Novatech X50 MV £939
22nd Sep 2008 | 10:14
How does the ﬁrst Centrino 2 laptop stack up?
It's all about compromise. A 15-inch laptop is smaller, lighter and has decent battery life, plus you can game in the native 1,680x1,050 resolution with relative ease.
A 17-inch notebook, meanwhile, gives you keyboard space and the last word in HD high deffness: 1,920x1,200 pixels. But you may not be able to play any games at that resolution without the graphics hardware to match.
Novatech's X50MV seems to compromise on all the wrong points. It's not that it's a bad notebook per se, but it isn't the full sum of its high tech parts.
It's a 15.4-inch screen, but thanks to an enormous chassis feels much larger. The CPU and graphics are all latest generation designs and power saving tweaks, but the machine runs hot and battery life is barely an hour and a half.
Even though they're combined with 4GB of RAM and 512MB of fast GDDR3, gaming performance at native resolution isn't going to blow you away – in fact, the graphics card really holds it back even in games engines that are a couple of years old.
On the downright annoying front, there's no HDMI or DVI outputs for hooking up to a larger monitor, and the 200GB hard drive could be more generous too.
The screen itself, though, is…er…alright – the contrast enhancing filter helps to disguise the fact that the panel underneath is a bit washed out, and the overall result is a bit dark, but as with everything, it's a compromise.
As part of its Centrino 2 credentials though, it has the latest version of Intel's Robson technology in a 2GB NAND drive, but boot times are still over one minute thirty from cold, but it does return from hibernate very quickly.
It's also the cheapest laptop that we've seen to incorporate a Windows SideShow screen in its lid: an interesting – if not actually compelling – reason to buy.
And that sort of sums the whole thing up. There are a lot of notebooks of this size and spec – the Dell M1530 springs to mind – and while the X50MV can lay claim to being one of the most technologically advanced, it's not the best looking, best performing, best value or most practical – and those are more important points of compromise.