Asus N550JV review

14 Oct 2013

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

Price when reviewed: 
1,000(£1,000 inc VAT
5

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.

Details

Price ex VAT £833
Price inc VAT £1,000
Overall rating 5
Features & Design 5
Value for Money 5
Performance 5

Warranty

Warranty 1yr collect and return

Physical specifications

Dimensions 380 x 255 x 31mm (WDH)
Weight 2.700kg
Travelling weight 3.1kg

Processor and memory

Processor Intel Core i7-4700HQ
RAM capacity 8.00GB
Memory type DDR3
SODIMM sockets free 0
SODIMM sockets total 2

Screen and video

Screen size 15.6in
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
HDMI outputs 1

Drives

Capacity 1.00TB
Spindle speed 5,400RPM
Optical disc technology Blu-ray reader
Replacement battery price inc VAT £0

Networking

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

Other Features

3.5mm audio jacks 2
Pointing device type Touchpad, touchscreen
Integrated microphone? yes
Integrated webcam? yes
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
Responsiveness score 0.70
Media score 0.96
Multitasking score 0.92

Operating system and software

Operating system Windows 8 64-bit
OS family Windows 8