Review Index:
Feedback

ASUS N55 Core i7 15.6-in Notebook Review: Can One Laptop Do It All?

Author: Matt Smith
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: ASUS

Performance and Conclusion

Performance

Equipped with a Core i7-2630QM processor, the ASUS N55 clearly isn’t messing around when it comes to performance. Besides a few slightly up-clocked variants of this same part, this is as fast a processor as you’ll find in a laptop. 

Before we dive into the performance results, let’s have a look at the laptops we’ll be comparing the N55 to in this review.

View Full Size

View Full Size

View Full Size

View Full Size

Now let’s see how the N55 performs in SiSoft Sandra.

View Full Size

View Full Size

View Full Size

As you can see, these performance figures are about on par with the MSI GT680R, which makes sense because both that laptop and this one use the same Intel Core i7 processor. In addition, we can clearly see that these quad-core parts are much quicker than a dual-core Intel Core i5. 

It’s time to dive in to the more general performance benchmarks. Let’s see where the N55 ends up. 

View Full Size

View Full Size

View Full Size

Again, these results are solid and unsurprising. The N55 returns a respectable score of 2381, which is slightly higher than the Lenovo X1. It should be noted that this score is about 200 points less than that of a pure gaming laptop like the G74. The MSI GT680R, ASUS K53E and ASUS G74 are missing from this graph only because we did not record specific PCMark 7 sub-scores during our time with them.

The Peacekeeper and 7-Zip results show the benefits of multi-threaded performance. Peacekeeper does not do a good job of taking advantage of additional threads, so the quad-core N55 has a rough time of it. In the heavily multi-threaded 7-Zip benchmark, however, the quad-cores easily dominate the dual-core parts, and the N55 receives excellent scores that are on par with the gaming laptops. 

Packing a Nvidia Geforce GT555M graphics processors with two gigabytes of RAM, the N55 is clearly meant to have some gaming chops, though it’s not going to be able to run with a pure gaming laptop. Let’s see just how much you sacrifice by going with a multimedia laptop instead of one built specifically for gaming - and how much you gain over a laptop without dedicated graphics. 

View Full Size

View Full Size

The results of these synthetic tests aren't bad, but they're a fair bit off the pace of the true gaming laptops. In 3DMark 11, for example, the N55 is over 30% slower than the MSI GT680R. Let's see how that translates into real-world gaming performance.

View Full Size

View Full Size

View Full Size

View Full Size

View Full Size

View Full Size

Overall, these results are somewhat better than you might expect based off the synthetic benchmark results. In some cases, the gap between the N55 and the more powerful gaming laptop was small. The MSI GT680R, for example, was only 15% quicker than the N55 in Dawn of War 2 Retribution at a resolution of 1366x768. 

The N55 proved capable of playing games with our normal benchmark detail settings at 1080p. Even Just Cause 2, the most difficult game we normally use for testing, managed an average of over 30 frames per second at low detail settings. That is a good show for any laptop, nevermind one that's not a gaming purebreed.

Make no mistake - if gaming is your primary focus, a gaming laptop would be a better choice. But if you're looking for a more general system that can also handle gaming, the N55's performance is more than adequete. 

Finally, let’s wrap things up by looking at the boot and resume times.

View Full Size

Here we see that the ASUS N55 is better than the pure gaming laptops, which actually tend to be very slow when it comes to boot time performance. The N55’s boot time is still a bit slower than dual-core mainstream laptops, while resume performance is the best by only the slightest of margins. 

Conclusion

View Full Size

Most computer enthusiasts won’t want to buy this laptop. For those on the move, it’s too big and bulky. For those with a fetish for mobile performance, the ASUS G-series is a better choice thanks to the faster GPU. 

It’s important to remember, however, that the vast majority of consumers still buy 15.6” desktop replacements - computers that are meant to be a person’s only machine. These laptops are expected to handle everything. In this role, the ASUS N55 excels. It’s attractive, can handle both heavy productivity and 3D gaming, offers a beautiful 1080p display, and even has leading sound quality. While the price of over $1200 is high, it’s competitive considering everything that is made available here.

View Full Size

There are some flaws worth mentioning. They keyboard is not up to par with some other laptops of similar price, and the cheap appearance of the silver-painted keys is disappointing. Portability is also well below average. That’s not a surprise given the hardware, but it’s a trade-off potential buyers must remember, and there are some very powerful and portable laptops available in this price bracket. 

Yet these small issues hardly hold back the laptop’s many other strengths. Big, bulky 15.6” laptops are not what is considered cool these days, but they have many uses. This is a laptop that can basically do it all, with the exception of travel. If you need a single laptop that will serve as your only system, and portability is not a concern, the ASUS N55 deserves your consideration. 

View Full Size

 

October 18, 2011 | 01:14 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

ewh shinny I'd always be polishing it! wow 5lbs i wont be able to fly with that in my pack.

October 18, 2011 | 05:13 PM - Posted by Matt Smith

No you won't, at least not comfortably (I did fly with a 15 inch laptop, once) but that's not really the point.

October 19, 2011 | 01:53 PM - Posted by temps (not verified)

how much of a limp wristed girly man do you have to be to not be able to haul around a 5 pound laptop, when its in a bag?

October 22, 2011 | 01:10 AM - Posted by Matt Smith

It really depends on the bag. In my backpack, the bulk of a 5 pound laptop is slightly noticeable, but not tiring.

My messenger bag with a single strap is a different story. It's not well padded, and I can feel every pound of any laptop I stick in there. It also generally won't fit large laptops like this.

When it comes to flying, though, a laptop like this is really too large. You won't have room to use it on a plane unless you're flying first class, and its just a pain to use it on your lap when waiting to board.

December 11, 2011 | 03:19 PM - Posted by Sean Palliser (not verified)

Ive just bought this notebook and its amazing and it weighs just a little bit more than my old laptop.
Go out and buy it
Any faults mm carrying the baby sub around

December 22, 2011 | 02:41 PM - Posted by dave (not verified)

lol. hells bells. are you of the ipad generation? i travelled around the planet twice over with a samsung 17inch laptop in my backpack and it was no major strain.

each time i watched a movie, played a game or listened to music i was massively glad to have a laptop of that size and performance with me. and never ever once did I sit in the middle of a movie on a cold, wet night in a foreign country thinking, "my, that laptop sure is heavy"!

for record, most hand baggage allowance is 12 kilos. this laptop weights only 2.5. are you sure you could fly with that in your bag?

i also have to say, in my experience 'messenger' bags are like 1980s school satchels; they are rectangular, clunky, inconvenient, sit awkwardly on the body and are poorly designed for carrying anything flat which could take up the space inside of them! they also seem to be sported by fashion victims, rather than practical people who wish to use powerful computing on-the-move.

each to their own, i am not knocking other - but i seriously think you have to decide which camp you are in!

March 14, 2012 | 12:20 PM - Posted by Exiled Londoner (not verified)

Oh you big girls blouses, when I flew there were no laptops.
We had to carry The Encyclopaedia Britannica.

5lbs pftt.

October 18, 2011 | 03:18 PM - Posted by Anoyingmouse (not verified)

Nice to see a matte screen from Asus. To me, the matte lid is unfortunate but not a deal breaker.

October 19, 2011 | 04:43 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Anybody know how they can make this more than £100 cheaper than the N53

October 19, 2011 | 01:45 PM - Posted by Matt Smith

I can't help you there. But here in the states it is about $200 more, compared to one of the better N53 models.

October 20, 2011 | 01:59 AM - Posted by RJ (not verified)

Is the laptop displaying pictures that are not max res? I sure hope the bezel is not that huge. Can We see a picture of the desktop on this machine?

Thanks

October 22, 2011 | 01:07 AM - Posted by Matt Smith

It is not displaying the picture at max resolution. I had it in slideshow mode, which framed the photo automatically, and I didn't even realize that you could not see the bezel in that photo until you mentioned it.

The bezel on this laptop is actually rather slim, so no worries there.

November 1, 2011 | 05:14 PM - Posted by Imperfectlink

Can we get a Cinebench 11.5 run? CPU and OpenGL if you can.

This notebook seems to be in an odd area between gamers and prosumers, but it could find a home doing 3d graphics.

November 13, 2011 | 12:21 PM - Posted by Finleigh (not verified)

Could you please tell me two things

- Could you provide me a link to the website where you bought this? :)

- How much R.A.M will this hold? I heard it can take 16gb?

Thank you, please reply soon!

November 25, 2011 | 10:50 PM - Posted by thegraciousone (not verified)

To all multi-media person,
Just get it, it's super awesome!!!!!!!!!! :D

December 2, 2011 | 11:59 PM - Posted by Intelman Bill (not verified)

Wow!!! ASUS is the greatest and best "Powerhouse" 15.6" 5lb. computer being made today. There is nothing, now, or in the future that this computer will not do! You GO, ASUS!!!

December 11, 2011 | 03:19 PM - Posted by Sean Palliser (not verified)

Ive just bought this notebook and its amazing and it weighs just a little bit more than my old laptop.
Go out and buy it
Any faults mm carrying the baby sub around

December 27, 2011 | 10:29 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

the keyboard on this laptop is a massive letdown. I spent nearly £700 on this laptop and I'm struggling to type because the keys are mashed so closely together with poor feedback that on average I mistype one out of every 3 keys. these type of major flaws are easy to gloss over for a reviewer but if you have to work with it on a daily basis then its a show stopper.

January 24, 2012 | 04:02 PM - Posted by Arron Renwick (not verified)

i have one of these on order its the n55sl-s2019v. when i was looking i also considered the acer aspire but every model on display had keys missing, and as i do a bit of typing (on and off) was put off by this and went with the asus simply because the keyboard had bigger easier to make out keys(well that and the spec of course)and lets face it the odd button in a different place is no biggie at least is not a cramped keyboard making way for a bloody annoying touch sensitive volume hub effort that you cant even look at without it going into spasms

February 2, 2012 | 06:53 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Could you tell me where you bought it from and what resolution the screen is?

February 5, 2012 | 04:34 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

what's the price in India............???

February 11, 2012 | 09:13 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Price Rs.64800 at rightgadgets.in

February 20, 2012 | 01:41 AM - Posted by Jim Truscott (not verified)

I'm heading away for 12 mths and mothballing my workstation.. Want to do video edit with edius6 while away. Sounds like it might be capable. Anything similar specs,price with better keyboard? Can lug usb board if pressed.

February 20, 2012 | 02:35 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

can someone tell me whats the price of the asus n55sl ? It seems they've stop the production of asus n55sf

March 9, 2012 | 05:33 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I've done a fair bit of research and I think this is definitely your best option. The N55sl that is. Out of a shortlist of 5 I chose this laptop and I've been in I.T. repairs and sales for the past 10 years. You really can't go wrong.

February 29, 2012 | 03:42 AM - Posted by arman (not verified)

nice to see...how much price??

March 5, 2012 | 11:24 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I just purchased this machine for $950.00. At this price it just may be the best bang for your buck gaming system available!

May 28, 2012 | 11:02 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

how much it cost?

July 7, 2012 | 01:18 AM - Posted by www.atoymartinez.com (not verified)

not user friendly and nothig special. Worst Card Reader location and waste of time when u pull out ur card

September 23, 2012 | 03:17 PM - Posted by john lee wilson (not verified)

Does it have a back lit key board . I have a dell XPS studio 1640 and I love the back lit keyboard . but I've had it for several years and it is starting to show some wear . thinking about getting the (ASUS N55 Core i7 15.6-in Notebook.
Does anyone know ????

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <blockquote><p><br>
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.

More information about formatting options

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.