ASUS N551VW first impressions of the refreshed multimedia-centric notebook

ASUS’ N series notebooks are renown for its elegant looks, a bit bulky yes, but packs a good hardware at a decent price. Yesterday ASUS announced the successor, ASUS N552, but until we get our hands on that one, we would like to see if the refreshed N551 is a good alternative to the N552.

It now has almost the same specs as the GL552 but lacks the delicious M.2 slot and the USB Type-C connector. Those two, however, can be found in the newer N552 version as well. We expect relatively the same performance as the ROG GL552VW with minor deviations in the synthetic benchmark tests. But for now, let’s get a bit more acquainted to N551VW.

You can always check the availability of the notebook here: http://amzn.to/1PWVo8b

Design

The design is absolutely identical to the previous version. We’ve got the iconic concentric circle finish on the lid made from brushed aluminum. It’s a bit thick, just like the main body, but definitely manageable. However, the same cannot be said about the weight. This is a 15-inch multimedia notebook, which can handle a some more serious gaming as well, and the weight of 2.7 kg seems a bit off the scale.


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Anyway, we again meet with the comfortable keyboard and persistent touchpad performance. The keys offer long key travel, LED backlight, the much-needed multimedia controllers, and will suit the needs even of the fast typers.

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The main body is made of plastic – hard, rugged finish at the bottom and metallic aluminum-like looks in the interior. Basically, there are no surprises here. Probably ASUS will spice things up with the ASUS N552 or at least just lower the weight. That’s actually our only complaint.

Hardware

The hardware is on par with the competition, or even surprisingly powerful for the price to be honest. We’ve got the Core i7-6700HQ on board, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M, up to 16GB DDR4 of RAM (it’s upgradeable to 64GB if you need to) and various storage options. The good news is that the HDD runs on 7400 rpm (slightly faster than the conventional ones) and has an mSATA slot. The bad news is that it’s an mSATA. The M.2 standard would have been much appreciated, but this can be found on the next version – N552.

Of course, for a multimedia station that costs around €1 000 you will get excellent display quality, or it should, but we cannot say for sure. Not until we test it. Nevertheless, the IPS panel will be suitable for almost all multimedia content on the go, especially if you get the external subwoofer, which comes in the retail package, in the mix.

We also expect it to be a bit more durable than its predecessor due to the more energy efficient hardware inside. We saw a significant increase in the GL552VW, but we also had slightly bigger battery capacity as well.

How it looks on the inside

Nothing has changed much. You have to only remove the service lid to access the two RAM slot, the 2.5-inch drive, and the Wi-Fi module. But you have to remove the whole bottom piece if you need to upgrade the mSATA SSD.


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Specs sheet

CPU Intel Core i7-6700HQ (4-core, 2.60 -3.50 GHz, 6MB cache)
RAM 8GB (1x 8192MB) – DDR4, 2133GHz
GPU NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M (2GB GDDR5)
HDD/SSD 1TB HDD (7200 rpm)
Display 15.6-inch (39.62 cm.) – 1920×1080 (Full HD), IPS matte
Optical drive DVD burner
Connectivity LAN 10/100/1000 Mbps, Wi-Fi 802.11a/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0
Other features
  • 3x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0
  • built-in webcam
  • built-in microphone
  • 2x 3.5 mm jack for headphones and external microphone
  • LAN
  • HDMI
  • mini DisplayPort
  • card reader (SD, MMC, MS)
  • Sonic Master loudspeakers + external subwoofer
  • keyboard LED backlight
Battery 6-cell 56Wh (5200 mAh) Li-Polymer Battery
Thickness 31 mm (1.22″)
Weight 2.7 kg (5.95 lbs)

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