Asus is best known for its dinky Eee PC netbooks, but also produces some excellent multimedia laptops. The N53SV-SX303V packs in an impressive specification for the price, making it a strong desktop replacement choice.

If your needs are demanding – for instance, you wish to run complex design software that would make most computers weep – the Asus is a great solution.

The Intel Core i5 Sandy Bridge processor can run several resource-hogging applications at once, backed up by 6GB of memory. Performance came very close to the Lenovo W520 and Toshiba Satellite L755-15R.

Even with all this power, multimedia software such as video editing suites would struggle without a dedicated graphics card on board. The Asus packs an Nvidia GPU, like the Lenovo and Acer. This can easily run any creative software and features Optimus technology, which shuts the GPU down when not in use to conserve battery power. The resulting five hours is an excellent result.

Tech labs

Benchmarks

Battery life: 307 minutes
MobileMark 2007: 290
3DMark 2003: 20,829

Despite having a 15.6-inch screen like most of the laptops here, the Asus is one of the bulkiest devices in the group. At a whopping 3kg, it's almost as heavy as the 17.3-inch HP Pavilion DV7-6002sa, so the Asus is best left on a desk at home, despite boasting a durable build and an excellent five hours of battery life.

Thankfully, that extra space is well used by the keyboard. The board is just as firm as the chassis and comfortable to type on for long sessions, with a dedicated numeric keypad for data entry. We also liked the smooth touchpad, which supports multi-touch gesturing.

asus

Reasonable screen

The screen is reasonably bright and produces colourful images, like most of the displays here. It does the job if you're editing photos or video and you can hook up an external monitor or television via VGA or HDMI if you need a bigger screen.

When your creative juices dry up, you can kick back and enjoy a high-definition Blu-ray film. Movies sound surprisingly good, thanks to the Bang & Olufsen ICEpower speakers, which blast out music and explosions at an impressive volume. You can also play the latest games thanks to the dedicated graphics.

The 640GB hard drive provides plenty of space for all of your files and applications, and is only narrowly beaten by the HP's 750GB of storage.

Although lugging the N53SV-SX303V around with you isn't recommended due to the bulky and heavy chassis, it makes a great desktop replacement machine for the creative enthusiast. Tons of power and excellent dedicated graphics make short work of even the most demanding design suites.

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