On paper its $1300 price tag is probably the Asus N75SF weakest point. But closer examination reveals a very convincing sales pitch. To start with, two 750GB hard drives are a plus (even if only the 5400rpm variety) and the Blu-Ray writer isn’t offered on many machines below this asking price. This 17-inch notebook also packs a high-end NVidia GeForce GT555M graphics card, in contrast to the 540M offered on so many mid-tier laptops. Buyers can configure the N75SF with either hyper-threaded dual-core i5 (2410M/2430M) CPUs or with quad-core i7-2630QM/2670QM) or with a quad-core i7-2630QM/2670QM). The 17.3″ display is configurable with either 1600 x 900 pixels or full HD 1920 x 1080p resolution.
In terms of appearance Asus N75SF is a hefty piece of kit, but aesthetically it’s pretty uninspiring, save for the chrome rim. Open it up, though, and a sprinkling of silvery highlights brighten things up. The rubberized wrist rest is a nice touch. Granted, there’s a lot of plastic, but good quality plastic; durable and well-built. And stable too, hardly surprising when it weighs 3.7kg.
Brightness on the 17.3″ screen is excellent – you might even consider lowering the brightness for everyday use. In combination with deep blacks the display achieves a market-leading 919:1 contrast ratio. Colors are vibrant, and the NVidia GeForce 555M card can capably handle full HD resolution to ensure images render crisply with fine detail.
The keyboard of Asus N75SF notebook offers well-sized keys, but the learning curve is made that bit steeper by their smooth surfaces and a weak pressure point. And if we’re being picky, the typing clack is slightly tacky. The generously-sized (108 x 60 mm) touchpad features a rubber surface for fine control, and multi-touch gestures work impeccably.
The two USB-3 ports almost compensate for the missing ExpressCard slot and the lack of FireWire or eSATA interface. There are VGA and HDMI sockets, a 4-in-1 card reader, two USB-2 sockets, that pair of USB-3 ports, and audio jacks. Bloatware slows boot time considerably; the N75SF arrives in serious need of a slash-and-burn delete session.
CyberLinks’s Power DVD 10 is pre-loaded for playing Blu-Ray disks, and amongst goodies included in the box are a few cable adaptors, a Driver and Tool DVD, and a USB mouse. Best of all is the subwoofer, which can be connected via a port on the right side of the notebook. More about that later.
The 2.0GHz i7-2630QM CPU is well future-proof, a full 74% more powerful than the Core i5-2410M processors found in many lower to mid-range notebooks. But forget those, the Asus N75SF packs a monstrous 2GB Nvidia GeFroce 555M GPU, enabling it to run the latest games at either slightly reduced resolution (ie 1600 x 900) or merely at ‘high’ details settings instead of ‘ultra’. Office software is a walk in the park for Asus N75SF.
This is the point at which we usually mumble about tinny audio and hollow base…but not this time. Bang & Olafson and the plug-in subwoofer give full-bodied audio, and even though max volume could be louder, the Asus N75SF is up there on the audio podium with the Dell XPS 17 and Toshiba Qosmio. Optimus switching is enabled on the N75SF, but even so max settings flat out gives around an hour of battery life. Or 4.5 hours careful use, which is fine for such a well-equipped machine. Pricy, but worth every cent. Right now Amazon offers this
ASUS N75SF notebook for $1185.
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