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A. Maskill (Eastbourne, UK)

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ASUS N550JK-CM531H 15.6-inch Full HD LED Notebook (Intel Core i7-4710HQ 2.50GHz, 8GB RAM, 1TB HDD, Windows 8.1)
ASUS N550JK-CM531H 15.6-inch Full HD LED Notebook (Intel Core i7-4710HQ 2.50GHz, 8GB RAM, 1TB HDD, Windows 8.1)
Offered by TT Technologies

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Exactly what I needed - UPDATED, 20 Feb. 2015
I've had about a month with this laptop. My requirements were a full HD screen, a decent-sized hard drive, and a strong dedicated graphics processor. This laptop meets all these requirements and then some.

The screen is fantastic. I have scaling turned off to get the full effect of the 1080p resolution, and I couldn't go back to normal pixel density now. Writing and coding is a breeze with the huge amounts of vertical space, and viewing angles are incredible. It could be brighter, but that's a minor consideration.

The sound is...overhyped in the marketing. The sound quality is solid but the design is highly questionable. The speakers are along the edge of the bottom, at the point where it curves up towards the user. This makes the sound really conditional upon what you're sitting the laptop on. On a desk, the sound crashes right into the tabletop and overemphasises the high end in a really horrible, grating way. On your lap, everything but the low end gets lost going right into your stomach. If it's right on the edge of a desk and there's only air in front of its projection area, it sounds pretty great.

The performance is very good. First things first; the hard drive bottlenecks the performance a lot. Expect the whole thing to grind down if you're doing a virus scan, for instance. If you have the money to replace the hard drive for an SSD I would, but even 7,200rpm would have made a difference. That said, everything else is excellent. The processor is very fast and the graphics card punches well above its weight; it renders well and I was surprised at the settings I could play even new games at. At sensible settings just about anything can run smoothly on this thing. Battery life is highly variable but you can get a productive few hours out of it.

Overall, I'm thoroughly satisfied with this laptop. It has satisfied every requirement I had admirably.

UPDATE - 24/05/2015

So shortly after making this review, I encountered an endemic problem with this line of laptops, where the cord connecting the screen to the rest of the laptop comes loose. At best, this causes the screen to turn off when you move it too fast. At worst, it comes loose completely - the screen can't turn on and, if you turn it off to see if that makes a difference, the laptop won't even boot. The first time this happened, I sent the laptop off to ASUS' contracted third-party repair and I got it back in just under a week. The complete screen loss has just now happened a second time, and now I'm sick of it. Dealing with these problems has been fine; ASUS customer service were a pleasure, repairs were quick and worked within the confines of dealing with what is apparently a massive design flaw with the device. But I shouldn't have to be dealing with these problems, and nor should all the other people encountering them.

95% of the time I've had it, this has been a great laptop. I can't fault how it deals with writing, gaming, coding, graphics rendering, casual browsing. Music sounds great. Its screen is beautiful. But maybe the most basic test for a laptop to pass is "not rendering itself inoperable when you move the lid" and this laptop doesn't always pass it. I'm lucky; I have other computers to hand if I need them for that 5%. If you don't have that luxury, or just the patience to deal with its s***ty design, consider another computer. I spent £780 on this laptop less than six months ago and already I'm looking into moving on to something else because I don't know how my future with this laptop and all its unreliabilities is going to go. I'm almost halfway through my warranty for this laptop, and I'm definitely not paying to get this fixed.

Right now, as helpful as this laptop has been to me, I recommend you give someone else your money for a more reliable product.

Screenwriting 101 by Film Crit Hulk!
Screenwriting 101 by Film Crit Hulk!
Price: £2.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A clear, concise and immediately useful guide to storytelling, 23 Jan. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I can honestly recommend this book for storytellers of any medium. This book is stunningly clear, applicable take on the fundamentals and philosophy of storytelling from the most insightful writer on the subject the internet has to offer. It lacks the cynical, lowest-common-denominator approach of other screenwriting books which, in Hulk's own words, essentially teach their reader how to write "Stop Or My Mom Will Shoot!" over and over. Thoroughly recommend it.

Sennheiser CX 400 II Precision Noise Isolating Ear-canal Phones with Integrated Volume Control - Black
Sennheiser CX 400 II Precision Noise Isolating Ear-canal Phones with Integrated Volume Control - Black
Offered by Market garys Dvd's
Price: £39.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Sennheiser CX 400 II, 27 Jan. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
First off, it has been bought to my attention that there is a small chance that mine might have been fakes. I got them cheap off a third party on the Amazon marketplace. The grille is a mesh with the strands in a criss-cross, and depending where I consult, that's either a sign of them being fake or real. I don't know.

Either way, I've had these for about seven months, and they've been very good. Solid bass punch, though at time the low end can be a little loose and overpowering, the high end is present if not always well-defined, and the noise isolation is so good I at one point had by brother yelling at me from directly behind me and I could barely hear him over the medium-volume music. And now, as the other say the left earpiece has gone. It sometimes works if I fiddle with the wire around the bit that divides the main cable, but I figure it needs replacing. I'm considering getting another pair of these, although I'm also weighing up alternatives, it's not an obvious repurchase.

All in all, if you want lots of bass and are willing to run the risk of having them not last, these are definitely worth consideration.

Behind the Mask - the Rise of Leslie Vernon [DVD]
Behind the Mask - the Rise of Leslie Vernon [DVD]
Dvd ~ Scott Glosserman

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A smart, funny horror comedy., 20 Jan. 2010
I'm very, very glad that I'm too young to have been into horror movies during the 90's self-aware horror wave headed up by Scream and fortunately culled in the form of Freddy vs. Jason. The idea was pretty similar to the recent wave of pseudo-realistic zombie fiction a la The Zombie Survival Guide, where the humour comes from the assumption that we're in on all the in-jokes, without wanting any of the genuine enjoyment that the more sincere genre films inspire. They simply weren't pitching to horror fans, but to people who've read about horror tropes somewhere. Becoming the Mask: the Rise of Leslie Vernon knows its market much better.

Initially billed as a mockumentary of an aspiring slasher villain's preparation for his big first-slaughter night, it's presented in the typical tongue-in-cheek mode we've seen since Spinal Tap, and it has a lot of fun, from certain laugh out loud one-liners to the knowing, head-nodding amusement of recognising the acknowledging of all the old cliches. The fun a roomful of horror moguls will have with the first and second acts of this film is worth the price alone. There's even a superb line in Leslie explaining the behind-the-scenes action, and the tricks of the trade.

And in the third act, all this is traded in for a total change of pace that both subverts classic slasher features and plays them gleefully straight. This section is for the horror fans - those of us that want to laugh at the over-the-top gore, but still want over-the-top-gore, who want the sex scene to be let to go on a little bit longer than necessary, but also find the lampshade-hanging hilarious. It makes fun of all the slasher stuff, but it also revels in it; it repsects that yes, this stuff is absurd, but it's exploitation, it's escapism, it's just damn fun, like when Shaun of the Dead spent it's last twenty minutes going totally for broke.

If you're a horror fan, and you know a whole bunch of other horror fans, the night in this movie will give you is worth the RRP, let alone the ridicuous mark-down that Amazon is currently asking for.

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