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on December 2, 2013
As a clarification:
I bought this laptop from HIDevolution, which offers laptop customization. The laptop as it is configured here is decent enough to warrent 4 stars, but I wanted a faster hard-drive with more space, a second flashdrive with flash memory in place of the optical drive, and the Windows 7 OS in place of Windows 8. I would recommend anyone looking for a performance laptop to consider their needs, and customize their laptop to fit those needs in order to optimize performance and satisfaction.

The DB71 vs the DB72:
This is the N550JV-DB71, not to be confused with the N550JV-DB72. The 71 is different from the 72 in that the 72 is the successive model. The main difference is that the 71 is not a touch screen laptop while the 72 is. As a result, the 71 has a matte screen that reduces glare while the touch screen on the 72 is highly reflective. The rest of the features below are largely the same.

I was looking for a performance notebook that was light, but not so much an ultrabook that it could not handle more intensive processes. As a college student, I do a large amount of 3-D CAD modeling in programs such as solidworks and AutoCAD. I also wanted the ability to produce artwork in programs like Photoshop and Illustrator. In my spare time, I occasionally enjoy computer games such as Left4Dead, so naturally the laptop needs to be able to handle them. For my needs, this laptop is more than sufficient. It can get hot during intensive processes such as gaming and modeling but that's expected. I've played Left4Dead 2, Outlast, counterstrike, and Battlefield 4 beta on this laptop. It handled the first 3 perfectly on the highest settings, but had a bit of trouble with Battlefield 4 even with the lowest settings (perhaps the beta was just glitchy). When modeling, I have created complex assemblies with patterns of features. While the modeling process does tend to slow as the number of features increases, the graphics processor is good enough for me.
The touchpad is excellent, and the gestures are intuitive - just like using a smartphone or tablet. I can't use the touchpads on any other laptops anymore. The keys are the low point for me - the backlighting is wonderful, but the keys have a squishy response that makes me miss keys every now and then - not a huge deal.
The entire exterior shell is made of aluminum, including the bottom casing (which I had been told was plastic, so that was a nice surprise). There are 3 USB ports, and HDMI port, an ethernet port, and an SD card port.
Overall, this is an excellent laptop - I hear the hard drive that ASUS ships with this model is a bit slow, at 5400 RPM. This means any file transferring will be slow. I upgraded to a 7200 RPM hard drive for free through HID evolution and I haven't noticed any sluggishness. I am very satisfied with my purchase.
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on October 20, 2013
Overall this laptop is very good. It has a few negatives but mostly positives. One negative is that the laptop comes with a lot of bloat-ware or pure installed crap from asus but after I uninstalled all of it it was fine. Also at first it was running slow and freezing but I then ran a system recovery and now it runs perfect. The graphics chip is pretty good it played most games at 1600 by 900 at high settings very well but I wouldn't reccomend pushing the resolution past that. Also the processor is very powerful and quick with 4 physical and 8 logical cores. The hard drive has plenty of space with 1000 GB or 1 tb of storage but another positive is that their hard drive is a hybrid drive with 8 GB of ssd cache. You may think that 8 GB isn't a whole lot but it makes a HUGE difference in boot up and wake from sleep times. Also the laptop is relatively light and runs very cool also the brushed aluminum finish looks beautiful.
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on December 20, 2013
The ASUS N550JV has been a solid purchase thus far. In my search for a new laptop I was looking for something that would offer discrete graphics, a solid processor and ample storage. I'm a casual gamer and have a great gaming desktop at home, but when I head out to work in the field I'm gone for several weeks at a time and wanted something that could play some of my favorites (Starcraft II, Borderlands 2) with decent graphics as well as frame rate. I also wanted ample multimedia ability to listen to music, stream video and play movies with good fidelity. Overall, I'm happy with the purchase with just a couple caveats.

Display: The documentation on this laptop can confuse some, but the screen is indeed capable of a 1920x1080 resolution and looks great doing it. While I wasn't able to compare the matte finish of this model to the gloss finish of the DB72, colors look adequately vibrant with solid backlighting to make a great looking display. The hinge is strong and durable and stays where you put it. The viewing angles are also absolutely superior to my almost 5 year old Acer I replaced, but that was something I expected.

Trackpad: Sliding my fingers across the pad new met me with some resistance. Possibly the newness of it caused my fingers to sometimes stop when you'd expect to be able to slide across freely, because this has become less of an issue with continued use. It does occasionally hang or not go where I expect it to precisely, but it's not terrible. The clicking is okay, but not impressive. I'm a user who likes to use a real mouse and as such is something I use with this laptop, so feel free to take my thoughts with a grain. I didn't play around much with the ASUS gestures to comment on.

Keyboard: It does what it's supposed to do. The backlighting serves its purpose with a nice, bright white with several dimming levels. The keys are a little small and I have larger fingers, but I found I was able to type relatively precisely after just a short period. The num pad, while a welcomed addition, takes a little more getting used to, but still acceptable.

Sound: This was an area I was interested in greatly with this laptop considering my intended use of various multimedia. Lots of great reviews on this front left me with high expectations but I was quite let down. The speakers themselves sound pretty great, so long as you're facing the bottom of the laptop. The 4 speakers fire at a down and forward angle from the bottom front of the laptop and muffles the sound to a terrible degree. I more often than not use the laptop in my lap, and most of the sound is lost in the clothes you're wearing. I was highly disappointed here, and costs a star. On a desk the sound is better, so if you tend to use it more on a desk than in your lap this may be a lesser issue to you. The added subwoofer fills the lows and helps to complete the sound spectrum, but don't expect much more than a small boost. It's adequate, but forgettable.

Storage: A 1TB HDD is found in this laptop and provides a great amount of storage space. The 5400RPM speed does leave something to be desired. This is the other weak link in the device, and it helps to slow down what should be a quite speedy laptop to an average speed laptop. Logically the slower speed drive makes sense from a power standpoint, so it's a give and take.

Battery: Impressive for the comparable laptops in the price range. On battery with 50% screen brightness, wifi, and some web browsing with YouTube I was able to achieve over 4 hours of life. Very respectable and no doubt helped by the Optimus technology allowing the on board Intel graphics to take over when not gaming or performing visually intensive tasks.

Modifications: Ultimately, this laptop checked all my boxes and in most ways has met or exceeded my expectations. I did make some modifications to alleviate a couple of the cons. I purchased a Samsung 840 EVO SSD (Samsung Electronics 840 EVO-Series 250GB 2.5-Inch SATA III Single Unit Version Internal Solid State Drive MZ-7TE250BW) with this drive caddy (NEW SATA 2nd HDD caddy for 9.5mm Universal CD/DVD-ROM ACER BENQ HP DELL ASUS) to replace the optical drive. I placed the SSD in the original HDD slot and moved the HDD to the drive caddy (I wasn't able to find the speed of the optical drive port so I erred on the side of caution). There are 10 screws on the back of the laptop that are Torx bits, T5 to be precise. You can find this bit in most precision bit kits for cheap. Be careful when removing the bottom bezel as it does has semi-sharp edges (as I slid my fingers trying to pop the cover off I cut myself)! Once in there it's pretty easy to see the few screws that have to be removed in order to move the parts around. WARNING! Taking apart your laptop may void your warranty or you can cause damage to your device, so perform any internal changes at your own risk.

I started by using the Samsung cloning utility to get the OS over to the new drive. This alone did not provide a stable version of Windows. In addition, through Windows 8 I copied the ASUS recovery partition found on the stock HDD to a 16GB flash drive and booted the laptop to the recovery on the flash drive with ONLY the SSD plugged in. This is important! From there I ran the recovery and chose the option to fix the installation while saving files. After this everything worked great. I plugged back in the HDD (to note, the optical drive bezel does clip onto the mentioned drive caddy, giving a factory appearance), formatted it (except the recovery partition, because you never know), put it all back together and it works GREAT. The SSD made a HUGE performance difference. I can't recommend this upgrade enough if you can do without the optical drive.

* Fast yet power efficient processor
* Discrete graphics with Optimus technology to save battery when doing basic tasks
* Very ample storage space
* 1080p screen with matte, yet colorful and bright screen
* Price
* Very decent battery life in the category

* Speakers have poor placement and result in very poor performance with laptop used in your lap.
* Factory hard drive slow and contributes to average performance (see above Modification section)

In the end I'm very glad I made this purchase. The few deficits the laptop has are very much outweighed by the pros. My laptop now is 5 stars, but I can't rate it that way because I had to add an SSD to make it so, but in the end and in stock form the laptop is a solid 4 stars.
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on January 1, 2014
I'm a college student who needed the portability of a laptop but also something powerful enough to play games. I just spent 3 years with a budget dell laptop which towards the end became a glorified facebook browser. This is a pretty big step up for me. For the most part I am thrilled, but there are a handful of things that I wish were just a tad better.

-Runs every game I have thrown at it on high-medium settings depending on the intensity of the game.
-Boot up time is a few seconds, this thing takes less time to boot up than my last computer did to turn the screen on.
-Battery life is really nice, I often forget that it's not plugged in, it's not going to get you 8 hours of gaming but it lasts me an entire evening.
-It stays cool and the fan is nearly silent.
-Anything I don't specifically list in the "Cons" section.

-With the headphones plugged in there's a faint hissing sound, it's not major and if you're playing music it is completely drowned out, it goes away after a few seconds if no sound is playing but for things like movies where there's a lot of transitioning between noise and silence it's a bit more noticeable.
-The trackpad is not the greatest. It doesn't have a dedicated button for the left right mouse buttons (as you can see from the pictures). Perhaps I'm just too dainty or something but it requires a bit more muscle than I would like to click the left/right buttons.
-The edges are a tad on the sharp side, which looks nice but has the potential to be painful at some future date.

If I were to do it over again this is still the laptop I would buy, no doubt about it. It's an awesome computer, and there is nothing better out there in this price range. The issues I have with it fall under the category of tiny annoyances and are relatively negligible, I just figured I would bring them up as they are the sort of thing I didn't see in any of the reviews I read before purchasing.
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on January 26, 2014
My best laptop ever! I use it at home; will travel with a tablet. Note: at first it is slow while setting itself up. I installed Win 8.1 almost right away (worthwhile). So don't judge the speed until about day 3.

Pros: very fast even with the 5400 hard disk. I had intended to replace with a SSD, but no real hurry. Great screen.

Cons: I would like to turn off the gestures on the touchpad, as they are more trouble than they are worth. Swiping from the edge starts up menus or gets you into the start screen. This happens too often by mistake, but I have not figured out how to turn it off.

Windows 8 is an abomination on default settings. Change all the default programs (e.g. for looking at photos, music videos, etc.) from the app version to the desktop version and it becomes a good operating system.
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on June 3, 2015
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on October 26, 2014
I was pissed for about 5 months this computer was so so so so so slow it would freeze up with 2 internet tabs open and anti virus scanning. Until I switched it to run off the 4700hq and to performance mode. Now I've not had one single problem at all! For the price you can't really beat the internals your getting. The disk drive tray is flimsy and came with a dent on the corner from the manufacture. Besides that I love it and it's been almost 9 months.
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on January 4, 2015
As advertised. You get exactly what you expect.
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on September 26, 2014
ASUS has the single worst customer service and warranty program I have ever had to deal with. If you do buy their product, you'd better pray that you don't have any problems with it, because you won't get any help from ASUS. In the year that I had one of their laptops, mine broke down 5 times. Every time I sent it into their 'service' center, the part they replaced failed again within months, or even weeks. At the end I was so sick of spending hours and hours on the phone with them, paying to have my laptop shipped back time and again for repairs that I gave up. Amazon was great enough to offer me a partial refund for the unit, but ASUS refused to do anything. They also promised call backs from supervisors on at least 3 occasions and I still have never heard back from them.
Please save yourself the horrible headache and loss of data and time. Stick with Toshiba, or really anyone other than ASUS.
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on March 1, 2015
very happy. fast, slim
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