N82Jv-X1 is a great system that's short on time. It has an eye-catching lid covering a powerful Core i5 processor and a discrete GPU, plus Nvidia's graphics-switching Optimus technology. Unfortunately, like its non-Optimus sibling, a short battery life hinders its endurance, but if you can find an outlet quick enough this system will make sure you don't regret it.
At 5.2 pounds and 13.8 x 9.7 x 1.4 inches, the N82Jv-X1 ($999) is a little heavier and thicker than competitors such as the lighter and slimmer Gateway ID49C08u. Though it's light enough to carry in your bag, the N82Jv-X1's bulk takes up more space than we'd like.
The lid is fitted with an interesting cubed pattern in dark brown that has a metallic effect when the light hits it just right. Similar to the Asus N82JQ-A1, the inside deck is accented with a soft-touch matte finish that helps keep the area fingerprint-free.
The right physical power button (which has a white status indicator light) and corresponding left instant-on button fit in with the design of the N82Jv-X1, but we would've liked to see shortcut launch keys or dedicated media controls. Having to use a function command to adjust the volume (Function key + F12 to increase or F11 to decrease) during gameplay is slightly annoying.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The ASUS N82Jv's chiclet-style keyboard provided adequate feedback, important when playing first-person shooters, and we have no complaints about the key arrangement. We noticed less flex with the N82Jv-X1 compared to the N82Jq-A1.
The 3.25 x 2-inch touchpad is fairly large and has a textured surface (the same as the cubed pattern on the lid) that prevented our finger from slipping when gaming or navigating through Windows 7. Its single mouse button was a bit stiffer than we'd like, though.
Display and Audio
The glossy 14-inch, 1366 x 768-pixel LED-backlit display produced reasonably bright images and sharp colors, but viewing angles left something to be desired. The screen's high gloss can be a distraction in certain conditions, but the trade-off for deeper colors is worth it. The glare wasn't disruptive even in our well-lit lab, though sunlight was a much larger problem.
When watching videos, playback on the ASUS N82Jv-X1 was smooth and noise-free. Streaming "The Wanda Sykes Show" from FOX.com was smooth, but picture quality was noticeably pixelated. However, pixelation was absent when watching a 720p trailer of the movie "Takers" streamed in QuickTime.
Despite being positioned below the keyboard, the Altec Lansing speakers were loud and clear while listening to Jay-Z and Tupac via Pandora, and we didn't hear any distortion or tinniness typical of most notebook speakers. Their position on the front lip of the system helps keep the speakers from accidentally being blocked while typing. At maximum volume, the sound isn't overpowering, yet it's loud enough to fill a quiet medium-size room.
Ports and Webcam
The N82Jv-X1 certainly isn't lacking for ports. On the left side of the system is a VGA connection, headphone and mic inputs, an HDMI port, and a super-fast USB 3.0 port. Hidden behind a small plastic door on the right side is a standard USB 2.0 connector, an eSATA port, and an Ethernet connection. Between the speakers on the front of the system is a 5-in-1 memory card reader.
The 2-megapixel webcam produced clear images when video conferencing through Skype and audio quality was crystal clear. On the other hand, images were a bit noisy and motion detection lagged a little. The N82Jv-X1 is bundled with ASUS's LifeFrame software that allows you to capture video and snap pictures, then edit the content and apply special effects. Its facial recognition technology isn't perfect, but the pre-effects in LifeFrame are worth trying out.