ASUS N550JK-DS71T 15.6-Inch Touchscreen Laptop Review

ASUS N550JK-DS71T 15.6-Inch Touchscreen Laptop

The ASUS N550JK-DS71T 15.6-Inch Touchscreen Laptop is a high-performance machine designed to cope easily with multimedia, gaming and other demanding computing tasks that would leave lesser machines sluggish and unresponsive.

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Powering this laptop is a fourth generation, quad core Intel Core -7-4700HQ processor. Designed to balance energy efficiency with computing performance in high specification laptops, and based on Intel’s acclaimed Haswell architecture, this processor supports both Hyperthreading and Turbo Boost technology. The former allows each of the processor’s four cores to handle up to two threads in parallel, while the latter enables the cores to automatically adjust their own speed, from their base speed of 2.4 GHz, up to a maximum of 3.4 GHz, as needed. Together, these techniques ensure that best use is made of available resources, allowing the processor to conserve power when it can, yet deliver maximum performance when it’s needed.

The processor is supported by 8 GB of DDR3 memory, which should be more than enough to allow the installed copy of Windows 8 to perform well, multitasking your applications with ease. The machine is capable of handling up to 16 GB of RAM, and, since there are two memory sockets, only one of which is occupied by a single 8 GB module, it would be a simple matter to add a second 8 GB module to the free socket, should more memory be needed.

Pros :

  • Great, high-performance, multimedia and gaming laptop
  • Intel Core i7-4700HQ 2.4Ghz processor
  • 8 GB DDR3 memory
  • Large 1024 5400 rpm Hard Drive
  • Windows 8.1
  • 5-hour battery life
  • Includes external plug-in Sonic Master mini-Subwoofer

Cons :

  • A little more memory would have been nice, but is by no means essential

A 1024 GB (1 TB) Hard Disk Drive (HDD) provides permanent storage for all of your pictures, movies, music and document – and, of course, your software applications. This is a generous amount of disk space that ought to be enough for most users. However, if, in time, more storage capacity is required, it’s an easy matter to attach an external HDD to one of the machine’s USB ports.

The built-in DVD-RW featured in this machine is a welcome addition. Many manufacturers are omitting optical drives from modern systems, partly to save space and weight and, no doubt, partly to keep costs down. With the unstoppable rise of cloud storage and ubiquitous USB memory sticks, optical drives are certainly less important than they once were, but they still have their uses – watching a movie from your collection, or installing software from a physical disk, for example.

The machine’s 15.6-inch, Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixel) IPS touchscreen display is ideally suited to multimedia entertainment, producing brilliantly vivid images. It is driven by a combination of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 850M discrete graphics and integrated Intel HD Graphics 4600. In order to balance the best possible graphics performance with minimal power consumption, the machine automatically switches between the two graphics controllers as needed – the HD Graphics 4600 is more than adequate for routine tasks and consumes relatively little power, while the mighty, DirectX 11 compatible, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 850M delivers impressive gaming and multimedia output but is much more power-hungry.

No matter how good the machine’s built-in display may be, you will almost certainly want, or need, to connect to an external display at some stage – perhaps to watch a movie or play a game in comfort. For those occasions, the machine provides both a mini Display Port, and an HDMI port. However, there is no legacy VGA socket – if you think you might need to connect to a VGA port, you will need to buy an adapter.

Other connectivity options include three high speed USB 3.0 ports for attaching all your favorite wired peripherals. For wireless devices, the machine also supports Bluetooth, making it easy to hook up your wireless mouse, keyboard, headset etc.

As you would expect from a modern laptop, network access is built right in. For those who want, or need, to connect to a conventional wired network, the machine features a standard Ethernet port. On the other hand, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi is also available for wireless networking – the choice is yours!

Four built-in speakers (with support for an external sub-woofer), a microphone, a combo audio jack and a media card reader round off the usual array of input / output options.

An HD webcam makes this machine video-chat capable right out of the box. And, since the supplied copy of Windows 8 ships with the popular Skype video chat software, you don’t even have to download anything – just sign in to your Skype account, or create a new one, and start chatting.

The machine measures 17.30 x 10 x 1.10 inches, and weighs just 6 pounds, making it both robust and easily portable. And, with a reported battery life of up to 5 hours, you can be sure that, no matter where you may take the machine, you’ll have plenty of time to get your work done when you get there.

Overall, the ASUS N550JK-DS71T 15.6-Inch Touchscreen Laptop is a powerful multimedia and gaming laptop that should be able to handle the demands of most heavyweight applications. A great sound system and graphics make it ideal as an entertainment machine, but is should also be fine for video editing, for example. If you’re in the market for a high-performance laptop at a reasonable price, this could well be the machine for you.

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