen has some flex, it holds together very well and doesn’t make any ripples when applying pressure from the back.

Speakers

Almost every laptop I’ve come in contact with has mediocre sound quality until today. The M50Sv-A1 comprises Altec Lansing speakers which provide a much better sound clarity than your average laptop, and minimal to no distortions on max volume depending on what genre of music you are playing. The 2 channel speaker system also gives the user a much more satisfying audio experience. Of course, laptop speakers will always lack a good bass, and this laptop is no exception.

Processor and Performance

The 2.5Ghz Penryn CPU can handle almost anything you could possible throw at it and would be the ideal choice for people looking for a powerful and future-proof system. Gaming wise, the 9500m GS (DDR2) GPU performs similarly to the 8600m GT (DDR3). You will be able to play all current games (including Crysis) at medium to medium high detail and resolutions.

Benchmarks

A series of benchmarks were performed (wPrime, Super Pi, HD Tune, 3dmark05 and 3dmark06), all on the XP operating system with stock drivers, no over-clock (GPU set at default 475/400mhz) and on super performance mode; all yielding impressive scores.

wPrime (32M): 34.141 seconds


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Super Pi (1M, 19 iterations): 17 seconds


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HD Tune: Avg-50.6MB/sec ; access time-15.9ms


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3Dmark05 (1024×768): 7851


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3Dmark06 (1280×854): 4086


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Heat and Noise

The temperatures on the keyboard are lukewarm to the touch. It is definitely one of the coolest (temperature-wise) Asus laptops I’ve owned. Placing the laptop on your lap doesn’t cause any discomfort either. In terms of noise, the M50Sv-A1 is not noticeable unless you tune your ears closely to the revving fan. Even when using CPU/GPU intensive programs, the fan doesn’t produce a loud enough sound to distract you from your tasks. The DVD super-multi drive is not particularly loud when reading or writing a DVD and on par with other laptop’s optical drives.

Keyboard and Touchpad

Like any new keyboard, there is a slight learning curve you’ll have to conquer before getting used to it. The number pad is a great addition to the keyboard, especially for people using Excel or other spreadsheet programs that require you to enter numbers often. The number pad can also be frustrating at first, since most laptop keyboards are designed to have their bottom right most key as the right arrow key, while the M50Sv-A1 has the ‘enter’ key in that location. Flex on the keyboard is also kept at a minimum and feels similar to the Asus C90s. The touchpad is also quite unique, having implemented several media buttons onto the pad, this feature lets all the hot key fanatics go wild!


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One feature I found quite distracting was the brightness of the indicator lights next to the fingerprint reader. The lights are much brighter compared to other Asus laptops, and may affect your overall movie watching experience.


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Input and Output Ports

As mentioned briefly in the Build and Design section, the input and output ports are much more comprehensive than the norm. Being a multi-media laptop, it’s no surprise that Asus would want to pack as many ports as they can on this machine. One pet peeve I have is the lack of a DVI output. Since monitors and televisions are steering towards high definition, a DVI port would have been beneficial. Another minor complaint I have regarding the ports are how most of them are positioned near the front of the laptop. This may or may not cause a huge concern for some, but for those who have various USB devices needed to be plugged in, it may cause some cluttering (and that’s why Asus included a free cable tie!). Lastly, the problem with the infrared receiver still persists on the XP operating system as Ken described in his review (Vista works perfectly). Although most people may never use the IR feature, it’ll still be nice for Asus to post the proper drivers out for the device.


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Wireless

The M50Sv-A1 is equipped with Intel’s Pro/Wireless 4965 802.11 a/b/g/n wireless card. This is the best wireless card currently available and is standard in most of Asus Ensemble laptops.

Battery

No shocking news here. Asus’s battery life is not on par with other similarly configured laptops. Eddie from BtoTech suggested that the less than perfect ACPI (Advanced Configuration and Power Interface) coding could be the reason behind the sub-average to average battery life.


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Battery saving mode: 2 hours 15 minutes (Bluetooth & wireless on)

Customer Support

From prior experience with Asus, their customer support is great via telephone. E-mail CS is another story. It is recommended that you call their tech support or your reseller directly if you have problems/issues with your Asus laptop. Asus resellers like GenTechPC and BtoTech take the extra step in helping their customers in a very professional and timely manner. This is also a deciding factor for me choosing Asus over larger companies such as Dell and Lenovo. You don’t need to fork over an arm or a leg to get premium customer service.


Conclusion

Overall, the unique features, powerful hardware and competitive pricing on the M50Sv-A1, gives it a strong position in the gaming and home consumer market. The performance indicated from the benchmarks above will surely draw attention from the novice gamer and professional photo/video editors looking for an alternative option to the Macbook Pro.

Pros

  • Gorgeous screen
  • Number pad on keyboard
  • Ample selection of ports (esp. HDMI and eSATA)
  • Minimal fan noise
  • Altec Lansing speakers
  • Well priced

Cons

  • Below average battery life
  • Ports concentrated at front of laptop
  • Status lights next to fingerprint reader are very bright (may not affect everyone)


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