In today’s world of ever powerful laptops and notebooks that are set to replace your desktop, ASUS comes in with its own sense of what a desktop replacement notebook should look like. The NX90Jq is one of those daring steps in the evolution of notebooks that pushes this concept forward with some dynamic new styles.
The NX90 is nothing short of impressive at first sight. The huge 18.4” screen looks huge not only because of the surrounding Bang & Olufsen speakers that extend the display to much more than the keyboard, but also the 1080p resolution that allows for more real estate on screen.
Outside of the screen, so the NX90 has a smooth brushed aluminum finish on the palm rest as well as the entire top area, giving it a very premium feel. However, the aluminum doesn’t exactly equate to light weight as the whole unit comes to about 4.4kgs.
Moving along to the sides, you’ve got the Blu-ray DVD combo drive and USB 2.0 port on the left. On the right you have the power plug, LAN adapter, VGA and HDMI ports, two USB 3.0 and one eSATA/USB2.0 combo ports. Lastly there’s the audio ports, but you won’t really need them as the B&O ICEpower speakers do a pretty good job.
The model we received for review had the Intel Core i7-820QM CPU running at 1.73GHz, turbo boosting up to 3.06GHz. This 4 core, 8 threaded CPU was paired up with 6GB DDR3 ram. Of course, 2GB of that is “wasted” since the notebook only came with Windows 7 (Enterprise Edition) 32-bit! The NX90 also comes with an Nvidia GT 335M with 1GB DDR3 memory. The final list down the main hardware is the 1TB HDD.
So specs wise the NX90 looks pretty solid, but what you’re paying all of this money is not just for the hardware, which, nowadays can be had for less than half that price, but the overall package. The NX90, once you open it up, feels like a very high-end machine with a lot of stylistic cues from Bang & Olufsen’s design studios. It has a very serene presence, with quality oozing from all sides. This is why it really hurts how bad the keyboard is.
The keyboard layout on the ASUS NX90 is one of the worst one’s I’ve seen in a very long time. Basically the NX90 has two track pads on either side of the keyboard. This was obviously designed with ambidextrous usage in mind. So what happens is that invariably some part of your hand will end up touching either track pad, resulting in the cursor going haywire. The second issue is that all the keys are spaced very close to each other, and all of them are flat; coupled with the fact that most of them are the same sized squares, this results in no ‘sense’ of touch typing. I found it an extremely uncomfortable experience typing on the NX90 for the almost 2 weeks I had it with me. Others may adapt to it more quickly, but everybody on the Tbreak staff agreed with me: this keyboard is just bad.