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Asus N61JV: Power of the panther, endurance of the camel

Long battery life tends to come at the expense of performance, but the graphics-switching N61JV wants you to have your cake and eat it

Long battery life tends to come at the expense of performance. The 16-inch Asus N61JV laptop, however, aims to offer both, courtesy of Nvidia's graphics-switching Optimus technology.

The N61JV not only packs a dual-core, 2.26GHz Intel Core i5-430M CPU but also two graphics cards: an integrated Intel GMA 4500MHD and a discrete Nvidia GeForce GT 325M. Light tasks, such as editing documents and sending emails, will use the Intel graphics card, conserving juice like a camel.

Intensive activities, such as playing a movie via the laptop's Blu-ray drive, will see the Nvidia chip spring into action like a panther, boosting performance. The N61JV switches between graphics cards automatically, with no need to reboot.

The similar but less powerful Asus UL50Vt put in an impressive performance in our tests, proving capable of running 3D games happily. We're expecting better performance from the N61JV, so stay tuned for the definitive verdict in our review.

The screen offers only a 1,366x768-pixel resolution, which is disappointing in a laptop touted for its multimedia capabilities. But there's plenty of space to store your music and whatnot on the 500GB hard drive. The N61JV also has 4GB of RAM, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, and an HDMI port. 

It's available now for about £900.