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The N56VM is an uplifted mainstream laptop. At AU$1499, it only carries a one year warranty — an indication that Asus hasn't placed it in its premium range.
It's got great speakers though, that are made subtly — but appreciably — better when you plug in the optional passive subwoofer. The Bang and Olufsen supplied set actually deliver, rather than being nothing more than branding and software attached to poor hardware.
- USB 3.0: 4
- Optical: Blu-ray/DVD±RW
- Video: VGA, HDMI
- Ethernet: gigabit
- Wireless: 2.4GHz 802.11n
- Audio: 2.1 Realtek HD audio
It's got a large, usable Elan touchpad, and a backlit soft-touch keyboard that, after some adjustment, you begin to prefer to the short-throw, clacky laptop keyboards of norm.
It even runs on a Core i7 3610QM, with 8GB RAM to back it up, a 750GB hard drive and a Blu-ray drive. The rebadged GeForce 540M makes an appearance as a GeForce 630M, and pairs with an Intel HD 4000 for battery saving.
The interior powdered-aluminium look is pleasant enough, and the brushed metal lid lends an air of sophistication; so it's a shame the screen isn't very good, spoiling the whole package.