What can we really say about laptop design that hasn’t been said already? Big, small, fat, thin, they all achieve the same purpose; which is to provide users with a sense of portability and ease-of-use. Whilst a lot of brands have decidedly gone thin, ASUS eschews this notion and has instead opted to go the opposite way with a giant in the N55S. Black, Silver, Black While ASUS has done away with portability in favour of more firepower, they have retained the aesthetics of a very well-designed laptop that marries two of the most commonly-used colours to have graced the electronics world; black and silver. The N55S is black all over, with a polished silver strip outlining the top lid. Inside, the N55S houses a matte black handrest and trackpad. The keyboard is decked in silver with black markings, and included are shortcut media keys for easy media manipulation when you’re watching movies or listening to the music on the N55S. Speaking of movies and music, the N55S, as with most ASUS laptops we’ve reviewed in the past comes featured with Bang & Olufsen ICEpower speakers. Different from the ASUS laptops we have reviewed in the past however, the N55S comes equipped with an external subwoofer that can be plugged in to the laptop for extra bass.
For the side ports, the N55S comes with the standard setup of LAN port, VGA and HDMI ports, an SD card slot and four USB ports, two of which are SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports. Being such a big laptop also affords the N55S the space to fit in a Blu-ray drive for those who want to watch their high-definition movies.
Jet-Set Performer Featuring Intel’s second generation Core i7 2630-QM processor running at 2.0GHz and nVidia’s GeForce GT 555M with Optimus, the ASUS N55S is a powerhouse that ploughs through every single task at hand with ease. The best part about having an Optimus-based graphics processor is that it switches between Intel’s on-board graphics and only uses the discrete processor when needed, such as when you’re playing games or doing rendering work that requires the GT 555M’s processing power. A gripe some people will have with the N55S is the fact that its 14-inch display can only go up to a maximum resolution of 1600×900. While the display is indeed crisp and very vibrant, full-HD aficionados will be somewhat disappointed by the lack of pixels-per-inch provided by the N55S. The sound quality of the N55S however, is one of the best we’ve had the opportunity to test out. The sound quality of the Bang & Olufsen speakers really stands out as we listen to music, watch movies and play games. The treble levels are pleasing to the ears, and the external mini subwoofer gave us bass that is thumpy but not overpowering. In Conclusion Despite a few nitty-gritty issues such as the lack of a full HD screen; and a somewhat fingerprint-magnet hand rest, the ASUS N55S is a stellar performer all-around, capable of performing whatever task we throw at it. Battery life is also rather iffy coming in at a grand total of three to four hours of usage, but with such a bulk, we hardly see anyone bringing this around as a portable computing option, as it functions better as a desktop replacement computer. Verdict: Big, bold, solid performer. Big powerful laptops are a dying breed, so treasure this!