The first thing you'll notice about the Asus NX90JQ is the sheer size of the laptop. A lot of this is down to the 18.4-inch screen. The Full HD 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution offers a very detailed picture, but is lacking the brightness we'd expect of a multimedia centre, and colour vibrancy isn't fantastic as a result.
Nevertheless Blu-ray movies – watched on the integrated Blu-ray optical drive – look fantastic on the NX90JQ's screen, which also makes the laptop suited to editing HD movies and photos.
The two B&O speakers sitting either side of the screen are the main reason the laptop is so large. Positioned to offer the best audio experience, and combined with Asus' SonicMaster technology, sound quality is great. We tested a broad range of music genres – from classical to hip-hop – and were largely impressed by the quality and clarity of audio produced.
Before we get too carried away, it's important to note that, as good as the NX90JQ is, it'll never replace a dedicated hi-fi system. We also compared the laptop with a set of £200 desktop speakers and found the latter outgunned the NX90JQ in most areas, especially stereo and bass.
It's also important to note that there are other options with dedicated speaker systems, such as the HP Envy 14 Beats Edition and MSI GX660R, that offer a very similar experience sonically, but don't cost nearly as much, so it's important to consider your options before making a purchase.
The combination of speakers and screen give the laptop a unique appearance that divided opinion at TechRadar. Some thought it looked great while others argued it gives the NX90JQ an unfortunate top-heavy appearance. However all agreed how good the polished aluminium finishes is.
When closed, the NX90JQ looks more like a piece of art than a laptop, and the same goes when the machine is open thanks to the large polished aluminium palmrest, which sits completely unblemished.
You'll quickly realise the reason the palmrest looks so great – apart from the material used – is the lack of a touchpad. This is because Asus has employed an innovative design that employs not one but two touch pads, each with left- and right-click buttons.
Placed either side of the keyboard, they're supposed to be used in conjunction with Asus' Desktop Rotation software, which features special gestures but the company decided to leave out at the last minute. As a result you're left with two touchpads that nicely use up quite a bit of excess chassis space. Nevertheless, they support full multi-touch functionality, although aren't as intuitive as Apple's MacBook Pro system.
The Asus NX90JQ's keyboard is large and comfortable to use, and if you want a laptop for regular typing you could do a lot worse. There's no dedicated number pad, however, which may put off those who regularly input data.
The NX90JQ's plastic chassis is well put together and features a wealth of ports and connections. Down the left side you'll find the slot-loading Blu-ray optical drive as well as multi-card reader and a USB port. Down the right side of the laptop sit three more USB ports. Two boast USB 3.0 technology – for rapid data transfers to external devices – while one doubles as an eSATA port.
There are also VGA and HDMI outs, as well as the Ethernet port and a digital TV tuner aerial port.