by Rob Williams on April 28, 2008 in Mobile
Have a $1,000 budget for a new notebook? Look no further than the ASUS M51S. Touted as a multi-media notebook, it offers a 15.4" screen, 250GB HD and 3GB of RAM. Included also are 4 USB ports, DVI and VGA outputs, full numpad, fingerprint reader, a face-detection logon system and more.
The M51S might be a “budget” multi-media notebook, but it still packs in the features that are important to this crowd. One fad that’s catching on fast (that I absolutely love) is the implementation of numpads. This is a huge bonus if you use a calculator often, or at all use the number keys on a regular basis. It can also help in certain games that utilize it.
As for product stickers, there are the usual NVIDIA / Windows / Intel product stickers, which cannot be removed (easily). Although I didn’t test this for myself, ASUS has told me that the feature stickers (the specs and also the “Infusion”) can be removed with minimal effort, and they claim that absolutely no residue will be left behind. This is contrast to years ago when you’d have to literally scrub and use Goo Gone or something similar.
The touchpad included features both a thumbprint reader and raised buttons that are easily clicked. The touchpad feels a little too plastic for my liking. Although it’s very smooth, I didn’t find it overly comfortable to use, and when the notebook heats up, it’s even less enjoyable. This could just be me, as I’m fussy with most touchpads to begin with and rarely find one I like.
Luckily, every key is located in the usual position and overall, the keyboard comes close to a real desktop offering. The arrow keys are a little small for my liking, but since ASUS had a lot to fit in here, it’s understandable.
From left to right, the media keys are “InstantFun” (can launch a media player), “Power4Gear” (changes power mode), “Touchpad Lock” (disables the touchpad), “Splendid” (alters color mode) and finally, “Internet Launch” (it launches a web browser. No, really). The power is of course located to the immediate right.
The speakers are located underneath the black mesh that runs across the top. One speaker is located about 20% from the left and the other 40% from the left, so they are not entirely even.
Below, you can see the USB port and card reader that I mentioned earlier, and also see the texture used on the gray surface of the entire notebook, which is similar to the texture on the cover.
Like all current multi-media notebooks, this one includes a web cam, with a resolution of 1.3 megapixels.
The bottom has a few different vents for good airflow and also user-removable expansion slots. You can upgrade either the RAM or hard drive with minimal effort.
In way of accessories, ASUS includes a very detailed and straight-forward manual, support reference card, phone cord, AC power adapter and of course, the 4800mAh battery.
Last but not least, included are support CD-Roms (to fully restore the system to initial state), a cable tie, soft dust cloth and also a custom Logitech notebook mouse.
ASUS did a fantastic job with the design of this notebook. For $1,000, the M51S includes a perfect blend of components and performance. Though the fastest processor is not included, it’s feature-rich in other ways, such as with the included DVI port, thumbprint reader, full numpad, et cetera.
Time to boot up and see what shovelware we are going to be blessed with!