A good all-purpose notebook that falls short of greatness
- Excellent variety of connections
- No Blu-ray, dim screen, no Gigabit Ethernet, low battery-life
The ASUS M51VA-AS045G is mid-range laptop with a fantastic array of connections and strong processing performance. Unfortunately the screen’s default dimness may prove annoying for novice users and the lack of Gigabit Ethernet at this price point is disappointing.
Price$ 1,999.00 (AUD)
If you’re not looking for a Blu-ray capable unit and you don’t mind a screen that is only average, the ASUS M51VA-AS045G is a notebook that has "future-proofing" written all over it, thanks to an excellent variety of expansion options and strong hardware performance. The sad exceptions to this are its inability to play Blu-ray discs and the absence of Gigabit Ethernet.
HP’s good value Pavilion dv5-1009TX proved that it is possible to fit a Blu-ray player into a $2000 laptop without causing financial collapse (although there may be a few people who disagree on that point.) Given that it is touted as a “Multimedia Notebook” it would have been nice to see the M51VA-AS045G equipped with a high-def drive, instead of the dual-layer DVD-RW it comes with.
More problematic is the notebook's screen. Although it displays pictures with vivid colour contrasts, there’s a distinct dimness that requires tinkering in the advanced settings of ATI’s Catalyst Control Centre to improve; this may be a bit complicated for novice users.
These points aside, the M51VA is a largely well-endowed notebook. The built-in HDMI allows it to connect to modern LCD and plasma panels, while FireWire S400 connectivity means it will work with devices like cameras and camcorders. The ExpressCard/54 slot is a welcome inclusion as are the four USB2.0 ports. Most impressive is the inclusion of an e-SATA port. This underutilised port allows speedy data transfers to external drives like the Western Digital My Book Studio Edition II (WDH2Q20000) and is gradually becoming more mainstream.
The ASUS is no slug when it comes to performance, with a 2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T9400 CPU, 4GB of DDR2 RAM and a 320GB serial ATA hard drive that spins at 5400rpm. The unit comes with the 32-bit edition of Windows Vista, which results in the system only using 3GB of the RAM. This doesn’t stop the laptop from performing fairly well, however. ASUS also throws in a 250GB external hard drive that looks good and works quite nicely.
In our WorldBench 6 tests the M51VA managed to score 96. This means that most hardware-intensive tasks such as video encoding and 3-D rendering can be performed efficiently. Our iTunes benchmarking, which strains the CPU by converting 53min of WAV files into 192Kbps MP3s, provided further proof of the system’s strength by performing the task in the excellent time of 67sec.
While the ATI Mobility Radeon HD3650 GPU won’t be blowing the socks off gamers anytime soon, it’ll still play plenty of classics like F.E.A.R. and Half Life 2 without any problems. In our 3DMark 06 benchmarks, the ASUS returned a score of 3705.
The notebook is quite user-friendly. The keyboard is full-sized (with the exception of the small Ctrl and cursor keys, which will take getting used to), so it is easy to use. The number pad is rather small, but it is still fairly useful for those needing to bash out calculations.
For those on the go, the weight may prove to be a bit of an issue with the M51VA coming in at 2.85kg without the power supply and 3.3kg with everything included. Our battery test result doesn't help the case either, with the 6-cell lithium-ion battery lasting just 1hr 19min.
The M51VA features 802.11n wireless networking as well as 10/100 Ethernet. At this price point we’d expect to see Gigabit Ethernet, so the slower connection was disappointing. Bluetooth 2.0 is provided as well, which is good news for those with compatible accessories.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Sony Xperia Z5 Premium review: Is the world ready for a 4K phone?
- 2 Mazda MX-5 (2016) review: Absolute driving purity
- 3 Sony 75-inch UHD TV (X9400C) review: Sony and Android are a winning duo
- 4 LG 55EG960T OLED UHD TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera UHD TV review: good hardware, fragmented software
Best Deals on Good Gear Guide
Latest News Articles
- Apple might show off iPhone 5se and iPad Air 3 at March 15 event
- Monster gaming laptop from CybertronPC packs latest desktop hardware
- Apple's Q1: Record $US18.4 billion profit, but iPhone sales are slowing
- Chromebooks are siphoning market share from Windows PCs
- Microsoft beefs up its Surface Book and Surface Pro 4
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- CCIteration ManagerVIC
- CCSenior Business AnalystNSW
- CCSystems AnalystQLD
- CCJava Development EngineerNSW
- CCSenior Agile Business Analyst - Online/Mobile experienceNSW
- CCJava Developer - Front/ Back EndVIC
- CCWintel Engineer with Sharepoint 2010 / 2013NSW
- CCFront End Developer - MelbourneVIC
- FTProject Manager | Defence projects | NV1/NV2 cleared | Canberra basedACT
- FTNetwork Engineer | Canberra | NV1 NV2 clearance | Defence projectsVIC
- FTBusiness Analyst AGILENSW
- FTFraud AnalystVIC
- CCHybris Developer - Global ConsultancyNSW
- CCETL DeveloperNSW
- FTProject Manager | Permanent position | NV1 NV2 cleared | Defence | Great cultureACT
- CCJava Developer - IOSNSW
- FTSystems Administrator/Engineer | Projects & BAU | Coastal Newcastle NSWWA
- CCProgram Manager - Big Data - Telecommunications - UrgentNSW
- CCMid-level DevOps EngineerNSW
- CCSolution Architect - .NET environmentACT
- CCProgram Support ManagerQLD
- CCSQL DeveloperVIC
- CCMid to Senior Level User Experience SpecialistsNSW
- CC.NET DeveloperACT
- CCIT Service Desk (32 hour week)WA