ASUS UL50Vf Notebook Review – NVIDIA Optimus Takes the StageTue, Mar 30, 2010 - 12:00 AM
ASUS is really stepping up to the plate by taking one of their best-selling notebooks that offers advanced power savings and adding to it even more advanced artificial intelligence that is NVIDIA Optimus. NVIDIA Optimus takes the worry and task of manually switching between integrated and discrete graphics away from the user and handles it on-the-fly. This is a perfect match for the average user that just wants results when necessary and wants the extra battery life. With these users in mind, the UL50Vf is a perfect match with NVIDIA Optimus and GeForce G210m graphics.
Spinning the tables for a moment with NVIDIA Optimus, some users may see it as losing some control. While there is no longer a simple switch the user can flip to dictate when and when not to use the discrete graphics, users will find they can use the NVIDIA Control Panel or activate the ability to right-click on an application to determine which graphics adapter to use for that application. However, standard definition video playback is pretty much locked down to the IGP in order to conserve battery life for the type of video content being played back. While some may argue that the image quality is negligible between integrated and discrete graphics these days, others could argue that in a day and age of high def content, they want the best IQ their display can handle when they do not need to worry about conserving power for extended battery life. Overall, aside from video playback, NVIDIA Optimus seems to offer the best of both worlds by having NVIDIA discrete graphics available right when you need it!
When it came to battery life, we found that the ASUS UL50Vf lasted 9 hours and 46 minutes at idle. This is excellent battery life compared to other notebooks. We actually expected a little more given the marketing for the UL50Vt of 12+ hours, but we do not know if that pertains to the UL50Vf since ASUS does not have the official product page for the UL50Vf on their website yet. But when it comes down to battery life performance, it is no slouch to have over 9 hours of battery life on a notebook with a 15.6″ screen!
We received word from ASUS that the UL50Vf should be for sale on Newegg on or around April 19th at a price of $799. This seems to be the same price point as the UL50Vt-A1. However, we couldn’t help but notice that Newegg has the UL50Vt-X1 listed at $649, but it is out of stock. So it will be interesting if there will be any discount on the UL50Vf by Newegg once it becomes available.
As we have observed from previous ASUS articles, ASUS has done a great job over the years by offering a broad spectrum of notebook and netbook offerings. Many of these notebooks’ product lines feature some sort of innovative technology that changes the game when it comes to its competition. The UL50Vf is no different when it comes to our higher expectations of ASUS. While we do not think seamless graphics switching like NVIDIA Optimus should replace user-initiated switchable graphics, we do think it has a role in a well-rounded product line-up as there is definitely a great market for this technology. It is because of this that we think the ASUS UL50Vf is worthy of yet another LR Innovation Award since it offers a smooth and impressive AI feature that others do not.
Legit Bottom Line: For the seamless use of discrete NVIDIA graphics, the integration of NVIDIA Optimus in the ASUS UL50Vf creates a perfect match for a notebook and users by only using discrete graphics performance when they need it.