Review Asus N550JV-CN201H Notebook

Sascha Mölck (translated by Martina Osztovits), 08/03/2013

Multimedia all arounder. With the N550JV, Asus releases a new edition of its multimedia series. Powerful hardware should attract buyers: a Haswell CPU and a GeForce GT 750M GPU deliver high performance. In addition, it features a great IPS display (Full HD). Our review reveals whether the computer left a good impression.

For the original German review, see here.

The N550JV series consists of 15.6-inch multimedia notebooks. Asus combines powerful processors with a great Full HD display in an attractive case. The predecessor of the N550JV, Asus N56VB-S4050H (Core i7-3630QMGeForce GT 740M) was already successful in this aspect. If a 15.6-inch notebook is too small for you, you can consider the 17.3-inch Asus N750JV-T4110H (Core i7-4700HQ, GeForce GT 750M) counterpart. Both computers are nearly identically equipped. Our review reveals whether the N550JV is on par with its predecessor or can even outperform it.

We compare the notebook to the following competitors: Lenovo IdeaPad Y510p (Core i7-4700MQ, GeForce GT 750M SLI) and Acer Aspire V3-772G-747A321 (Core i7-4702MQGeForce GTX 760M). The latter is a 17.3-inch notebook.

Case

Wie wir testen - Gehäuse

At first glance, the N550JV looks very much like its predecessor. This is mainly due to the top of the base unit and the lid, which are both made from aluminum. The top side of the base unit shines in matte silver, the lid is anthracite. At a closer look, you will recognize several differences: The N550JV is about 8 mm thinner than its predecessor. In addition, the battery of the N550JV is fixed and the laptop does not have a maintenance hatch. In addition, the keys are now silver instead of black (predecessor). A small change: The edges of the top side of the base unit are beveled. Similar to the N550JV, the Aspire and the IdeaPad also are made from aluminum and plastic.

In stability, the base unit of the N550JV is on par with its predecessor. It does not distort with applied pressure, but the parts above the keyboard and between keyboard and touchpad can be slightly depressed. Resistance to side-to-side twisting is also good: The base unit only bends by a small amount. In contrast, the lid more easily bends from slight side-to-side twisting. We would have expected more here. In contrast, the resistance to finger pressure is better. We could depress the center of the lid so much that we could observe image distortions on the display. It is only possible to open the lid with one hand if you move it slowly and carefully.

The Asus N550JV looks good.
The Asus N550JV looks good.
The lid is made from aluminum.
The lid is made from aluminum.
No maintenance hatch
No maintenance hatch

Connectivity

Wie wir testen - Ausstattung

All three devices of our comparison come with the interfaces usual nowadays and feature at least two USB 3.0 interfaces. But, there is a striking difference: The N550JV is the only one lacking a VGA out. Asus replaced it with a mini DisplayPort. Nevertheless, you can connect devices with VGA-in via an adapter (about 20 Euros/~$27) to either the HDMI or the mini DisplayPort.

The Aspire and the Asus can read Blu-ray disks (the Aspire can also write such). The IdeaPad features a modular expansion slot, which could also be used by an optical drive, but was occupied by an additional GPU in our test model. The interface layout of the N550JV is largely decent. Most of the interfaces are on the left side towards the back. This leaves the region left of the palm rest free. On the right side, there are a USB slot and a card reader at the height of the palm rest.

left side: power-in, subwoofer port, Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI, mini display port, 2x USB 3.0, audio combo
left side: power-in, subwoofer port, Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI, mini display port, 2x USB 3.0, audio combo
right side: card reader (SD, MMC), USB 3.0, blu ray combo drive, Kensington security lock slot
right side: card reader (SD, MMC), USB 3.0, blu ray combo drive, Kensington security lock slot

Communication

Wi-Fi module from Atheros (AR9485) handles wireless connections. It supports standards 802.11 b/g/n. The signal strength is decent. If the notebook is close to the router (about three meters/~10 feet distance) the Wi-Fi status displays four of five bars. The connection is also not interrupted if the notebook is two floors below the router (signal strength about 50%). In addition, the Asus features a Bluetooth 4.0 module from Atheros. The Gigabit Ethernet chip stems from Realtek (RTL8168/8111). The built-in webcam (1.3 MP) shoots muddy images with a resolution of up to 1280x720 pixels.

Accessories

Apart from the subwoofer and a cable tie, you will only find the usual documents (user guide, warranty information) in the box.

Operating system and recovery

Windows 8 (64-bit) is preinstalled and a Windows DVD is not included. The OS can be recovered or repaired with the recovery system usual for Windows 8 notebooks, which can be launched by pressing F9 after turning the computer on.

Asus only provides drivers for Windows 8 on its website. Nevertheless, you can use Windows 7. We tried it. Many drivers can be downloaded from the web site of the manufacturers (Intel, Nvidia). Several Windows 8 drivers from Asus website can also be used, e.g., the Wi-Fi driver. However, the Gigabit Ethernet driver from the Asus website could not be installed. A suitable driver is available at Realtek's website.

Maintenance

The N550JV lacks a maintenance hatch. In order to reach the hardware, you have to remove the underside of the base unit. This is not too complicated. Once you have removed all screws (Torx), you can remove the underside. You have to start at the front side of the base unit. Be careful, the underside is also held by some plastic hooks. At the rear side of the base unit, which houses the fan grilles, it gets fiddly and patience is required.

Once the underside is removed, you can reach RAM, hard drive, Wi-Fi module, the optical drive, the battery, and the fans. The notebook features two fans, which can be removed for cleaning. Furthermore, it comes with two RAM slots, which are occupied by four GB modules. According to the Asus website, the notebook supports up to 16 GB RAM.

It is easy to replace the hard drive. Most conventional 2.5-inch hard drives (7 and 9.5 mm) will fit in. It is recommended to remove the battery first, as this will ease disconnecting the data cable. The battery is only fixed with three screws. It connects to the main board with plugs. Therefore, you can even replace the battery, when it is defective.

Warranty

The N550JV features a 24-month warranty including pick-up service. The IdeaPad and the Aspire have the same warranty coverage. The warranty period of the Asus can be extended to three years for about 80 Euros (~$106).

Input Devices

Wie wir testen - Eingabegeräte

Keyboard and Touchpad

Keyboard and touchpad are identical with the Asus N750JV-T4110H. Therefore, we will not cover them here.

The keyboard features a multi-level light.
The keyboard features a multi-level light.
The touchpad supports multi-touch gestures.
The touchpad supports multi-touch gestures.

Display

Wie wir testen - Display

Asus equips the N550JV with a matte 15.6-inch display with a native resolution of 1920x1080 pixels. According to the Asus website, the notebook is also available with HD display (1366x768 pixels). However, we could not detect such a model so far. The LG display's average brightness of 277.7 cd/m² is decent. The Aspire (293.7 cd/m²) performs slightly better and the IdeaPad (367.7 cd/m²) is significantly brighter.

289
cd/m²
302
cd/m²
289
cd/m²
259
cd/m²
296
cd/m²
269
cd/m²
272
cd/m²
264
cd/m²
259
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 302 cd/m²
Average: 277.7 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 86 %
Center on Battery: 296 cd/m²
Black: 0.21 cd/m²
Contrast: 1410:1
Asus N550JV vs. sRGB
Asus N550JV vs. sRGB
Asus N550JV vs. AdobeRGB
Asus N550JV vs. AdobeRGB

Contrast (1410:1) and black value (0.21 cd/m²) are excellent. As a result, images look saturated and vivid. The IdeaPad (608:1, 0.65 cd/m²) and the Aspire (837:1, 0.38 cd/m²) cannot keep up here, but also achieve good (IdeaPad) or very good (Aspire) values.

We compared the colors of the display to sRGB in factory state. The DeltaE-2000 deviations of most colors are within the target range (DeltaE smaller than 5). Only a few colors - especially gray and blue tones - deviate more greatly from their ideal values. The display does not have a blue tint. White and nearly all colors look warm.

CalMAN - Color Checker
CalMAN - Color Checker
CalMAN - Gray levels
CalMAN - Gray levels
CalMAN - Color saturation
CalMAN - Color saturation

The N550JV can also be used outdoors. Thanks to matte surface, sufficient brightness and very high contrast, you can also easily read from the screen outdoors.

As usual for an IPS panel the viewing angles are wide. You can look at the N550JV 's display from virtually every angle. There is only a small limitation: If you are sideways of the display and look at the display from top right or left, the image looks slightly pale.

Asus N550JV: outdoors
Asus N550JV: outdoors
Asus N550JV-CN201H: viewing angles
Asus N550JV-CN201H: viewing angles

Performance

Wie wir testen - Leistung

With the N550JV series, Asus offers powerful, all around notebooks. Thanks to a fast CPU and GPU, it is possible to play current 3D games. The device also performs decently in video editing. Naturally, the computer can also handle everyday tasks like Internet communication, office tasks and video playback (including Blu-ray disks) without problems. Currently, our test model costs about 1100 Euros (~$1461). At the time of testing, a second model was also available (about 1200 Euros/~$1594). The two models have a different video memory capacity. Our test sample features 2 GB, while the second model comes with 4 GB.

System information: Asus N550JV-CN201H

Processor

The Asus features a Core i7-4700HQ processor from Intel. This quad-core CPU stems from Intel's new Haswell generation. Its base clock is 2.4 GHz. The Turbo can increase the clock rate to 3.2 GHz (all four cores used), 3.3 GHz (two cores used) and 3.4 GHz (only one core used). Thanks to improvements in the Haswell architecture, the processors should be about 10% faster than its identically clocked Ivy Bridge predecessor (Core i7-3630QM). Intel specifies a TDP of 47 Watts for the Core i7-4700MQ, which is two Watts more than the predecessor's.

During the single thread tests of the Cinebench benchmarks the processor clocks at 3.2 to 3.3 GHz. During the multithread tests it only runs marginally slower with 3.1 to 3.2 GHz. In theory, the results of the N550JV and the IdeaPad (Core i7-4700MQGeForce GT 750M SLI) should be identical, as they use the same CPU. However, this is only true for the single thread tests. The IdeaPad does not use its CPU Turbo in the multithread tests. The Aspire (Core i7-4702MQGeForce GTX 760M) performs slightly worse than the Asus computer, as its Core i7 clocks slightly lower. All three competitors are about on par in the GL tests. The IdeaPad cannot profit from its two GeForce GPUs here.

Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
4797
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
18526
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
6808
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit
6242 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit
22661 Points
Cinebench R10 Shading 64Bit
6832 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.52 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
6.68 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
53.14 fps
Help
Cinebench R11.5 - OpenGL 64Bit
Asus N550JV-CN201H
GeForce GT 750M, 4700HQ, HGST Travelstar 5K1000 HTS541010A9E680
53.14 fps ∼48%
Samsung 550P5C-S08DE
GeForce GT 650M, 3610QM, Seagate Momentus SpinPoint M8 ST1000LM024 HN-M101MBB
24.77 fps ∼23% -53%
Sony Vaio SV-F15A1S2ES
GeForce GT 735M, 3537U, Toshiba MQ01ABD075H
33.91 fps ∼31% -36%
Nexoc M512
GeForce GT 740M, 3540M, Mushkin Atlas 120 GB mSATA
39.02 fps ∼36% -27%
Lenovo IdeaPad Z500-MBYG2GE
GeForce GT 645M, 3632QM, Seagate Momentus SpinPoint M8 ST1000LM024 HN-M101MBB
39.24 fps ∼36% -26%
Asus N56VB-S4050H
GeForce GT 740M, 3630QM, WDC Scorpio Blue WD7500BPVT-80HXZT3
42.12 fps ∼38% -21%
Lenovo IdeaPad Y510p
GeForce GT 750M SLI, 4700MQ, Samsung SpinPoint M8 HN-M101MBB
52.61 fps ∼48% -1%
Acer Aspire V3-772G-747A321
GeForce GTX 760M, 4702MQ, Toshiba MQ01ABD100
56.53 fps ∼52% +6%
Dell Latitude E6540 FHD HD 8790M
Radeon HD 8790M, 4800MQ, Liteonit LCS-128M6S
58.14 fps ∼53% +9%
Cinebench R11.5 - CPU Multi 64Bit
Asus N550JV-CN201H
GeForce GT 750M, 4700HQ, HGST Travelstar 5K1000 HTS541010A9E680
6.68 Points ∼38%
Sony Vaio SV-F15A1S2ES
GeForce GT 735M, 3537U, Toshiba MQ01ABD075H
2.88 Points ∼16% -57%
Nexoc M512
GeForce GT 740M, 3540M, Mushkin Atlas 120 GB mSATA
3.41 Points ∼19% -49%
Samsung 550P5C-S08DE
GeForce GT 650M, 3610QM, Seagate Momentus SpinPoint M8 ST1000LM024 HN-M101MBB
3.44 Points ∼20% -49%
Lenovo IdeaPad Y510p
GeForce GT 750M SLI, 4700MQ, Samsung SpinPoint M8 HN-M101MBB
5.29 Points ∼30% -21%
Lenovo IdeaPad Z500-MBYG2GE
GeForce GT 645M, 3632QM, Seagate Momentus SpinPoint M8 ST1000LM024 HN-M101MBB
5.35 Points ∼30% -20%
Asus N56VB-S4050H
GeForce GT 740M, 3630QM, WDC Scorpio Blue WD7500BPVT-80HXZT3
6.41 Points ∼36% -4%
Acer Aspire V3-772G-747A321
GeForce GTX 760M, 4702MQ, Toshiba MQ01ABD100
6.36 Points ∼36% -5%
Dell Latitude E6540 FHD HD 8790M
Radeon HD 8790M, 4800MQ, Liteonit LCS-128M6S
6.99 Points ∼40% +5%

System Performance

The system runs smoothly without delays. Accordingly, it achieves good results in the PCMark benchmarks. If Asus incorporated a faster hard drive, the results could be even better. The N550JV cannot keep up with the IdeaPad (Core i7-4700MQGeForce GT 750M SLI) and the Aspire (Core i7-4702MQGeForce GTX 760M). This is not a surprise: The Aspire features a faster GPU and a fast Solid State Disk. The IdeaPad comes with two GeForce graphics cards.

However, the N550JV can also achieve similar results as the Aspire. We replaced the hard drive by a Solid State Disk (Crucial RealSSD C300 - 64 GB) and reran the benchmarks. With the Solid State Disk the PC Mark 7 result increases by about 64% to 5587 points. The PCMark Vantage result of 17631 points even more than doubles to +116%.

5.9
Windows 8 Experience Index
Processor
Calculations per second
7.9
Memory (RAM)
Memory operations per second
7.9
Graphics
Desktop performance for Windows Aero
6.8
Gaming graphics
3D business and gaming graphics
6.8
Primary hard disk
Disk data transfer rate
5.9
PC Mark
PCMark Vantage8157 points
PCMark 73395 points
Help
PCMark 7 - Score
Asus N550JV-CN201H
GeForce GT 750M, 4700HQ, HGST Travelstar 5K1000 HTS541010A9E680
3395 Points ∼51%
Samsung 550P5C-S08DE
GeForce GT 650M, 3610QM, Seagate Momentus SpinPoint M8 ST1000LM024 HN-M101MBB
2478 Points ∼37% -27%
Lenovo IdeaPad Z500-MBYG2GE
GeForce GT 645M, 3632QM, Seagate Momentus SpinPoint M8 ST1000LM024 HN-M101MBB
2805 Points ∼42% -17%
Asus N56VB-S4050H
GeForce GT 740M, 3630QM, WDC Scorpio Blue WD7500BPVT-80HXZT3
3065 Points ∼46% -10%
Sony Vaio SV-F15A1S2ES
GeForce GT 735M, 3537U, Toshiba MQ01ABD075H
4054 Points ∼61% +19%
Lenovo IdeaPad Y510p
GeForce GT 750M SLI, 4700MQ, Samsung SpinPoint M8 HN-M101MBB
4776 Points ∼72% +41%
Dell Latitude E6540 FHD HD 8790M
Radeon HD 8790M, 4800MQ, Liteonit LCS-128M6S
4983 Points ∼75% +47%
Acer Aspire V3-772G-747A321
GeForce GTX 760M, 4702MQ, Toshiba MQ01ABD100
5650 Points ∼85% +66%
Nexoc M512
GeForce GT 740M, 3540M, Mushkin Atlas 120 GB mSATA
5671 Points ∼86% +67%

Storage Devices

HD Tune
HD Tune
CrystalDiskMark
CrystalDiskMark

The mass storage device of the N550JV is a hard drive from the Travelstar-5K1000 series from HGST with a capacity of 1 TB and runs at 5400 rpm. As usual for Asus, the hard drive is partitioned into an OS partition (372 GB) and a data partition (537 GB). CrystalDiskMark reports a read rate of 100.2 MB/s. HD Tune displays an average transfer rate of 78.7 MB/s. Both values are all right for a 5400-rpm hard drive. Nevertheless, we would have expected a faster hard drive in a notebook for 1100 Euros (~$1461).

HGST Travelstar 5K1000 HTS541010A9E680
Transfer Rate Minimum: 38.1 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 106 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 78.7 MB/s
Access Time: 18.4 ms
Burst Rate: 263.1 MB/s
CPU Usage: 1.6 %

Graphics Card

The Asus features two GPUs: Intel's HD Graphics 4600 GPU and Nvidia's GeForce GT 750M. The graphics chip from Intel is used for everyday tasks and on battery. The GeForce is used when graphics performance is important - e.g. during 3D games. Both of the graphics solutions support DirectX 11.1. The GT 750M belongs to the upper mid-range. It features a base clock of 967 MHz, which can be increased to up to 1163 MHz by the Turbo. The N550JV actually uses the Turbo.

The results of the 3D Mark benchmarks are as expected. The Aspire (Core i7-4702MQGeForce GTX 760M) and IdeaPad (Core i7-4700MQGeForce GT 750M SLI) perform significantly better, as they feature faster GPUs. The N550JV can outperform its predecessor, which was equipped with a slightly slower graphics card.

3D Mark
3DMark 06
 1280x1024
13670 points
3DMark Vantage9742 points
3DMark 112678 points
3DMark Ice Storm73259 points
3DMark Cloud Gate8142 points
3DMark Fire Strike1473 points
Help
3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance
Asus N550JV-CN201H
GeForce GT 750M, 4700HQ, HGST Travelstar 5K1000 HTS541010A9E680
2678 Points ∼20%
Asus N56VB-S4050H
GeForce GT 740M, 3630QM, WDC Scorpio Blue WD7500BPVT-80HXZT3
2238 Points ∼17% -16%
Acer Aspire V3-772G-747A321
GeForce GTX 760M, 4702MQ, Toshiba MQ01ABD100
3515 Points ∼27% +31%
Lenovo IdeaPad Y510p
GeForce GT 750M SLI, 4700MQ, Samsung SpinPoint M8 HN-M101MBB
4542 Points ∼35% +70%

Gaming Performance

The performance of the N550JV is sufficient for 3D games. Most of them can be run in standard resolution (1366x768 pixels) with medium graphics quality. Several games can also be run with high graphics quality without stuttering. Few games are playable in Full HD and with maximum quality. If gaming performance is a purchase criterion, the Aspire and the IdeaPad are better alternatives. Both of them achieve significantly higher frame rates than the N550JV.

Our stress test reveals that the CPU only clocks at 800 MHz under full load (on mains), while the GPU can use its full Turbo potential (1163 MHz). Such an extreme load is not likely in practice. Therefore, the frame rates are as high as expected for this hardware in the tested games.

low med.high ultra
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011) 66.947.334.719.6fps
Anno 2070 (2011) 157.772.842.821.5fps
Hitman: Absolution (2012) 57.335.318.7fps
Tomb Raider (2013) 127.367.238.917.7fps
Metro: Last Light (2013) 43.733.620.2fps
Asus N550JV-CN201H
Intel Core i7-4700HQ, NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M, HGST Travelstar 5K1000 HTS541010A9E680
Asus N56VB-S4050H
Intel Core i7-3630QM, NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M, WDC Scorpio Blue WD7500BPVT-80HXZT3
Acer Aspire V3-772G-747A321
Intel Core i7-4702MQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760M, Toshiba MQ01ABD100
Lenovo IdeaPad Y510p
Intel Core i7-4700MQ, NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M SLI, Samsung SpinPoint M8 HN-M101MBB
Tomb Raider
-15%
57%
147%
1366x768 Normal Preset AA:FX AF:4x67.257.9
-14%
99
47%
142.7
112%
1366x768 High Preset AA:FX AF:8x38.935.3
-9%
65
67%
105.8
172%
1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:FX AF:16x17.714
-21%
27.6
56%
45.3
156%
Hitman: Absolution
-6%
38%
82%
1024x768 Lowest Preset57.351.8
-10%
57
-1%
1366x768 Medium Preset AF:2x35.335.1
-1%
53
50%
49.1
39%
1366x768 High Preset AA:2xMS AF:8x18.717.2
-8%
31
66%
42.1
125%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
-11% / -11%
48% / 48%
115% / 121%

Emissions

Wie wir testen - Emissionen

System Noise

While idle, the system noise remains moderate with a noise level of 32.9 dB(A). The IdeaPad (30.6 to 31.7 dB(A)) is slightly quieter. The Aspire (31.7 to 33.4 dB(A)) is about on par with the N550JV. The Asus achieves 42.6 dB(A) under medium load (3D Mark 06), but only 38 dB(A) under full load as the CPU throttles and does not need to be cooled that much. The Aspire (39.4 and 40.6 dB(A), respectively) and the IdeaPad (38.2 and 40.8 dB(A), respectively) are about on par.

Noise Level

Idle 32.9 / 32.9 / 32.9 dB(A)
HDD 33 dB(A)
DVD 37 / dB(A)
Load 42.6 / 38 dB(A)
 
    30 dB
silent
40 dB
audible
50 dB
loud
 
min: , med: , max:    Voltcraft sl-320 (15 cm distance)

Temperature

The Asus N550JV-CN201H during the stress test.
The Asus N550JV-CN201H during the stress test.

While idle, the case of the N550JV hardly gets warm. The temperature remains well below 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit) in all measurement segments. The system profits from the permanently running fans here. The case of the Aspire gets only slightly warmer and the values of the IdeaPad are still all right, but exceed 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit). Under full load the case temperature of the Asus increases to 29.8 to 45.7 degrees Celsius (85.64 to 114.26 Fahrenheit). These values are relatively low, as the N550JV does not run at full speed under full load. Under full load, the Aspire is about on par, but reaches higher maximum temperatures. The IdeaPad gets really hot. It exceeds 50 degrees Celsius (122 Fahrenheit) in several segments. This is not surprising, as the IdeaPad features a Core i7 CPU and two powerful GeForce GPUs.

In the stress test (Prime95 and FurMark run for at least one hour), the CPU only clocks at 800 MHz in mains operation and on battery. The GPU clocks at full speed (1163 MHz) in mains operation, but throttles to 291 MHz on battery. Apparently, the cooling system of the notebook cannot sufficiently cool the CPU and GPU when they are both used to capacity. We reran 3D Mark 2006 immediately after the stress test in mains operation and the N550JV achieves the same result as in cold state. The CPU temperature hovers around 70 degrees (158 Fahrenheit) in mains operation.

Max. Load
 41.6 °C45.7 °C37.1 °C 
 34.4 °C41.8 °C33.6 °C 
 32.2 °C34.2 °C32.7 °C 
Maximum: 45.7 °C
Average: 37 °C
31.4 °C42.7 °C41.5 °C
30 °C36.6 °C34.8 °C
29.8 °C32.2 °C32.3 °C
Maximum: 42.7 °C
Average: 34.6 °C
Power Supply (max.)  46 °C | Room Temperature 25.1 °C | Voltcraft IR-360

Speakers

The sound system is identical with the Asus N750JV-T4110H's, so we will not describe it in detail here.

Energy Management

Wie wir testen - Akkulaufzeit

Power Consumption

While idle the N550JV surprises with a moderate power consumption of 8.9 to 12.1 Watts. The Aspire (7.8 to 16.4 Watts) requires slightly more energy. The IdeaPad (21 to 31.9 Watts) needs significantly more than both of them. We think the power consumption of the IdeaPad is too high while idle, even though it is equipped with two powerful GeForce GPUs. Under medium load, we measure 93 Watts for the Asus. However, the power consumption falls to 75.4 Watts under full load as the CPU only clocks at 800 MHz. The Aspire (82.4 and 85.6 Watts, respectively) does not run with maximum speed under full load. The IdeaPad's power consumption (112.5 and 146.1 Watts, respectively) is significantly higher than the competitor's in both load scenarios. This is not a surprise.

Power Consumption

Off / Standby 0.1 / 0.4 Watt
Idle 8.9 / 11.9 / 12.1 Watt
Load 93 / 75.4 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         Voltcraft VC 940

Battery Life

While idle, the battery of the N550JV is empty after 7:15 h. The Aspire (5:46 h) and IdeaPad (2:49 h) shut down significantly earlier. We tested the idle scenario with the Battery Eater Reader's test with minimum brightness, energy-saving profile and disabled wireless modules. Under load, the Asus shuts down after 1:07 h. The Aspire (1:11 h) and the IdeaPad (1:17 h) run several minutes longer. The battery life under load is recorded by the Battery Eater Classic test with maximum brightness, energy plan "maximum performance" and enabled wireless modules.

The Wi-Fi test runs for 4:09 h on a single charge. Again, the Aspire (3:23 h) and the IdeaPad (2:18 h) cannot keep up with our test model. During our Wi-Fi test, a script automatically loads websites every 40 seconds. The energy-saving profile is selected and the display brightness is set to 150 cd/m².

The N550JV stops DVD play after 2:49 h. For this result, we had to change the settings of the playback software (AsusDVD). Intel Clear Video hardware acceleration is deactivated by default. The Clear Video technology decreases processor load during video playback by using the Intel GPU. The latter features a special decoder, which can run this task more efficiently and so more frugally. Without hardware acceleration, the notebook only achieves a runtime of 1:40 h. The battery life of the Aspire (2:44 h) is on par with the N550JV's. The DVD test is run with energy-saving profile (or higher, if DVD playback stutters), maximum display brightness and disabled wireless modules.

The battery runtimes of the three competitors are only comparable to some extent as they come with different battery capacities (Acer: 48 Wh, Asus: 59 Wh, Lenovo: 62 Wh).

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
7h 15min
WiFi Surfing
4h 9min
DVD
2h 49min
Blu-ray
2h 42min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 07min

Verdict

The Asus N550JV-CN201H
The Asus N550JV-CN201H

The Asus N550JV-CN201H convinces with a decent system and gaming performance. Although the CPU significantly throttles (down to 800 MHz) under full load, you will hardly experience this in practice. The benchmark results are as expected. In addition, the notebook features a bright, contrast-rich and matte IPS display and a big storage capacity and can read Blu-ray disks. The battery life is also appropriate for a notebook with that much performance. In addition, we enjoyed the great audio system.

If you like the N550JV, but prefer a bigger screen, you can consider the identically equipped 17.3-inch Asus N750JV-T4110H. The Acer Aspire V3-772G is another alternative 17.3-inch, but with a faster graphics card. The Lenovo IdeaPad Y510p is suitable if gaming performance is most important.

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In Review: the Asus N550JV-CN201H, courtesy of:
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Specifications

Asus N550JV-CN201H

:: Processor
:: Mainboard
Intel HM86 (Lynx Point)
:: Memory
8192 MB, DDR3, dual channel, two RAM slots
:: Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M - 2048 MB, Core: 967-1163 MHz, Memory: 900 MHz, ForceWare 311.54, Optimus
:: Display
15.6 inch 16:9, 1920x1080 pixel, LG LP156WF4-SPB1, IPS, glossy: no
:: Harddisk
HGST Travelstar 5K1000 HTS541010A9E680, 1000 GB 5400 rpm , 871 GB free
:: Soundcard
Intel Lynx Point PCH - High Definition Audio Controller
:: Connections
3 USB 3.0, 1 HDMI, 1 DisplayPort, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm combo, Card Reader: SD, MMC,
:: Networking
Realtek RTL8168/8111 Gigabit-LAN (10/100/1000MBit), Atheros AR9485 WiFi Adapter (b g n ), 4.0 Bluetooth
:: Optical drive
Matshita BD-CMB UJ162
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 27 x 383 x 255
:: Weight
2.7 kg Power Supply: 0.464 kg
:: Battery
59 Wh Lithium-Polymer, 15 V, 4000 mAh
:: Price
1099 Euro
:: Operating System
Microsoft Windows 8 64 Bit
:: Additional features
Webcam: 1.3 Megapixel, Speakers: four internal speakers, external subwoofer, Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, AsusDVD, Cyberlink MediaEspresso 6.5, Cyberlink PowerDirector, McAfee LiveSafe - Internet Security (30 days trial), Microsoft Office 365 (trial), Windows Essential 2012, 24 Months Warranty

 

The optical drive can read and write any kind of DVD or CD and can read Blu-ray disks.
The optical drive can read and write any kind of DVD or CD and can read Blu-ray disks.
A number pad is available.
A number pad is available.
The hinges hold the lid tightly in place.
The hinges hold the lid tightly in place.
The keyboard is backlit.
The keyboard is backlit.
It is possible to get to the hardware.
It is possible to get to the hardware.
Two RAM modules are built-in.
Two RAM modules are built-in.
It is easy to replace the hard drive.
It is easy to replace the hard drive.
Not only one, ...
Not only one, ...
...but even two fans
...but even two fans
Great: two WLAN antennas
Great: two WLAN antennas
If you remove this screw,...
If you remove this screw,...
...you can remove the optical drive.
...you can remove the optical drive.
The battery is incorporated into the notebook.
The battery is incorporated into the notebook.
It could be removed.
It could be removed.
The battery features a capacity of 59 Wh.
The battery features a capacity of 59 Wh.
The power adapter weighs about 464 grams (1 pound)...
The power adapter weighs about 464 grams (1 pound)...
... and delivers a maximum of 120 Watts.
... and delivers a maximum of 120 Watts.
The key stroke is normal.
The key stroke is normal.
Much performance inside
Much performance inside
Asus pre-installs several apps.
Asus pre-installs several apps.
The Asus N550JV outside
The Asus N550JV outside

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Pro

+matte, contrast-rich IPS screen (Full HD)
+Big storage capacity
+attractive case
+backlit keyboard
+high-end sound output
+mini DisplayPort
 

Cons

-CPU throttling under full load
-GPU throttling under full load on battery

Shortcut

What we like

The great IPS display is a delight. We also appreciate the excellent sound system.

What we would like to see

Even tough the hard drive is not particularly slow, we expected a faster model for this price. An mSATA slot, which would allow the user to optionally upgrade the notebook with a fast Solid State Drive without replacing the bigger hard drive, would also have been highly appreciated.

What surprises us

Despite two case fans, the notebook is not too loud.

The competition

Lenovo IdeaPad Y510p, Acer Aspire V3-772G, Sony Vaio SV-F15A1S2ES, Asus N56VB-S4050H, One K56-3F, Dell Latitude E6540, Samsung 550P5C-S08DE, Nexoc M512, Lenovo IdeaPad Z500

Rating

Asus N550JV-CN201H
06/25/2014 v4
Sascha Mölck

Chassis
78 / 98 → 80%
Keyboard
79%
Pointing Device
69%
Connectivity
74 / 95 → 78%
Weight
58 / 67 → 81%
Battery
78%
Display
86%
Games Performance
86 / 93 → 92%
Application Performance
69%
Temperature
80%
Noise
82 / 95 → 86%
Audio
90 / 95 → 95%
Average
77%
81%
Multimedia *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Review Asus N550JV-CN201H Notebook
Author: Sascha Mölck, 2013-08- 3 (Update: 2013-08- 4)