The Asus K50IN is a large, widescreen laptop that is one of the most comfortable machines we've tried, although as a result it is also one of the least portable. Nevertheless, its moderately powerful processor and dedicated graphics card should ably cater for most of your study needs.
The chassis is dominated by a wide 15.6-inch screen. Detail is great, thanks to a 1366 x 768-pixel resolution which makes it possible to work with multiple windows open. Colour reproduction is good – if slightly over-saturated – and this laptop is ideal for watching films on.
An exceptionally reflective Super-TFT screen coating is in place however, and you'll need to carefully adjust the screen in order to achieve a comfortable viewing angle.
The screen size allows for a large keyboard. The typing action is surprisingly light, however, and even brushing a key registers a hit, so we found ourselves making a lot of mistakes as a result. A dedicated numeric pad is also fitted on the keyboard's right-hand side.
The 2.7kg chassis is built from a hard plastic that provides ample protection for the laptop. It features an unobtrusive patterned finish which looks good and is also quite shiny, although thankfully it doesn't easily attract fingerprints or dirt.
Internally, an Intel Core 2 Duo processor is employed alongside 4096MB of memory. While office performance is good, it isn't exceptional. Nevertheless, you'll have no issues running basic work applications.
The inclusion of a dedicated Nvidia GPU with 512MB of video memory means this laptop is also suited to light multimedia tasks and even basic gaming, although if 3D power is a priority for you, then you may prefer the PC Nextday Zoostorm 84-5200.
The 320GB hard drive is more than generous and you'll have no problem storing all your college work alongside films, music and photos. There's also room for resource-intensive applications such as Adobe Photoshop, should you need them.
Connectivity here is excellent. 802.11n Wi-Fi provides high-speed wireless connections, and Gigabit Ethernet delivers the fastest possible fixed connections. The 258-minute battery life keeps you working on the move for over four hours.
Four USB ports mean there's plenty of room for peripherals such as an external mouse. A VGA-out port allows you to hook up an external monitor, and an integrated camera is also fitted above the screen.
The Asus K50IN is a great laptop that provides good usability via the spacious keyboard and screen. It's not the most powerful or portable machine, but if it suits your requirements, don't let this put you off.
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