If you’re looking for a professional grade laptop for under $1000, the new ASUS VivoBook Pro N552VW-DS79 might just be what you’re looking for. ASUS have recently began closing the gap between their mid-range notebooks and their ultrabooks. Both are now closer to each other in terms of design and performance.
This notebook is marketed as a replacement to other high-end models, yet I’m not so sure this is the best way to describe what the ASUS N552VW-DS79 represents. I think it’s a hybrid between a traditional mid-range laptop and a much pricier ultrabook. It borrows the screen size and performance from the former, while stealing design lines, build materials and display quality from the latter.
This creates a rather unique mix in the sense that you can now buy a 15.6″ true multipurpose notebook for about $850 MSRP (price was available at the time of this review). Let’s have a look at what exactly makes this model great.
We can see, right off the bat, that the ASUS VivoBook Pro N552VW-DS79 is fitted with a state of the art 6th generation Intel Core i7-6700HQ processor. This high end quad-core CPU has a clock speed of 2.6GHz – 3.5GHz and 6 megabytes of cache. It’s widely used in much more niche oriented gaming laptops. So, when it comes to processing power, the ASUS doesn’t fall behind other similar models at all. On the contrary, by looking at benchmark results, we can safely say that you’ll accomplish everything you set out to by using it.
The ASUS comes with 8 gigabytes of DDR4-2133 SDRAM installed. The bad news is that this amount, while sufficient for most users, isn’t up to par with the CPU’s speed ratings. Sure, Windows 10 will run great, as well as most programs, games and whatnot. But the good news is that you can extend it up to 16 gigabytes, should you need more RAM for your intensive tasks.
This model (the N552VW-DS79) has a 1-terabyte storage capacity on a mechanical hard drive. No SSD, no hybrid, just plain old HDD. While this aspect should irk power users, folks who’ll use this laptop for home office use, as a multimedia machine or even students will find the extra storage space a benefit, without losing much in terms of how performance is perceived.
Graphics and display
Casual gamers and graphic artists should take notice of the ASUS VivoBook Pro N552VW-DS79 because this model comes with a dedicated video card. It’s no top-end model, but will nevertheless allow users to play a healthy range of modern games, not to mention aid in photo/video/3D processing. The ASUS has a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M GPU.
As for the display, I have nothing but words of praise for it and for ASUS. Although the hardware components they’ve chosen for this model do bring a sense of compromise to the table, the display alone is well worth the asking price.
The VivoBook Pro N552VW-DS79 has a 15.6″ 4K UHD IPS panel. It will a produce an eye-stunning resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels, which is twice the amount of pixels both horizontally and vertically that you’d get in a FHD display. Also, it has a color gamut of 72% NTSC and 100% SRGB, meaning colors will be richer, deeper and more vivid.
Interface and connectivity options
Here’s the part where we really begin to see this is a multipurpose laptop, suited for all sorts of user types. The plethora of interface options would suggest that ASUS have thought of the home/home office/work office user base as well, since you can hook up so many things at once:
- 1 x USB-C port
- 3 x USB 3.0 ports
- 1 x HDMI-out
- 1 x mini-Display port
- 1 x RJ45
- 1 x COMBO audio jack
- 1 x 2-in-1 card reader (SD+MMC)
- 1 x DVD-Writer
So, using these available ports, you’ll be able to hook up two additional 4K monitors, alongside whatever peripherals you may need to get your work done (external hard drives, wireless keyboard and mouse, wired internet, and so on).
As for connectivity options, they’re pretty standard for a laptop costing $850-ish. You get:
- 802.11ac Wireless LAN
- 10/100/1000 Gigabit Base T Ethernet
- ASUS Eye Care – Reduces eye fatigue by limiting blue light levels that are being emitted by the display.
- ASUS AudioWizard – Five pre-configured selectable audio modes: gaming, movie, music, recording and speech.
- Ergonomic Input – Backlit keyboard with 1.8mm travel distance and scissor cut design, with palm rejection, gesture-enabled touchpad.
Despite being both a powerhouse and featuring a tasteful design, the ASUS VivoBook Pro N552VW-DS79, as I mentioned earlier, is still a hybrid between a mid-range notebook and an ultrabook. And it shows when thinking about portability.
It weighs some 5.6 pounds, making it difficult to carry around, especially when traveling across states or countries. It’s not really thin, either. At 1.2 inches thick, you’ll feel its size when cramming it inside an already packed backpack.
With these minor inconveniences in mind, I must say the ASUS N552VW-DS79 is much more suited to act as a desktop replacement or as a workstation rather than a portable notebook alternative to your travel needs. It’s powerful, stylish, well built, featureful and offers great value for money. Yet, I wouldn’t go traveling with it.
Thus, I believe students, working professionals, teachers, casual gamers and home & office users will get the most out of the ASUS VivoBook Pro N552VW-DS79 laptop.