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Asus N53SV

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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.

Asus N53

Reg Rating 85%
Price £625
More Info Asus

Dell Latitude E6420

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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.

Dell Latitude E6420

Reg Rating 75%
Price £1068
More Info Dell

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