If you're looking for a mobile road warrior, you can immediately scratch the N750JV off your list. This 3.3kg brute is designed for the couch-loving indoors life, with only the occasional trip outside.
It's not merely that this is a physically imposing product that will cause back strain if you try to move it. The combination of a mammoth screen and powerful innards also make this a battery destroyer. Now that we've got that out of the way, we can look at what the N750JV does well, performing as a very capable desktop replacement.
The polished aluminium exterior is complemented by the glowing Asus logo, which looks extremely reminiscent of Apple's designs. Opening the display continues this sense of deja vu, with the keyboard's aluminium design looking almost identical to a MacBook Pro, with the exception of the stylish speaker outputs. Unfortunately, the love letter to the MacBook ends with the plastic underside, which cheapens the otherwise premium styling. Perhaps this was a necessary evil to keep the weight almost bearable?
The huge 17.3-inch screen proudly wears a matte finish, making it one of the few laptops that is usable in daylight, a lesson that we wish more manufacturers would learn. Packing 1920x1080 pixels, it's surprisingly crisp and clear for such a large display, though the colour reproduction isn't quite as vivid as we'd like. Thankfully, contrast and brightness performance are both admirable, as is the viewing angle. The full-sized island keyboard is backlit, and key travel is perfect, with a firm, even range of motion. We do wish the left shift key wasn't so tiny, though, as it took some getting used to. Finally, the touch pad is outstanding, especially the tight, responsive buttons.
Matching the quality display is one of the better sound solutions we've seen in a laptop of late. Twin Bang & Olufsen stereo speakers combine with an external miniature subwoofer to pack a serious audio punch. We'd go so far as to say it's perfectly usable for watching movies without the use of quality headphones — a rarity indeed.
The large chassis has plenty of space for a Blu-ray drive, another rarity in today's laptops, but a feature that is perfectly suited to this multimedia monster's intentions. Mounted on the right-hand side, it sits next to a 3.5mm microphone input, 3.5mm headphone output, twin USB 3.0 ports and the dedicated subwoofer output. Heading to the opposite side reveals two more USB 3.0 ports sitting alongside HDMI out, an SD card slot, mini DisplayPort and an Ethernet connector. The rear of the case is port free, with the entire face dedicated to a large air vent, used to cool the potent hardware within.
At its heart is Intel's new quad-core Hyper-Threaded i7-4700HQ Core processor, which ramps up to 3.4GHz when the going gets tough. While this packs Intel's HD Graphics 4600 integrated GPU, Asus has also included Nvidia's entry-level mobile GPU, the GeForce GT 750M, which includes 4GB of dedicated memory.
Wi-Fi arrives in the form of 802.11n (yet another new laptop forgoing 802.11ac support) and Bluetooth 4.0. Up to 16GB of high-speed DDR3 1600MHz memory can be installed, which is the exact amount included in our review sample. Long-term storage is offered in the form of twin 750GB mechanical drives, along with a small 24GB SSD for caching.
These powerful specs pushed the N750JV to the lead in our Haswell benchmarks, posting the fastest results in every one of the performance tests. Given the entry-level Nvidia GPU, we were pleasantly surprised that this machine can even handle today's hottest games, provided they're played on moderate graphics settings.
The only benchmark where the N750JV didn't impress was battery life, which is to be expected, given the specs and screen size. The 6260mAh Li-polymer is large by laptop standards, but the N750JV's hardware conspired to empty it in just 158 minutes.
(Longer bar equals better performance)
(Longer bar equals better performance)
For the price of AU$1899, you're getting a whole lot of computer, with a stunning and vast display, excellent audio and plenty of performance. If there's one blip on this machine's feature list, it's the Nvidia GPU — we'd have hoped for something a little punchier in this kind of machine. Despite this slight flaw, the N750JV is a potent multimedia behemoth that is perfect for those who want the features and comfort of a desktop in a package that can be packed up into a carry bag for occasional trips.