Asus N53SV

The N53SV is the laptop to get if you want power, but you're on a budget. We'd love a higher-quality keyboard, but this is only a small bugbear in an otherwise excellent laptop.


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CNET Editor

Craig was sucked into the endless vortex of tech at an early age, only to be spat back out babbling things like "phase-locked-loop crystal oscillators!". Mostly this receives a pat on the head from the listener, followed closely by a question about what laptop they should buy.


It's surprising the sort of quality that you can get on a budget these days. Take Asus' AU$1299 N53SV — while the grey wrist rest with wood-grain pattern may be a matter of taste, the laptop is well constructed and of higher quality than you'd expect for the price bracket.

It still falls into the extremely common trap of providing a 1366x768 screen, though, something that with a screen size of 15.6 inches always seems a little too low. Still, the screen is reasonably bright, and the colour is just fine.

The typing experience is acceptable, although the keyboard base flexes a bit, which is a disconcerting behaviour. Asus has chosen to include Elantech's touch pad, which adds the brilliant ability to tap two or three fingers simultaneously to bring up the right-click menu. More than once, though, it got confused when using two-finger scrolling on web pages, engaging the zoom function instead — something that we recommend you turn off.

The N53SV offers a few things above the norm; a quad-core Core i7 2630QM and 6GB of RAM definitely boosts above the standard fare, while a Blu-ray reader gives the user more to work with. Asus also makes a point of difference in its warranty, offering two years rather than the more common one year.

The rest is reasonably standard for the category: a 640GB hard drive, 2.4GHz 802.11n, Bluetooth, four USB 2.0 ports, headphone and microphone jacks, HDMI and VGA out and an SD card reader.

Asus has bundled in its SonicMaster sound technology as well, which, along with some decent-quality speakers, brings better-than-usual sound. Just be prepared to dial back the "Vocal Clarity", "Surround" and "Bass" sliders in the SonicMaster app to regain high-end clarity.

Application performance

Choose a benchmark: Handbrake | iTunes | Photoshop | Multimedia

Handbrake encoding (in seconds)

  • 230
    Asus N53SV (Core i7 2630QM, 6GB RAM, 640GB HDD, GeForce GT 540M)
  • 394
    Toshiba Satellite C665 (Core i5 2430M, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, GeForce 315M)
  • 396
    Asus A53S (Core i5 2430M, 4GB RAM, 750GB HDD, GeForce GT 520MX)
  • 405
    HP Pavilion dv6 (Core i5 2450M, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, Radeon HD 7690M XT)
  • 476
    Acer Aspire 5750 (Core i3 2350M, 2GB RAM, 500GB HDD, Intel HD Graphics)

(Shorter bars indicate better performance)


It's not surprising that with a quad-core, highly clocked processor, the N53SV does well in our application benchmarks, taking pole position in each test.

Gaming performance

Choose a benchmark: Metro 2033 | Batman: Arkham Asylum

Metro 2033 (in FPS)

  • Max FPS
  • Average FPS
  • Min FPS
  • 39185
    HP Pavilion dv6 (Core i5 2450M, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, Radeon HD 7690M XT)
  • 48112
    Asus N53SV (Core i7 2630QM, 6GB RAM, 640GB HDD, GeForce GT 540M)
  • 3072
    Asus A53S (Core i5 2430M, 4GB RAM, 750GB HDD, GeForce GT 520MX)
  • 1330
    Toshiba Satellite C665 (Core i5 2430M, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, GeForce 315M)

(Longer bars indicate better performance)


While the quite common GeForce GT 540M doesn't quite catch the Radeon HD 7690M XT on average frame rate in our gaming benchmarks, it still puts in an admirable showing in Batman: Arkham Asylum. The incredibly taxing Metro 2033 is too much for the notebook, though; this is a game geared for the very high end.

Battery life

Battery life (time)

  • Heavy battery test
  • Light battery test
  • 2h 57m4h 26m
  • Acer Aspire 5750 (Core i3 2350M, 2GB RAM, 500GB HDD, Intel HD Graphics)
  • 3h 4m4h 20m
  • HP Pavilion dv6 (Core i5 2450M, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, Radeon HD 7690M XT)
  • 2h 5m3h 32m
  • Asus A53S (Core i5 2430M, 4GB RAM, 750GB HDD, GeForce GT 520MX)
  • 2h 52m3h 31m
  • Toshiba Satellite C665 (Core i5 2430M, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, GeForce 315M)
  • 1h 39m3h 30m
  • Asus N53SV (Core i7 2630QM, 6GB RAM, 640GB HDD, GeForce GT 540M)

(Longer bars indicate better performance)


All of that power has to have consequence, and it's usually in battery life. Despite being at the bottom of the list, the Asus still performs well, especially when you take into account that it's running more powerful hardware than most of its competitors.

Conclusion

The N53SV is the laptop to get if you want power, but you're on a budget. We'd love a higher-quality keyboard, but this is only a small bugbear in an otherwise excellent laptop.



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marnijones
1
Rating
 

"stay away from this model, andthis brand. spend your money and time elsewhere"

marnijones posted a review   
Australia

The Good:day 1

The Bad:sharp sliding scale of failure since. no service, no consideration, no care, no service. no serial # - no inspection either. customer service dept. are trained well in the art of being repetitive smart ar$es

I purchased this laptop from a Harvey Norman Store in Brisbane - The case fan decided to pack in last night - 8 days after teh warranty expired..A very robotic, repetitive smarmy smart ar$e at the call centre advised me - they do not advise parts costs "they cannot see my laptop from the call centre" ... Asus Brisbane want $33 inspection fee, which will take them 10 business day to do. The courier services they have only works one way - they cannot advise if i will or will not lose any or all of my data. They do not insure the laptop from unrelated damages etc whilst at their facility. you cannot just take or post the laptop to the service centre - it needs an all important service serial number - which is given to you only by the customer service whiz, who is also very secretive about the address to send it to until he unlocks that code - (he doesnt know that google knows too). so im out $2k, out of warranty - 8 days over is not "honoured" by Asus. im out of patience - i see other posts on whirlpool about doubling parts costs when at "repair centre" - if i cant buy a fan - ill be buying another brand of laptop. forget Asus- as quickly as they forget you.

Mr.Majestik
8
Rating
 

"Worth buying if you want performance in a laptop."

Mr.Majestik posted a review   
Australia

The Good:Beast performance and love the keyboard.

The Bad:A bit bulky and the speakers have poor sound clarity for music

I own this Laptop with the i7-2670QM an 16GB DDR3.

It's a nice laptop to own, but can get heavy if you want to take it from place to place. Battery life on performance mode is just under 2hrs but with the battery saving can get just under 4hrs.

If only Asus made slimmer laptops...
Then again this laptop doesn't overheat unlike the HP Envy it replaced because of overheating and countless other issues.

None the less this laptop is worth buying.

diablo1105
10
Rating
 

"Amazing Bang for the Buck"

diablo1105 posted a review   
Australia

The Good:Price, Number of DIMM slots, USB 3.0, GPU and Warranty

The Bad:None

I bought one of these laptops for my girlfriend late last year for ~$800 (4GB model not 6GB). Bought an extra 8GB for $50 and was surprised to see that this laptop has 4 dimm slots when I was installing it. She's now packing 12GB of RAM in a laptop that cost $850! (and could still take another 4GB ram module)

Add to the fact that it's a great performer for older games and packs USB 3.0 and a 2 yr warranty it's a sweet laptop and has great bang for the buck. Only nit-picking negative I could find is the slower performance but you hardly notice it.




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User Reviews / Comments  Asus N53SV

  • marnijones

    marnijones

    Rating1

    "I purchased this laptop from a Harvey Norman Store in Brisbane - The case fan decided to pack in last night - 8 days after teh warranty expired..A very robotic, repetitive smarmy smart ar$e at the ..."

  • Mr.Majestik

    Mr.Majestik

    Rating8

    "I own this Laptop with the i7-2670QM an 16GB DDR3.

    It's a nice laptop to own, but can get heavy if you want to take it from place to place. Battery life on performance mode is just un..."

  • diablo1105

    diablo1105

    Rating10

    "I bought one of these laptops for my girlfriend late last year for ~$800 (4GB model not 6GB). Bought an extra 8GB for $50 and was surprised to see that this laptop has 4 dimm slots when I was insta..."

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