The unique exterior design makes the product stand out from the offerings on the market, but we do not expect to see less of the Taiwanese celebrity when we go into the working mode of the review unit. After all, bear in mind that this is a Jay Chou special edition laptop. When we powered up the N43SL, we were greeted with a short music chime which consists of seven piano notes that were said to be originally composed by the celebrity himself. After you get to the Windows desktop, it shows a special wallpaper of Chou, while navigating to the music folder, we found four of Jay Chou's music albums which totalled to more than 50 songs for one's enjoyment. Yes, they are all available free and in MP3 format with no digital rights management (DRM).
Even though this is a Jay Chou special edition laptop, it is still ultimately an ASUS product powered by the company's proprietary technologies and preloaded with the software. ASUS has included AI Recovery to let users "burn" their recovery disc with their DVD writer; FancyStart which allows users to change the boot logo at computer startup; SmartLogon, a security feature whereby users can log on to their computers through facial recognition; as well as SonicMaster for optimizing notebook accoustic performance and reproduce sound and music with wider range and better accuracy. The ASUS SonicMaster technology is developed by ASUS in collaboration with Bang & Olufsen ICEPower and the software allows users to adjust vocal clarity, surround, bass and adaptive volume. For the keen ears audiophiles, the SonicMaster software would prove to let them enjoy the songs better, though we recommend using the headphones rather than the above average built-in speakers.
To test on the performance of the ASUS N43SL Jay Chou special edition laptop, we ran the standard suite of FutureMark benchmark applications – PCMark 7 Professional to measure overall system performance; and 3DMark11 Professional and 3DMark Vantage to measure the PC graphics performance. As the laptop incorporates Nvidia Optimus technology, it is able to automatically switch between the more powerful Nvidia GeForce GT 540M when running graphics intensive applications, and Intel HD graphics for preserving the battery life.
On PCMark 7 Professional, the ASUS scored 1941 points when we set it to use Nvidia GeForce GT540, and 2095 points when Intel HD graphics is selected, which are quite close to one another. We also observed the similarities when we used 3DMark 11 Professional. However, 3DMark Vantage showed a huge difference – P4331 points on Nvidia graphics and P1704 points on Intel HD graphics.We also used some 3D games such as Capcom StreetFighter 4 and with display setting at 1366×768 pixel resolution, the ASUS managed to achieve a very high frames rate of 105.04 frames per second.
The results reflected that the N43SL is powerful enough to run your daily tasks, be they office applications, web surfing, multimedia playback etc, and also most 3D games. You can run the latest games on the ASUS machine, but for a better gaming experience, you may want to lower the resolution and details settings.
In the battery life department, the ASUS managed to last 1hr 38min on our full-drain BatteryEater Pro v2.70 benchmark test. For normal usage with power saving options turned on, it should have no problem lasting over two to three hours.