Short Review: ASUS N82Jq-A1 Laptop

October 13, 2010

This is my short review of the ASUS N82Jq-A1 laptop computer I recently purchased.

ASUS N82Jq-A1Before this laptop, I owned a Dell XPS1330 laptop, which is two years old. At the time, it was on the high end of the spectrum as far as the technical specifications went, but two years later and suddenly we’ve got Quad Core processors and 1gb graphics cards! Anyway, the reason for getting the new laptop was that the old Dell unfortunately didn’t run Civilization 5 – which if you’re a regular visitor to this site, you’ll know I was pretty keen to play.

So, here is my short review of the ASUS N82Jq.

Looks

I looked around quite a bit for a nice looking laptop. As I also use my laptop for work, it had to look professional, but I also didn’t want one that looked like a purely business machine. My old Dell was excellent in this regard, and an element that really appealed to me was the hinge.

The ASUS N82Jq is an odd brown colour with a metallic tinge. I wasn’t keen on it when checking out pictures on the ‘Net, but when I checked out an earlier model in a shop, I noted that the cover and parts of the keyboard area had an odd matt finish. This both helps with finger-print issues, and also gives it an unusual appearance.

I’m not a fan of the single button beneath the touch-pad, and would’ve preffered two buttons. I also thought it was odd that the keyboard doesn’t take up the entire base – there are large borders on either side. The keyboard itself is comfortable to type on – with a spongey feel that I wasn’t used too. Don’t worry – they’re not sticky or anything, but pressing the keys is different to my old Dell, or the desktop I use in the office. The keys are also spaced out a bit like a Mac, which may make cleaning easier. I’m not a great fan of the Mac keyboard. There are not specific media keys or buttons, which I don’t miss since I rarely use them.

The screen is 14 inches diagonally (that’s about 35 cm) – it it is slightly larger than the old 13.3 inch Dell. The size isn’t noticeable – which is good. Portability is a big issue for me, and I didn’t want something too heavy. The edge around the screen however is very glossy and fingerprints are a problem. I think a matt finish would have been better here.

What’s not on the picture above is the 5 or so stickers from various companies beneath the keyboard (like Microsoft, Intel, nVidia, etc). These are fairly standard, but do make the laptop look uglier than it needs to, and I wish there was an option to not have them.

Overall, the look of the laptop is fairly pedestrian – no awards for design here.

Specs

This is where the ASUS N82Jq shines. Since I wanted to use it to play Civilization 5, as well as do my work (such as use Adobe Indesign, Photoshop and Illustrator), I wanted a powerful graphics card, good processor and lots of RAM.

These are the main features

Fairly impressive for a 14″ laptop. Civ 5 (not the most graphics intensive game) runs smoothly on moderate to high graphics settings, and the laptop zooms to load Windows during start up. The most noticable improvement is in web browsing, where pages render faster than I’ve seen in a while.

I expect that in many regards the specs are probably overkill for what I need. I won’t be running huge, graphics intensive games. However, hopefully there’s enough grun. However, many of the other reviews have talked aboutheat problems. I’ve noticed that it can get hot, but no hotter than most laptops. Apparently battery life is also an issue, but I’ve mostly kept it plugged in, so haven’t really noticed whether it loses charge quickly.

The laptop itself is a good weight at around 2kg. I haven’t taken it around much, but it’s fairly easy to move around and lift without effort.

Bloatware was a huge problem when I first started the computer. In retrospect I should’ve just wiped the slate clean and reinstalled Windows 7 from scratch. Instead I spent an hour uninstalling about 15 useless programs that came pre-installed. There’s also a partitioned drive, which is very frustrating for me, because the main drive is the smaller one. With Adobe CS5, Civ5 and MS Office installed, plus around 20 gig of music, videos and documents, there’s very little space left on the main drive. However, the second partition has the remaining 370 gig. I just need to figure out an easy way to use the other drive.

Apart from the bloatware, setting up was easy. I used a Belkin transfer cable to get all my files across from the old laptop – which also identified all the programs I needed to reinstall. Windows 7 found my wireless network easy enough. The first thing I did was uninstall the virus checker software that came with it and installed AVG, as well as Google Chrome.

Conclusion

With around a week of use so far, I’m fairly happy with the ASUS N82Jq-A1. The real test will be down the line: how it performs over the next 12 months. I also need to decide in the next few weeks whether to reinstall Windows to get rid of the partitioned drive, which could be very frustrating.

[box type=”info”]If you’re interested, here’s a link to where you can buy it.[/box]


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