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Asus VivoBook Pro N552VW review - a great value do-it-all laptop

Richard Easton
27 Apr 2016
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Asus VivoBook Pro N552VW lead
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
900
inc VAT (as of 27th of April)

The Asus VivoBook Pro N552VW is big and heavy but it's good value for the specifications

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When it comes to the Asus VivoBook Pro N552VW's internal specifications, it has a lot in common with its gaming oriented cousin, the Asus Republic of Gamers (ROG) GL552VW. Both use an Intel Skylake-based Core i7-6700HQ processor and each of them comes with a dedicated Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M graphics card.

However, in terms of their design, they couldn’t be more different. While the GL552VW shares all the hallmarks of a ‘gaming’ system with its aggressive design, large fans and bulky chassis, the VivoBook cuts a far more refined and elegant figure.

On the outside, there's Asus’ trademark brushed metal concentric circle finish, half resembling the grooves of a vinyl record, while inside you've got a classy silver keyboard tray. Admittedly, I did notice a little flex on the keyboard tray, but it wasn't particularly worrisome.

For all its good looks, though, the N552VW is still quite a hefty general-purpose laptop, measuring 29.9mm thick and weighing a sizable 2.5kg, so it's not the best laptop for carrying around all day. Most of its bulk can be attributed to its built-in DVD drive, but the thick, black bezels around the display also drag down its overall appeal. Still, when this is clearly a desktop replacement laptop rather than a thin, sleek ultra-portable, it's easy to forgive its rather unwieldy dimensions. 

Asus VivoBook Pro N552VW rear

Keyboard and Touchpad

The keyboard in particular was incredibly comfortable to type on. The keys have a good amount of travel with a good action to each stroke, and they all sit precisely where your fingers would expect them to, meaning I had no acclimatisation period and only made very infrequent mistakes. More importantly, the keys are relatively quiet, too, which is great if you value unobtrusive working. The only disappointment was that my particular review model lacked any backlighting, so make sure you check the model number before you buy. 

The large touchpad is equally comfortable to use and its smooth, slick surface allows your fingers to glide across it without much resistance. It felt lovely and responsive during testing, and the integrated mouse buttons worked well, too.

Asus VivoBook Pro N552VW touchpad

Display and Speakers

The other massive difference separating the VivoBook from Asus' ROG laptop is the display. Whereas the ROG made do with a standard 1,920x1,080 resolution panel, the VivoBook Pro uses a vastly superior 15.6in 3,840x2,160 IPS screen. 

This not only has lower black levels of 0.49cd/m2 compared to the ROG, but it's also a lot brighter, hitting 287.9cd/m2 on its maximum settings. That said, its contrast ratio of 538:1 is still pretty poor, but at least its colour accuracy hits 81% of the sRGB colour gamut, which is a definite step up over the ROG's paltry 61% coverage.

There are, of course, better displays out there - most notably on the Dell XPS 15 - but to get the same kind of specification as the Vivobook, you're also looking at paying around £700 more, so this is still a pretty good display considering its price. Likewise, the Vivobook's 4K resolution is great for those who like to multi-task and work on multiple documents simulataneously, and it's also a good fit for digital creatives like audio engineers who don't need to rely on colour-sensitive work, particularly when you combine it with the Vivobook's dedicated graphics card.


Asus VivoBook Pro N552VW keyboard

As for the speakers, they’re distinctly average, but since they fire upwards they’re not as muffled as other laptops with down-firing speakers. They’re perfectly adequate for watching films on Netflix, but for a more enjoyable audio experience, all you need to do is simply plug in some headphones or external speakers and you'll be all the happier for it. Continues on Page 2.

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