Asus N550JV review
When the Asus N56VM arrived in PC Pro’s Labs just over a year ago, it’s fair to say we were smitten. Sharp looks, good performance and a keen price delivered it straight to the A List. Twelve months on and Asus is hoping to repeat the trick with the similar-looking but better-specified N550JV.
The design has undergone a revamp, and the result is that a laptop that was already good-looking is now positively handsome. A backlit Asus logo glows in the centre of the metal lid, and the keyboard surround is topped with a layer of aluminium that pools between the backlit, Scrabble-tile keys and spills over and around the N550JV’s edges. Concentric, micro-drilled speaker grilles ripple outwards from the buttons embedded along the laptop’s top edge, and there’s a wide, silver buttonless touchpad beneath.
The Asus’ 15.6in touchscreen is a peach: the glossy finish is very reflective, but thanks to the Full HD resolution, images and text are crisply presented and there’s plenty of desktop space. It’s technically competent, too. Brightness peaks at a respectable 335cd/m2, and the contrast ratio of 780:1 is solid. Colours lack a little punch next to the very best displays we’ve seen at this price, but accuracy isn’t bad, and while there’s a tendency to crush the darkest greys into black, our photographs looked natural and packed with detail. Our only other criticism is a more practical one: firm on-screen prods set the screen wobbling fairly eagerly, so it’s necessary to dab gently to get the best results.
We’ve no such qualms about the keyboard, however. It’s a solid example, and although the keys don’t quite offer the same level of crispness as Lenovo’s finest ThinkPads, there’s plenty of travel and a definite, unmistakable snap to every keystroke. The keys are backlit with a strong white LED, and the three brightness levels make it easy to get the lighting just so. The extra space afforded by the Asus’ 38cm wide chassis has been put to use too, with a numeric keypad squeezed in along the right-hand edge. Beneath, the buttonless trackpad is a fine example: its silky-smooth surface and wide dimensions make the most of Windows 8’s gestures, and the pad depresses with a solid, muffled click.
|Warranty||1yr collect and return|
|Dimensions||380 x 255 x 31mm (WDH)|
Processor and memory
|Processor||Intel Core i7-4700HQ|
|SODIMM sockets free||0|
|SODIMM sockets total||2|
Screen and video
|Resolution screen horizontal||1,920|
|Resolution screen vertical||1,080|
|Resolution||1920 x 1080|
|Graphics chipset||Nvidia GeForce GT 750M|
|VGA (D-SUB) outputs||1|
|Optical disc technology||Blu-ray reader|
|Replacement battery price inc VAT||£0|
|Wired adapter speed||1,000Mbits/sec|
|802.11 draft-n support||yes|
|Integrated 3G adapter||no|
|3.5mm audio jacks||2|
|Pointing device type||Touchpad, touchscreen|
|Camera megapixel rating||0.9mp|
Battery and performance tests
|Battery life, light use||7hr 8min|
|Battery life, heavy use||1hr 15min|
|3D performance (crysis) low settings||85fps|
|3D performance setting||Low|
|Overall Real World Benchmark score||0.86|
Operating system and software
|Operating system||Windows 8 64-bit|
|OS family||Windows 8|
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