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Asus N82JV-X1 review: Asus N82JV-X1

Asus N82JV-X1

Scott_Stein.jpg
Scott_Stein.jpg
Scott Stein Editor at Large
I started with CNET reviewing laptops in 2009. Now I explore wearable tech, VR/AR, tablets, gaming and future/emerging trends in our changing world. Other obsessions include magic, immersive theater, puzzles, board games, cooking, improv and the New York Jets. My background includes an MFA in theater which I apply to thinking about immersive experiences of the future.
Expertise VR and AR, gaming, metaverse technologies, wearable tech, tablets Credentials
  • Nearly 20 years writing about tech, and over a decade reviewing wearable tech, VR, and AR products and apps
Scott Stein
7 min read

Laptops are less expensive than ever, and that fact is changing how we perceive computer value. Case in point: the Asus N82Jv-X1 is a nicely featured laptop with an Intel Core i5 processor and automatic-switching Nvidia GeForce GT 335M graphics for $999, but in today's market it doesn't feel like a value.

ASUS N82JV X1 - Core i5 450M 2.4 GHz - 14" TFT
6.9

Asus N82JV-X1

The Good

Above-average Nvidia graphics; fast Core i5 processor; USB 3.0 port.

The Bad

Poor battery life; quirky multitouch touch pad; confusing energy-saving settings.

The Bottom Line

For $999, Asus' graphics-boosted 14-inch laptop lacks battery power, and has few distinguishing features that push it over similarly priced (or less expensive) alternatives.

The $999 price represents the high end of today's mainstream retail market. While getting this level of graphics power at that price isn't bad, the boring design, lack of other features like Intel Wireless Display or Blu-ray, and poor battery life suggest you could do better.

Despite being marketed as a "media notebook" by Asus, there's not much that really makes this any more of a media notebook than other 14-inch machines. That's not to say the performance wasn't solid--it just isn't particularly noteworthy in a sea of increasingly similar Core i5 laptops, except for including a high-speed USB 3.0 port.

In fact, some of its ergonomics set it back from the competition. Honestly, despite processor limitations, we'd rather buy an HP Envy 14 or white Apple MacBook instead.

Price as reviewed $999
Processor 2.4GHz Intel Core i5 M450
Memory 4GB, 1,333MHz DDR3
Hard drive 500GB 7,200rpm
Chipset Intel HM55
Graphics Nvidia GeForce GT 335M + Intel GMA HD
Operating System Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
Dimensions (WD) 13.8 inches x 9.7 inches
Height 1.4 inches
Screen size (diagonal) 14 inches
System weight / Weight with AC adapter 5.2 / 6.2 pounds
Category Mainstream

From the outside, there isn't much to distinguish the Asus N82Jv-X1 apart from its outer shell. A copper-colored metallic Infusion finish design has a textured hexagonal grid pattern, and undeniably gives the laptop a nice look. The rest is black matte plastic. Tapered, slightly curved edges invoke the rest of the Asus laptops, particularly the Eee PC series, as if it were magnified into a full-size form.

The base is thicker than it looks, hiding some bulk under smartly angled fore-edges. At 5 pounds, it's not a lightweight. The inner areas of the laptop look clean and attractive, but it's more a feat of minimalism than features. The whole lower deck is sunken in from its edges, giving it a slightly concave look. Smooth, bronze-black plastic surrounds a raised Chiclet-style Asus keyboard. Above the keyboard, a pair of symmetrical identical buttons acts as a power button and a battery-mode selector. It's confusing at first glance: why not simply make the power button look more distinct? There's no reason for symmetry this subtle (hint: the power button's the right-side one).

The keyboard's a standard Asus affair, though dipping below average in key feel and keyboard flex. The slightly wobbly keys were more flimsy-feeling than those on other models. A row of page up/down keys lining the keyboard's right side crowds the shift and return keys, as does the small T of arrow keys. It made us lose sense of where the keys were. Functions such as volume and brightness are relegated to function keys, and they require pressing the function button at the same time to work. At this point, all laptops should have distinct or function-reverse keys for volume and other basic controls.

The medium-size and slightly recessed touch pad is saddled with a small rocker bar for buttons, but both the bar and the pad's patterned/textured surface worked quite well for us. If only this pad had true multitouch: instead of Synaptics, Elan software enables two-finger scrolling and multifinger tap, but it doesn't have pinch-to-zoom at all. Thus, it doesn't really feel like multitouch.

The 14-inch LED-backlit 16:9 glossy screen on the Asus N82Jv-X1 has a native pixel resolution of 1,366x768, which is standard for laptops this size. Web pages, videos, pictures and icons were readable, but the screen looked a little washed out at full brightness and suffered from weak side-viewing angles.

The Altec-Lansing stereo speakers, which are embedded in the bottom of the laptop facing forward on an angled edge, had limited volume and weren't nearly as musically impressive as Toshiba's Harman Kardon speakers on that brand's comparative midrange Satellites.

The built-in Webcam has resolution settings up to 1,600x1,200, but its framerates dip to unusable levels that high--it's best used at 640x480 or 800x600 resolutions. Asus' included webcam software, called Lifeframe, has an astonishing number of innovative and flat-out silly settings, ranging from complete picture setting control to weird floating hats. It's as much a novelty photo booth as a communications tool.

Asus includes some other custom software on the N82Jv-X1, most of it not truly necessary. ControlDeck offers a 3D-style method of browsing applications by category, but the process is no more or less clunky than simply browsing Windows 7.

Asus N82Jv-X1 Average for category [Mainstream]
Video VGA, HDMI-out VGA plus HDMI or DisplayPort
Audio Stereo speakers, headphone/microphone jacks Stereo speakers, headphone/microphone jacks
Data 1 USB 3.0, 2 USB 2.0 (1 with eSATA combo port), SD card reader 4 USB 2.0, SD card reader, eSATA
Expansion None ExpressCard/54
Networking Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi Ethernet, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, optional mobile broadband
Optical drive DVD burner DVD burner

The most notable feature on the Asus N82Jv-X1 is its single USB 3.0 port. While Asus proudly advertises 10x faster speeds on the sticker slapped on the keyboard deck, there are only a handful of peripherals that can even take advantage of USB 3.0 at this point. It's nice to have a bit of future-proofing, but don't expect to get a lot out of it until sometime next year. The eSATA/USB 2.0 combo port, also provided, will likely be a better stand-in in the meantime. There's no Bluetooth, nor is there an ExpressCard slot; in a nearly thousand-dollar laptop, we'd expect one or both.

The Asus N82Jv-X1 is a zippy machine, but no more or less than other Core i5 laptops in its class. The Core i5 M450 CPU is great at handling nearly everything thrown at it and multitasking like a pro; it's nearly the perfect midrange CPU at this point in the laptop world. High-def video streaming, complex office projects, file converting, and many other tasks will be pulled off without a sweat.

This Asus laptop also has above-average Nvidia graphics, equipped with automatically switching Nvidia Optimus technology to boot. Optimus turns off the dedicated Nvidia GeForce GT335M GPU when it's not in use, switching over to integrated Intel graphics automatically to conserve a little battery life. It's an invisible process, though, which you aren't likely to notice unless you start fiddling with the Nvidia control panel and tweak the settings--which you don't need to do. The graphics are quite good--Unreal Tournament III played at a fiery 98.1 frames per second at native 1,366x768 pixel resolution and medium settings. This can be a great laptop for playing most games, although it's not as good as higher-end gaming rigs. Still, for $999 it's one of this laptop's most compelling pluses.

Asus confuses the simplicity of Optimus, however, with its "Super Hybrid Engine" processor and battery tweaking. Although it sounds like a discontinued Dreamcast game, Super Hybrid Engine simply amounts to battery modes that can be toggled to easily switch to battery-conserving settings. It's no different than what we see on a lot of laptops, but Asus' plastering of widgets across the desktop and stickers on the computer creates a sense of complication for the consumer that could have been greatly simplified.

Multimedia multitasking test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Adobe Photoshop CS3 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Video playback battery drain test (in minutes)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Asus N82JV-X1
97 

Unreal Tournament 3 (in frames per second)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
1,280x768, 0X AA, 0X AF  
1,366x768, 4X AA, 8X AF  
Asus N82JV-X1
125.1 
98.1 
HP Envy 14
92.6 
57.8 
Gateway ID49C08u
80.4 
75.2 

Juice box
Asus N82JV-X1 Average watts per hour
Off (60 percent) 0.45
Sleep (10 percent) 1.68
Idle (25 percent) 13.47
Load (5 percent) 48.08
Raw kWh 54.40
Annual energy cost $6.17

Annual energy consumption cost

Nvidia Optimus automatically switching graphics is a great idea, if it actually results in great battery life. When an Optimus laptop such as the N82Jv-X1 only gets 1 hour and 37 minutes of battery life on our video-playback battery-drain test, then it's really a moot point. A lower-capacity six-cell battery is largely the culprit. This is lousy battery life, especially for the price. Anything under 3 hours on a mainstream laptop in 2010 isn't acceptable.

Asus includes a one-year parts-and-labor warranty with the Asus N82Jv-X1, along with one year of accidental damage support, which is better than what others provide. There is 24-7 tech support and toll-free phone lines are listed on Asus' Web site, though the information can be hard to track down with so many different models and configurations. We couldn't even easily locate information on this configuration.

Find out more about how we test laptops.

System configurations
Asus N82JV-X1
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 2.4GHz Intel Core i5 M450; 4096MB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 1GB Nvidia GeForce GT 335M + 64MB (Dedicated) Intel GMA HD; 500GB Seagate 5,400rpm

HP Envy 14
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 2.4GHz Intel Core i5 M450; 4096MB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 1GB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5650; 500GB Seagate 7,200rpm

Gateway ID49C08u
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 2.4GHz Intel Core i5 M450; 4096MB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 1GB Nvidia GeForce GT 330M + 64MB (Dedicated) Intel GMA HD; 500GB Hitachi 5,400rpm

Toshiba Satellite M645-S4055
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 2.4GHz Intel Core i5 M450; 4096MB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 1GB Nvidia GeForce GT 330M + 64MB (Dedicated) Intel GMA HD; 500GB Toshiba 5,400rpm

ASUS N82JV X1 - Core i5 450M 2.4 GHz - 14" TFT
6.9

Asus N82JV-X1

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 8Performance 8Battery 4Support 8