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on September 17, 2012
First of all, the build quality on this machine is EXCELLENT. Having never owned any asus product, I'm seriously impressed at the build quality on this thing. Even though I only paid $899, this feels like a $1500+ machine. The aluminum finish is fantastic and feels really good. I will say it's a bit of a fingerprint magnet, but that's nothing a quick wipe with a cloth won't fix. Also, since Amazon doesn't disclose this, the ASUS logo on the front lid is BACKLIT. Some reviewers have knocked on the weight a bit, but for everything you're getting, it's a non issue. Unless you weigh about 30lbs, I don't see how you could knock on the weight.

The keyboard is great. I very much enjoy the feel of the keys and the response is excellent. Even for someone with big hands like me, I have no trouble typing at full speed. Also, this keyboard is BACKLIT for those of you not sure, and it looks great in the dark. You can also adjust the level of brightness as you see fit.

Wasn't too happy with this at first but I've grown to like it. I'm a big fan of the pinch to zoom and all the other features it comes with. Yes, sometimes you might not get the exact response you want or you'll accidentally zoom in on something, but the touchpad is great. No regrets and no serious complaints.

Initial boot up takes a bit, but even with all of the bloatware ASUS puts on this thing, it's pretty fast. The i7 along with the 6GB of RAM really makes navigating through all programs a breeze and I've no freeze ups or noticeable lag. I plan on installing an SSD sometime in the near future and doing a clean install but for the average user, there shouldn't be any performance issues.

As some reviewers have previously mentioned, you are using dual cards for graphics. The laptop uses the Intel 4000 for non extensive actions and the NVIDIA for heavy graphic tasks such as gaming. I don't really plan on gaming at all so this is perfect for me. But from what I've read, gaming shouldn't be an issue.

Display & Sound:
The display is AMAZING. Videos, websites, programs......everything looks excellent. Hands down the best display I've used on a Windows machine. I would highly recommend pushing for 1080p if possible. The sound quality for a laptop is amazing. It's loud and clear. I've just started doing insanity workouts and using this and the sound and look of everything is amazing. No complaints at all. I haven't used the included speaker, but I'll get around to it. Webcam is also nice and clear and video chatting is no issue. Other party can hear me loud and clear with no echo.

Overall, I am completely satisfied with my purchase.
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on August 10, 2012
I asked a few questions about this laptop from other reviewers but could not get an answer... to anyone who needs to know, it does indeed have a backlit keyboard. I got mine this morning and it's simply beautiful, the screen and sound are amazing, typing is a joy and I could not be happier.

I really wish Amazon would get proper specs up for this. I ordered in hope that it would have a backlit keyboard, and I got lucky.

I will update this review with more info if I find anything worth remarking on - the specs speak for themselves, and of course there is a ton of nonsense bloatware, but that's easily dealt with.

I highly recommend this machine to anyone who wants something that looks good and you can be proud to own.
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on November 30, 2012
I bought this laptop intending to replace my 6 month old 15" Chronos Samsung. (Which is smaller, more compact, lighter, and has a great screen.) But I want the Ivy Bridge processor this machine has, and the 1080P screen, which I just love because it is matt finish and perfect looking.

In fact, this ASUS laptop has a nicer screen than any other laptop I have ever seen; for me it's better than the MBP 15 screen, since it's a landscape aspect ration to go with HDTV. This ASUS is better for around the house, watching movies and tv; but I also use it for research, and that's where I need memory!

I have the Corsair 16gb memory WORKING. I used the cheaper version; the more expensive VENGENCE memory didn't work in this machine.
$58 at time of this edit:

ASUS rep told me not to expect 16gb memory to work in this machine; I found several different memory combinations that worked, and only one that did not.

Some things I don't like about this machine:

1) Keyboard needs more light damping and dust control; as it is, it backlight leaks light all over the place, and will fill up with dust very quickly, compared to a Samsung or Apple. But the keys feel pretty good, springy. Lot's of feedback, no false/ignored key points on the space bar for example. Precise.

2) Bulky compared to the Samsung. Still needs a little bulk shaved off. Ring around the bezel is very wide for example. And body is pretty big; but I accept that for the great speaker design..
Suggestions: I think the number pad could go; I don't need it, don't use it, and it would make system more ergonomic to use by 'centering' the basic qwerty keys with the touchpad in the MIDDLE of the body, not off to the left as it is now, because the number pad is crammed in there. Samsung had similar issues, so nobody is perfect, yet.

Don't get the idea this machine is really bulky; it's not. NO WHERE CLOSE to a gaming laptop in bulk; it's a nice size, just no Ultrabook like my old Samsung.

3) Needs a Fn Lock key. I really need to be able to toggle this without using the bios.
3a) BIOS seems really lame; hardly any settings available, is it just me? LAME.

4) The giant touchpad is hard to miss when typing; I may look for a track ball to use when typing letters, emails. Get used to using the cnt-Z to undo massive wipeouts of text from accidentally hitting it. I have tried to adjust it, and it's not bad, but not great either.
Has anyone tried to adjust the sensitivity of this big boy? I'm thinking I will put a tablet screen cover on this touchpad to reduce it's sensitivity since I've not seen a sensitivity adjustment for it. That might tone it down so that just barely touching it doesn't trigger it; right now it's just too sensitive. PLEASE ADD SENSITIVITY CONTROL.

I also figured out I needed to turn off the gestures I never use. I mostly use 2 figure scrolling and pinch zoom, and single tap. I turned the others off, and its better to use now than from the factory.

HINT: I don't have these same problems with my Macbook Pro or Samsung Series 7 Chronos.

5) Needs dual-band wireless. My Samsung had it, and it's a full year old design. No excuses ASUS, PLEASE ADD dual-band wifi!

6) USB 3.0 is buggy on this laptop; maybe it's the Intel chipset that's not working very well, but I have USB 3.0 external drives that won't connect reliably; lose the connection. I've read this is common with laptops in general, and I need to buffer with an externally powered USB hub to fix, never tried it. So maybe it's just not powering the USB ports reliably enough for fast data transfers and a hub would fix it. USB2.0 external drives are reliable.

LOVE THIS SCREEN! (Enough I don't use and will sell my other laptops.)
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on March 17, 2013
more than you'll ever need CPU, enough ram and enough room for future upgrades up to 16GB, beautiful screen, nice keyboard, looks and feels like a expensive machine, worth the money, the only so-so component is the HDD, perform a clean install of windows 8

A more extensive review:
previous experience with other ASUS products:
I also own a ASUS UL20FT ultra portable core i3 machine that I love
Xonar DG for the deskop (love the sound it comes from it)

This model includes an iluminated keyboard, this is a sweet detail and makes the laptop feel luxury, I love how it looks, Tron-ish if you wanna call it that way.
The feel of the keyboard is also really great, for comparisson I also work with a Lenovo laptop, those laptops always get good reviews for their keyboards, but in my opinnion the keyboard on this machine has a little bit more of "clic" that I can't just but love.
Something I don't like that much is the included numeric keyboard as it keys are a bit smaller than the standard ones, also as a side effect of it the layout of keys is a bit different than other ones, not a showstopper but it will take me a little bit of time to get used to.

The screen is plain beautiful, beautiful colors, good view angles, really bright, I tilted the display as my machine sites under my main desktop and the colors are still good.
WARNING WARNING WARNING BUTTTTTTTTT..... my laptop came with a dead pixel just in te middle of everything, a red one ..... it kindda bothers me but I'll keep it as I have already configured and swapped the hard disk for an SSD plus I'm outside US right now so returning the machine is way to expensive; and you have to be an ultra pixel peper to notice it
If you buy it in a brick and mortar store you may want to go to display settings set the blank screen saver and check the screen not to have any.

Power comsumption:
It's amazing how much efficiency we are getting from modern machines, I've see the machine running around 30watts for "everyday tasks" and top around 68 during the windows performance assesment, if should never go beyond 75 watts.
For a extreme horsepower cpu, good video card, really nice sound system and kickass screen this is really good, for reference my desktop Q6600 with an ATI6870 can top 450watts while gamming.

Windows index score
with the Swapped SSD
7.8 for memory, cpu and hard disk, 5.9 for desktop graphics and 6.5 for gamming graphics.

Noise and heat
Have not notice noise from the fan not even under installation or windows performance index running, never felt any part of it hot, maybe just warm under stress, core temp applications states 51c at 21c weather for "Everyday task" and around 65 under stress, for reference my ultra low voltage i3 at 1.3 keeps in that range most of the time.
This is a silent machine, period.

"Luxury" details:
-Asus lit logo in the back
-Whole keyboard surface is aluminum (or metal not sure)
-The lasser etching like waves around the power and instant on buttons camuflage the speakers, it took me a while to notice were the sound were comming from.
-Lit keyboard
-Big trackpad
-really nice sound: love it
-Metal covered Lid

I read somewhere in the included material that the webcam on the machine was a good low light performer and I can't but assure that's the case, it's not only able to couple with low light but also harsh light situtions, the other day I did a skype conference and I were able to notice this (room with poor light and harsh ligh in the background in another room), this is just sweet and something I did not expected.

The included 5400rpm HDD will top on my experience around 60mb/s transferences through network while felling slughlish for other tasks.
One of the first tasks you will have to perform in this machine if you decide not to do a clean install is remove McAfee antivirus as it's a showstopper, you will need to uninstall it and after that download an utility from McAfee website to complete uninstall.
I've had experience with McAfee with several machines and it's the best not to have it, you can use instead Microsoft Security essentials.

CPU horsepower:
My most powerful machine prior to this one was my desktop with a Q6600 overclocked to 3ghz cpu; I always tough it was a waste of power for the standard day to day tasks but it started to show it's age on tasks like virtualization (for example hyperv will not work because a processor extension missing).
This new cpu it's a total new experience, benchmark wise it's twice fast my overclocked Q6600 but under some tasks it's even faster, for example in running virtual machines, this probably to other extensions and refinement on the existing ones.

Speakers and sound:
The laptop includes an external speaker for bass that I find useless.
The included speakers in the laptop are just great, loud, clear, you'll start enjoying running some music in the background.
I have not go to the details about the specific chipset being used on this laptop for sound but I loved the sound it produced on both the speakers and my Sony V6 headphones.
For reference I think is as good (minus a bit of volume) than my ipod externally amplified though an Fio e7 on my Sony V6.
The only thing you'll find lacking is powerfull bass from the laptop speakers but if you keep it real you can't have that without a good subwoffer.

other OS:
Just tried windows 8, but in the asus website you can get the drivers for the laptop to work with windows 7

Windows 8 Clean installations notes:
-3 mins took the clean installation from a usb3 ADATA memory SWEEEEET
-windows update will install the drivers for everything with the exception of the following drivers you should install from asus website (google: Asus N56V download)
-ATK this is the keyboard utilities
-Trackpad gestures (or something like that), you'll need to install this to be able to disable the trackpad if you prefer to work with a mouse as the trackpad is really sensitive
-if you decide to go this way you will later need to go to the windows device manager and click on update driver for the ps2 mouse this will make windows 8 recognize the trackpad as such, if not you will not be able to disable the trackpad in case you need it
-Bluetooth utility: windows can set it but the driver from asus makes it more stable, so far not a single problem with my bluetooth logitech mouse

Must do upgrades:
-swapping the included HDD for a SSD is a must, this is a really powerful machine and the included HDD is a botttleneck, I did install twice windows 8 on the machine, one on the included hard disk and one on a Intel X25m 120gb SSD, the install on the standard HDD were fast (around 10 min) but on the SSD it took close to 3 min, not a direct indicator of the system speed but you can get an idea.

I'll update it later with:
-Wireless performance
-Battery duration
-Trackpad use
-Some photos of the ports and layout

Feel free to make any question.
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on January 12, 2013
I purchase this laptop with the intention of using it for both my photography business and my personal needs and entertainment. My requirements were that the computer meet the demands of Adobe Creative Suite Production Premium CS6. I primarily use Photoshop, but also use Premiere. Both programs run extremely well. I recently edited a 23 minute video (all shot in 720p 60fps) and never had a crash or an error. I have also created a few HDR images and in both cases the computer was very fast. I also noticed this computer does not get very hot. The cooling system works great. It only got a little hot when I rendered out the entire 23 minute video to it's final state. This is perfect for me needs.

Besides the screen being the proper quality of resolution I was also happy to see ta the color reproduction and brightness are all very good. Don't be mistaken though, this is no Retina display like you will see on a Macbook Pro. However it is still very good.

I didn't care to much about the sound system, but I am very happy now that I have experienced it. The sub woofer really makes the sound much richer than standard speakers, but in a subtle way that is not overbearing. The downside is tat the wire for the sub is super short. Don't plan on moving the computer around much if you have the sub plugged in.

They keyboard is back lit and the buttons have a very nice feeling when pressed that is not too loose or too stiff. They have a slight rubberized feeling to them. No flaws I can see.

The mouse pad is the weak point of this laptop. The first flaw is that the buttons and the pad itself are all one piece. I find my fingers drift to the wrong side and right click things I mean to left click. You can't tell by feel where your fingers are. The worst thing is that if you are trying to click something very small and you need to be accurate, the entire pad is going to move when you click, and almost every time the finger doing the pointing will move too. Sometimes this makes you click the wrong thing or miss where you were aiming. The next problem with the mouse pad is the texture. It is slightly gritty. You can't tell too much with your finger tip, but lightly dragging your fingernail over it reveals a texture. This creates difficulty when trying to make small precise movements. The finger can get stuck slightly and jitter along the pad. The way it senses touch or also off in that precise small movements do not always register, or registered right away. This is a huge problem when using Photoshop to do selections... only solution is to use an external mouse. Additionally the software from Asus complicates things because it adds gestures that constantly do things when you are not trying to, such as scroll, zoom, tab between windows, etc. I had to disable most of these along with the Windows 8 feature for quickly switching between apps by swiping from the left side of the mouse pad.

The battery life on this computer is only about 4 hours. Perfect for watching a movie on a plane, but not much else as intensive programs like Photoshop will drain it faster. The good news is that it recharges fast.

The hard drive also comes partitioned into the C: drive and a D: data partition. No big deal, just slightly annoying.

Things I have not tested: the web cam.

The overall build quality feels very good and sturdy, but is also not very heavy.

This is a great machine and the best value when compared to similar spec systems. This had everything I wanted and needed and the best price.
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on September 20, 2012
When I started searching for laptops, I was hoping I could find a kind of portable, durable battery, fast and good looking laptop.
After a lot of research I decided for this full HD 15.6", which now I see was a very good choice.
The processor/memory/graphics card/hd are pretty fast too, all that I need to do my school works, play some games, watch videos and surf the internet.
I haven't had any problem with this laptop yet, I've been using it for like 1 month now and it has completely satisfied my needs at an affordable price.

- The webcam has a very good quality for me
- The laptop wakes up really fast when it's sleeping, like in 2 or 3 seconds, and this used to always bother me: taking too long for the pc to turn on when you need it
- I played mid-end games and had a good time, high fps (and heating too, but that was expected)
- The USB 3.0 is really much faster even working with my old pen-drive, cell phone, digital camera, it is worth it
- The laptop comes with a separate sound speaker for mid-low frequencies, which makes the sound good for a laptop. Although I didn't expect to have good sound quality, this one has surprised me
- The touchpad is large and has the 2 and 3 fingers functionalities (like on macbook pro, I think), which makes it faster to do things
- The charger is a standard size 2x5x1", kind of heavy, but nothing to let you down
- The keyboard backlight is good and the keyboard itself has nice spaced keys that allow you to type smoothly
- With regular light use, the battery lasts for like 3h30, heavy game use makes it last for like 1h00, which is enough for me

In conclusion, I'm very happy with my purchase and definitely recommend this laptop if you have the same needs that I had.
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on November 28, 2012
Received it yesterday, great turn around time by Amazon. That said, I have the following gripes with this laptop already.

1). I bought this laptop hopefully to build a Hardware Specification equivalent of a Macbook Pro without paying the Apple Hardware Tax and without having to use MACOS.

2). Window 8 Sucks. Hated it immediately. I would have bought the Windows 7 version of this Laptop, except it is slightly different and has less base memory. So I bought the Windows 8 version and just installed my own copy of Windows 7.

3). The UEFI is locked to Windows 8. I removed the hard drive and replaced it with a SSD. The Boot process would not hand-off to Windows 7 during the setup process when using UEFI and mounting Windows 7 install as a CD. If I toggled the "Launch CSM" setting in the BIOS to "Enabled" this worked fine, but without UEFI. Less exciting but still very usable. (CSM means Compatibility Support Module and it's a UEFI setting for backwards compatibility with older BIOS devices.)

4). The only 16gb memory I was able to get to work to upgrade this machine to 16gb was Kingston ValueRAM 8GB 1600MHz DDR3 (PC3-12800) Non-ECC CL11 SODIMM Notebook Memory (KVR16S11/8). I tried three other sets of 16gb DIMMs without any of them working before I found the Kingston. Thanks to the person in the comments who suggested it.

5). The upgrade plate is on the bottom toward the front and merely requires removing the one center front screw. This involves prying up the plastic foot thing in the center and unscrewing. Easy access to the HDD, the Memory and the NIC from there.

6). The laptop was both heavier and thicker than I expected. This is not a fault of what is reported, but a fault of my expectations. Temper your own expectations to match.

7). As others have noted here and elsewhere, the trackpad gets in the way of typing sometimes. It's very easy to click things with you wrist while typing. I personally think this is true of many laptops due to my own typing style, so YMMV.

8). Once I got Win7 installed on the SSD, this laptop screams. Really loved how fast it boots. Haven't installed much yet though, so we will see.

9). If I could not have gotten Win7 working I would have RMA'd this faster than you can say... well, just about anything.

10). If you are looking for Windows 7 x64 Drivers, you will not find them on the Asus website under the N56VJ model. You need to look under the N56VZ model and use those drivers. The N56VJ and the N56VZ are basically the same computer with slightly different specs. All the drivers are common and seem to work just fine. Drivers can be found there.
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on January 21, 2013
This laptop is pretty nice, even tho Asus and others imagery of it doesn't always show that there's more thickness to it than just the silver top part (and on, they actually cropped the black portion out in what I can only view as a deceptive tactic).

The laptop is fast, and it handles games decently well. Out-of-the-box, games didn't run that great. Everything wanted to go thru the Intel HD4000 graphics, and I was getting 5-10FPS at best even on the lowest graphics settings. A quick jog thru the nVidia control panel (namely the 3D settings) and I was able to switch the games to use the nVidia 630M. Minecraft, running at maximum video settings, now runs smoothly at 50-75FPS.

Cold start boot time - 30 seconds
Wakeup time - instant on
Battery life - 5 hours (stock settings would get better battery life, but I needs my graphics beauty)

This laptop doesn't feel that heavy, and it is only marginally thicker than an ultrabook. The multitouch trackpad is quite usable and not as annoying as I thought it was going to be. The left and right buttons actually click, which I wasn't expecting. If you don't like the multitouch input, you can turn off each touch type selectively (that way you can keep the two finger scrolling enabled).

In the images for this laptop, there is a very nice dotted pattern running the top of the keyboard section of the laptop. I thought maybe these were vent holes, but they're just painted black dots.

Now, my one problem with this laptop - The Q key doesn't work at all. Asus support wasted no time replying to the support ticket I sent over the weekend and came back with three different actions I could attempt to resolve it. Then they provided a detailed explanation for how to RMA the laptop if I cannot repair it myself. This is ... annoying ... as the idea of buying an Amazon Prime laptop was to have it in two days; instead, we're facing having it for a few days then shipping it back for who knows how long before its return.

If it weren't for that pesky Q key, I'd have given this laptop 5 stars. If repairs go smoothly I will adjust my rating up, but let's just hope Asus support is fast :)

A warning for people who have never used high definition displays - Things get tiny. Menus, text, toolbars, etc all get tiny. You can adjust font/proportional settings to make things bigger, but this isn't a perfect science and websites, in particular, start getting messed up due to poor web designs. Google Chrome also seems to have a bug where if you set the display to 150% normal it won't maximize to the whole screen no matter what you do. Really annoying. So! If you have bad eye sight and/or difficulty reading small text, I might suggest you consider a laptop with a resolution smaller than 1920x1080. You can purchase this laptop and change its resolution, but it really is built to run full HD (and it starts whining at you if you go smaller than a few steps down), and you pay more for the FHD which you might wind up not using.
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on August 21, 2012
So I open up the box to find my new wonderful laptop waiting for me. It was well laid out and I love the look and feel of this laptop. It feel solid and the keys are easy to type one. I am working on an 18 page paper for a class and needed to get a new laptop asap. The only real negative I found with this laptop was that when I booted it up I looked at how many tasks were running and almost fell down. It had over 130 tasks running right after boot up. This was nothing to shocking I expected a cretin level of bloat ware but that is a bit interesting. I did a fresh install of windows and now its at a smooth 80 processes. It still a little big for me but i was happy with that. The speed on this laptop is nice. I have been doing some Photoshop and FL Studio and it has been working great. The touch pad will take some getting use to due to its size and sensitivity makes it kind of hard to use. I keep touching it while I am typing and I have found I just turn it off when I type. I have many pcs in the past 17 years and most have been amd and I must say this is the coolest temperature laptop i have had in a long time. All in all I think I am going to order one for my wife due to the ease of use and just how nice it is.
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on April 2, 2013
Have had this for about a month now and it has been performing perfectly. I read a lot of reviews about this machine before purchasing and was a little worried about some of the reaccuring problems people seemed to have. I don't know if Asus fixed those issues on this latest model or if it was just bugs in windows 8 and windows 8 drivers. I have had no issues with the wifi card dropping connection, no sound issues, The mouse is large and could pose a problem with accidental clicking, however i just turned off the tap to click feature and have had no problems. using the bottom left and right corners for clicking is responsive and works just fine. I do, however, mostly use an external mouse. So far I have had no issues with this laptop, and it is a well designed, solid machine. The backlit asus logo on the lid is a nice touch (much like the apple logo on mac books), backlit keyboard has 3 levels of brightness which is very helpful for managing power use vs. visibiltiy and the screen is simply amazing. the only downside so far is the slow 5400 rpm harddrive. size is nice but the speed is slow. I will most likely put an SSD in here, which will also help extend the battery life.
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