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ASUS N550JV Laptop Review

By Alan Martin

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
ASUS N550JV Laptop

Summary

Our Score:

9

ASUS N550JV - Keyboard

Issues with sparkliness aside, the keyboard on the N550JV is actually very nice to use. It’s backlit for low light conditions, and because of the 15.6-inch base, it has plenty of space between the keys and around the edge, while still managing to fit in a full numberpad and sensibly sized function keys.

ASUS N550JV Review

Typing quickly on it comes naturally as you would expect, therefore, and it actually feels nice to the touch too, with just the right amount of resistance from each key and a well padded satisfying sound to fast typing, without the rattling that sometimes comes with cheaper laptop keyboards.

ASUS N550JV - Touchpad

Despite being of a decent size, we often found the touchpad on the N550JV a little more obtrusive than it should be. While the size is big enough that gestures are easy and consistent to pull off (scrolling in particular in a pleasure with the smooth surface and lack of friction), there’s no physical buttons to left and right click.

ASUS N550JV Review

This wouldn’t be a problem in itself, but you actually need to put quite a bit of force onto the touchpad to click it in either side, which really breaks the natural flow of navigation. This is only really a problem when right clicking, as you can just tap lightly anywhere on the touchpad to left click, but it feels a sore point on a laptop that so rarely puts a foot wrong elsewhere.

Anything else to consider?

The audio fidelity fanatics’ favourite Bang & Olufsen provide the speaker output on the N550JV, and it really shows. The channels are distinct and clear, and compliment games and films nicely. It’s a little tinny, like most laptop sound systems, but ASUS has worked around this a little by including a mini subwoofer with a dedicated port on the left hand side. Plugging this in adds real depth to the sound, though obviously it’s not the kind of thing you’re likely to take on the road with you, and is no substitute for a full dedicated sound system.

ASUS N550JV Review

On top of this, it exceeds expectations in another way. In a field where laptops are cutting out their optical media, the N550JV doesn’t just pack in a DVD-RW, but a Blu Ray drive. With the quality of the screen and built in speakers, the N550JV becomes quite a compelling media station, and the Blu Ray drive ensures you don’t have to stream to get high definition content.

Should I buy the ASUS N550JV?

The ASUS N550JV is a really nice all round performer. The other two recent high specification desktop replacement laptops we’ve looked at - the Toshiba Satellite P50t-A-10U and HP Envy Touchsmart 15 - have had their own issues to hold back a full recommendation, the N550JV rarely puts a foot wrong, only really struggling with a slightly fussy touchpad. True, it has half the RAM of the other two, but we always thought 16GB was overkill on those machines, and the performance is pretty similar anyway according to PCMark and Geekbench 3, and in gaming the N550JV steals the show with a better graphics chip and performance not too far removed from the more expensive Alienware 14. It also manages to pack in a Blu Ray drive, which neither of the others do for the same price. It’s an easy recommendation, given each retails for the same amount - though of course there are bargains to be had below RRP.

Despite its slim build, it’s still a bulky and heavy piece of hardware at 15.6-inches and 2.6kg, and the lack of SSD does make it feel a little more sluggish than weaker specification Ultrabooks. On raw power, ultimately it’s stronger, but it’ll take a little longer to spring into action and load things: the difference between a marathon and a sprint.

Verdict

The ASUS N550JV is a good all round desktop replacement laptop which comes with solid games performance and premium design and build quality.

Overall Score

9

Scores In Detail

  • Battery Life 7
  • Build Quality 9
  • Design 9
  • Heat & Noise 9
  • Keyboard 9
  • Performance 9
  • Screen Quality 8
  • Touchpad 7
  • Value 8

djkm

November 22, 2013, 10:40 pm

Yes, a great laptop. And yes, virtually silent, regardless of what's running. My last laptop, an Envy 14, sounded like a jumbo jet compared to this one, as does my work Macbook Pro.

Windows 8 also makes some sense at last with a touchscreen!

One thing to note, there are at least a couple of variants of the machine doing the rounds, in the main the same, but with slightly different processors - mine, with the 4700HQ, some with a 4700MQ, and others still with a 4702HQ. I don't quite know why, tbh, but the 4700hq has the highest clockspeed, so I dunno, it's better? :D

Ash

November 28, 2013, 6:49 am

The touchpad on this laptop is atrocious and there's no way to adjust sensitivity. It is both at times too sensitive and not sensitive enough. The 'button' areas are too short, so my slight thumb pressure is constantly registering as a swipe and it jerks the cursor around when I click. Excruciatingly annoying. Otherwise seemed nice. Too bad.

brian

January 9, 2014, 4:26 pm

I have yet to enjoy a touchpad... This is why usb mice are key. But I understand :)

Daniel Dacher

March 31, 2014, 5:16 pm

No, your 4700HQ is not better, merely permanently soldered onto the motherboard and can't ever be upgraded as any MQ cpu can be upgraded! :)

InTheCube.co.za

June 3, 2014, 2:52 pm

Can this laptop run 3 displays simultaneously, in extended desktop mode? 2 external displays, with the 3rd being the laptops own display?

dfg

July 1, 2014, 8:24 am

i bought this laptop. Will not buy an asus product ever again. Substandard parts, bad service, false warranty promises, over heating, broken keyboard..had enough..complete piece of s##t..

Giuseppe

August 8, 2014, 8:03 am

Same story for me! After only 6 months after purchasing my notebook I've sent it 3 times to Asus for maintenance (I've subrscribed also the 4 years warranty extension): the first time the BT+LAN+Wi-fi card was replaced and the keyboard was replaced and the last time the replaced 7 not well known pieces inside!! Moreover in the last maintenance, they have seriously damaged my notebook aluminium chassis so I sent my notebook to Asus one time again and they proposed me (after about 40 days) a 80% price refunding (999 Euro) or a new notebook of the same type. Still waiting for an aswer from Asus... Very very suprised (since we are talking of Asus) and disappointed! :(

froman

September 17, 2014, 6:13 am

I have yet to experience any big problems besides the annoying touchpad and an issue with the Asus live update program, Asides from that i really like it. It has clear picture good sound, and i can't complain about its speed and touch screen. I have also played online games and pc games on medium to high settings with no issue.

GeeMac

November 15, 2015, 2:40 am

Seems I bought this model even though the package, the quote, the order and the invoice call it an R552JV (but ASUS don't have these apparently - since not on their support info.)

I purchased an ASUS R552JV from UMart in Brisbane some time
back with a 2 year extended warranty (1yr original +2 year additional, so it
should be 3 years in total). It has been a very disappointing purchase, and
especially frustrating dealing with UMart and also very trying attempting to
get help from ASUS. Both the UMart service contact and the sales manager flatly
refused to help at all to try and sort the dilemma re: the extended warranty
purchased from them.

The current sales manager suggested I should have been aware
of aspects of software license and warranty at the time of purchase - DESPITE
the fact that the Umart staff I dealt with (in requesting a full quotation and
at purchase) had no knowledge of the same aspects when I asked for a price on fully
detailed specifications and purchased against this quote, including the
extended warranty. On picking up my order, I ended up with a product which had
to be returned due to software issues/licensing, etc. In fact I should not have
been sold an extended warranty at all given that I have now been told (by the
current sales manager who has no idea at all what customer means and is very
rude in expressing criticism of me as the customer} that because I had an SSD
installed at the time of purchase, I have no warranty anyway.

One main problem with the product is that it does not have a
replaceable battery, and the internal battery failed prematurely and of course
no warranty. The battery replacement requires a major dismantling of the whole
notebook - so a very poor design indeed, and one to watch on newer ASUS
products as reported by others with ASUS battery problems.

While I bought the laptop from UMart including a Windows 8
licence in the quote, I was forced to buy a new Windows 8 licence (at
additional cost) when Microsoft advised the original 8 licence was not
compatible with the Office licence purchased separately. Apparently I was
supposed to know this as well.

ASUS support on the 1300... number (which seems to end up at
an overseas call centre) and the Brisbane service centre have each been equally
dismissive and no help at all. $199 paid for extended warranty a farce as ASUS
claim the warranty on the serial number lists 2 years, UMART claim this is
impossible since it either has to be 1 year or 3 year with the extended
warranty purchased - and around and around in circles it goes with no current
warranty at all and a waste of my $199.

Searching ASUS support does not even list the model
purchased (as on the UMart invoice and ASUS original packaging), so no help at
all that way either. Searching the model on other sites also does not provide
useful results, other than it was listed for sale in Australia. I didn't even
know that this is supposedly an N Series until I dug up the delivery carton,
but again, the model not listed by ASUS under N Series.

Members of my family have purchased numerous ASUS laptops
over the years - But this one (apparently unknown to ASUS support themselves)
will definitely be the last. Similarly, I have purchased many IT products from
Umart over many years – both for home and work (as have family members), but I
will be using alternate suppliers in future.

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