Hands On Use
After all the benchmarks were run, I set about the hands on portion of the review. The first thing you notice with a machine this large is that you have tons of screen space. I was able to get two web pages or documents open side-by-side on the screen with no problems. The screen itself is highly glossy, which is a big pet peeve of mine. I don't like to work and see everything that is behind me while doing it.
That same glossy screen is fantastic when it comes time to watch movies with the built-in Blu-ray player. I fired up my favorite Blu-ray for testing -- Casino Royale. The image quality on the notebook is top notch with fantastic colors and skin tones. The black levels are decent with only a bit of pixilation on the border between dark and light colors. There is no issue with tearing or smearing of the image during fast action sequences.
The keyboard of the N90Sv is massive. That is a good thing for most users who learned to type on a full-size desktop keyboard. The large keyboard has very good tactile feel with buttons that are slightly concave and offer a nice click when pressed. The keyboard also has a full numeric pad, which is something you don't find on smaller notebooks. The keyboard also has a full assortment of media keys to control music and video playback.
The notebook features Express Gate technology, which boots the machine into a quicker loading OS for access to basic web browsing and a few other functions. This is really a non-feature for me; it doesn't get in my way at all, but it is worthless to me. I can wait a few extra minutes to get into the real OS.
The performance of the machine for gaming is decent. The N90Sv isn't a gaming notebook at its core, but it will play most all of the games on the market today with no problems. I'm not saying it will run them with all the bells and whistles, but it's no netbook.
I have had problems with the onboard sound system of a few of the machines that I have tested. Thankfully, the N90Sv has plenty of volume to comfortably listen to music or movies. You won't mistake the rig for a full surround sound home theater, but the volume is at least loud enough that you can clearly hear dialog in the movie. I'd like more bass, but anemic bass is something that is common to virtually all notebooks I have ever laid my hands on.