ASUS N53JQ-A1 15.6-Inch Versatile Entertainment Laptop (Silver Aluminum) Reviews
Hot Hardware, Cold Software December 22, 2010
[Note, my Asus N53JQ is a purchased system through Costco... my model has 6Gb RAM and 640Gb hard drive, but other internals appear to be similar]
The basic hardware screams.
CPU: Nice and fast, and Intel's overclocking technology keeps things cool under normal usage, but has the horsepower to crank things up if needed. I'm a developer, so 4 cores + hyperthreading is invaluable for stress conducting tests my apps for race conditions. This version does not, however, support Intel's AES instructions. (Will affect your TrueCrypt performance).
GPU: Can run a Mass Effect 2 demo with graphics turned up to max. `Nuff Said.
Hard Drive: Even though it's a 5400 RPM drive, the size makes the data density bigger, and therefore it's still faster than smaller 5400 RPM drives - Windows Experience Index is a full point higher than my previous 320 GB 5400 RPM drive. However, for you do-it-yourselfers, a faster drive would speed things up.
The speakers are terrific! They need Equalization to sound their best, but the drivers included provide flawless EQ, and they're loud enough to share with everybody in the room. Best notebook speakers I've encountered to date by a long shot!
Looks: Asus has been trying to borrow style points from Apple. It's a pretty notebook!
Keyboard: Tactile feedback is pure mush. I upgraded from a Fujitsu laptop, and was extremely disappointed in the feel of the key. At first I was excited that they got a 10-key pad in a 15"-er, but the zero key is small and not positioned right for your thumb, so you can't quite use it as a typical 10-key. Still it's better than nothing. There is also a lot of grant near the six and seven keys at the top of the keyboard.
Mouse pad: Asus tried to go "Apple-ly" here with a single bar across the buttons. While it's good for normal work, it doesn't allow you to click both the right and departed mouse buttons at the same time - something that many games require. So I have to pull out an external mouse if I want to even play minesweeper. The driver software is significantly inferior to synaptics track pads because of missed finger strokes. I've turned off all the multi-touch on mine.
Bundled OS install / Software: I couldn't install Google Chrome on the default setup (some cryptic error message apparently related to OEM install settings), and most of the utilities were simply fancy wrappers over stuff you could already do within the control panel. For me, I had purchased a License of Windows 7 Ultimate, so I wiped everything and installed from fresh - but this is clearly not an option that many people could do. I think the default software install is the worst I've ever seen in a laptop.
Final vote. This computer works well for me, and once I was done tweaking, it has worked great for me. For non-technical people who can't fight through the default installed system? I'm not so sure it'd be a good match.
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