Asus N53S review
15.6 in 1,366x768 display, 2.7kg, 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-2410M, 6.00GB RAM, 640GB disk, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
This is the third Asus N53 model we've seen since the range was launched at the end of last year, but the N53S is the first to use the new Intel Core i5-2410M processor, running at 2.3GHz and with a generous 6GB of RAM. It's a beautifully designed laptop, with graceful curves in the edge of the case and a large, bold speaker grille housing the Bang & Olufsen-designed sound system.
The N53S is similar to the N53J model, with a Blu-ray drive, a Core i5 processor and a dedicated Nvidia graphics chip. Performance from the new Core i5 is great, with a result of 52 overall in our new benchmarks. As a comparison, the N53J with the old Core i5 scored 45 in the new benchmarks, so the new model gives you a 16 per cent improvement.
Build quality was superb, with little flex in the lid or keyboard, and a tasteful mix of materials. The keyboard has flat-topped keys, but they're set close together which can cause two to be pressed at once on occasion. Their action is light, though, with a distinct bite at the top of the keystroke that provides good feedback for touch-typists.
The numeric keypad feels a bit cramped: the "0" key is half-width to fit in the right cursor key, but there's a row of useful page navigation keys along the top row, and the rest of the layout is standard. There's also a large, responsive touchpad with a single see-saw button: the latter is a bit stiff and has a sizeable dead zone in the middle.