The Asus N53 is the Core i5, 15 in brother to the Core i7, 17in N73SV I looked at in April. It shows a clear family resemblance but is a certainly smaller, lighter and cheaper. Like the N73, it's a bit of a looker – the more time I spend gazing at the wavy side line, the more I like it. However, it doesn't feel quite as solid as the competition from Acer or Toshiba, despite it's hefty 2.8kg weight.
Carried over from the N73 is the Bang & Olufsen sound processing technology, some very fine speakerage and a Blu-ray combo drive. On the down side you also get the same degree of keyboard flex. I’m all for a bit of bouncy-bouncy, but not when it comes to my laptop keyboard.
With 6GB of RAM and an Nvidia GPU, the Asus is the gamers’ choice. Indeed, you won't find a better i5 machine for the job unless you opt for something from the new Sandy Bridge Alienware range which, sadly, I couldn't lay hands on in time for this feature. Other feathers in the N53's cap include an impressively bright LCD panel with very robust viewing angles and a built-in hybrid DVB-T/analogue TV tuner making this as impressive a media machine as it is a gaming platform.
Goes head-to-head with the Acer as a smart and affordable multi-purpose machine.
Reg Rating 85%
More Info Asus
Dell Latitude E6420
Not the most interesting machine to look at but the dowdy exterior of the Latitude conceals built-like-a-brick-outhouse build quality. The shell is made from brushed aluminium and magnesium and approved to the US Department of Defence’s MIL-STD 810G standard which includes resistance to gunfire vibration, so you can work and pop a cap in someone's ass at the same time.
Over all the E6420 feels very robust, compact and rounded and at just over 2kg it’s not that heavy for a machine with so much metal in it. Indeed, I can see it appealing to anyone who is going to cart their laptop around a lot.
The keyboard has a lot ThinkPad about it right down to the navigation nub and extra mouse buttons above the track-pad. Happily the keyboard also feels like a ThinkPad - it’s as solid as a rock with absolutely no base flex while the keys themselves are nicely profiled making for a very pleasant typing experience.
Coming from Dell’s business range, the E6420 can be specified up to your heart’s content though I have to say charging £12 for a webcam seems a bit steep. The E6420 is a rare commercial laptop in that it offers a backlit keyboard too for an extra cost of £33.
Built like a brick privy, Dell’s Latitude will take the knocks from the exec lifestyle.
Reg Rating 75%
More Info Dell
Next page: Fujitsu T901 Lifebook
p**s poor screen resolutions
What is it with this new fad of crippling every new computer with a 1366x768 screen resolution? Seriously - a resolution that low should be limited to netbooks and screens <12". By law.
Not everyone is so blind as to need their desktop icons to be the size of their fist - and some people actually like having a bit of screen real-estate to work with. When will the manufacturers realise this?
I don't care if I have to pay a (small) premium to get a proper screen, but the option should *always* be given.
(yes, I know the Dell E6420 does give the option - but that doesn't excuse the fact that it is crap and is a total disgrace to the Latitude name.)
And any manufacturer that thinks 1366x768 is ok on a 15" screen should be banned from making any more computers. Ever.
For the record.
If any of the machines had given me a metrosexual wank-spasm I'd have automatically awarded them 100%.
Whiny crybaby fanbois
What a surprise, a flock of whiny apple fanbois up in arms like insulted scientologists because their overpriced underspecced shrinetop doesn't have the reviewer quivering in a post review metrosexual wank-spasm.
Macbook Pro's use a TN panel, not IPS. Plus I also find the glass really annoying in terms of reflections (probably why I bought a 15" Macbook Pro with AG screen).
Not unreasonable of Acer
Unlike CRTs, LCDs have a native resolution, the resolution that has a 1:1 mapping between your desktop resolution and your display's resolution. The display physically can't go any higher.
Even if your OS allowed itself to be set to a higher res (there may even be hack tools for the GPU which allow this) it would still have to downscale to fit the physical resolution. And yes the answer is to plug in an external monitor or buy some hulking 17" laptop to get a higher res. At the end of the day, it's a tradeoff, although 1366x768 is still perfectly adequate for 720p content and video players would downscale 1080p content to the output window size too.
I am not surprised by your other concerns. Few laptop manufactures bother providing physical OS disks any more. Most stick the OS in a "recovery partition". Yes it is cheap of them and petty. Perhaps you can back the partition up with with a burner or they provide a tool to do it.
What you're asking from the HDMI port is never going to happen. HDMI is a client / server protocol. No laptop manufacturer is going to bother implementing some kind of multi purpose HDMI port. Just copy the videos from your phone onto the computer via an SD card or USB cable and play them that way.