Heat and Portability
Being a beefy laptop, the N55 has a fair amount of room for cooling, which is likely what it remains quiet at idle. Though some fan noise is audible if you’re trying to hear it, you’ll otherwise not notice it. You’ll also probably miss any excessive heat, because there doesn’t seem to be much of it when the laptop isn’t exercising its hardware.
Load up a game, however, and everything changes. Just like a gaming laptop, the N55 becomes a furious box of heat – although unlike a gaming laptop, the fan doesn’t scale up to hair-dryer levels of shriek.
Still, I found the heat levels to be less than expected overall. This is a product that’s comfortable for lap use, as long as you don’t try to do some genome calculations while watching the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
As I’ve mentioned numerous times, this is not a small laptop. It starts with a 15.6” display and just adds bulk from there. Even the display lid, which on many modern laptops is just a quarter or eighth-inch thick, is hefty.
Once all the hardware and equipment is accounted for you end up with a chassis that’s 1.2” thick at the least and up to 1.6” at the laptop’s rear. Throw in a weight of nearly six pounds, and you’re looking at a laptop that’s nearly as tough to tote around as a hardcore gamer’s laptop. Short trips are possible, but product his is clearly meant for use around a home rather than around town.
That may be why it comes with a relatively small 4800mAh six-cell battery which provides the results seen in the graph above. I’m actually rather impressed that ASUS managed to squeeze this much life out of such a small battery. ASUS no doubt deserves some credit, as this system – like most of the company’s laptops – comes with a custom power saving setting that seems very effective.
NVIDIA’s Optimus technology also should be given praise, as it allows the system to use energy on the operation of the GPU only when needed. Optimus also deserves praise because of its smooth operation. At this point, there’s nothing that indicates it is in operation. Switching between the GPU and the IGP is smooth as butter, except when the laptop is placed in the custom ASUS power saving mode – but that mode appears to force the discrete GPU off, which is likely why there’s a momentary flash to a black screen.
Even so, you won’t be able to use this laptop for more than a few hours before it gives up.