|Screen Size||15.6 inches|
|Max Screen Resolution||1920 x 1080 pixels|
|Processor||2.2 GHz Core i7-2670QM|
|RAM||6 GB DIMM|
|Hard Drive||750 GB mechanical_hard_drive|
|Graphics Coprocessor||Nvidia GT 630M|
|Graphics Card Ram Size||2000 MB|
|Number of USB 2.0 Ports||2|
|Number of USB 3.0 Ports||1|
ASUS N53SM-ES72 15.6-Inch Laptop (Silver Aluminum)
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- Intel Core i7-2670QM Processor
- 6 GB DIMM
- 750 GB 7200 rpm Hard Drive
- 15.6-Inch ScreenNvidia GT 630M
- Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
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ASUS N53SM-ES72 Notebook (Silver Aluminum) / 15.6" Full HD (1920 x 1080) / Intel Core i7-2670QM (2.2GHz) / 6GB DDR3 / Nvidia GT 630M 2Gb / 750GB 7200RPM / DL DVDRW CDRW / Windows 7 Home Premium (64bit) / 802.11BGN / 2.0MP Camera / Bluetooth 3.0 / 6 Cell Battery / HDMI Port / B&O Speakers / 1YR Global/1YR Accidental Damage/30-Day Zero Bright Dot/2-way FREE shipping/24-7 tech support
Top customer reviews
It arrived nicely packed and other than a few software glitches (that Asus was able to help with) it seemed great. The small problems I had were all corrected with some easy help from Asus and the machine is now running perfectly - I did have to uninstall a few drivers and then reinstall them but that was very easy (I'm not a computer engineer, so the tech support was a huge help).
I've owned 5 or 6 laptops in the past 10 years and this is by far the best in every way...I don't just mean it's faster and more advanced; I expected that since computers get better all the time. But the build quality is so much better than the Toshiba and HP and Dell computers I had and the value on a dollar for dollar basis is by far the best - I paid a LOT more for a couple of the other machines I had and they felt like toys compared to this.
I was surprised reading some of the other reviews - (even though every single review so far has given the machine 5 stars)....one said it was "cheap" because it didn't have a metal bottom - while I suppose it's likely that it is less expensive to manufacture the laptop with an all plastic case, there are all kinds and qualities of plastic just as there are with metals. The top has an aluminum cover but I'd be very surprised if it isn't just a thin cover over a plastic casing. The aluminum may look nicer, but I don't know that it makes the case any "better" - good plastics are very strong and cheap metals can be very brittle and dent easily. Almost all of today's modern handguns use plastic frames so obviously they are extremely strong - my guess is that Asus used a good quality plastic in the construction of this laptop. But I guess only time will tell....my most recent laptop (before this Asus) is a Toshiba with what seemed to be very solid metal hinges for the screen, but one of them broke and before I could get it repaired, it led to exposed wires and ultimately to a short circuit - which caused some smoke and a blank screen. Just having an estimate would have cost me more than the machine is worth, so I just removed the hard drive and am in the process of transferring any data I want saved to another external drive. So looks can be deceiving and really anything made or designed by humans can (and eventually will) fail. It did last for around 5 years, so I got my money's worth - but it in no way had the quality feel of this Asus.
Other comments I found to be questionable (from my perspective) were about the keyboard "flex" - I don't find that at all - it will flex, but only under a lot of intentional pressure. I really have to TRY and press way harder than I ever would in normal or even hard use to get any visible degree of flex at all.
One person said his or her battery only lasted one hour. This laptop has a power selection button (hardware) with four different settings - that is separate from the normal Microsoft "Windows Mobility" setting (although it may use the same software and just add a fourth mode to the three that Microsoft includes) - but having a hardware button makes it fast and easy to change modes and I have to think it's more effective since when the laptop is not plugged in and you set it for the "power saving" mode it switches the wallpaper to what I imagine is a less demanding graphic...(plugged in it keeps the same wallpaper in the "power saving" mode).
The same button that toggles between battery modes will also start the computer up (if it's completely off) in some kind of Linux OS - so if you need to just check email or do something that doesn't require loading Windows, it will start in about 5 seconds. It isn't something I've used other than to see what it's about - it obviously doesn't have a video driver and the graphics look pretty weird, but I guess it's a useful feature if you are in a hurry to do something quickly and don't need to open Windows.
While that one person said they only got one hour using the battery, I have to believe it's a defective battery and would be covered under warranty. I have found that just using the laptop for surfing the net and using MS Word, I get about 3 hours using the highest power setting and 5 hours using the "power saving" mode - (I could probably get a bit more but I plug it in when I get the message telling me that I'm down to 10% of the battery's capacity). I only ran it down to zero once - and that was accidentally when I didn't realize the plug came loose and I had turned on the "defrag" utility thinking it was plugged in.
The transformer is a bit large, but it was a gross exaggeration to say it's almost as large as the laptop itself...it is bigger than average and not something I would want to carry around regularly, but I really bought this computer to be more of a desktop replacement that I can also take with me as a photographer to use for "tethered shooting" - and for that purpose this laptop is just perfect - especially with its full 1080 HD screen.
I called Amazon because I was confused comparing it to some similar models - it seemed that two or three of them were a bit more expensive yet had less or lower grade features (1GB of video RAM compared to this one's 2GB ..another had a 5400 rpm HDD and another had a lower resolution screen) - I talked with three different Amazon reps and none of them could see anything I didn't see - they all agreed that this machine (for whatever reason) had more going for it at a lower price...with no explanation other than "it sometimes happens on Amazon".
As for comments about the "bloatware" - yes it has some, but really not much - it's easy to remove anything you don't want (for me it was the er version of Office 2010 - I have the full Office 2007 and I'm pretty sure I HAD to remove the trial of 2010 to install 2007. Some of the things I removed I didn't understand and ended up reinstalling (like the audio software for the B&O speakers, etc.) - all easily retrieved from the Asus website.
I did what I do with all my computers - I went to msconfig and disabled EVERYTHING from the start-up tab...so now the computer boots up faster and using the task manager I see that it starts with 75 processes running instead of 110 (or something like that). As I become more familiar with the Asus software, I see that a lot of what I thought was "bloatware" really isn't - it's just software that works with the Asus features I am not familiar with.
Overall I can't think of any "cons" - the full HD matte finished screen is beautiful - I guess if it were possible to fit everything into a smaller case and have an edge to edge screen without the sort of wide (and glossy) bezel around the screen, that would be nice, but I have the feeling that there's just too much to fit into a smaller casing. (The glossy bezel DOES show fingerprints and that is one legitimate complaint - but not that big a deal).
A backlit keyboard would be nice, but again, at the price of this laptop, it's an amazing bargain and it can't have everything (for those handy with a soldering iron, I've read that it's not that hard to install a backlit keyboard - but it's a project that is over my head - I wouldn't want to destroy the laptop for something like that and certainly it would void the warranty).
I was actually ready to buy the N53sm-es71 and when I went to buy it the next day it was out of stock....that turned out to be a lucky break for me since they posted a small box saying "a newer version is available' and it was the es72...same price but I think the older (es71) had either a slower (5400 rpm) HDD or maybe 1 GB of video RAM (it's no longer showing on Amazon, so I can't be sure - I just remember that the es72 was a step up in some way).
As for it not having a blue-ray player - as someone said, it's less expensive to add one than to buy an Asus with the same specs as this except with a blue-ray optical drive. But since my son pays for some service where he can download HD movies and TV shows, I can play full 1080 HD stuff without the blue-ray player and I have the feeling that with the price of flashdrives coming down so fast and so dramatically (same with hard disk drives) - that DVD and Blue-Ray disks will soon be like music CD's - they have pretty much been replaced with MP3 players and I can't imagine that even places like Blockbuster will not soon go to file downloading (like Netflix does) rather than renting disks - so not having a blue-ray player is a non-issue to me....this has both a VGA out and an HDMI out - and that's all I would ever need -
Like another reviewer I went to the Dell website and got the same results - a Dell with the same specs would have been over $1500 - more than a 50% increase in price over this Asus..
This seems to be the undisputed champ when it comes to "bang for the buck" -
This laptop (as was said) isn't "perfect" - but what is? If I were a student and needed a light notebook to carry around all day and a battery that would last for 10 hours, this wouldn't be the laptop I would buy. But for my purposes, it's an ideal "desktop replacement" and it handles Photoshop CS5 as easily as my son's "super duper" desktop gaming machine. It absolutely blows away his 4 year old MacBook Pro (that cost him over $2500) and from what I have read on the "laptop review" website, it seems that Asus actually builds the MacBooks for Apple, so they know how to build quality machines.
Before I chose to buy this laptop, I looked at every single laptop (with similar specs - specifically and i7 processor, dedicated graphics and a full HD screen) and I didn't find anything near this for a similar price - I did see some gaming machines (some from Asus) but all were far more expensive and most were larger and heavier.
There are $4000 laptops but they make no sense to me - computers do become obsolete and cheaper every day - I bought the extra 8GB of RAM for $40 - 15 years ago that amount of RAM would have cost over $40,000 - WHOLESALE!!!
For the price and for longevity I would expect (based in the specs.) - this model seems to be a true bargain - I'm sure that faster and more powerful laptops will come along in the next year or the next week and possibly be less money, but waiting for computer technology to peak is delusional....this laptop runs the software I use and need as well as any and it should last me for a lot longer than any laptop I've owned before. If I wanted something I could 'update" - a laptop would not be an option...and I need something portable for tethered shooting (as a photographer) and as I said, this fits the bill perfectly.
I haven't seen any other laptops on Amazon (or any site) in this category with 100% 5 star ratings - (other than brand new machines with one or two reviews) -
Seems that either all laptops need to be "tweaked" or maybe it's just me, but I've called Asus phone support a few times and the help I got is pretty inconsistent. While most of the techs seem very patient and helpful, others are not at all - The solution is easy, but still annoying - get someone who is not helpful and I tell them my baby is crying, my phone battery is dying, my house is on fire - whatever...and then just call back and hope to get a more helpful tech. It's a bit frustrating to go through giving my name, spelling it for them a few times, giving my email address and phone number each time, but hopefully now that everything is running smoothly, I shouldn't need to bother with phone support (at least not until the day after my warranty expires) LOL
I also noticed both on some of the Amazon reviews as well as reviews on other sites that some people have complained about the keyboard "flex" - I have to believe that Asus must have used different batches of keyboards on different days when assembling this model. My keyboard is rock solid and in fact I'm pretty impressed with the keyboard in general (still would have liked it to be back-lit..but at this price with these specs, I guess that's too much to expect).
The keys are close together, which may not suit those used to "chicklet" type keyboards (or typewriters if anyone is old enough to have used one) - but the size of the keys makes touch typing very easy and the feedback seems perfect - no unnoticed misses of key-strokes. I also like the flat black matte finish of the keys - I'm so used to glossy black keys that look dirty two minutes after cleaning them (as a photographer I've tested a lot of macro lenses on keyboards and it's amazing how much dust is visible to a lens - this keyboard seems not to attract that same dust ...at least not so quickly that I can't get a clean photo a minute or two after cleaning the keyboard with a slightly damp micro-fiber cloth and a can of compressed air.
As for the computer - I guess it's both the i7 processor along with the 14GB of RAM I have installed, but the performance is amazing to me. My last laptop which cost more with a dual core processor and 4GB of RAM would slow down just using MS Word if I had too many processes showing as "running" on the Task Manager (even though the programs had been closed) - and would often require a re-boot. This machine I intentionally pushed to it's limit (with the software I have available) - - I opened every program I have installed so far and left them running - MS Office alone with all it's utilities must have a dozen programs - I have 5 different photo and video editing programs ...some are pretty big memory hogs. I opened all the Windows stuff like Wordpad and Notepad and "sticky notes" - a whole bunch of stuff I rarely if ever use - some of it I don't even have a clue as to what purpose it serves. I even opened up every one of the pre-installed desktop "gadgets" that I never use (clocks, weather, stock ticker, news-ticker, etc.). Then I opened up the Task Manager and started up and used Adobe Camera RAW (ACR) while at the same time using Canon's DPP to convert RAW files and CS5 to render effects that took forever on my last laptop - the Task Manager showed me under the performance tab that while I had tons of processes AND applications running, the CPU was leisurely running at less than 40% - and would drop down to zero or very close when rendering stopped. My last laptop would get pinned at 100% and often needed to be rebooted just to get MS Word to type in "real time" rather than having to wait for the letters to appear after using the keyboard.
The "Optimus" indicator light showed that the switching from shared to discreet graphic occurred just when I would expect it to.
I don't know how this machine would work for serious gamers - but certainly this laptop is far more than adequate for all of the intensive photo editing software I have and have run simultaneously - along with a half dozen or more plug-ins for Photoshop CS5.
So while I'm a bit disappointed in the inconsistent tech phone support (some techs are very good and patient, but it varies so much - One guy who I asked if it mattered which slot I put the additional 8GB of RAM told me he couldn't tell me - it was against their policy and I needed to send the machine to Asus which would take about three weeks - it took me about 30 seconds to do it myself USING THE OWNER'S MANUAL!
I asked one tech how or if I could transfer my OS to a solid state drive and he told me they don't support that (which is contrary to what the warranty states). But with another Asus laptop, a phone tech walked me though every step of installing a retail disk of Windows Ultimate onto a laptop with "home premium" pre-installed by Asus..he even walked me through how and which drivers to download from Asus to run all the proprietary stuff (none of which comes from Microsoft) - so I consider the phone support to be a "crap-shoot". Still, I can't give this laptop anything less than 5 stars with room to spare.
Purchase Date: 4/13/12
After upgrading to 16GB of RAM, and uninstalling some preloaded software, the laptop was good to go. I plan on upgrading to an Intel 520 series Solid State Drive very soon (see review by 'none' for more info on upgrades). If you are not married to the idea of having a large 750GB onboard HDD, a 240GB or 500GB SDD might be a good alternative. ASUS makes it very easy to reach the RAM (memory) and Hard Disk Drive slots for upgrading purposes. The SSD upside in speed makes the downside of less onboard space negligible. Faster boot times, Windows efficiency, faster read/write times, and quick program loading, are just some of the benefits of a SSD. Even with a 7200 rpm HDD (most laptops ship with a 5400rpm drive) preloaded on this unit, the SSD blows it away in terms of quickness and response.
The speed of the i7 2670 processor is respectable, and normally ships with more expensive units. Having this processor will ensure the laptop will be capable of handling processor intensive programs as they become available. This model also supports Execute Disable Bit, which uses built in hardware to stop malicious code from running on your system. This must be set up for personal programs, but will run with all Microsoft applications out of the box. Buy the best you can, within your budget. I was aware of the 3rd generation Intel processors shipping soon, before I ordered this unit. However, I came to the conclusion that a 3rd generation i7 might be out of reach for me, pricewise. The 3rd generation Intel processors will feature a better version of Intel onboard graphics, as well as similar processing hardware running much more efficiently. I will be plugged in much of the time, so power is not a huge issue. Also, the NVidia GT 630m card should still outperform future 3rd generation models with newer integrated graphics from Intel...hopefully.
The expand-ability option of the RAM (memory) is commendable. Unless you pay an exorbitant amount of money, most consumer laptops can only expand to 8GB. Having 16GB RAM with a decent i7 processor will definitely help to keep this unit on top of things...at least for a few years. I used low voltage RAM when upgrading memory. This motherboard can handle 1.35V or 1.5V RAM. Make certain all the RAM is matched and running at the same voltage, or it will simply default to 1.5V. I do not necessarily need to save power now, but you never know when you will. Here is what I upgraded to: 16GB (4GBx4) DDR3L 1333MHz PC3-10600 SODIMM 204pin from Crucial. I am in no way endorsing Crucial, but they have always been good to me, and are consistently ranked in the top of reliability and performance reports...kind of like Asus. As 'none' stated in his review, you can use 1600MHz memory. It will only read at 1333MHz, but the response time will be faster than the standard 1333MHz installed in my unit. With memory so cheap, I'll be able to mess with that at a later date if performance becomes an issue.
The screen is beautiful. Not as bright as an AMOLED panel, or as sharp as an IPS panel, but picture quality is pretty good from most angles. The 1080p screen is nice for crisp imaging software and watching HD content, but definitely has room for improvement. There are aftermarket screen adjustment programs available. The speakers aren't extremely loud, but they carry good quality up to their max output levels. If you need more volume, you should probably just use an external speaker option or headset. Both of which can be connected to the computer via Bluetooth...another excellent feature of this model.
USB 3.0 is pretty cool, provided you have a device that can take advantage of the technology. It becomes extra handy if you decide to put a Solid State Drive in your system. Running an external Hard Drive via USB 3.0 produces blistering transfer rates. As 'none' stated, you can put the 750GB 7200rpm HDD that shipped with the system, into a USB 3.0 external case. After you install a Solid State Drive, the original drive makes a good Windows backup drive, as well as an overflow for data and large programs. The speed is honestly 10 times faster than USB 2.0, and running through a 7200 rpm HDD will be pretty fast. The whole computer is pretty solid. The keys themselves have a little give to them, and there is a little flex in the board itself, but it is quite usable. I rarely miss keys when typing, so it works for my needs. Track pad takes some getting accustomed to. Took me a half hour to realize I needed to use two fingers to scroll vertically and horizontally. Not something I'd usually admit, but it's kind of funny, and I have no problem laughing at myself from time to time.
Took me a second to acclimate myself with a non-Win XP system. Just for laughs, you guys can Google the computer I upgraded from: Toshiba Satellite A105-S361-Pentium M 760 @ 2.0GHz, 2GBDDR2, Win XP. Still a great Win XP computer! I remember being so proud when I added that extra 1GB of DDR2 RAM. I wouldn't trade that thing for much. I know every nook and cranny on that old computer, and it outperforms most laptops in its age class.
There are a few issues with the N53SM-ES72 that must be noted:
The Nvidia GT 630M graphics card is a solid, mid-level, discrete graphics solution that coexists with Intel's on-board Graphics (3000 chip). The problem is the driver that runs the Nvidia card. As 'none' stated in the comment section of his review, the GT 630M is nothing more than a modified version of the GT 540M. Apparently, because the GT 630M hasn't been around for long, companies like Asus are providing generic drivers for the hardware until Nvidia ships them a newer version...at least this is what I'm led to believe, and I don't believe much. NVidia directed me to Asus for support with this unit's GPU...so I guess it's on Asus. The driver for my specific model is: 188.8.131.5248 with a signing date of 9/28/11. This means there should be a new driver available soon. My 3dMark11 scores were not good. Even with a new driver, I cannot imagine this machine would be a choice solution for high end 3d editing or gaming. Some of the Asus ROG models have better GPU's, and thus, higher benchmark scores. I do not game on my computer, as I have an XBOX 360 for that, so I cannot say how well games run. I would imagine that anything DirectX 10 and below would run flawlessly at high to ultra settings. Direct X 11 might stress the system a bit...only in the area of the GPU. Most cutting edge Direct X 11 games would run on this system at medium detail at 1080p, and for normal Direct X 11 games, possibly high detail at 1080p.
This is a large 15.6 inch laptop. The screen bezel is ½ inch on either side, and the top is about ¾ inch. While the screen is well protected, it would nearly be 17 inches in most models. It works fine for me, but it might be something you want to consider if tight on space, or looking for something under 6 lbs. Make certain you check the dimensions on the product specifications page. This model is 1 inch wider than my 15.6 inch Toshiba, and will not fit...let me rephrase that. It is recommended that you do not try to stuff this unit into a 15.6 inch carrying case. Find one that is rated for 16.5 inches or above.
Overall, the N53SM-ES72 laptop receives 8/10 for raw performance, compared to models with similar specifications. Having a handle on the graphics driver would probably increase that score for me to 8.5/10. It receives 9.5/10 for a performance laptop priced under $1000, and that is precisely why I purchased it. I could not find another laptop to match the specifications of this unit for the price. I am pleased with my purchase, and hope my review helps people out a bit.
Update as of 4/30/12
I am satisfied with this product, however I feel it necessary to mention a few things. These might be specific to my unit, as others do not seem to be experiencing any issues.
After using this product for two weeks, I have definitely noticed some minor flex in the middle of the unit, where the touch pad fits into. At first, I assumed this was simply the rubber supports on the bottom, depressing. After closer inspection, there is a small amount of flex in the board. This is under extremely light pressure (resting hands on keyboard). While it is not a huge issue, some have mentioned this in their reviews, while others have not experienced similar problems.
The keyboard itself is not stellar on my unit. The keys are responsive however, and I rarely miss keys when typing. There seems to be some give in my upper numeric keys. Specifically, when I lightly press the upper "7" key, most of the "f#" keys in that area bow inward. I reiterate, this is under light pressure.
Overall, this is still a very impressive unit. Also, I did not buy this unit for a fancy keyboard, or state of the art casing. This model's internal hardware and screen were the selling points for me. With that said, I will leave my 5 star rating. My cosmetic/structural issues may very well be isolated, as most reviewers' ratings do not report these defects.
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