It’s a very powerful you’re after, eh? Well, let me tell you a couple of things about Asus N56JN-DB73 then. It’s a new notebook with excellent Core i7 processor and whopping 12GB RAM. The display, being a Full HD one, looks pleasing to power users. And the dedicated graphics card makes gaming very possible. Looks good, yes, but this all comes with a rather high price. So you might wonder: Is it worth your money? Luckily, we’re here to help you with that…
Asus N56JN-DB73 is a performance laptop, that is undisputed. Intel Core i7-4710HQ is one of the fastest notebook processors available, with a quad-core setup and 2.5 – 3.5GHz clock rate (the latter with turbo boost). To put things into perspective, it gets a high 7800 grade in Passmark benchmarks, while mid-range Core i3s reach ~3000 points and budget Celerons only 1000. There’s not a single thing this processor couldn’t do for you – all the multitasking and very demanding software (including Photoshop) will be a piece of cake for it. Of course, for casual users this beast can be too expensive, but for professionals and techies it’s the way to go.
The laptop has 12GB memory installed. That’s a less common amount, with most configurations being either eight or four gigabytes. 8GB is often seen optimal for heavy use and you’ll get more than that – so the RAM won’t be a bottleneck, either. The two SODIMM sockets support in total 16GB memory so installing more should be possible in theory. However, you wouldn’t really see any difference in performance from going 12GB to sixteen gigabytes.
As expected, a notebook like this has a large hard drive. A terabyte drive running on 5400RPM is indeed big in storage, offering double from what mid-range laptops usually do. 1024GB can store data equivalent to 200 DVD discs or hundreds of thousands of smaller files (music, photos etc). You are very unlikely to run into storage problems during the lifespan of this Asus N56JN-DB73.
However, you might find some issues with the hard drive performance. As it’s only a 5400RPM (revolutions per minute) one, the read and write speeds are bit dated and user experience might feel sluggish compared to laptops with solid-state drives. If that’s your concern, you have the option to put an SSD in yourself. For that, you have to remove the installed HDD or the optical drive – there is only space for two drives in total.
Screen and graphics
Asus N56JN-DB73 comes with a high quality matte display. It’s 15.6″ diagonal, the average size of laptops, and resolution is 1920×1080. That’s the only acceptable resolution for this high price so it’s not really a surprise, yet very useful feature for digital artists and other techies who often require a Full HD screen. And from what I can see, the panel type should be IPS which is better than a normal TN screen with respect to color accuracy and viewing angles.
One thing the display is missing is touch support. That can be bummer for some, but in my experience a lot (if not all) work is still more convenient to do with good old keyboard and mouse. That goes even for Windows 8.1 64-bit, the pre-loaded operating system, which is sometimes said to require a touch screen. In my everyday experience Windows 8 works fine without one, just like the older versions.
The best thing about Asus N56JN-DB73 can be found in the graphics section. You don’t have to rely on integrated Intel HD units for weak gaming experience. Instead, there’s a dedicated Nvidia GT840M card allowing more than just rudimentary gaming. The most demanding games, including Thief and the latest Assassins’ Creed, will reach decent frame rates around 30 although only on low settings. On Battlefield 4, you should get similar FPS but on high settings. Anything below BF 4 (like Sims, WoW, Skyrim) and you’ll get smooth frames with most, if not full, eye candy turned on.
Asus N56JN-DB73 has four USB ports. That’s one more what 15.6″ laptops usually have, but the essential thing is that they’re all USB 3.0: you’ll get fast transfer speeds with your peripherals. If you want to connect a HD television or other monitor you can use the laptop’s VGA and HDMI outs for that.
The notebook has both wired (1000Mbps Ethernet) and wireless (802.11b/g/n, no AC) adapters. There’s also Bluetooth 4.0 support so BT mouses, headsets and data transfer work out of the box.
Quite a rare thing, this model comes with a Blu-ray writer. It can be useful, although BR discs are not that widely supported. But the drive is backward compatible to CDs and DVDs so also reading and writing those is possible. In addition, SD/MMC card slot is installed if you fancy memory cards.
HD camera is fixed on top of the display so this Asus works for video chats like any other notebook.
What else to keep in mind?
Asus N56JN-DB73 is bit heavier than an average 15.6 incher. It weighs 6 pounds while most are about ~5 lbs. I don’t see this as a huge thing though, so this model should have as good (or bad) portability than any 15″ laptop. The replaceable 6-cell battery gives around 4 hours of use on web browsing. It’s not great, but a fast processor, conventional hard drive and graphics card take their toll.
There should be an external subwoofer included. Now, some people have commented it gives a weak bass. Compared to dedicated speakers and subwoofers that’s probably true. But I’d say it’s still better than your average laptop audio.
The keyboard is illuminated, good for working in dark. Also, numeric keypad is included on the right which is the preferred way for many to type numbers.
There’s one way to make the notebook faster right from the start. And that’s to uninstall the bloatware. From what I can see, this Asus also has its share of those pre-installed programs, but indeed getting rid of them through the Control Panel is easy.
As somebody put it, Asus N56JN-DB73 is a well-built and robust notebook with lots of features that make it useful. To begin with, the core performance with i7 CPU and 12GB RAM is hard to beat. All the software I can think of would run no problem on this laptop. Hard drive space is plenty, and the decent GT840M graphics card makes playing games enjoyable – which is not self-evident at all for a laptop. Another treat is the Full HD matte display that keeps glare away and resolution at satisfying levels for power users.
So is there anything bad, then? Well, not really considering the performance and features. But it all costs money. For the price of this Asus you could get two, even three, entry-level laptops. But of course a budget laptop – even if there are a couple of them – doesn’t really help if you’re after quality and performance. In that case, and if your wallet is up to it, this Asus is one of the better high end laptops currently available.