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Asus N53J review

Tom Morgan
16 Dec 2010
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
750
inc VAT

It’s not particularly portable, but the N53J decent multimedia laptop for anyone yet to invest in Blu-ray

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With copious amounts of brushed aluminium, the N53J is a fantastic-looking that has plenty of multimedia features. It has a firm entertainment focus thanks to an Blu-ray optical drive and speakers from audio specialists Bang & Olufsen.

Continuing the theme is an Nvidia GeForce GT 425M graphics card which is capable of decoding HD video, either on the 15.6in screen or on an external display via HDMI. Gaming performance is also good: with 1GB of dedicated memory it sped through our Call of Duty 4 test at 29fps. Newer games should also be playable without too many detail changes.

An Intel Core i5-460M processor runs at 2.53GHz. Turbo boost increases this to 2.8GHz for extra power, and Hyper-threading helps speed up multi-threaded applications. This, along with 4GB of memory, helped the N53J achieve an impressive 99 overall in our multimedia benchmarks, which is almost as fast as a desktop PC.

Asus N53J

Although it’s not Full HD, the 15.6in screen will still highlight the difference between standard definition video and Blu-ray movies. The 1,366x768 resolution meant details looked sharp, and black levels were excellent with very little bleed from the backlight. A piano black finish on the screen bezel matches the glossy panel, although reflections were an issue under bright light. Colours weren’t always accurately reproduced, with subtle shade differences often merging together. The screen has a decent amount of tilt, but viewing angles are fairly limited.

We expected the Bang & Olufsen speakers to sound better than other laptop speakers and we weren’t disappointed. The speaker bar above the keyboard produced solid audio, with clear mid-range and high notes. There was even a recognisable bass note, although it was less pronounced than some laptops we've seen with a separate woofer underneath.

The keyboard has large, flat keys that are comfortable to use. The number pad has been squeezed in and uses slightly smaller keys, but is still a useful inclusion. There's a small amount of flex in the keyboard tray, but typing was easy thanks to great tactile feedback from each key. The touchpad was smooth and very responsive, recognising multi-touch gestures very quickly. The 'see-saw' touchpad buttons have a reasonably large dead spot in its centre, but it wasn’t a major issue.

Asus N53J right side

Connectivity includes a single USB3 port, a shared eSATA/USB port, two dedicated USB ports and a multi-format card reader. There's also a large 640GB hard disk. Even with Nvidia’s Optimus switching off the graphics card, the N53J lasted just under four hours in our light-use battery test. While it’s an improvement over desktop replacement laptops with similar components, it's not the ideal travelling companion, especially given it weighs 2.7kg.

Asus N53J left side

The N53J has great potential as a multimedia laptop thanks to a Blu-ray optical drive, although there's no need to spend this much for Blu-ray alone. It’s a seriously powerful laptop in 2D applications, but the Dell XPS 17 has better gaming performance and a larger screen.

Basic Specifications

Rating*****
ProcessorIntel Core i5-460M
Processor clock speed2.53GHz
Memory4.00GB
Memory slots2
Memory slots free0
Maximum memory8GB
Size31x391x266mm
Weight2.7kg
SoundRealtek High Definition Audio
Pointing devicetouchpad

Display

Viewable size15.6 in
Native resolution1,366x768
Graphics ProcessorNvidia GeForce GT 425M
Graphics/video portsVGA, HDMI
Graphics Memory1,024MB

Storage

Total storage capacity640GB
Optical drive typeDVD+/-RW +/-DL, BD-ROM

Ports and Expansion

USB ports4
Bluetoothyes
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support802.11b/g/n
PC Card slotsnone
Supported memory cardsSD, SDHD, MemoryStick, MemoryStick Pro, MMC
Other portseSATA (shared with USB socket), 1x USB3 port, minijack audio output, minijack microphone input

Miscellaneous

Carrying caseNo
Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Operating system restore optionbackup and recovery software
Software includedMicrosoft Office 2010 Starter edition, CyberLink Blu-ray Disc Suite
Optional extrasnone

Buying Information

Warrantytwo year collect and return
Price£750
Detailswww.asus.com
Supplierhttp://www.saveonlaptops.co.uk

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