These days, Asus is known for its slightly wacky, off-the-wall ideas – this is the firm that single-handedly kick-started the netbook market, after all – so an everyday laptop from them is an intriguing idea.
It’s a reasonably good-looking machine and has been designed for long periods of use on a desk. The keyboard has a trackpad and fingerprint scanner in front of it and, like the Sony (see above right), has a spill-proof coating to protect it from office water fights. It’s comfortable to use and feels solidly put together.
The 15-inch screen is good – it has a webcam above it for video-conferencing and an anti-glare coating – and the keyboard has a back light, meaning you can type easily in dimmed meeting rooms. Asus has also built a neat feature called Express Gate, which allows the machine to boot up in eight seconds. The built-in DVD drive performs well and the battery life is about five hours.
The B50A is an accomplished all-rounder, but it seems to lack the edge of some of its competitors. It’s dependable but a little uninspiring.
PROS Provides all the standard features you might be looking for
CONS Unimaginative specifications