The Asus N56VM brings Intel's third-generation Core “Ivy Bridge” processor to the laptop, and it's a beautiful thing. This 15.6 inch laptop is looking to replace your desktop, and you're probably not going to complain about it one bit. This processor is the Core i7-3720QM: 2.6GHz quad-core, eight-thread processor featuring 6MB of cache.
This new laptop is really impressive all around, but not just because it looks great (and it really does). Asus has really outdone itself as far as the insides of this laptop go. Here's what you can look forward to.
Design and Spec's
The Asus N56VM boasts a full 1080p (1,920 by 1,080) display and two graphics solutions which don't really keep up with the speed of the procesor – Intel HD Graphics 4000 integrated in the CPU and the Nvidia GeForce GT 630M GPU. It measures 1.1 by 15 by 10 inches and weighs in at 5.9 pounds, featuring a close-to-black brushed aluminum outside complete with light-up Asus logo. On the inside, the Asus channels its inner MacBook Pro with black keys against a silver aluminum deck. Speaking of the keyboard, it is quite comfortable to use even when typing at high-speeds. It also features a numeric keypad. The touchpad is 4.5 by 2.75 inches, and features clickable lower corners versus the usual mouse buttons. In testing, the touchpad worked like a charm.
The screen's high resolution translates to small text and icons, although they remain sharp and clear. The display overall is bright, featuring vivid color and broad viewing angles. The speakers, two Bang & Olufsen ICEpower speakers, give you above average sound with pleasing bass.
Not only does the N56VM offer Bluetooth and 802.11g Wi-Fi, it also supports Intel's Wireless Display (WiDi) which allows you to broadcast the audio and video from your laptop to an HDTV equipped with an adapter. Besides the software that powers the WiDi and other utilities, there was no other software or bloatware preloaded save for the OS.
The Asus N56VM comes with a Blu-ray drive, two USB 3.0 ports, and headphone and microphone jacks on its right side, and an audio jack for a subwoofer, VGA, HDMI, and Eithernet ports, and two additional USB 3.0 ports on the left. The SD/MMC slot is in the front. In testing, the 56Wh battery lasted 5 hours 21 minutes.
The Core i7-3720QM is an amazingly fast CPU. So fast, in fact, it blew Intel's predecessors out of the water in testing. This is puzzling given the graphics performance, as gaming is mediocre at best. It would likely benefit from the Nvidia's GeForce GTX rather than the GT currently inside. However, the slower graphics isn't a reason to shy away from this purchase.
Ivy Bridge is coming to portables everywhere, and this is the first taste. The Asus N56VM's stellar performance, gorgeous display, and smooth keyboard are all great reasons to give it a shot, and it gives manufacturers of portable devices a run for their money in the quest to build the best. Pick this up for about $1,199.