4 Out of 5
Solid, stylish design
Beautiful 1080p display
Good audio quality & Blu-ray player
Below average battery life
Asus looked to add to the multimedia line of laptops with the N56VZ-DS71. It has a beautiful 1080p 15.6-inch display, great audio quality and speedy performance. While it does lack in battery life, it makes up for it in its design and set of multimedia features.
The design of the Asus N56VZ-DS71 is quite stylish with a brushed aluminum lid with a plastic lip. The inside deck is made of a single piece of silver aluminum with two dot patterns. This interior design looks really good and the whole thing together is built really well and is very sturdy. It measures 15.0 x 10.0 x 1.3-inches and weighs 6-pounds, which makes it about the same size as most other 15-inch notebooks.
Asus outfitted the N57VZ with an island-style keyboard with a full numeric keypad. The keys are well-spaced and are flat black in color with backlighting. We found the keys to be very responsive to presses and offered a good amount of feedback. The touchpad was quite large and offered a good amount of sensitivity. Multitouch gestures also worked well. Asus choose to have no discrete buttons for left and right click; instead, the touchpad is a clickpad.
We found the 15.6-inch display to look fantastic. It has a matte finish with a native resolution of 1920 x 1080-pixels, which is full 1080p HD resolution. The quality of the display was very good because colors looked vibrant and accurate. The brightness levels were very high and the viewing angles were quite wide too. Viewing HD content on the 1080p display was a very pleasing experience that definitely was a huge plus for this laptop.
Asus boosts the audio on this computer as a selling point because it has “Bang & Olufsen ICEpower” audio. In our testing, we found the audio quality to be fantastic for a laptop computer. The external subwoofer that plugs into a 3.5mm jack on the side provided good bass levels and an additional benefit to the overall audio quality.
The port selection on the Asus N56VZ includes four USB 3.0 ports, HDMI-out, VGA-out, Gigabit Ethernet, audio jacks (S/PDIF included) and a 3-in-1 media card reader. There is also a tray-loading Blu-ray/DVD burner combo drive and 802.11n wireless connectivity. The set of four USB 3.0 ports means you’ll definitely have enough high-speed ports for any future peripherals.
Our review Asus N56VZ included the following configuration: a third-gen quad-core Intel Core i7-3610QM (2.3GHz), 8GB of RAM, a 750GB 5400RPM hard drive and dual-graphics that include both the standard integrated Intel HD 4000 and discrete Nvidia GeForce GT 650M (2GB of dedicated memory) graphics. In the PCMark 7 benchmark, it earned a score of 2,688, which is moderately higher than the category average of around 2,500. Real-world usage backed up the speedy benchmark result with great all-around performance.
This laptop has the Nvidia Optimus technology, which seamlessly switches between the integrated Intel graphics and the discrete Nvidia graphics depending on your graphics needs at the current time. With the discrete graphics, you can play most of today’s 3D games with the graphics settings dialed down a bit.
Battery life is one place where this laptop suffers a little bit. The included battery lasted about 4.25-hours, which is below the 15-inch category average by between 1 and 1.5-hours.
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