Review: ASUS N53SV

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Desktop replacements have always been my laptop of choice. You can have all the skinny ultraportables and all the netbooks you want, I’m sticking with the notebook heavy-hitters. Sure, they’re significantly heavier than your typical notebook and you’re probably be working more muscle groups when you start lugging them around, but their higher number-crunching abilities and graphic processing prowess more than make up for their weight. The Asus N53SV is such a notebook.

The N53V is an example of Asus’ typical approach to making notebooks. The overall color scheme is a tasteful dark grey, with a bit of surface gradations that look similar to brushed aluminum across the lid. Unfortunately, the lid isn’t made of metal, but it’s a nice effect nonetheless.

There’s a large speaker grille near the top of the keyboard where the hinge is. Right below the speaker grille are shortcut buttons for a number of different things, including the power management key (which is also boots the Express Gate Cloud OS) and volume controls.

The keyboard is nice and big, and comes with a keypad on the right. The keys have enough travel and are extremely easy to use. The wrist rest has this nice, faux wood grain effect going on. The touchpad is the right size, though the mouse buttons use the single bar config without separators, which annoyed me to no end.

The left side of the notebook housed the HDMI and Ethernet port, along with 2 USB ports and an SD card slot.

The right side housed the optical drive, headphone and mic jacks and 2 more USB ports.

Hardware-wise, the N53SV is powered by an Intel Core i7-2630QM running at 2GHz, 4GB worth of DDR3 memory and the most important bit – an NVIDIA GeForce GT 540M graphics card. The N53SV is also armed with a built-in GPU courtesy of the Intel HD 3000 graphics that the machine switches to when you’re in power saver.


With such massive hardware, it wasn’t a big surprise that the N53SV managed to run my games without any problems, specifically my newest MMOG addiction World of Tanks. The combination of the Core i7 processor with the burly GT 540M GPU meant that the notebook is able to handle most mainstream and a few hardcore games at decent resolutions.

Another feature that Asus is touting with the N53SV is the Bang and Olufsen audio that’s integrated into the device, and with good reason – as the sound was definitely better than some of the other notebooks I’ve heard, and the N53SV is pretty damn loud, if anything.

Of course all that processing power comes at a price, namely decreased battery life. It’s pretty much the same for the N53SV, with the notebook on high performance the battery only lasted for about an hour and a half off the plug. It was only slightly better with powersaving on, at about 2 ½ hours.

But mobility isn’t the point of the N53SV. Processing power is, and that’s where the notebook excels. The Asus N53SV is a great buy for anyone looking for a notebook with a little bit of extra oomph in it. Unfortunately, the N53SV won’t be officially carried by Asus locally, so finding it is going to be a bit of a challenge. Thankfully there’s an alternative – a more compact and affordable version, the N43SL that will retail for 39,995.

What’s Hot:

Excellent audio

Powerful processor

Can handle mainstream and a bit of hardcore games

 

What’s Not:

Battery life is woefully low

 

Bottomline:

The N53SV is a great buy for people looking for a powerful notebook, that is if you can find it.

Buy meter: 8.5