By Neil Bennett | on March 27, 2006
Price When Reviewed: 1069.15
Pros: Good looks. Low price. Long battery life.
Cons: Underpowered. Mediocre screen resolution. Poor 3D chip.
Samsung describes the M50 as the ‘world’s thinnest and lightest 17-inch notebook’. At just under 3kg, the latter is completely true – but the M50 is only thin at the front, bulking out heavily towards the back. For most of its length, the M50 is noticeably thicker than Apple’s 17-inch PowerBook.
The M50’s looks are less pleasing than the PowerBook’s. Samsung’s standard silver-&-black livery looks better than most laptops, but by selling itself on its size and weight, it’s Apple’s laptop that the M50’s going to be judged against.
Like the PowerBook, our test M50 doesn’t run creative applications as fast as other models. This M50 was slower at graphics processing than any of the Windows-based models in last month’s laptop group test – with all of those models boasting 2GHz or faster chips.
It was slower at image manipulation in Photoshop than any of those models – which generally featured 1GB of RAM – and also slower even than the PowerBook with the standard 512MB of RAM.
We’ve only seen better screens on much larger and heavier 17-inch laptops, though the M50’s LCD is let down by a mediocre resolution. It’s powered by an underwhelming 3D graphics chip, which produced a low Cinebench score of 2117.
The M50 lacks the innovations of its M70 big brother, the first laptop with a 19-inch screen that breaks apart into keyboard and monitor units.
In the M50’s favour, it does have a long battery life – lasting for almost 200 minutes in our MobileMark test. It features a responsive keyboard and trackpad, and the on/off button for wireless networking is useful.
At under £1,100, this configuration of the M50 is aimed at those on a tight budget. However, Rock’s £999 Quaddra T64 was more powerful than the M50, albeit featuring an uglier chassis.