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Asus N550JV review

Verdict

Power, good looks and a sensible price make the Asus N550JV a fantastic all-round desktop replacement

Review Date: 14 Oct 2013

Reviewed By: Dave Stevenson

Price when reviewed: £833 (£1,000 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
5 stars out of 6

Value for Money
5 stars out of 6

Performance
5 stars out of 6

PCPRO Recommended

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.

Asus 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.

Asus N550JV

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.

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User comments

"When the Asus N56VM arrived in PC Pro’s Labs just over a year ago, it’s fair to say we were smitten"

So was I and I bought one. Trouble is, the 5400 hard drive in it was dreadfully slow. A friend of mine also bought the N56VM and experienced the same problems. Thank goodness for SSDs.

By Alfresco on 14 Oct 2013

Dave,
Since chiropractors are unregulated purveyors of junk science, how can I diferntiate a decent one from the downright dangerous ones were I to buy this laptop?

By tesco123 on 16 Oct 2013

"When the Asus N56VM arrived in PC Pro’s Labs just over a year ago, it’s fair to say we were smitten"

Me too and it was a fine machine, until the motherboard apparently failed after 8 months. I can prove the purchase date with my card statement, which is good enough for the Sale of Goods Act, but apparently not for Asus who have flatly refused to honour the guarantee.

I would never buy from them again. Once they have your money their after-sales service is dismal.

By stub1969 on 17 Oct 2013

@stub1969

Email me at sasha@pcpro.co.uk, and I'll get onto my contacts at Asus.

The same goes for anyone who has similar issues - we're always happy to chase things up with the manufacturer in question.

By SashaMuller on 17 Oct 2013

mine died after 13months

I#always bought Asus hardware till 2012 when my 13 month old asus packed up. The motherboard issue. youtube U56shutting down.

By issie on 29 Oct 2013

mine died after 13months

I#always bought Asus hardware till 2012 when my 13 month old asus packed up. The motherboard issue. youtube U56shutting down.

By issie on 29 Oct 2013

Touchpad issues

The touchpad on the N550 is terrible. Despite disabling all the feature the cursor still wanders off its position on its own. The integration of the buttons is horrible as you cant define a touch area and your finger only has to move a fraction to cause the cursor to move. Asus tech support (when you can manage to get them ) are about as much help as a chocolate teapot. Regret buying this expensive notebook

By john925 on 25 Nov 2013

does anywhere sell this?

im trying to replace my stolen n56vz and this seems to fit the bill as most similar asus seem to shun the 1080p screen. But, where [reputable] sells it!? bit annoying to have one of your award-winning laptops impossible to buy! Thanks!

By tommurphy on 4 Feb 2014

Discontinued

About time the A-List was updated as this laptop has been discontinued

By daveyu on 15 Feb 2014

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