ASUS' N82Jv: Jack-Of-All-Trades

Our last look at the ASUS multimedia oriented N-series came in the form of the N61Jv-X2, the first laptop with an Arrandale CPU and Optimus graphics to hit the market. Sporting several of the latest and greatest technologies at the time, we came away impressed and presented it with our Silver Editors' Choice award. Nearly six months later, it's amazing how little some things have changed. Specifically, it's currently impossible to find another manufacturer that makes a Core i3/i5/i7 laptop with a midrange Optimus GPU and at least one USB 3.0 port. Yeah, it's that bad. But let's start with the specifications of the N82Jv before we go any further.

ASUS N82Jv-X1 Specifications
Processor Intel Core i5-450M
(2x2.4GHz + HTT, 2.66GHz Turbo, 32nm, 3MB L3, 35W)
Chipset Intel HM55
Memory 2x2GB DDR3-1066 (Max 2x4GB)
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce GT335M 1GB Optimus Technology
Intel HD Graphics IGP
Display 14" LED Glossy 16:9 768p (1366x768)
AU Optronics B140XW01-V8
Hard Drive(s) 500GB 7200 RPM Hard Disk
Seagate Momentus 7200.4 ST9500420AS
Optical Drive 8x DVD+/-RW SuperMulti
Networking Atheros AR8131 Gigabit Ethernet
Atheros AR9285 802.11n (150Mb capable)
Audio Realtek ALC269 HD Audio
Altec Lansing stereo speakers Headphone and microphone jacks
Battery 6-Cell, 10.8V, 4400mAh, 47Wh battery
Front Side 8-in-1 Flash reader
WiFi On/Off Switch
Left Side Microphone/headphone jacks
USB 3.0
HDMI
VGA
Exhaust vent
AC jack
Right Side Optical drive
1x USB 2.0
Ethernet jack
eSATA/USB 2.0 combo port
Kensington lock
Back Side Nothing
Operating System Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Dimensions 13.8" x 9.7" x 1.3-1.4" (WxDxH)
Weight ~5.0 lbs
Extras 2MP Webcam + Face Recognition
86-key keyboard
Flash reader (MMC, SD/Mini SD, MS/Duo/Pro/Pro Duo, xD)
Warranty 1-year standard warranty
Pricing Starting at $999 Online

There are quite a few interesting points to highlight here. First, the GPU is bumped up from the GT 325M in the N61Jv to a GT 335M; that should improve performance quite a bit, though now we're at the point where the new GeForce 400M parts should start to show up. It would be awesome to see ASUS simply halt production of the GT 335M model and upgrade it to something like the GT 435M, but "simple" switches like that never seem to happen fast enough. Regardless, the GPU should provide sufficient performance for midrange gaming, and we're definitely interested in seeing how the N82Jv stacks up to the Alienware M11x R2.

Speaking of the M11x R2, there are a few more comparisons to make there. The N82Jv is a "larger" 14" chassis while the M11x sports an 11.6" LCD, but the reality is the chassis on the M11x is hardly what one would call "thin and light". The dimensions of the M11x are 11.25" x 9.19" x 1.29" (WxDxH), so two inches narrower and half an inch shallower, with about the same thickness as the N82Jv. The M11x also weighs in at 4.4 lbs compared to 5.0 lbs, but outside of the width we're in the same ballpark. For the larger size, you get a CPU that's up to twice as fast, an optical drive, and a few other extras. And along with the extras, you also get a puny 47Wh battery compared to the 63Wh battery in the M11x.

That last point is particularly irksome, as ASUS does so well with their U/UL series of laptops. Would it be too much to ask for 8-cell 84Wh batteries to become the standard for all 13.3" and larger notebooks? Actually, ASUS does appear to have an 8-cell variant of the N82Jv in the works, but that model will most likely not hit US shelves… just like the Blu-ray combo drive ASUS models are nearly impossible to find over here (unless you get into their 15.6" and larger notebooks).

Something else worth noting is that unlike some of the other ASUS laptops, the N82Jv-X2 comes with a standard 1-year warranty. This is a SKU built to a price point, in this case $1000, and while there's plenty to like it's clear that a few extras were cut to keep profit margins up. Along with the shorter warranty, the LCD is another run-of-the-mill 768p panel with poor color and contrast characteristics. We'd love to see ASUS and others take a cue from Apple and Sony and put better LCDs into all their products… but then Apple and Sony don't have quality panels in all their products either (standard MacBook, I'm looking at you; as for Sony, the good LCDs are the exception rather than the rule unless you plunk down $1500+). Like so many other consumer laptops, the N82Jv comes out of a series of compromises and decisions in pursuit of the almighty dollar, but it does tend to err a bit more on the quality side of the fence.

A Closer Look at the ASUS N82Jv-X2
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  • FH123 - Sunday, September 12, 2010 - link

    Good grief, how do you come up with those numbers? Show some consideration for people with different (yes, probably worse) eyes than yours. My preference is for 1024x768 at 14". My gripe is that the choice has gone away. My next choice would be 1280x800. Even that wasn't available in the low-weight, premium machine I bought. My ultimate choice would be something close to (laser) printed quality, e.g. 300 dpi upwards, and all the scaling problems solved by the OS. In the meantime, while we're at the resolutions you mention, I inevitably end up using some form of anti-aliasing, e.g. ClearType. That doesn't exactly make things better at the sort of awkward neither here (traditional screen < 100) nor there (traditional printer > 300) DPI we have at the moment. Reply
  • seanleeforever - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link

    as a owner of both the BEST notebook screen in business, i think i know what i am talking about:
    screen resolution has absolutely NOTHING to do with screen quality, period. you guys are simply drinking Kool-Aid that notebook company tend to sell you. a higher resolution screen doesn't make it better than lower resolution screen, just as a 17 inch notebook is not better than 12 inch notebook (except it is larger).

    the technology used in the panel is what decides screen quality. i have HP dream color 2 on my elitebook and outdoor screen on my x201 tablet. both uses 10 bit IPS screen that delivers superb image with NO color distortion at any angel, both are 300~400 dollar option on the top of the SAME RESOLUTION screen.

    a good screen cost A lot of money, much higher than simply put more pixel on the screen. that's why notebook manufacturers try to fool you.

    simply put, i will love to a 1200*800 ips than blue LED TN screen of any resolution.
    Reply
  • Roland00 - Sunday, September 12, 2010 - link

    You don't need direct x 11 with a laptop. Any game that you would want direct x 11 you would want a card that is faster than a 9800gt (aka 5750 or GTS 450 desktop parts) or else the card would be too slow to perform an acceptable frame rate with direct x 11 effects added on. Now in theory a game could be "completely" direct x 11 where you wouldn't have a direct x 9 or direct x 10 mode but this won't happen for games are developed for consoles and are developed for pc marketshare and too few people have direct x 11 cards thus their will be a direct x 9 and/or direct x 10 code path.

    That said the upcoming 400 series nvidia cards are looking to be faster than this card for they have a higher amount of shaders (the 420m, 430m, and 435m will all have 96 shaders, the difference between each model is the core clock and the shader clock, they have identical memory bandwidth). Whether this will provide an insignificant boost slightly different architecture, and/or memory bandwidth is anybody guess but I wouldn't be surprised to see at least a 20% performance boost for they have 25% more shader hardware, and all even the 420m has higher clocks than the 335m. (and the 435m is 30% faster on the core and shader clock compared to the 420m).

    Get the 400 series not because of direct x11 but because it will be a faster card, and battery life isn't a big deal due to optimus.
    Reply
  • Voldenuit - Sunday, September 12, 2010 - link

    What use is a low-end DX11 GPU? Even midrange desktop DX11 GPUs struggle with DX11 games, so they are doubly useless on a laptop.

    A DX10 GPU can do most anything a DX11 one can.
    DirectCompute? Check.
    CUDA? Check.
    OpenCL? Check.
    PhysX? Check (not that you'd want to turn on Physx on a laptop, unless you were a masochist).

    If you're building a high end (or even midrange) desktop, DX11 is the clear choice, but on the mobile front, it's hardly essential.

    I do agree that with the shoddy battery, lousy screen and mediocre keyboard, there isn't much to entice me with the ASUS in any case.
    Reply
  • Aaluran - Sunday, September 12, 2010 - link

    I couldn't possibly agree more with this article. The LCD is an annoyance, but one I can live with, but that battery is laughable compared to the 84Wh one. This laptop is perfect as a second computer, but 47Wh is simply unaccpetable. Reply
  • strikeback03 - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link

    That is one point I disagree on, IMO 3-4 hrs is good enough for a lot of mainstream users. Make a larger one available (as part of the purchase) for those who want it, but I find the LCD far more a problem than the battery. Reply
  • blackrook - Sunday, September 12, 2010 - link

    The last two pages of this article just scream "HP Envy 14 with radiance screen!" to me. It's a huge shame Anandtech doesn't appear to have one on hand. I was surprised it was never mentioned. This is a laptop with:

    -magnesium/aluminum chassis
    -switchable 5650 graphics (albeit underclocked and not Optimus)
    -sensational screen
    -acceptable battery capacity (59Wh?)

    And it seems to be making waves. The Envy 14 upon initial release originally came standard with the radiance screen at $1099, until demand seemed to outpace supply. It became $999 with a standard brightview screen, radiance being as a $200 option. Since then the radiance screen has ballooned to a $300 premium. That's how much perceived value a quality screen is worth to consumers, and it stuns me why more manufacturers haven't tried to go the same route HP has with the Envy 14.

    Just some food for thought.
    Reply
  • The Crying Man - Sunday, September 12, 2010 - link

    Jarred mentioned that an Envy 14 was on it's way some weeks ago. Hopefully it's in the process of being reviewed now. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, September 12, 2010 - link

    It still hasn't arrived... it seems HP can be like that. Plus, the current Envy 14 is now what, 6 months old? It's about due for an update. Reply
  • blackrook - Sunday, September 12, 2010 - link

    It released in late June, and first day buyers started receiving them early July. So that'd make it around two and a half months old.

    So HP was supposed to send over a review unit and it never arrived? :S

    *shakes head*
    Reply

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