Well built and with a striking design, but its dedicated graphics chip isn't powerful enough and the keyboard is ugly and uncomfortable.
15.6 in 1,366×768 display, 2.7kg, 2.4GHz Intel Core i3-370M, 4.00GB RAM, 320GB disk, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
With a brushed aluminium lid and a stylish design, the Asus N53 really stands out – even though the sculpted curve of the lid near the hinge borrows heavily from Dell XPS and Sony Vaio designs. This is no bad thing, and the N53 feels solidly-built.
The striking design continues when opening the lid to reveal the large metal speaker grille above the keyboard. The sound system was designed in conjunction with Scandinavian hi-fi makers Bang & Olufsen, and the sound quality is certainly a cut above the normal laptop quality. It’s loud but it still sounds a bit brash and the bass notes aren’t convincing.
Below the speakers is a cramped and ugly keyboard. Asus has squeezed a numberpad in on the right side, and although the keys are large enough, there’s little space between them making it easy to hit two at once. Their flat tops and matt finish also make them a bit slippery. They have a light action, though, and there’s enough bite in the stroke to provide adequate feedback for touch-typists. The touchpad is large and responsive, but it uses a single, stiff seesaw button that has little travel.
An LED backlight provides an even and bright glow across the screen, but it has a blue cast that dulls flesh tones. As with most consumer laptops, there’s a glossy finish that adds punch to colours but it can also reflect overhead lights. Vertical viewing angles are a bit tight as well, so you’ll need to adjust the tilt of the screen carefully. Overall image quality is good, with strong colours and good contrast.
We’re pleased to see four USB ports – one more than usual – one of which doubles as an eSATA port. A small switch toggles wireless networking on and off. The headphone socket doubles as an S/PDIF output, which is handy if you have older AV equipment that doesn’t support HDMI.
The Intel Core i3-370M processor runs at 2.4GHz, and the 4GB of RAM will suit those who like to leave lots of applications running. The N53JG scored 86 overall in our benchmarks, and 98 in the single-threaded image-editing test, so it’s almost as powerful as our reference desktop PC when running a single task. Battery life is disappointing, though, lasting under four hours.
|Processor||Intel Core i3-370M|
|Processor clock speed||2.4GHz|
|Memory slots free||0|
|Sound||Realtek HD Audio|
|Viewable size||15.6 in|
|Graphics Processor||Intel HD Graphics/Nvidia GeForce 415M|
|Graphics/video ports||VGA, HDMI|
|Total storage capacity||320GB|
|Optical drive type||DVD+/-RW +/-DL|
Ports and Expansion
|Wired network ports||1x 10/100/1000|
|Wireless networking support||802.11b/g/n|
|PC Card slots||none|
|Supported memory cards||SDHC, MMC, Memory Stick Pro/Duo|
|Other ports||eSATA (shared with USB socket), minijack audio output/S/PDIF (shared), minijack microphone input|
|Operating system||Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit|
|Operating system restore option||backup and recovery software|
|Software included||Microsoft Office Starter 2010, CyberLink Blu-ray Disc Suite|
|Warranty||two year collect and return|