Asus N55SF-A1 Review

Posted by The Best Review Sunday, October 16, 2011 0 komentar
When it comes to speaker sound quality, not all laptops are created equal. Because of their size, desktop replacement laptops tend to have better speaker systems than smaller laptops, sometimes accommodating up to four speakers and subwoofer. The Asus N55SF-A1 ($1,249.99 list), a desktop replacement, uses sound quality as its unique selling proposition, as the speakers are design by none other than world-renown Bang & Olufsen ICEpower. In addition to a pair of powerful built-in speakers, the N55SF-A1 also comes with an external subwoofer that amplifies the bass. And it's a powerful laptop too, equipped with a quad-core Intel processor and hardcore gaming graphics from Nvidia. It'll cost you a significant chunk of change, though.

The finish on the plastic lid of the N55SF-A1 has the glossy look and feel of black grand piano, accentuated by a chrome trim. Although elegant, it still isn't as aesthetically pleasing as the metal-clad Dell XPS 15z (Microsoft) ($999.99 list, 4 stars) and Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch (Thunderbolt) ($2,199 direct, 4 stars) take laptops designs to a whole new level—and they're a lot thinner two (an inch thick). At 1.4-inch thick, the N55SF-A1 is over a third of an inch thicker than its metallic counterparts, and as thick as the Sony VAIO VPC-F226FM/B ($1,389.99 list, 4 stars), mainly because powerful parts warrant a thicker frame and some extra heft as well. Case in point: At 6.1 pounds, the N55SF-A1 is about a half a pound heavier than the Dell 15z and Apple 15-inch, both of which weigh 5.5 pounds.
The 15.6-inch widescreen is absolutely stunning. Like the Sony VPC-F226FM/B and dell, it sports an awe-inspiring 1,920-by-1,080 resolution, which is the highest available on a laptop. In contrast, other desktop replacements like the Lenovo IdeaPad Y570 ($849.99 Direct, 3.5 stars) and Acer Aspire TimelineX 5830TG-6402 ($800 list, 3.5 stars) have boilerplate 1,366-by-768 resolution screens. Asus chose a traditional keyboard instead of the ever-so-popular chiclet-style ones. The interconnected keys were responsive and will serve any typist ably, but it lacks the LED backlights seen on the keyboards of the Dell 15z and MacBook Pro 15-inch. It comes with a huge touchpad, though the mouse buttons could be softer and quieter.
The N55SF-A1 comes with a plate full of cutting-edge features that will keep it future-proofed for years to come. It's equipped with a Blu-ray drive, which splendidly complements the 1080p screen. Alternatively, you can stream your Blu-ray flicks to a bigger flat panel by using the HDMI port and compatible cable. It comes with four USB ports (two of which are USB 2.0, and two of which are USB 3.0), Ethernet, VGA, and a media card reader. The 750GB, 5,400rpm hard drive is larger in terms of capacity than the 500GB ones found in the Dell 15z and Lenovo Y570.


Type Gaming, Media, Desktop Replacement
Processor Name Intel Core i7-2630QM
Operating System Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium
Processor Speed 2 GHz
Weight 6.1 lb
Screen Size 15.6 inches
Screen Size Type Widescreen
Native Resolution 1920 x 1080
Graphics Card Intel HD Graphics 3000
Graphics Memory 64
2nd Graphics Card nVidia GeForce GT 555M
2nd Graphics Memory 2048
Storage Capacity (as Tested) 750 GB
Rotation Speed 5400 rpm
Networking Options 802.11n
Primary Optical Drive Blu-Ray Disc
Wireless Display Capability (WiDi) No
WiMax No
Battery Type 56 Whr (Watt hours)
Tech Support 2 years parts and labor.
MobileMark 2007 – Standard Battery Productivity Load (hrs:min) 4:39
MobileMark 2007- Performance score 289
PCMark Vantage 2482
3-D BENCHMARK TESTS - 3DMark06 - 1,024 x 768 - Default 12447
3-D BENCHMARK TESTS - 3DMark06 - Native – 0X/4X 8353
Crysis - Medium quality - 1,024 x 768 - AA/AF=Off/Off 77.2
Crysis - High quality - Native - AA/AF= 0X/4X 9.8
Lost Planet 2 (DX9) - Middle quality - 1,024 x 768- AA/AF=Off/Off 55.3
Lost Planet 2 (DX9) - High quality - Native - AA/AF= 0X/4X 16.8
MULTIMEDIA TESTS - Handbrake 1:37 min:sec
MULTIMEDIA TESTS - PhotoShop CS5 3:57 min:sec
MULTIMEDIA TESTS - CineBench 11.5 4.35

The laptop's standout feature is its audio system, developed through a partnership with Bang & Olufsen ICEpower. Two huge speakers are situated right above the keyboard, belting out crisp audio and boosting volume levels beyond those of the Dell 15z and Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch. It lacks a built-in subwoofer, though, which can usually be found in the bottom of the laptop. Instead, Asus threw in an external subwoofer, which looks like a humongous salt shaker and connects via a proprietary port found on the right side of the laptop. The bass drastically improves when it's connected, but it's an external attachment.

 The N55SF-A1's premium features are accompanied by premium parts. Its 2GHz Intel Core i7-2630QM processor has a total of four physical cores, in a quad-core configuration, making it furiously fast. Combined with 8GB of DDR3 memory, the N55SF-A1 scored 4.35 points in Cinebench R11.5 and finished our Handbrake test in one minute 37 seconds .It easily outperformed the Dell 15z (2.53 in Cinebench R11.5, 2:02 in Handbrake) and Lenovo Y570 (2.54 in Cinebench R11.5, 1:59 in Handbrake). In PCMark 7, a gauge of day-to-day performance, the N55SF-A1 scored 2,482, just beating the similarly-equipped Sony F226FM/B's score of 2,236.
The N55SF-A1 is also a viable gaming laptop, thanks to the Nvidia GeForce GT 555M, which is the most powerful of the two graphics chips installed (the first one is Intel's integrated graphics). It grabbed top marks in all of our gaming tests, including 3DMark 06 (12,447), Crysis (77.2 frames per second) and Lost Planet 2 (55.3 fps) at medium settings. In other words, it'll rack up higher frame rates than the Dell 15z, Sony F226FM//B, and Lenovo Y570, which also use discrete Nvidia chips.
Most laptops that ship with Nvidia graphics chips are also equipped with Optimus, an automatic graphics switching technology that chooses the best graphics chip for any given task. For gaming, Optimus automatically defaults to the GeForce GT 555M, and defaults to integrated graphics on non-3D-intensive tasks, like Web surfing and when running on battery. This would explain why the N55SF-A1 performed well in battery tests, yielding a score of 4 hours 39 minutes. It outlasted the Sony F226FM/B (3:36) by over an hour, but trailed significantly behind the Dell 15z (7:13) and Lenovo Y570 (6:14) (their Core i5 processors aren't as demanding).
The Asus N55SF-A1 is one of the best sounding desktop replacements in the business, thanks to some fine audio tuning and speaker hardware from Bang & Olufsen ICEpower. As a laptop, it's ferociously fast and can ably take down your gaming opponents without losing a single frame. Like any premium quality laptop, the N55SF-A1 is pricey, which is why I would look into the Editors' Choice Dell XPS 15z (Microsoft) before making a buying decision. 

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