TODO alt text

Asus M51a review

High-end components and good quality, but is it enough to better its rivals?

Our Verdict

This laptops is great for the amount on offer for the price. The parts are all top notch and this kind of showing from Asus makes some other laptop manufacturers look bad

Product features

  • Processor Core : Dual-core (2 Core)

View full specification

For

  • Great Core 2 Duo performance
  • Decent screen
  • Good build quality
  • Great connectivity
  • Good battery life

Against

  • Plastics can flex under use
  • Screen is quite reflective

Asus has made a reputation for itself recently with its impressive range of netbooks, but it also produces entry-level, mid-range and high-end laptops. The M51A is a budget laptop, offering one of the best specifications we have seen for the price.

The 15.4-inch screen features a 16:10 aspect ratio – which is taller than some of the newer designs. It offers detailed images and colours are bright and colourful.

It's one of the Super-TFT reflective panels, however, and it's worth trying before you buy if you intend to work on the move or in direct sunlight.

Unlike the other laptops at this price point, this machine offers a high-end Intel Core 2 Duo processor instead of a Pentium Dual Core we see so often. Running at 2GHz, and backed by 3072MB of memory, it offers enough power to cope easily with daily office tasks and matches machines costing twice as much.

We found it started and shut down quickly, with little sign of lag, even when running a host of intensive applications.

At 297 minutes, the battery life also provides ample mobility.

It also shines when it comes to quality. It can't match the portability of the Acer Aspire 5410T, having a much bulkier design, but the patterned plastics are attractive and robust, and the thick screen surround offers plenty of protection.

That said, the design looks older than some of its rivals, such as the Packard Bell EasyNote TJ65-AU-010UK and Acer Aspire 5410T.

The keyboard offers good usability, with large tapered keys that are easy to type quickly on. There's also a pad of numeric keys alongside it, which aids data entry without compromising the size of the main keys.

Asus m51a build

ADDED BONUS: Asus have included a dedicated number pad for quick data entry

The plastics have a tendency to flex slightly under use, however.

Excellent features

This machine comes into its own features, with a comprehensive range of ports included that puts more expensive laptops to shame. It offers an eSATA interface – letting you transfer files at high speeds to compatible hard drives, and it also comes with a fingerprint reader that adds biometric security for your files and data.

Four USB ports offer good connectivity, and you'll even find an HDMI port – letting you connect high-definition (HD) displays. There's also a VGA port for users with older analogue displays.

Bluetooth is in place for wireless connections to other digital devices, with 802.11g Wi-Fi and 10/100 Ethernet offering standard wireless and fixed networking connectivity.

If it is value for money you are after, then there is simply no better machine than the Asus M51A. Offering components that are usually found on more expensive machines, a comprehensive set of features and great build quality, it's an easy machine to recommend.

Follow TechRadar Reviews on Twitter: http://twitter.com/techradarreview

Tech Specs

Product TypeNotebook
Hard Drive Capacity250 GB
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ModelGMA X4500HD
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeDVD-Writer
Graphics Memory AccessibilityShared
Finger Print ReaderYes
Solid State Drive CapacityNo
eSATAYes
FireWire/i.LINKYes
HDMIYes
WebcamYes
Product FamilyM51A
Processor ModelT6400
Operating SystemWindows Vista Business, Windows Vista Business Downgradable to Windows XP Professional
Brand NameAsus
Processor Speed2 GHz
Processor TypeCore 2 Duo
Screen Size39.1 cm (15.4")
Standard Memory3 GB
Cache2 MB
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
64-bit ProcessingYes
Chipset ManufacturerIntel
Chipset ModelGM45 Express
Number of Total Memory Slots2
Optical Media SupportedDVD-RAM/±R/±RW
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Display Screen TechnologyColour Shine
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11n
Ethernet TechnologyGigabit Ethernet
Total Number of USB Ports4
Memory StandardDDR2-800/PC2-6400
Height40 mm
Width365 mm
Depth269 mm
Memory TechnologyDDR2 SDRAM
Product SeriesM51A
ManufacturerASUS Computer International
Product ModelM51A-AP078E
Product NameM51A-AP078E Notebook
Pointing Device TypeTouchPad
Manufacturer Part NumberM51A-AP078E
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://uk.asus.com
Marketing Information

The M51A-AP078E Notebook with new design of fusion surface is further complemented with state-of-the-art computing technologies, including the latest Intel Processor and Genuine Windows Vista operating system.

Maximum Memory4 GB
Package Contents
  • M51A-AP078E Notebook
  • Standard Battery
  • Software CD
  • AC Adapter
Limited Warranty2 Year
Bus Speed800 MHz