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Asus Bang & Olufsen NX90Jq Laptop Not as Awesome as We'd Hoped

We saw some press pics of the new Asus NX90Jq laptop not long ago, and just knowing that we would get a first-hand look during CES got us twitching with anticipation. Asus recently teamed with David Lewis, chief designer for Bang & Olufsen, to create what looked like a stunning piece of personal computing coupled with high-end audio.

But now we're ambivalent, as the NX90Jq both lived up to our dreams and crushed our spirits. Upon glimpsing the monster wide-screen display and two curvy ICEpower B&O speakers on either side, we immediately thought that we'd been transported to Pandora and were living lives of motion-capture magic. Then we got up close. The speakers naturally sound great -- possibly the best in-line laptop speakers we've come across -- and that may be the sole selling point for some.

But we grew very depressed. The NX90Jq features dual touch pads on either side of the keyboard, to allegedly allow some sort of digital DJing capability. (We weren't able to demo that, as the sample was stuck playing a promo video loop.) We were able to fumble with the pads a little, though, and fumble we did. The pads are not multi-touch, so you can't use both at the same time. Plus, they're placed at the top of the keyboard -- resulting in a very unnatural interface. (Apparently the dual track pads can be operated at the same time, but this was not our experience with the floor model.)

But the worst is the casing, which, for some completely unfathomable reason, is swathed in stainless steel polished aluminum. (The folks at Asus graciously corrected us.) Really, Mr. Lewis? Polished effing aluminum? (Our friends over at Engadget got to play with the gun metal brushed steel version -- way better.) As you can see from the photos, the case was riddled with dork finger grease, and this laptop will certainly fare no cleaner outside the halls of CES. We can only imagine that this computer was designed for ambidextrous audiophiles who don't sweat.

The NX90Jq won't go into production just yet, so we're hoping that someone at Asus hears our sad, sad cries and discontinues the stainless model. Please figure out the touch pads while you're at it, because we really want to like this laptop. But we don't.

Asus NX90

Tags: asus, bangolufsen, design, nx90jq, top