Anyways, enough about my lamenting on the keyboard, let’s looks at how the NX90 performs in our benchmarks. For comparisons I’ve used the other ASUS media laptop, the N61J. I’ve also used the recent HP dv6 for comparisons, which also a powerful desktop replacement laptop, while also costing almost half as less.
Keep in mind that the HP dv6 carries the new Intel Sandy Bridge CPU which will obviously give it a major speed boost. The beefy AMD HD 6770M is also pretty powerful compared to the GT335M graphics card, so all those high benchmarks is a no-brainer. Still, I was able to get an average of 39fps on StarCraft II at medium settings and 52fps on Team Fortress 2 at highest settings running on the native resolution of 1920 x 1080. That’s pretty good performance from a multimedia focused desktop.
What the HP dv6 doesn’t give you is the gorgeous 1080p screen, nor the decently sounding B&O speakers, and last but not least, a stable platform that is effectively your desktop. And by stable I mean the way the NX90 is setup, it feels like an expansive platform, not a laptop.
The speakers on the NX90, one of the highlights of the system, are designed by Bang & Olufsen. Anyone who’s familiar with this extremely high-end brand will know that these speakers don’t just sound like any other laptop speakers. While watching Blurays, listening to music and even playing games, I was genuinely impressed at how good the sound was. The mid-range and heavier notes were played back with a lot of thump, while high-notes weren’t subdued. Overall they were great for laptop speakers.
I wasn’t expecting much from the 6-cell battery for such a powerful laptop, and unsurprisingly I got just over 2 hours on “High Performance” while playing an occasional round of TF2 and running a Bluray. On “Battery Saving” mode it fared a little better, with around 3.5 hours.
Honestly, the ASUS NX90 is a great desktop-replacement notebook. It’s extremely stylish, has a gorgeous screen and great speakers. When opened up, it feels more like a desktop than a laptop. The only thing holding it back from greatness is the keyboard. In my opinion, ASUS should ditch the dual track pads, just put a massive one in the center on the palm rest, and have a full sized keyboard on the top, with more spacing between keys. Slightly raised buttons with backlighting and the higher than normal price-tag will be justified on an otherwise great package. And let’s not even get started on the nonsense 32-bit OS which won’t use more than 4GB of ram. At AED 9k (USD 2,450) I expect everything to be in excellent form. The price may have been justified for the newer Sandy Bridge model (NX90SN) that come with the Core i7-2630QM CPU and Nvidia GT 540M GPU, but with these specs, the price seems a bit too high.