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When we buy something we always want to get as much as we can for our money. We want to have maximum performance, beautiful design, reliability, etc. It’s like we hope to find a product that would last to the end of our days and would then be handed over to our children. But there’s nothing permanent in this world, especially in the world of high technologies, so it pays to define the spectrum of goals you are going to solve with the product right now, not in the future. Why will you spend lots of money for a notebook if all you need is office applications and Web-surfing, for example? An ideal solution in that case would be a notebook that provides just enough performance for office applications and comes at a low price. The ASUS X51R, which has come to replace the A9 series, is an example of such a product.

This is a very inexpensive notebook, yet the price doesn’t mean it should be lacking something in its appearance or performance. Its plastic case looks very modern, and its configuration is impressive as well. The Merom core, even though in the Celeron M version, is reassuring by itself. The other versions of the X51R employ Intel’s Pentium Dual-Core and Core Duo processors based on the Yonah core, but our configuration is the cheapest available. It isn’t far inferior to the dual-core versions thanks to its high-performance core as well as to the fact that you don’t really need a dual-core processor for typical office applications. The notebook is based on the ATI Radeon Xpress 1100 chipset with an integrated graphics core. The rest of the configuration is discussed in the appropriate section of the review, yet it’s already clear than the ASUS X51R is something more than just an electronic typewriter.

We will examine the notebook following our traditional procedure and test it in comparison with the ASUS A6Rp, another low-end notebook with a same-frequency Intel Pentium Dual-Core processor.

Package and Accessories

The packaging of the X51R lacks any luster, which is quite normal for the product it contains. The names of the manufacturer and series are printed on the box. The slogan “Portability with Superb Performance” looks like an exaggeration to us. The X51R may be portable, but its performance can hardly be superb.

The ASUS Green label on the side of the box means that the notebook complies with the RoHS directive, being manufactured without such hazardous substances as lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium or polybrominated flame retardants.

The accessories are just as modest as the packaging. Besides the notebook we found the following in there: a 6-cell 4400mAh battery, a power adapter with a LED indicator and a cord, a modem cable (RJ-11), a cable brace, documentation (Quick Installation Guide, 2-year warranty, a list of authorized service centers worldwide, a user manual, etc), and a set of discs that included:

 

  • Support CD version 1.0 No.1971
  • ASUS DVD, PowerDirector and MediaShow version 1.0 (No.2024)
  • Nero version 7.5.13.0

As you can note, there are no system recovery discs here. The X51R lacks a preinstalled OS save for FreeDOS, so there is nothing to recover. A CD with drivers for 32-bit Windows Vista is included with the notebook, though. Software for other OSes can be downloaded from the manufacturer’s website. It’s bad there is no bag in the box as you’ll have to buy one sooner or later to protect the notebook’s case from scratches and damage.

 
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