The Asus N53SV is a 15.6in laptop suitable for use as a desktop replacement. With a Sandy Bridge Core i5 processor and dedicated graphics chip, to get equivalent performance from an Apple Macbook you'd have to spend over a grand. However, the Asus N53SV costs around £700. It's a mid-range lappy, but these days that spells a great deal of power.
This laptop's frame isn't new, having been used in the N53JN for one. What is new is what's inside. It offers the latest-generation chipset - our review model rocked an i5-2410M 2.3GHz processor and 6GB of DDR3 RAM. This should help push up the power without compromising battery life too much.
The Asus N53SV cuts an imposing figure. The brushed dark grey and black interior is serious-looking, but there's enough elegance to temper this seriousness with style. A brushed metal layer sits atop the keyboard rest, to supply a classy cool-touch element. The rest of the interior is plastic, but its lines have been laid-down carefully enough to cast this as a quality laptop.
A row of shortcut buttons sits above the keyboard, embedded within a crystal-like line of clear plastic. They offer media and volume controls and the two power buttons - one to load Windows 7, the other Asus's Express Gate interface. Too often these shortcut buttons stand out a little too eagerly, but here they're blessedly low-key. The speaker housing above these buttons isn't quite as timid though. It's shiny, rather large and styled as a perforated grille across 90 percent of the laptop's width. This isn't a laptop we'd accuse of macho posturing, but it's edging towards that territory here.
Along with the latest Sandy Bridge processor, the Asus N53S also benefits from USB 3.0 connectivity. There's just a single USB 3.0 socket on the laptop's left edge, to complement the three USB 2 slots. Alongside the USB 3.0 port are one of its slower USB 2.0 brothers, the HDMI output, Gigabit Ethernet port and the memory card reader. On the right edge are two of the three USB 2 ports, the headphone/mic sockets, Wi-Fi switch and tray-loading Blu-ray drive.