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Asus N55 review: Asus N55

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The Good A decent helping of USB ports. Good graphical performance.

The Bad Poor sound for something that's meant to be sonically superior.

The Bottom Line The N55 is a perfectly capable, middle-of-the-road laptop. The sound is disappointing, especially considering that Asus focuses on it for the selling point. But, as a mid-range all rounder, it's hard to find fault with it.

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8.0 Overall

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Editor's note: this review has been updated to take into account the included subwoofer accessory.

The Asus N series is reserved for audio — in this case, a Bang & Olufsen collaboration called ICEPower.

Unlike previous efforts, the N55 is aimed at the mid-range market, as evidenced by its non-island-style keyboard and mostly plastic construction. The speakers included in the laptop aren't that great, relying on software to try to fill the gap rather than implementing better hardware. Annoyingly, the volume attenuates whenever dynamics get too much for the speakers, which is frequently. No amount of tweaking with Asus' software panel would fix this. We find that this ruins the music-listening experience, with elements of expressive music entirely suppressed.

Thankfully, the included subwoofer accessory goes some way to rectifying this. When plugged into the laptop, tone improves significantly, although the bass is muddy at best and volume still attenuates through the tweeters — it's just less obvious. Still, it's a welcome addition, and a cut above usual laptop sound.

Ports are slightly above standard fare; two USB 3.0, two USB 3.0, gigabit Ethernet, VGA, HDMI, headphone and microphone jacks and a Blu-ray drive. The screen is very standard, though, coming in at a resolution of 1366x768 — at 15.6 inches, we'd hoped for more. Still, laptops with higher-resolution screens at this size are few and far between.

Internally, the N55 is running a Core i7 2630QM @ 2.0GHz, with 8GB of RAM and a 750GB HDD. Nvidia's GeForce GT 555M is featured, paired with Intel's HD Graphics to allow for power saving when the more powerful GPU isn't being used. Network connectivity is offered via 802.11n 2.4GHz, and Bluetooth.


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