2.8Overall Score
Price (RRP): $1,999 Manufacturer: ASUS

When it comes to choosing a notebook you have three options: grab a super-stylish and super-expensive Apple, pay a similar price for a “top brand” Windows notebook but maybe lose out on style, or go for a cheap-and-cheerful Taiwanese clone.

ASUS might have started life as a clone builder, but its recent models are anything but boring. Stylish design hides a standard – but proven – spec, in a notebook that make it look like you’ve spent a LOT more.


The N51 is actually a series rather than a specific machine. All N51s are inside this rather stylish grey-brown case, but start from this basic spec (the N51VG-S038X) and go all the way up to entertainment behemoths with HD TV tuners and more.

The S038X is an entry-level machine and priced accordingly. For less than $2,000, you get a decent 2GHz CPU, a 320GB hard drive, and basic graphics.

Unlike some other low-end machines though, the N51 includes a 2.0 megapixel webcam, FireWire connectivity, and most importantly an HDMI output.

While the NVIDIA GeForce GT 105M graphics chip won’t be much chop with the latest games, it’s more than capable of handling HD video, and having an HDMI output makes it easy to hook the N51 to a big TV.

You’ll want to do this for HD content, because the machine’s own display is only 1366 x 768.