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
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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  • JarredWalton - Sunday, September 12, 2010 - link

    I guess I *heard* about the Envy 14 (or the old Envy?) six months back. Here's hoping it will still arrive soon....
  • Roland00 - Sunday, September 12, 2010 - link

    4 months is a life time in the computer world though. Almost every series gets a refresh every quarter.

    Now the old envy were 13 inch and 15 inch. They were released during Oct 09 to coincide with the windows 7 launch. While I praise HP vision they didn't really sell well in stores due to the fact they were expensive (starting at 2000+ at the time), had no optical drive (which I see as a benefit but some customers couldn't understand) and the 15 inch cold get very hot. The 13 inch was designed to be fast enough with a culv or lv processor and 4330 video card and up to 14 to 18 hours of battery life (depending on configuration, measured in mobilemark, a bad test I know.) How it obtain this battery life is it had a standard 4 cell battery but it also had a detachable 6 cell battery that was the entire width and length of the laptop so if you attached the battery it is just like the laptop got thicker. The envy 15 inch had the same philosophy with the battery but it instead packed a quad core, a 1080p screen, either a 4830 or 5830 (depending on refresh), and up to 16gbs of memory. On paper, the first envys were trying to be a windows macbook pro that were either trying to be faster (competing against 15 or 17inch) or had better battery life (competing against 13 inch and macbook air).

    Now I been more impressed with the 14.5 inch and the 17 inch for while they may be bigger and heavier due to the optical drive, they are trying to be more "balanced" via having more moderate price options available at the start.
  • blackrook - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link

    How does it all work? Do they send products to you spontaneously, or is it agreed upon by both you guys and the companies?

    I'm intrigued with what you guys would think of it...even though I already bought it. Almost like a reassurance that I've made a solid decision, heh.

    Fingers crossed.
  • JarredWalton - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link

    Either they contact us or we contact them, trying to get products for review. Some companies are more than happy to send products out (i.e. ASUS) while others seem to sample few if any products.
  • mrmbmh - Sunday, September 12, 2010 - link

    Hi,very nice article! thx Jarred!
    There are some popular notebooks you've not reviewed yet..... like U45jc Asus and HP dm4 (light-weight 14"s)
    Can you review them or at least join them into LCD comparison benchmark?
    Thanks.... : )
  • zoxo - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link

    You can be assured that the LCDs are utter crap on those too. The Envy from hp seems to be a step up, but it doesn't have matte option. What a shame!
  • Akv - Sunday, September 12, 2010 - link

    The proportion of gamers in the comments of reviews websites is almost 100%, but that is not the proportion of users, who might for example prefer a reduction of price in exchange for graphics just sufficient for productivity and video. Or the same price with an increase of storage, of silence instead of gaming, etc.

    The divergence between users when it comes to laptop is even stronger, so much so that I would not be surprised if the proportion of users who want gaming on a laptop was insignificant, although still of course quasi 100% of reviews websites comments.

    I regret that, on this website as many others, the heat and noise are not even evoked, whereas it seems to me the main element of the build quality for a laptop.

    I was interested by the expertise on LCD quality. If I have to pay for a laptop I really want to display photos correctly, and to be able to read comfortably. I would be ready to accept less horsepower in exchange for better display. I would not even refuse an atom netbook with a perfect matte screen.
  • seanleeforever - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link

    that, my friend, is a good comment.

    i too overly frustrated with all the gamer's comments with cares nothing except GPU and CPU. there is much more to a laptop than play games. (besides, you shouldn't play games on notebook anyway)

    if the image is the key, consider the following as rule of thumb.

    best :IPS/AFFS+ screen, they are the best (lenovo X201 Tablet, HP dream color)
    second to the best: MVA screen in Fujitsu T5010
    distant third is 8-bit TN panels w/ RGBLED backlight (Alienware and Dell Precision M6500)
    distant forth is 6-bit TN panels w/ RGBLED (Dell M4500, sXPS16, Lenovo T/W510, W701/ds, Apple MBP (15-17"))

    you would also need to consider the heat, noise, fan position, key layouts, which is something anand will never cover in detail because it doesn't sounds as cool as GT335M.
  • JarredWalton - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link

    It's not a case of it "sounding as cool"; there just isn't much to say that's noteworthy. If the laptop is particularly loud and/or hot, we'll make a note of it, but the N82Jv is basically "average" (or perhaps even below average) in these areas. That comes form the components, with the HD 5650 and GT 335M built to hit specific TDPs so they can fit in laptops. If you're not doing anything taxing, the N82Jv runs cool enough that there's no worry. At load, fan speeds ramp up and it gets warmer.

    Vivek and Dustin don't have the necessary tools for testing power/temp/noise, so I haven't been focusing on those in order to keep the reviews consistent. But since you asked, the N82Jv runs at around 70-80F temperatures (give or take) idle, and bumps up 5-10F under load. The keyboard and palm rest tends to be a bit cooler than the bottom, though certain areas get hotter than others, naturally. The hottest spot I found under load was on the bottom under where the GPU sits, and it was 105F.

    Noise levels are basically at the limit of my SPL meter at idle (30dB), but under load it can get noisier. I measured 39 dB(A) at a distance of about 12". So as a whole, this is good and certainly nothing I would consider problematic. I'm far more concerned with the plastic chassis and low quality LCD on the N82 than I am with the heat/noise.
  • The Crying Man - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link

    You guys could all use HWMonitor or GPU-Z at least to give us an idea of temps at idle or load.

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