A highly capable 'desktop-replacement' laptop computer for general home use
The Asus N73SV is a 17in ‘desktop replacement' laptop – it is designed to offer the same kind of power you'd get from a desktop at the expense of portability. Put simply, it's a very heavy laptop.
Like the Sony Vaio VPCF21Z1E/BI, the N73 has an Intel Core i7-2630QM processor, a Nvidia Geforce 540M graphics card and a 1TB (1,000GB) hard disk. It falls short of the Vaio's 8GB of memory but it still has 6GB, more than enough for most. It also costs about half as much as the Sony.
The sound system was designed in conjunction with Bang & Olufsen and it showed. Sound from the N73SV was among the best we have heard from any laptop's speakers, providing punchy and detailed sound.
The computer's screen, a 17.3in widescreen display with a resolution of 1,600x900 pixels, was also impressive. It can display most high-definition video, but the resolution falls short of that required for the full 1080p resolution that can be output from a Blu-ray disc, which is a shame. It will still display such video but it will be scaled down a little. Regardless, the screen was ideal for films, games and video.
Besides working with CDs and DVDs, the laptop can read but not create Blu-ray discs, so you can watch high-definition films. There are three USB sockets - one of which uses the newer and faster USB3 standard for connecting suitable storage devices - a webcam with built-in microphone, a memory card reader and HDMI and VGA sockets for attaching a flat-screen TV or a monitor respectively. It will connect to wired and wireless networks, and Bluetooth devices.
The main reason to buy such a big laptop (the case exterior measures 42x28cm) is for playing and editing video and for playing games. Video editing won't faze the N73 at all: it blazed through our DVD creation test in 19 minutes, the same as the Sony and twice as fast as most laptops we have seen this year.
Games were less impressive: it managed reasonable frame rates in our games tests but you will need to turn down the detail levels for recent titles to work well.
Battery life was poor, as it always is with big laptops. This one ran out in 56 minutes in an intensive test though it extended to two hours in the laptop's power-saving mode.
The keyboard was squashed for such a large case and it flexed and bent as we typed. The arrow keys and numeric keypad are crammed up against the letter keys.
The laptop includes the 64-bit edition of the Windows 7 operating system along with a separate Linux-based mode that gives quick access to email, web and media.
Although it's expensive, we'd say the N73SV is good value. If you don't need your computer to be a laptop, or if you're a gamer, you can find a more powerful model much cheaper. We'd recommend this model to anyone looking for a powerful laptop for general home tasks, video-editing and playback.
Read more reviews
Superb value for such a high-powered machine but it loses marks for its short battery life and the poor keyboard and chassis
Excellent power for video editing; fantastic screen
Badly designed keyboard felt flimsy; so-so gaming performance; poor battery life
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