Apple MacBook Pro with Retina Display (2013, 15-inch screen)stars
Thanks to new Intel CPUs and upgraded components, the 15-inch MacBook Pro remains a high-end...
Apple MacBook Air (13-inch)
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
Toshiba Chromebook 2stars
For its second Chromebook, Toshiba shaved off as much chassis as possible without sacrificing...
It's surprising the sort of quality that you can get on a budget these days. Take Asus' AU$1299 N53SV — while the grey wrist rest with wood-grain pattern may be a matter of taste, the laptop is well constructed and of higher quality than you'd expect for the price bracket.
It still falls into the extremely common trap of providing a 1366x768 screen, though, something that with a screen size of 15.6 inches always seems a little too low. Still, the screen is reasonably bright, and the colour is just fine.
The typing experience is acceptable, although the keyboard base flexes a bit, which is a disconcerting behaviour. Asus has chosen to include Elantech's touch pad, which adds the brilliant ability to tap two or three fingers simultaneously to bring up the right-click menu. More than once, though, it got confused when using two-finger scrolling on web pages, engaging the zoom function instead — something that we recommend you turn off.
The N53SV offers a few things above the norm; a quad-core Core i7 2630QM and 6GB of RAM definitely boosts above the standard fare, while a Blu-ray reader gives the user more to work with. Asus also makes a point of difference in its warranty, offering two years rather than the more common one year.
The rest is reasonably standard for the category: a 640GB hard drive, 2.4GHz 802.11n, Bluetooth, four USB 2.0 ports, headphone and microphone jacks, HDMI and VGA out and an SD card reader.