When checking out the Asus N81Vp, at first, it looks like a walking, well rather sitting, contradiction. If you were to take a look at its specs list, you would see a Intel T9550, 2.66GHz, processor, 4GB of RAM, and an ATI 4650, 1GB, Graphics card. When looking at these specs, the first thing that comes to mind is gaming computer. If you want more generic terms: high performance computer. But then you take a look at the screen size, 14.1”, and the weight, just under 6 pounds. With most high performance computers having a 17” screen and a weight of at least 7 pounds (usually), this laptop seems very out of the ordinary, and maybe even impractical.
At First Glance
Looking at the laptop, it’s nothing special, but has much necessary functionality. As far as looks go, it seems that Asus has adopted a similar style to the HP DV laptops, with a polished black outside, and a standard, low-key interior. Nothing special, but by Occum’s Razor, simpler may end up being better. There is a standard 1.3 megapixel camera, 14.1” LED backlit screen, Bluetooth, and a Dual Layer CD/DVD-R drive. Again, nothing out of the ordinary here.
Under the Hood
Here’s where things get really interesting. The video card contains 1GB of video RAM, making it a powerhouse for video graphics – a much needed quality in gaming, or graphic design, video editing, etc laptops. Then, backed by its 4GB of RAM, the laptop can pretty much handle any program or game you have to throw it at. In fact, if you compare this to any other 14.1” laptop, such as the HP DV4t or Lenovo T400 (two other big contenders), the N81Vp blows them out of the water performance-wise. Granted, the Asus does have 4 times as much video RAM as any of its competitors. Also, the processor doesn’t quite compare to the Lenovo or the HP, which each contain a 2.8GHz processor, but it can still hold its own. By gaming and video standards, this laptop is the crème de la crème of the 14.1” world.
The laptop has a price tag of $1399.99, making it one of the more expensive 14.1” laptops by far, but I guess with 1GB of video RAM, the graphics card accounts for the significant price increase. As I mentioned before, this laptop is a powerhouse in the 14.1” world, but that’s not saying much. The fact of the matter is this laptop tries to combine 2 worlds, and does a very poor job of it. Looking at the gaming aspect, 1GB of RAM with only a 2.66 GHz processor is completely unbalanced, and overkill on the side of graphics; your processor will limit you far before the graphics card does. Further into the gaming aspect is the 14.1” screen – unless you have an external monitor, no serious gamer or even graphics designer wants to compromise screen space. Now on the portability side, its nice to have a laptop with a 14.1” screen, and a weight 1-2 pounds less than the most other high end laptops. But, weighing slightly under 6 pounds still accounts for a hefty computer. Furthermore, the fact that there’s so many high performance parts in the computer shoots the battery life way down, making it an impractical solution, unless you are constantly plugged in to an outlet. But, that again, defeats the purpose of being mobile. It’s a nice idea combining gaming and mobility, but in the end it just doesn’t encompass enough of each world to be ideal for gamers/graphics designers, or people desiring portability.
Unless you are going to be constantly plugged into an outlet, and have a serious need for portable performance, I would stay away from the Asus N81Vp.
Check out our buyer's guide to the best gaming laptops! Updated 2/2010