Asus N55SF review

Price when reviewed

The industry may be looking to Intel’s Ultrabook concept as the way forward, but Asus’s newest offering shows it’s still possible to inject some novelty into larger laptops. The N55SF takes a 15.6in display and some seriously beefy components, and adds Bang & Olufsen speakers and an external subwoofer.

Visually, the N55SF is a classy affair. It breezes into view with a glossy black lid encompassed by a thick strip of chrome, and the chassis tapers to a delicate curve around its edges. The two-tone black and silver interior looks great, too.

There’s no mistaking the all-plastic construction, though. Next to HP’s Envy laptops or Apple’s MacBooks, all hewn from slabs of metal, the N55SF feels a bit ordinary. It’s only once you spend some time prodding and poking at it that the quality of the build shines through. The thick lid gives the display plenty of protection, and there’s only the slightest whimper from the base when you twist it viciously from side to side. The flipside to such solidity is weight: at 2.79kg it isn’t ideal for the daily commute.

Asus N55S

But this isn’t a laptop with travel on its mind; it’s an entertainment laptop through and through. The Bang & Olufsen ICEpower speakers deliver far more clarity than most laptops, and the Asus SonicMaster software makes it quick and easy to tweak playback for music, movies and games. The real novelty is the separate subwoofer, a little accessory that plugs into the Asus’ side. The results are impressive. There’s still no semblance of real, ground-shaking sub-bass, but the extra speaker makes its presence heard, adding more depth and fullness to the sound.

That sonic performance is matched by a fine display. The 1,600 x 900 resolution is a welcome surprise – we’re used to 1,366 x 768 displays on today’s 15.6in laptops – and the matte finish does its bit to keep reflections and glare at bay. A measured contrast ratio of 550:1 and maximum brightness of 281cd/m[sup]2[/sup] see the Asus deliver bright whites and inky blacks, and while the low gamma of 1.9 leaves images looking a tad pale, it’s nothing we couldn’t learn to live with.


Warranty2 yr return to base

Physical specifications

Dimensions379 x 261 x 38mm (WDH)
Travelling weight3.6kg

Processor and memory

ProcessorIntel Core i7-2670QM
Motherboard chipsetIntel HM65
RAM capacity6.00GB
Memory typeDDR3

Screen and video

Screen size15.6in
Resolution screen horizontal1,600
Resolution screen vertical900
Resolution1600 x 900
Graphics chipsetNvidia GeForce GT 555M
Graphics card RAM2.00GB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs1
HDMI outputs1
S-Video outputs0
DVI-I outputs0
DVI-D outputs0
DisplayPort outputs0


Optical disc technologyBlu-ray reader
Battery capacity5,200mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT£0


Wired adapter speed1,000Mbits/sec
802.11b supportyes
802.11g supportyes
802.11 draft-n supportyes
Integrated 3G adapterno
Bluetooth supportyes

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switchno
Wireless key-combination switchyes
ExpressCard34 slots0
ExpressCard54 slots0
PC Card slots0
USB ports (downstream)2
FireWire ports0
PS/2 mouse portno
9-pin serial ports0
Parallel ports0
3.5mm audio jacks3
SD card readeryes
Memory Stick readeryes
MMC (multimedia card) readeryes
Smart Media readerno
Compact Flash readerno
xD-card readerno
Pointing device typeMultitouch touchpad
Audio chipsetBang & Olufsen ICEpower
Speaker locationAbove keyboard and external
Hardware volume control?yes
Integrated microphone?yes
Integrated webcam?yes
Camera megapixel rating1.3mp
Fingerprint readerno
Smartcard readerno

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use4hr 55min
Battery life, heavy use1hr 21min
3D performance (crysis) low settings111fps
3D performance settingLow
Overall Real World Benchmark score0.83
Responsiveness score0.82
Media score0.85
Multitasking score0.81

Operating system and software

Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
OS familyWindows 7

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