ASUS N61Jv Optimus Core i5 16-in Notebook Review
A walk around the N61J
The ASUS N61Jv is built much like many other 16-in notebooks in terms of size and form factor but as has been the case with ASUS over the years, the design is rather attractive while still functional.
The top of the N61Jv has a very shiny slightly black, slightly maroon back to it that has some very subtle design aspects. This isn't going to get a lot of attention from others but luckily as the user you won't see it very frequently.
The N61Jv includes a very nice matte slightly rubberized finish around the track pad where the wrists rest, a chiclet-style keyboard with a numeric keypad metallic silver painted top bar that includes your shortcut keys and power button.
On the left side of the machine you will find the AC power connection, a vent for the CPU/GPU cooler, a VGA output, Ethernet port, HDMI output, ExpressCard slot, USB 3.0 port and physical Wi-Fi switch. The USB 3.0 port is a big plus for this notebook as it becomes not the first, but ONE of the first, portable machines with support for the new SuperSpeed connectivity solution.
Flipping it around 180 degrees we see another set of three USB 2.0 ports, audio input and output and the DVD writer optical drive.
The back side of the N61Jv is completely bare of connections as it is dominated by the 4400mAh 6-cell battery.
The front of the notebook shows us the SD memory card reader and access and activity lights.
Ignoring the finger smudges that are easy to get on the glossy parts of the N61J, the 1.3 MP webcam sits along the top bezel and doesn't seem to affect the size of it very much, which is nice.
The top left corner has buttons for quick access to a power mode changer, mute and audio controls as well as a media play/pause control.
On the right is the power and sleep button that glows blue or white depending on its status.
The trackpad supports quite a few multi-touch gestures including the two-finger scrolling motion that I became addicted to while using a MacBook Pro a couple years back. And while there is a single button it is a rocker switch that supports left click and right click but I know that some people really prefer two separate buttons so I thought it was worth noting.
ASUS, like most other notebook vendors, litters the notebook with stickers detailing features, specifications and company logos but they are easily removable.
This sticker is at least functional - it points you to the USB 3.0 port when you might not otherwise know where it is!
The keyboard itself is chiclet style as I mentioned before but I still found it very easy to type on coming from my older Lenovo notebook that used a keyboard I was really attached to. It is a nearly full size keyboard and it includes a full size number keypad for those users that are frequently on mint.com or just use Excel too damn much.
Doing some basic breaking in on the ASUS N61Jv reveals the two DDR3 memory SODIMM slots as well as the wireless networking card and the cooling system for the Core i5 processor and NVIDIA GPU.
Also easily accessible is the 2.5-in hard drive - ours shipped with a 500GB model but you can always opt for a faster, small capacity SSD to speed things up.