Asus N55SF review

£736
Price when reviewed

We have no such qualms with the N55SF’s innards. Its quad-core 2.2GHz Core i7-2670QM is backed up by 6GB of memory, a 640GB hard disk and a Blu-ray reader. Two USB 2 ports and an optical S/P-DIF output adorn the right edge, while two USB 3 ports, Gigabit Ethernet, D-SUB and an HDMI connector are on the left. Single-band 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 3 round off the networking options.

With that quad-core CPU at the helm, and Nvidia’s GeForce GT 555M chipset powering up when the occasion demands it, the Asus N55SF is about as fast as mainstream laptops come. After barrelling through our Real World Benchmarks to a fine result of 0.83, it lapped up the challenge of our Crysis tests. It wasn’t until we cranked it up to High detail and a Full HD resolution that the Asus finally slowed to an average of 21fps. Once we dropped to its native 1,600 x 900 resolution, this figure rose to a more playable 28fps.

Asus N55S

Whatever you do, however, make sure you keep it hooked up to the mains – with a time of only 4hrs 55mins in our light-use battery test, all this power comes at a heavy price to portability.

And the Asus makes one final misstep. The wide, responsive touchpad is great, but the keyboard has a slight give in the base, and a rattly feel dogs every key press. Still, there’s just enough feedback from each stroke to let you know you’ve successfully pressed a key, and while the keys are a little larger than the average, we soon found ourselves rattling off paragraphs.

The keyboard and battery are weak points then, and you could say the Asus lacks the visual allure to tug at the purse strings like pricier, metal-bodied models can. But that’s before you see the price – at £735 inc VAT, the N55SF tramples all over the opposition for sheer value. This is, without a doubt, the most competent desktop replacement we’ve seen for less than £1,000, delivering devastating power and genuinely impressive audio at a knock-down price. Sure, it has its flaws, but taken as a whole package you won’t find many better laptops than this.

Warranty

Warranty 2 yr return to base

Physical specifications

Dimensions 379 x 261 x 38mm (WDH)
Weight 2.790kg
Travelling weight 3.6kg

Processor and memory

Processor Intel Core i7-2670QM
Motherboard chipset Intel HM65
RAM capacity 6.00GB
Memory type DDR3

Screen and video

Screen size 15.6in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,600
Resolution screen vertical 900
Resolution 1600 x 900
Graphics chipset Nvidia GeForce GT 555M
Graphics card RAM 2.00GB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 1
HDMI outputs 1
S-Video outputs 0
DVI-I outputs 0
DVI-D outputs 0
DisplayPort outputs 0

Drives

Capacity 640GB
Optical disc technology Blu-ray reader
Battery capacity 5,200mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT £0

Networking

Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec
802.11b support yes
802.11g support yes
802.11 draft-n support yes
Integrated 3G adapter no
Bluetooth support yes

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switch no
Wireless key-combination switch yes
Modem no
ExpressCard34 slots 0
ExpressCard54 slots 0
PC Card slots 0
USB ports (downstream) 2
FireWire ports 0
PS/2 mouse port no
9-pin serial ports 0
Parallel ports 0
3.5mm audio jacks 3
SD card reader yes
Memory Stick reader yes
MMC (multimedia card) reader yes
Smart Media reader no
Compact Flash reader no
xD-card reader no
Pointing device type Multitouch touchpad
Audio chipset Bang & Olufsen ICEpower
Speaker location Above keyboard and external
Hardware volume control? yes
Integrated microphone? yes
Integrated webcam? yes
Camera megapixel rating 1.3mp
TPM no
Fingerprint reader no
Smartcard reader no

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use 4hr 55min
Battery life, heavy use 1hr 21min
3D performance (crysis) low settings 111fps
3D performance setting Low
Overall Real World Benchmark score 0.83
Responsiveness score 0.82
Media score 0.85
Multitasking score 0.81

Operating system and software

Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
OS family Windows 7

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